What is the trance state and how can it be used in personal exploration and creativity. The Trance state is associated with a number of processes, techniques, ecstasy, modalities and states of mind. This altered state of consciousness can happen involuntary and unbidden. In this article we will explore qualities of the trance state as used and experienced in hypnosis and then go deeper into the trace to see its association with magical phenomenon and creativity.
Have you been in a trance today? Are you in a trance now? Last time you were watching TV, becoming immersed in the story, you were entering into a trance state. When you awoke this morning, you awoke from a type of trance. Throughout our daily lives we move through various levels of trance that go from full immersion into a medium to a light barely noticeable condition where we seemed half dazed. The Day dream phenomenon is also a trance state. The trance can be loosely examined as a state of mind where over analytic and logic driven non-intuitive mental functioning has begun to dissolve. If we imagine for a moment the conscious mind is a gatekeeper to the unconscious mind and that the logical processes we use are a way to filter information going into the inner place of mind. A trance, then, would be occupying the gatekeeper enough to slip information into the inner place of mind. With this in mind, it can be seen that the trance is neither good nor bad, but can be used as any tool for healing or for control and destruction. It is important that we understand the qualities of a trance so we know when we are being assuaged into such a state and so we can utilize this state in our own personal growth and well-being.
In hypnosis the mind is relaxed a led on an inner journey, while on the surface level the monologue of the hypnotist may seem like a kind of guided meditation on a deeper level the speech patterns and language used are specifically designed to work their way into the deeper mind to make a the desired change that the patient seeks. In the case of hypnosis the clients mind is so relaxed that the patient appears to be in some kind of deep sleep, his facial features become unanimated and stone like, breathing slows immensely and becomes very deep, the flesh begins to pale and any movement becomes like robotic unconscious movement. During this state of moderate to deep trance capabilities of the unconscious mind become accessible. At this point the unconscious mind can begin a communication with the conscious mind, like being half in a dream and half awake. Now that the unconscious mind has moved more to the forefront of the psyche it can be utilized for many purposes. The unconscious can recall information about the individual that the conscious mind has no recollection whatsoever. The unconscious mind can speak from and gesture just as the individual, but in a way particular to trance, in a slow, choppy robotic style.
The Unconscious mind rather than being, what some think as, a set of processes that keep all unconscious functioning running at optimum, seems to be a kind of personality manifestation of its own. Much trance work done in hypnosis, nlp and life coaching encourages the unconscious mind to share and nurture a stronger link between the unconscious and the conscious mind, allowing much needed insights to flow into the waking mind about personal situations, neurosis, past un-reconciled traumas and strategies for happiness and success. Through several sessions of this work, patients claim to have a sharpened sense of intuition, increased creativity and the ability to make lasting change in their life and behavior patterns.
Those who study various cultures around the world on a first hand bases, the anthropologists, have extensively documented the use and development of trance techniques in so many cultures that trance may be seen as endemic to the human condition and a human universal phenomenon. In case studies globally the Trance has a function in religious and mystical experiences. The medical benefit and the traditions and rituals that employ trance are still being widely explored and documented.
How can one deliberately experience this trance? “The trance phenomenon results from the behavior of intense focusing of attention, which is the key psychological mechanism of trance induction.” – Castillo (95). There are a variety of trance states and techniques to engage them, some universal and some designed or naturally occurring specifically for a particular social and cultural context. Some deep trance states have been interpreted as religious ecstasy and visions and can be deliberately induced using a variety of techniques. Some trance inducing techniques include prayer, religious rituals, meditation, breath work, physical exercise, sexual encounters, music, dancing, sweat lodge experiences, fasting, thirsting, and the consumption of psychotropic drugs such as cannabis, Ayahuasca (A Dmt containing shamanic brew) and a plethora of other sacred healing plant medicines.
It is interesting that the trance state can be induced through the avenue of all of the senses individually or more powerfully using multiple sensory inputs. It is as if the trance is induced as your awareness moves away from your thoughts and into a direct experience of your senses. The trance is a way to overcome normal consciousness by establishing a looping or maze like path for it to get lost in, by using rhythmic or repeating information styles, such as a mantra (repeating sets of linguistic information), music (repeating rhythmic and melodic concepts), the mandala (a repeating fractal like image). These are all techniques to capture awareness into a predesigned system to promote psychological effects ranging from encounters with alien information (revelation) to complete holistic whole person wellbeing, where the fragments of a person’s psyche are brought into powerful union.