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Meditation and Suggestibility- Placebo or Real Occurrences?


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#1 Aaron

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:03 AM

So, I've been thinking a lot about this over the last few days, in particular the similarities between hypnosis and meditation, and low and behold, I'm not the first to wonder about the topic. I knew there were some studies done regarding brain wave patterns and altered states of consciousness, but I didn't know that there had already been debate regarding the level of suggestibility present during the practice of certain types of meditation.

My theory is this by the way, that certain types of meditation, especially those that rely heavily on visualization, depend on suggestibility to work. The more trance like the state of meditation is, the more suggestible the person becomes, but even without a strong trance state it's possible to create effects within others simply by inducing the belief that something will occur prior to meditation. The more concrete and clear that occurrence is, the more likely someone will experience it.

In this regard hypnosis and meditation are quite similar. In fact I ponder how different self-hypnosis and meditation really are? There are many effects that can occur during hypnosis that seem to defy logic, or appear paranormal, just as there are many abilities in meditation that can defy logic as well. Perhaps the two are more similar than we've thought? Perhaps what we've believed were sidhis and qi practices, were actually the brain performing it's normal duties? I really believe that this is an area of research that deserves more attention. It took nearly sixty years before we understood the potential for hypnosis, hopefully it doesn't take that long for meditation.

Aaron

Edited by Aaron, 30 August 2012 - 07:03 AM.

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#2 Bum Grasshopper

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:03 AM

Some forms of meditation can also be called self- hypnosis for sure. Take a look at guided meditation scripts and hypnosis scripts. Some are almost idenical.

But I do belive that other forms of meditation, such as emptness meditation, does not entirely fit into the definition of hypnosis. Hypnosis usually has a specific purpose, such as changinga habit.

It took nearly sixty years before we understood the potential for hypnosis, hopefully it doesn't take that long for meditation.


I can tell everyone that I am seeing a hypnotherapast, and nobody will bat an eylash. If I thell them I am going to a Swami to learn meditation, everyone thinks I'm weird. It's all a matter of perception.

#3 skydog

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:30 AM

what do you mean by "real"?

Edited by sinansencer, 30 August 2012 - 10:32 AM.


#4 Aaron

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 12:03 PM

what do you mean by "real"?


What do you want it to mean?

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#5 Birch

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 12:14 PM

What do you want it to mean?

Aaron


Tricky one Aaron:-)
The ongoing debate between 'placebo' and 'real'. Surely there's a 'better' way of describing the difference between them.

I'd agree that hypnosis rides on a person's ability to give up agency voluntarily to some 'other' (whether that be an actual person, a recording, a script or whatever) whereas 'emptiness' meditation, well, I dunno.

Another 'big thing', 'suggestibility' hangs on IMO/IME is the assumption that some other person (let's call them an 'authority' to get started) is able to resolve or do 'stuff' 'for you' that you can't do yourself. In many cases IME that's been true. Mired as I have been known to get in my own 'loop'.

Ethics.
"Chi is free!"- "Don't give your chi to your practice" Both unknown, if you know where these come from, let me know!

#6 skydog

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 12:49 PM

What do you want it to mean?

Aaron


how do you do, sir

#7 Aaron

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 02:06 PM

how do you do, sir


Very well, thank you. And you? How's school treating you?
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#8 skydog

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 04:56 PM

good to hear, I am good, going to finland for stillness movement thing tommorow and messaging people on couchsurfing haha

#9 Aetherous

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:27 PM

About the OP...depends on what meditation you're doing. Some produce trance states, while others produce awakened states.

Perhaps what we've believed were sidhis and qi practices, were actually the brain performing it's normal duties?


Maybe in some cases...but the truth is that siddhis and qigong happen in objective reality. How do you know this? Well for one thing, you're done meditating. Out of the trance. And there is sometimes lasting proof of what happened...like in news reports that you can go back to and look at, if you're "lucky". In qi healing, for instance...maybe forum member Ya Mu imagines that he benefits a majority of his clients, or maybe it has actually happened. If over 90% of people somehow were really benefited by something that's totally fake, I think calling it just placebo or suggestion is a joke.

Speaking of the brain...there is something worth thinking about. Most of us assume that the mind is contained within the brain or that they are the same thing, but if you look at it truthfully from your perspective, the mind contains EVERYTHING. Everything you have ever been witness to is either a product of the mind, or is filtered by the mind. We literally don't know anything for sure. A person may hallucinate something as being completely real, but no one else sees it...how much more of our reality that we take for granted each day is like this? Do you think every person you see in a day is absolutely real...or perhaps you're not fully seeing what they are. What about animals...are you absolutely certain that they all exist simply as animals, or might they be spirits appearing in the physical at times? No one truly knows. Or, who is experienced enough to say that objective reality cannot be changed by someone's pure will, as simple as 'desire it and it becomes so'? I am experienced enough to know that I lack experience in that area...but I imagine that someone with much less experience would consider themselves an expert in how the laws of nature, as the common man has defined them so far, are absolutely irrefutable. They have seen no proof otherwise, so proof must not exist!

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."
- Socrates

A lack of belief reveals more clarity, than even a belief in something true.

