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Meditation And Self Hypnosis: What's The Difference?

Jun 23, 2008
What is the difference between meditation and self-hypnosis? The short answer is, "There isn't necessarily any difference." Both take us out of our day-to-day consciousness. Both have the power to open our eyes and to create very powerful experiences and changes. Having said that, let me share some common perceptions and attitudes that typically accompany these two methodologies, and I'll also suggest a method for integrating the two.

People who study/practice hypnosis or self-hypnosis tend to be a bit more scientific. The beliefs that stand in the way of effective practice of self-hypnosis are rarely religious in nature or fervor, and thus, are much easier to work with. On the downside, the vast majority of people who are interested in self-hypnosis only study it for habit control. Smoking cessation and weight loss are worthy goals, but this is just the beginning of what is possible with hypnosis. Unfortunately, this is as far as most people take it.

People who study meditation tend to have bigger long term goals... goals more oriented toward real growth. Some of the descriptions are enlightenment, long term peace and happiness, merging with the divine, raising the kundalini, contacting the Holy Spirit, etc. These are much more worthy goals. The downside of meditation is the frequent lack of any scientific basis or method of change/improvement. I haven't met too many meditators that have developed any structured method of recognizing feedback or improving their practice.

As far as techniques are concerned, meditation is best known for simple awareness and acceptance, or focusing and moving internal energy. Either one of these methods will eventually grant the practitioner much more balanced emotional states as well as deep emotional insight.

The techniques of hypnosis usually involve countdown methods (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) to bring the subject into an altered state where the desired changes are more easily made. Use of metaphor, trigger words, and language patterns that bypass the conscious mind are also commonly used in hypnosis.

A truly wise practitioner (a rarity indeed), can use techniques from both approaches to have deeper experiences in meditation, and better achieve their goals. In order to create a truly integrated practice that suits you, spend some time considering what you are looking to create. Then take some time researching a variety of methods of self-hypnosis as well as meditation.

One of the simplest ways to integrate these practices is to begin any session of meditation with a countdown procedure.
1. Relax and breathe deeply as you close your eyes and visualize the number 5. Take another deep breath, and visualize the number 4 as you exhale. Continue this process all the way down to number 1. The more you practice this, the more you will notice that it gets easier and easier to step into a deep space of concentration: just close your eyes and take a deep breath.
2. Now that you are relaxed and focused, bring your goals for this session into your awareness. Once it is clear, release it.
3. At this point, you can continue your normal practice of meditation.
4. When you are ready to finish, bring any goals you are working on in life into your awareness. Examine them. Affirm them. Release them.
5. You can finish by counting yourself back up to normal consciousness (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), or you can bring that meditative state with you into the rest of your life.

Whether you primarily practice meditation or hypnosis, you will be amazed at the power of your results when you take the time to blend the wisdom of both paths to deepen and broaden your practice!
About the Author
Benjamin Langley has been studying and training in meditation, yoga, and other sciences of the mind for over 10 years. He regularly writes and shares powerful insights on his own blog. Come take a look: http://peacefulprosperity.com/blog
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