Science has been busy, measuring and studying our brainwaves and neuro transmissions for near enough, a century. The subject of electroencephalography or EEG, is fascinating and often included in the studies of hypnosis, NLP, meditation, etc, even new age schools of thought, often incorporate this science, as validation of their, particular theories or practices. Hence, there are differing interpretations of what these altered trance states represent and how they can be used or abused. Most of the material that one finds, relates to positive aspects of these altered states, as applied in relaxation therapies, mindfulness, meditation, etc. The more sinister aspects, like mind control, covert hypnosis, etc, are rarely, if ever, discussed. Many people, having seen hypnosis, mainly on TV screens and stage shows, tend to percieve it as an obvious and drastic change to a normal state. However, we are experiencing one or the other of these states at all times and usually, slide up and down the scale with ease and speed. Highway hypnosis is a common example used to demonstrate how altered states effect us, on a daily basis.
These brain waves are frequencies, measured in Hertz (hz) and usually divided into five groups.
Delta waves (0.5-3hz), are low frequency waves associated with deep dreamless sleep or the deepest of meditative states. Here, essential restoration and healing processes are stimulated.
Theta waves (3-8hz) are associated with dreamy sleep or meditation. Here, one is between sleep and wakefulness. Imagination is vividly stimulated. Realities, beliefs, phobias, fears and nightmares are said to be created and reside here.
Alpha waves- (8-12hz) are dominant during light flowing thoughts and associated with lighter meditative states. Here the person is relatively aware of his surroundings but in a slighty daydream like state, conducive to calmness and relaxation.
Beta waves- (12-38hz) are associated with our normal waking state, where our attention is mainly focused on external activities. Conducive to problem solving, alertness, decision making, etc. This band is often divided in smaller sub-divisions, low-beta, beta or beta2 and hi-beta.
Gamma waves- (38hz plus), are not too well understood yet, but thought to be associated with more complex associate thoughts, such as, altruistic capacity.
The area of most interest to us, (and the hypnotist), is the alpha-theta border (approx 7-9hz). This is the area, where suggestion and imagination are heightened and beliefs and realities can be founded or crushed, below a person’s conscious awareness and once such suggestions are embedded, all the mental capacities of the individual, can work relentlessly towards, confirming those beliefs, regardless of any proofs that may be lacking or evident. As an example, if a person were hypnotised to, touch his head, each time they saw someone smile, not only can the person be seen to carry out the command, but also, he will find ways to rationalise his unwarranted, head touching. He may, for example, imagine that he touched his head because he felt a slight warmth there or had an itch, etc. He is utterly unaware of the actual cause of his behaviour or reasoning but can find unlimited ways to rationalise his predicament, which is where delusional and/or erroneous concepts can start to be concluded and this may be the dark shadow that underlies and divides our beliefs. Though, generally harmless, this state, can be used to embed any unsubstantiated belief, by a trained hand or even unknowing operator.
Hypnotism is just one of the more modern names for this knowledge, which has supposedly, been around forever as used by the occultists, witches, secret magic schools, shamans, faith healers, and so forth. There are many covert methods of bringing a person or group of people into this alpha/theta border trance state. A hypnotist may ask you too close your eyes and relax, but these are not requisites to suggestive trance. This state can be seen to be induced by various, seemingly benign practices such as, repetitive chanting, group singing of familiar songs or hymns, starring into eyes, meditative trances and many more.
Though these practices can be seen as prevalent in many, if not all, religious groups, it does not necessarily imply that they are all cults. A cult is destructive and will combine many, controlling techniques to manipulate it’s followers, in order to abuse them. However, the use of hypnosis, I believe, is key to ‘belief forming’ or ‘thought founding’, as I like to call it. Here the subject believes he is either originating or is in agreement with, concepts and beliefs which were introduced whilst subjected to suggestive states and hence can’t see that he is making the reality true, as a hypnotic subject generally does.
In scientology, the use of altered trance states is particularly generic. Training drills(TRs), auditing, assists, reach and withdraw, even their annual events, can all be seen to use trance inducing techniques, usually disguised as some form of spiritual enhancement.
Most hypnotist, understandably, would prefer their profession, was not associated, with any risk of undue influence and therefore tend to play down the risks to nearly nothing. They like to tell us, we can’t be hypnotised, unless we agree to it or that it can do no harm, whilst they are, already at this point, getting you to carry out small requests, reassuring you into a relaxed state and planting pre-session positive suggestions, before your therapy has even began.
With the exponential rise in new religious movements and cults accruing large followings and the increased use of these techniques in the political, commercial and even terrorist fields, I believe, an wider understanding of these principles, may be fundamental in safeguarding our and our future generations, freedoms.
There is little need amongst governments, religious groups, etc, to make these concepts widely understood. It seems more likely, activism, will be required, if we stand any chance of turning the current tide.