"From what i can see, this place is like a sanctuary for many." - C T


#10 Aaron

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 05:47 PM

good to hear, I am good, going to finland for stillness movement thing tommorow and messaging people on couchsurfing haha


well I hope you have a good time. Make sure and keep in touch with your parents while you're gone, I'm sure they'll be worried about you. if you have an Android phone remember you can still get online and keep in touch with us as well. good luck.

Edited by Aaron, 30 August 2012 - 05:49 PM.

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#11 skydog

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:08 PM

well I hope you have a good time. Make sure and keep in touch with your parents while you're gone, I'm sure they'll be worried about you. if you have an Android phone remember you can still get online and keep in touch with us as well. good luck.


haha cheers :)

#12 skydog

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:14 PM

also i made the comment what is real because I asked this question to a fairly enlightened person.

"some people say reality is just a dream but how do we know its not real and other people are actually experiencing something real"

he replied

"what do you mean by real?"

This kind of puzzled me but actually made me realise reality can be considered everything including what you think

#13 de_paradise

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:39 PM

With enough time spent in deep trance, deep meditation, researching hypnosis and the various definitions, you can come up with a fairly accurate understanding, even with all the overlap in procedure and concepts. It requires a bit of persistence and detective-like spirit. Aaron, its a worthwhile inquiry and answering can last for years as you plumb your mind and take note, and also come into contact with people who have siddhi or gain siddhi for yourself.

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#14 Jetsun

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 12:13 AM

Things like mantra meditation are certainly forms of hypnosis, but they are positive beneficial ones which help to clear out other hypnotic scripts which may be running. There are deeper questions which can be asked though such as what really is hypnosis and is the sense of self or the sense of "I" just a hypnotic suggestion?

#15 Aaron

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:31 AM

Tricky one Aaron:-)
The ongoing debate between 'placebo' and 'real'. Surely there's a 'better' way of describing the difference between them.

I'd agree that hypnosis rides on a person's ability to give up agency voluntarily to some 'other' (whether that be an actual person, a recording, a script or whatever) whereas 'emptiness' meditation, well, I dunno.

Another 'big thing', 'suggestibility' hangs on IMO/IME is the assumption that some other person (let's call them an 'authority' to get started) is able to resolve or do 'stuff' 'for you' that you can't do yourself. In many cases IME that's been true. Mired as I have been known to get in my own 'loop'.

Ethics.


Hi Kate,

Good to hear from you, I haven't seen you in awhile. I'm sorry it took so long to respond to you, but I thought you brought up some important points, so I wanted to make sure I addressed them with the degree of effort they deserved.

The first point you made that I think needs to be clarified, is the idea that hypnosis can make people do things they don't want to, you actually said, "give up voluntary control", but most people don't see the difference. In fact you hit it right on the nail, because what you learn practicing hypnosis on others and yourself is that you can't make anyone do anything they don't want to do. [edit- However it's important to remember, that if one is put in an altered state and repeatedly exposed to the same information, that the subject will be more suggestible to the idea or notion being suggested, even if they may not have been open to it before.]

My point is that, if you teach someone long enough that if they meditate on the great Panda Kabu, that eventually he will appear to them as a great ball of light and they will reach inner contentment, nine times out of ten, they will achieve just that. Others may laugh or think that they're faking the experience, but in fact, they aren't. They really have had the experience. This either means that the great Panda Kabu actually exists (which is highly unlikely since I just made him up) or that during meditation the mind can create things that have been suggested to exist, in other words, the mind fills in the blanks.

This is an important idea to address, because it may explain a great deal about metaphysical experiences that people have during trance and meditative states. The notion of sidhis and such are also important to address, because almost all of the metaphysical abilities that are being presented by gurus and masters can be duplicated by illusionists like David Blaine. In fact David Blaine practices meditation and yoga as part of his regiment of training as an illusionist. The thing we've learned about many of these abilities is that they us the power of the mind (our mind) to distract us from what is really happening, so the man's hand goes left, we follow and miss that he's pulled a rabbit out of his right hand sleeve.

My point is that much of what we may consider to be sidhis are not sidhis at all. The ability to withstand cold, the ability to hold our breath for extreme periods of time, and even the ability to recall whatever we want to using such techniques as the palace of the mind, are not supernatural or signs of enlightenment, but rather the results of practice and suggestion.

If you put someone under hypnosis and tell them they are holding a hot water bottle, but instead they're holding an ice cube, nine times out of ten they experience no actual physical discomfort or damage from holding the ice cube, the same goes for Tummo meditation. Now the difference is that meditation can take years to accomplish this feat, while hypnosis can do it almost immediately.

Anyways I'm going to stop there, I think people get my point.

Aaron

Edited by Aaron, 31 August 2012 - 02:01 PM.

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#16 Aaron

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:32 AM

also i made the comment what is real because I asked this question to a fairly enlightened person.

"some people say reality is just a dream but how do we know its not real and other people are actually experiencing something real"

he replied

"what do you mean by real?"

This kind of puzzled me but actually made me realise reality can be considered everything including what you think


When I say real, I mean what you can experience through your senses, not necessarily imagine. I make this distinction, not because your thoughts aren't real, but rather because one can be experienced by everyone, the other simply by us.

Aaron
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