Is there a difference between a hypnotic trance and daydreaming?
A hypnotic trance is induced by the use of hypnosis, and the person is open to the suggestions of the hypnotist. Being in an ordinary trance, or simply put – daydreaming, is a state in which you are thinking of about something so much that you hardly notice what is going on around you.
During an average day, you may be surprised at how much time you have spent deep in thought about nothing in particular, watching television with no recollection 10 minutes later of what the program was about, or even driving a car that seems to be on mental autopilot.
Studies into driver behavior revealed that we drivers do not drive with our conscious mind, because frequent driving to mostly the same places, has led to actions being almost totally automatic. This does not mean that you are driving around with blinkers, and although you are still alert, it means that your mind wanders a bit, because driving no longer requires the full consciousness that it did in the past.
If you don’t recall much about things on the trip, or perhaps missed a turning somewhere, it means you were probably daydreaming, and not driving with your conscious mind. Because you are still consciously alert, this is not dangerous, unless you were belting along at 100mph!
What is it like to be in a trance or daydream state.
If someone were to ask you how many hours of TV you have watched in your life, you might come up with an answer somewhere in the thousands. However, if you were asked how much of what you watched you actually remember, you could struggle to answer unless it was something earth-shattering like 9/11!
The reason for that is that as soon as we start watching television, we enter a daydream state, with our brains alpha waves approaching hypnotic frequencies. In the case of 9/11, the shock of the event would have altered your mental state, and you were once again fully conscious and participating in the real world of the tragic events. This TV report would have stuck in both your subconscious and conscious mind.
It has been estimated that with television being a modern-day addiction, and if you watch three hours of television per day, you are in a trance for most of that time. If you watch more, you will be in a trance-like state for as long as you watch.
How is daydreaming defined?
Daydreaming, or a trance-like state, can best be defined as a shifting state of altered consciousness. Consciousness is the level of awareness of what’s happening around you. However the levels of consciousness often change throughout the day, and sometimes we do not even notice the change.
Daydreams are the most common form of altered consciousness, and it is the power of our daydreams that enable us to move quickly from an alert state to a wandering daydream at any time. Quicker than the blink of an eye, your attention can drift away from the outside world into a place of dreams and fantasy.
Daydreams have the beneficial ability to let your mind rest from the hurly-burly of the task at hand, if only for a few stolen moments.
What about a trance-like state?
• It has been said if you want to watch a play, watch it on the radio – because the pictures are better, as you are creating them in your own mind in a trance-like state, just exactly how you want to see them.
• Reading a book is also one of those activities which takes you to an altered mind state because your imagination is hard at work drawing all the pictures while you read. Once again, the reason that you cannot put that book down is because you are enjoying the trance-like state because of your involvement in the story.
• Have you ever been involved in a conversation where you realised that you didn’t hear a word that was being said? That is because once again, you were in a trance-like state.
Studies have shown that many people in a lecture room pay little attention to what is being, and are frequently lost in a trance, or a daydream, or fighting the urge to sleep. Even the most dynamic teacher cannot always keep the attention of students for too long, because of a shift in the state of consciousness if they lose interest.
A highly skilled presenter will know just how to keep his audience alert, and in a properly conscious state. He will also be sensitive to vibes of possible altered consciousness arising, and will prepare to close off the lecture before everyone begins to lose interest.
So, when you add together the time spent sleeping, watching television, reading, driving, daydreaming, fantasising etc, it may be fair to assume that our most normal state is a trance-like state.
For some folk it might be true, but for most people it would be fortuitous to strike a balance between alert consciousness, and the shifting state of trance and daydreams.
The idea that their normal state is trance-like, might not go down too well with some people!
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