Even though the term ‘hypnosis’ is drawn from the Greek word ‘hypno’ which literally denotes ‘sleep’, it is not this meaning professional hypnotherapists associate the term with it. On the contrary, during the course of hypnosis sessions, the individuals subjected to hypnosis are fully alert yet due to their transiting themselves into a heightened state of mind they are not disturbed by the distracting thoughts that surround their mind and reach a state of internal concentration which makes them prepared to receive suggestions willingly. It is possible individuals can be in mental states which may resemble like they are being in a ‘trance’ as reflected in some of their actions, as for instance, missing the correct turn in a highway while returning home after a tense day in the office or walking into a room forgetting as to what purpose they had entered into the room, but such a state is not considered as hypnotic trans. This is because these are all only ordinary mental state and in no way they can be said to be in a hypnotic state of mind. The trance that is talked of in hypnosis is the one in which your mind while being open, yet is unoccupied and quiet. Under normal circumstances, a qualified hypnotherapist would subject to his client to three steps, viz, (i) predicting (which is the approaching signs of trance), (ii) observing (as to what is happening with the client), and (iii) directing (subtly implanting suggestions on the hypnotized mind of the client to accomplish the desired outcomes).
Meditation is a conscious act of individuals to put themselves into a Trans. The term is derived from the Latin word ‘meditate’ which conveys a literal meaning of being moved to the center. In such a state, the activities of the brain moves from the outer cortex to the Hypothalamus which is situated at the center of the brain. Meditation typically involves three following steps, viz (i) focusing attention on a mentally conceivable object or on one’s breathing, (ii) remaining in a passive state of mind which allows passing of random thoughts and (iii) constantly repeating a word or term which could be associated with a mantra as believed in eastern world or a prayer in a western context. The primary objective of meditation is to achieve a quiet state of mind through which it is established to bring about positive benefits to the health and welfare of individuals.
Even though hypnosis is considered to have a wider applicability when compared with meditation, practicing meditation is also known to confer conceivable health benefits on its practitioners. This is because those who practice meditation also gain access to the automatic mind which has the ability to bring under control breathing, heart rate, undesirable habit formation and perpetuation of such habits, perceptions of brain towards pain stimulus. Through these methods, meditation enables the realignment of a person’s conscious repetitive routines to unconscious routines. It has, for instance, been scientifically established two brief sessions of meditation each day can significantly lower high blood pressure.
Further, hypnosis and meditation are considered to be complimentary to each other or have similar features which would become clear when we put forth the following facts.
- Hypnosis and meditation put the individuals in a natural state that can be compared to a situation which is similar to the one which is felt before awakening and falling asleep.
- Both of them have the ability to make the individuals fully absorbed into whatever they are doing at a particular point of time, say, similar to being completely absorbed in a movie.
- Whether it is hypnosis or meditation, those who are plasticising either of them would come out of the trance stage. There has not been even a single case in which this action of their not returning to the original state of mind that has been reported so far.
Nonetheless, at least in the following respects, hypnosis and meditation differ from each other.
It is possible in hypnosis for an individual suffering from obnoxious habits to get rid of them in just two sessions where as it may take a lot more number of sessions and practice to achieve the same in meditation.
Further, since the scope of hypnosis is considered to have far wider applications in treating a number of dis-eases whether it is physical, mental, or psychological, it has attracted wider interest in the medical field. The aim of a professional hypnotherapist is to improve the wellbeing of their clients by relieving them from the distressing conditions from which they are suffering by following a systematic and scientific steps already described. When a state of hypnotic trance is achieved, the chattering nature of mind is brought to a stop. The previous unruly busy-ness observed in the form of wandering thoughts is brought to a halt. This prepares the state of mind to transit from a troubled state to an observant state. When the observant-self takes over the individuals who are hypnotized, they become ready to relieve their perceived fears, painful memories that are stuck in their mind due to unpalatable happenings at some point of time in their lives which they are unable to bear in their weakened state of mind and an expert hypnotherapist accomplishes exactly the goal(s) which he/she wants to bring about in their clients after a conversation with them when they are in their natural state of mind.
On the other hand when it comes to meditation, many forms of meditation presuppose your acquiring a manta because it is the one that is used to chant repeatedly during the process of meditation in order to invoke inner quietness. In fact, there are individuals who are prepared to part with a substantial amount of $$$ to their masters (gurus) to acquire a particular mantra which they believe would confer the benefits on them. However, hypnosis does not presuppose the acquiring of any such watchword to practice it.
We may then conclude both hypnosis and meditation in their own ways have devised methods to create a state of mind where focused attention is made possible to enable human being to suppress their negative thoughts, activity, and perceptions or sensation wherein the outcome is realization of inner fulfilment. When a an inner fulfilments is achieved, it is manifested outwardly in health, wellbeing and a positive outlook towards life and an ability to face challenges it poses. However, hypnosis because of its broader scope offers more practical value visa-vis meditation.