Daily Archives: February 7, 2008

Perpetual Trance

Our minds move…The slim strand of focused awareness we each manage is evanescent, fragile, discontinuous. It slips free, spins daydreams, generates random images, and untethers emotions. Thoughts race in wild unexpected directions, dive into oblivion, and are replaced with new streams of unrelated words, ideas, feelings. In some situations it is all we can do to attend to matters at hand – whether calculating sums, studying texts, or finding ways through complex routes. Distractions abound. Our minds seem all too ready to fly toward them – as if focused awareness is an untenable burden. And once we are distracted we are vulnerable to strong forces broadcast to prey upon our vulnerabilities – our needs, wants, desires. Surrounded by petabytes of probing media, our sensoria succumb to liminal, peripheral cues. With some discipline we may succeed in pulling our minds back to conscious control to continue forward awhile – until the whole process begins again and over again.*The most commonly acceptable definitions of hypnosis indicate that the term is an attempt to denote a state of suggestibility. Consciousness exists as a spectrum of varying states between near-death and full wakefulness. But problematically, we have seen that even a state of being awake involves discontinuity and suggestibility. There can be no clear distinction between hypnotic states and states of wakefulness – all allow for internal and external suggestibility. That is, it is not incorrect to say we are always either coming into or waking up from some sort of trance.I liken the slippery task of managing this state of consciousness we call “being awake” to the sensation of riding a bicycle. The moment of being “in balance” is transitory by nature. Being “in balance” involves momentarily losing balance and then instantly finding it again. The same sort of continual dialectic between losing and regaining balance describes the simple act of walking down the street.*This trance-like state we’re in is a highly suggestible one. It behooves us to learn to manage it as well as possible. If we do not, we may be handing over control of our very minds, perceptions, thoughts, and emotions to forces, influences, and suggestions we would prefer having nothing to do with at all…

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