Hypnosis is a powerful way to access unmediated creative resources. Creative resources can be often tarnished by our tendency to over-reflect, by our exposure to stress, by many other factors which detract from the creative impulse, or from the capacity to fully immerse in the creative process itself. With hypnosis the person can find a level of focus which quietens the dualistic experience of the mind and allows for a surrendering to one’s own subtle internal experience which can starkly regenerate the creative thrust. Individuals will find their mind has 'unblocked' allowing them to reconnect with a direct and vivid creative experience. As such, hypnosis can deepen, reframe, and expand an artist relationship with their medium, very often with surprising and exciting results. This is have witnessed over and over again, with writers, visual artists, dancers and with artists of thoughts, i.e. philosophers and theorists.
Is creativity a process of hammering at some kind of content until it has transformed into an evidently creative ‘thing’, an artefact? Is it the product of labour and effort and determination? Yes, and no. It certainly requires thinking and labouring to manifest the creative impulse and the creative insight into some external form, it might then require strategizing, alertness to context and good social skills to bring that form out into the creative field so that it can be appreciated and perhaps acquired by the public. But it is more often than not a matter of silencing the thinking mind and releasing effort the first fundamental step from which the idea for that creative act arises. In endlessly different ways artists receive an idea, witness a bubble bursting from the depth of their unconscious into awareness. The imagination needs to be unfettered to resonate with creative content, not pushed around by need or wishes to success and recognition, by fear of failure or doubts of direction, this any successful artist who enjoys his/her practice knows.
Hypnosis, so as many other techniques of course, can release the fetters we have added onto our imagination through all the experiences of success and failure which have been laid upon our past. All good and bad experiences from the simplest responses we got as a toddler to our wondering about on four legs, to the more articulate ones of later life brought about by expert critique and feedback weigh down our imagination with some kind of visible perimeter of possibility. The work is to erase that visible perimeter and break out of the enclosure we are electing around our selves, and expand the field to infinity, or beyond.
The difference between hypnosis and other approaches is that it capitalises on our natural innate already very powerful capacity to daydream, to trance, to drift off and the fact that such state is inherently pleasurable and nourishing therefore a place where all minds like to be allowed to go to. The other advantage of the hypnotic process is that it is made easier by the presence of a witness, the therapist, which mounts the sails so that the traveller can simply enjoy the journey and take in the landscape. If the therapist understands the subtlety of the creative process, and the tenderness of the imagination, he/she can nudge the journey so that it stays on the powerful currents already in place within, and through them, reaches as far as the inner eye can see.
Image : A sonorous figure excited on a circular steel plate, CYMATICS : A Study of Wave Phenomena and Vibration, Hans Jenny (Macromedia Publishing 2001)
One important aspect of the hypnotic experience is the continuity between trance and the so called ‘waking state’. What do I mean by this? I mean that in hypnosis you are conscious and have an awareness of being conscious during the experience. You will both experience and at the same time consciously record and observe what you experience. And I think this is a very powerful quality to states like hypnosis and meditation, they are readily integrated into our conscious self.
This reflects on the feeling that we are left with when we come out of a trance, a form of confidence and clarity, an increase in our self-belief. Often to believe in ourselves can mean to narrow who we understand ourselves to be, strong beliefs are seldomly open and embracing beliefs. Shaking our beliefs is essential, and sometimes it feels that the only to shake our acquired or chosen beliefs is to crack the self open with a crowbar. In hypnosis we are gently yet markedly expanding that sense of self whilst experiencing a connectedness to both the self and its inner capacity to expand which gives us a strong sense of agency. It is not this thing or that thing which gives you a ticket to a higher experience, it is you who can shift your perception and experience greater depth, higher perspectives, and fuller texture.
Like almost anything in life, it is easier to find our way whilst in the company of another human than it is to do so alone. Having the support and guidance of another person without them directing and informing your experience makes accessing that experience as easy and as drinking a glass of water.
Once you are out of trance the feeling of what you have experienced and allowed yourself to express to yourself will pour out into your everyday life, giving you the courage to express and allow expression to develop and manifest. This comes in part from the very way in which trance arises from within and brings out our deeper feelings and thoughts, memories and sensations, but also from the very closeness we experience to our deeper self in trance. It gives us courage to be close and intimate with who we are and what we feel, think, and sense. This intimacy is the only true requirement to health and growth, once we are comfortable to be with ourselves we are comfortable to be with the world.
Image : page from a Ragamala Series: Gujari Ragini, Pali, Marwar, 1623 (National Museum Of India)