|"Help! I'm a student in Dr. Gibbons' Introductory Psychology class!"|
"You will always be able to hear and to respond to my voice," I continued, "and I will return you to your normal state in a few minutes, before I bring you out of hypnosis. But until I do, you will experience the world exactly as if you had been turned into a chicken. You will remember everything I have said, and it will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience that you will enjoy telling to others. Okay?"
She nodded her agreement, and I counted slowly backwards from ten to one, providing suggestions along the way that she could feel herself changing into a chicken, and at the count of one I announced that she had become a chicken. "Would you like to open your eyes and walk around a bit?" I asked. She did so, walking slowly as I grabbed hold of her extended elbow. "Why are you walking like that?" I asked.
"I'm a chicken," she replied in a high voice, much to the amusement of the class.
I told her to stop walking and close her eyes once more, counted from one to ten to restore her to her usual perceptions, and then concluded the hypnotic demonstration. "If I had told her that she was re-entering a previous life, and if she believed in reincarnation," I concluded, "it would have been just as easy."
I like to think of hypnosis and hyperempiria as a form of experiential theater, in which a suggested event can become just as real as the actual event itself. When we are discussing psychic phenomena, the power of the imagination frequently makes it easy to confuse things.
Demonstrations such as this, while experienced as real by the participant, provide insight into what Martin Orne has termed "trance logic," a logic similar to that which is often found in dreams. Orne demonstrated that genuinely hypnotized high-responsive subjects could be distinguished from simulators if, after being given an induction, they were told to open their eyes and describe the back of a chair in which a man was sitting. The simulators, after opening their eyes, stated that they could not describe the back of the chair because there was a man sitting in it. The hypnotized subjects, on the other hand, proceeded to describe their perception of it. Hence, it is possible for a hypnotized volunteer to "talk" (or at least intelligibly cluck!) at the same time that she is subjectively experiencing life as a chicken.
Young children (especially those with "cool" parents who encourage this kind of active imagination) often have this kind of involvement as part of their natural play life. +Kelley Woods described it as, "Rather like when my son was small and, living in his delightful trance state, had no limits on his imagination...he thrilled at becoming a dog, a car, a monster! . . .I love reminding clients of similar "resource states" and once the door is opened, they can go there at will."
Adults, however, usually need what +michael ellner called the "transformational magic" of an induction in order to attain this degree of imaginative involvement. And that's where hypnosis and hyperempiria come in.
But once the door is opened, adults should be able to imagine even more transformational things than children can. With our adult ability to conceptualize, and with sufficient experiential training using hyperempiria and the Best Me technique, we can build an almost unlimited number of resource states, with an almost unlimited number of dimensions. In the words of the mystical poet, William Blake, experiential hypnosis enables us,
Infinity? No problem. Eternity? Check. "Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour?" Hang on, here we go. . . ..