There is no order of events that is better than any other order for the purpose of discovering the truth about your self. However, we have to start somewhere, and the order of things here is simply the same order that the author enacted. The order may not matter, but the goal does, and it’s likely that all the steps will eventually have to be taken.
One of the most typical steps for self-discovery is the set of practices collectively referred to as ‘meditation’.
‘Meditation’ has rather a lot of baggage — preconceptions — around it.
There’s another related set of practices usually called (rather inappropriately1) ‘hypnosis’ or ‘hypnotherapy’.
Hypnosis has a history of exploitation for personal gain associated with it.
Yet both of these practices apparently lead ‘within’ the individual — if not, where else?
What do we think is in there?
Let’s quickly list some of those factors, faculties and features that we assume are ‘within’ the individual:
- The mind
- The self
- The soul (for some)
- The spirit (for some)
Let’s leave to one side for the moment the relative reality of all of these. The more important factor for now is — where do we believe all of these to actually be located?
I suspect most people would agree that they are ‘inside our body’.
So if we want to verify the state or presence or condition of these items, we need to look ‘inside the body’. Note here that a scalpel, microscope or even MRI scan will not help us locate any of these inside the body. None of these physical interventions will show the ‘content’ of our ‘consciousness’ or the presence of our ‘mind’.
So what we have to do is ‘enter the body’ by getting our perception ‘in there’ to see what is there — somehow. And that brings us back to the self-discovery methods listed right at the beginning — meditation and hypnotic techniques.
As a practitioner and recipient of both meditation and hypnotic techniques, its of interest to note that they are very rarely put together in the same sentence.
As far as this author is concerned, they both go to exactly the same place. The difference between them lies in the direction of the attentional focus.
- In hypnosis the attention is focused ‘within’ but the ‘interior’ actions are at the behest of the ‘hypnotic practitioner’
- In meditation the attention is focused ‘within’ but the ‘interior’ actions are at the behest of the same one that is carrying out the operation
Both techniques can give information about what is going on on the ‘inside’. But there’s a few difficulties to overcome.
The problems with meditation and hypnosis
The biggest problem is what I will refer to as the “bovine droppings” issue.
Simply put, both hypnosis and meditation are plagued by bullshit: you may have noticed. This means that the genuine benefits of both are obscured for many, who reasonably-enough discard them as the last resort of fools and fraudsters, because quite often that’s been true.
Other people will have tried one or both, perhaps struggling with them for years, only to not really get anything out of it at all.
So given all these difficulties, how do we get to look ‘inside’?
In the next sections we will look at how to do this simply, reliably, and effectively, although I can’t promise ‘easily’. Though that might happen, it will probably cost time and some effort… and we need to start with some preliminaries…