Meditation And Hypnosis

“Meditation is merely hypnosis without suggestion..” -is what most hypno-therapists will tell you.

And whilst this in some (very few) instances may well be true, it is unfortunate that this view is promulgated, as this only describes a very limited aspect of meditation, and does not consider the phenomenal number of forms of meditation that are in fact out there. It also does not consider the true nature of most forms of meditation.

To illustrate this I would suggest that one consider the incredible number of guided meditations that are offered, sold, and promoted by various profit and not-for-profit organizations. Of course to fully understand the impact of this one has to consider the makeup of most of these guided meditations, which include a few primary elements :

1. Usually designed to create an alternate state of consciousness.

2. Usually designed with a specific life / meditative objective in mind.

3. These objectives are even sometimes pursued in some form of metaphor, visualized or otherwise.

4. Can be administered by oneself, or by another, or in a group context, with great success.

When this is reviewed, it is clear that there is almost always an objective which is pursued in guided meditations. One then also has to acknowledge that no objectives can be reached without some form of suggestion to prod the practitioner in the right direction. Of course there are various other forms of meditation in which suggestion, in itself, plays a lesser role. It should be remembered though, that meditation without objective is usually fairly pointless, and as such most forms of meditation is practiced with some objective in mind. And not surprising is also then the fairly obvious deduction that there has to be some suggestion, even in these.

A further example of this would be a simple application of meditation for the purpose of relaxation. (a fairly common practice). In this instance there remains an objective. “Relaxation”. And whilst suggestion is not usually passed during the meditation, they are usually pre meditative suggestions, which are then acted out during the meditation, and usually with desired results.

So to reduce in definition meditation to a pointless exercise, would be less than fair. This of course brings to mind another point of consideration.

Is there really a difference between hypnosis and meditation?… After all they do seem to have similar primary properties. And if so, wherein lies the distinction, if there is one ?…

Whilst the answers to these questions remain somewhat more complex, it should be considered that whilst this may not be recognized at this stage, meditation is clearly a less formalized form of hypnosis, and in fact qualifies as hypnosis in most analogies. Especially when the properties of an average meditation is considered.

In fact when this analogy is considered further, it comes to mind that meditation sets out to do in principle the same as hypnosis. It also focuses on creating mental states within which it is possible to manipulate the mind towards achieving objectives that have been set. One thing to remember though is that this is usually practiced in a far less formal environment, and more so in a solo situation, essentially resembling self hypnosis. Of course there are group environments wherein meditation is practiced, and usually in guided form. These however still maintain similar properties and as such can be as effective as most forms of hypnosis practiced.

With this in mind it would appear that there is virtually no distinction to be made in definition, except for their uses as therapeutic tools.

1. It is possible to therapeutically utilize hypnosis to manipulate and monitor responses from patients. This making it possible to apply direct, and instantly adaptable mental therapy in a controlled environment. This offers therapists an opportunity to treat more severe mental ailments for which meditation would not be suitable. Essentially this is achieved by the creation of externalized control through hypnosis, which is conducive to safe mental healing, of fairly severely ill patients. This also offers a fairly simple alternative to meditation for those who do not possess the inner ability and strength, to self hypnotize / meditate.

2. Whilst meditation can also be used as a therapeutic tool, it requires more practitioner internalized ability. Considering the nature of meditation, and the significant similarities that exist between meditation and hypnosis, meditation can be used as efficiently as most self hypnosis techniques, and even some therapeutic uses like regression and other forms of related hypnotherapies, are available to advanced meditators. It is possible for a practitioner to achieve similar result with meditation as with hypnotherapy, on things like say “helping you quit smoking”. However when it comes to more severe mental ailments / conditions hypnotheraphy is without a doubt better for dealing with the issues that may come forth, due to the externalized ability of the therapist to monitor and improvise a session as needed.

Accepting this I would suggest that meditators should not be afraid to explore their own minds and abilities using meditation as a platform, and expanding it to include what would traditionally be considered selfhypnosis techniques. Noting that if this is done with care, one can achieve a lot more from your meditation, in a lot less time. Especially when combining techniques from both genres when focus is placed on inner self ability, rather than the traditional hypnosis requirement for externalized control. Applying this, one is also offered a unique opportunity to set your own hypnosis / meditative goals, which is not normally possible with hypnotherapists, as they usually want to decide what is best for you.

Of course there will always remain room for externalized hypnosis / meditation, and if the therapist can be trusted, this can also come with amazing benefit, and probably somewhat quicker results, than expected from attempts to do it on your own.

The author, Pieter Heydenrych is a Reiki master who maintains a site called How to meditate which is dedicated to finding better ways to meditate more efficiently, and with more success.