Not to go all Shirley MacLaine on you, but here goes. A few things I’ve been exploring of late in case they are of interest to anyone else. There are different levels of trance states, and I’ve learned I seem most comfortable living inside two of the lightest forms.
Some Trance Types
One source educating about hypnosis online defines a few levels (by practitioner Beat Wettstein)
Light Trance: “In light trance, the breathing is steady and even, the muscles are somewhat relaxed, and the attention is fixed. This level of relaxation is ideal for concentrating, meditating, and visualizing.”
Medium Trance or Flow: “The ‘Flow’ state as described by the Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book ‘Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience’ is as much trance as is the feeling of being in the zone where nothing else matters other than the task at hand.”
I’d like to practice automatic writing, which is described as accessible in a deeper trance. I experimented with this once in the past and it was interesting. My handwriting looked like that of a different personality, I wrote with my eyes closed, and I was relaxed enough to get a 10-minute response to an open-ended question like, “What information do I most need to hear right now?” I was told I should eat sweet potatoes for my health and wrote down details of agricultural experiments on plants. I started thinking I was accessing George Washington Carver, a man I was fascinated with in middle school. The subconscious mind is a treasure trove.
With a half century on the planet under my belt, I seem to be in a perpetual state of life review with feelings from regret to appreciation to gratitude to anger at self arising. But it’s okay, I’m my own therapist because the price is right, and feelings are just the weather. Part of this life review offered me an “aha moment” that nearly everything I gravitate toward seems to fall in the category of a trance state. Or flow. Everyone probably does this without recognizing it as such. I experience it as providing comfort, security, and a way to manage overactive thought patterns. In other words, I am unable to focus on flighty or anxious thoughts when I am in FLOW.
Over the trajectory of my life, the following experiences have consumed most of my waking hours and all involve repetitive patterns that require focus:
- Practicing music over and over until able to play it in a deeper “trance state” than flow, which is what I feel all musicians achieve who put the hours until focus goes beyond the technical part. It’s absorbing oneself into frequency. One of these years when I am not keyboarding seven days a week for a living, I will return to my first love, piano.
- Knitting. I don’t know where my mind goes when I knit, but it is similar to meditation’s focus on the breath. I am unable to think many thoughts, both when working on a pattern easy for me or a pattern that requires more intellectual problem-solving.
- Meditation. Repetitive focus on breath for me allows a “sifting” of silt of daily experience until awareness is clearer.
- Transcribing. I did not seek out this job, but it has sustained me for a quarter century. It feels to me I could not have confidentially transcribed people’s medical traumas and all manner of heart-wrenching interview subjects 8-10 hours a day for 25 years without either a psychotic break or physical injury if I was not in some mild trance state. This work requires hyperfocus, ability to physically relax into repetitive motion, alongside constant letting go of emotional content while capturing it accurately. I imagine this is akin to spiritual channeling, but I have never attempted such.
- Walking. One foot in front of the other, kissing the ground. Centering, empowered, at one with body, Earth, mind freed.
- Communing with at least one tree a day. I try to feel what it is to be a tree once a day and feel completely grounded by this practice.
Over the past decade, I’ve become fascinated with NDE (near-death experiences) since I have met several people that had them. I’ve long been convinced of the idea that physical death is not final so reincarnation is a probability. I’ve read books by prominent researchers in the field like Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Eben Alexander and the 50 years of research from the team at University of Virginia.
To explore further, I took myself on a few weeks of intermittent regression self-hypnosis via online recordings. This might be more effective or healing to do with aid of a trained professional in person, because it would allow for someone to process information with afterwards. But a person without money does what she can. After trying several recordings, I found one that worked well for me to relax enough to get into deep trance state. I knew I was there because my entire body felt paralyzed like in deep sleep except my mind was lucid and spacious.
Three separate times I was able to experience what felt like distinct past lives (one a Catholic woman who died age 24 in the 1600s, one a male French researcher in the 1800s who never married but focused solely on contributing something academic to society for which he was honored on a stage – but not too prominent, another a Bedouin man many centuries ago). All three gave me something to learn from in my present.
I say “felt like,” because the human imagination and mind capacity is hugely powerful, largely untapped in our daily lives, and I have no objective way to know the difference between what I experienced in a trance state as true regression or imagination.
One thing that gives me pause is, at the very least, the people I experienced inhabiting in self-hypnosis did not give me answers my conscious mind wanted to learn and instead provided information that I did not expect or consciously seek. I was able to think in French when inside the French man, but then again, I took 5 years of French in school. I haven’t used it in my conscious mind for 30 years, but maybe the subconscious mind retains it. The Bedouin man felt incredible responsibility for his family group and moved nomadically, walking hours a day to set up camp. (Nod to my deeply felt, lifelong impulse to walk long distances!) As I went into hypnosis, I asked not to be shown anything I couldn’t handle alone, so when I saw the young Catholic woman in a heap on a floor, I was not shown how she died only heard the phrase “It is very hard to be a woman.”
I have a few childhood memories under age 3 that I’ve wondered about all my life. These are what I was hoping to find answers around.
Repetitive nightmares of myself rising above a city on fire in aerial view, accompanied by a rushing in my ears. I would crawl into my parents bed each night and the nightmares stopped only after they reassured me it was just the sound of blood rushing in my ears.
Repetitive solving of codes in a “lucid dream.” I would scan a panel of numbers and figures passing in front of my eyes from right to left like a conveyor belt and tried to decode the codes.
Texture dreams – black-gray-white experience of textures by sight and touch.
Extreme fear of dogs as young child. As adult, extreme allergy to dogs (and most furbearing critters). Did I do something horrible to these animals in a former life? I would do almost anything to stop living in a bubble of isolation, with all the limits this puts on my life.
I am curious about key experiences that fall in the “paranormal” as an adult, which in my humble opinion should be called supranormal, since so many people experience these. One in the Four Corners area of the US (later I’ve come to know is a highly active zone for unexplained phenomena), several in Japan, two involving relatives, others in rare sleep states where I embodied a completely different being than I am in waking life and/or was given extremely detailed information or aerial views of cities I have never visited in this life or seen in a movie.
I have no supernormal powers of which I am aware, but inquiry into human capacity and consciousness based on self-evident experience fascinates me. All without the benefit of consciousness-expanding substances, I might add. Plain old vanilla awareness is a rich enough playground for me.
And now for the numbers
Numerology shows I am a 1 Soul Urge representing independence and wanting to be good at stuff, and 5 Life Path representing freedom/change including a concern for other’s right to freedom. I’m supposed to thrive most in jobs that require travel, feel constrained by relationships and ties. Fits, which is why I probably let a big part of myself go dormant while typing alone in a room for a decade and may not be really “thriving.” It’s all in the numbers…if you want to figure out your Life Path numbers, here’s one of the countless sites out there that provide the formulas. What I’ve discovered is numerology is like astrology. Each numerologist has a different way of interpreting the numbers, but at their core a number represents a frequency, just as a letter, a star cluster or a sound does.