Pixabay: John Hain

Many people are somewhat nervous of hypnosis and hypnotists. There is a fear of being put under the control of another, of being put in a trance, of not awakening from hypnosis.

Could it possibly be that this fear is in fact a distant appreciation of a pre-existing fact?

Could it be that this fear is the apprehension of an actual truth?

Could it be that the fact of the matter is that as long as one is a ‘normal human being’, engaged in the world, believing in the importance of ‘thinking’, believing that ’emotion’ is something good, and believing in the primacy of the ‘self’ — then one is already in a state of hypnosis, already in a trance?

And could it be that herein lies another — clue?

It’s best if you answer this question for your self. But let’s look and see what others have said about just this, as a starting point.

Clueless or clueful

Gurdjieff developed what was known as ‘The Fourth Way’. He stated that (the human being)… ‘lives in a subjective world of “I love,” “I do not love,” “I like,” “I do not like,” “I want,” “I do not want,” that is, of what he thinks he likes, of what he thinks he does not like, of what he thinks he wants, of what he thinks he does not want. He does not see the real world. The real world is hidden from him by the wall of imagination. He lives in sleep.’

The Fourth Way points to four states of consciousness: sleep, waking state, self-awareness, and objective consciousness. Most everyone lives only in the first two states.


The Gudjieff school had used to refer to the ‘normal’ state of human consciousness as a kind of ‘sleep’. Gurdjieff and his direct acquaintances are all dead, this leading to the usual fracturing of discourse and directions, so we will avoid any analysis of this, and only note the statements…

There is a traditional doctrine… that our present waking state is not really being awake at all. It is not night-sleep certainly, nor is it the ordinary somnambulism or sleep-walking; but it is, the tradition says, a special form of sleep comparable to a hypnotic trance in which, however, there is no hypnotist but only suggestion or auto-suggestion.


I point here to Gurdjieff because he and his school, more clearly than almost any other recent commentator, point to what — experientially from where I now am placed — are indeed the facts of ‘normal’ consciousness, and the truth of what ‘awakening’ is.

There’s no recommendation here to ‘follow’ Gurdjieff or his school. He’s dead, and the mastery that he may have exhibited is dead with him. That does not mean we cannot cast an eye, a critical eye, on what was written.

Clued up

Man is immersed in dreams… He lives in sleep… He is a machine. He cannot stop the flow of his thoughts, he cannot control his imagination, his emotions, his attention… He does not see the real world. The real world is hidden from him by the wall of imagination…

Sleepwalking: Pixabay

Gurdjieff is not of course the only one to point to this truth — if it is a truth? Perhaps you’d like to investigate?

Who looks outside dreams. Who looks inside awakens.

Carl Jung

How do you find out if what Gurdjieff said was, is, the truth?

Where do you look for evidence to support or destroy the suggestion that the ‘normal’ awake state is, in reality, almost a form of sleep?

I’d suggest — by waking up and testing what was said.

Awakening is about liberating yourself from the prison that is the world of the mind and daring to be here as all that you are.

Leonard Jacobson

How do you wake up?

I’d suggest — by being present in actuality.

Now — how to do that?

Pixabay: John Hain