Heaven and Hell, Huxley and Hypnosis
I recently re-read Aldous Huxley’s Heaven and Hell after many years and had really forgot the references he had made to hypnosis. This work is often coupled with Huxley’s The Doors of Perception and usually is most remembered as Huxley’s investigation of mystic and altered states of consciousness brought about with mescaline and peyote. However, he mentions that some of the results he had achieved were only known to have been accomplished with hypnosis or by certain deep meditation practitioners. What were those results ? The visions and hallucinations brought on by the psychedelic drug ? No, the “results” were actually the access to parts of our mind that are normally not available to us. Huxley calls them the Antipodes of the Mind and explains that only when the useful areas of the mind are rendered disabled do we have access to these.
While unnecessary for everyday life, Huxley goes on to explain these regions as the seat of the spiritual experience and the source of all of man’s religions. It is an area beyond thought.
The role of the drugs in the access is one of disabling the conscious, which he mentions was also accomplished by fasting or self-punishment by religious visionaries, altering the chemistry of the brain. So how can something like this be accomplished with hypnosis and what would be exactly happening ? An interesting question for us to evaluate and explore.
Hypnosis is a state of mind where we can bypass our critical thinking, enabling us to become very suggestible to acceptable ideas. That is the true power of hypnosis in that it works on a subconscious level with us, where our habits reside. That’s all well and good, but you may ask where the spiritual awakenings and all come in and for that we must go deeper.
As hypnotists, we strive to guide our clients to a level of hypnosis know as somnambulism. This is the state of maximum suggestibility and where our desired effects are most easily accomplished. That is the most commonly known level of the hypnotic mind state. There is, however, a deeper level; the plenary trance or hypnotic coma.
This level is lesser known because of it being of limited really usefulness, mostly for anesthesia purposes. It is a level of trance with a profound comfort, but is also known for being such a state of comfort and well being that often the subject is reluctant to emerge from it. While in this state, we usually are not amenable to suggestion, perhaps because of the profound depth, but this fact renders the state of small value in clinical work. It is also questionable whether everyone can achieve this state of mind. Certainly a small percentage have easy access, but that may certainly grow with conditioning. However, I don’t believe that this state is what Huxley was speaking about.
There is a state beyond the plenary trance known by various names as Ultra Depth®Ultra Height®, etc. Relatively little is known about the state, compared to the lighter states of hypnosis and Walter Sichort of New Jersey was the source of much of the experimentation with it. I have found it nothing short of remarkable in some of the phenomena produced. It is disassociative by it’s nature and subjects I have worked with to access this state report profound experiences. Most of these accounts are certainly in the realm of spiritual experiences, however none of the individuals I have worked with were told to expect anything of that sort.
These experiences are often visual and contain symbols and characters sometimes known and sometimes unknown to the subject, often people who have passed. These characters often pass information which is many times not recalled in the conscious state. It is extremely different from past life regressions, not only in the depth of state, but the viewpoint of the subject. This state has been associated with healing also and there is work that has been done in that area and results obtained.
But is this the state that Huxley spoke about when he mentions the antipodes ? Perhaps it is. Accessing a region of the mind that is ordinarily inaccessible and biologically unnecessary for life, yet is there. He speaks of disabling the conscious ego in a physical manner, yet possibly this deep state of hypnosis is also achieving the same result in a purely mental path. Very interesting thought and concepts and perhaps two routes to the same destination.
Do we have somewhere in our minds like this, the antipodes that Aldous Huxley spoke of ?
Joseph Nunan CH,CI is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Hypnosis Instructor and has been trained in Ultra Height® Hypnosis by Gerald Kein. He owns and operates Chester County Hypnosis and The Hypnosis Academy in West Chester, PA. His work is available on MP3 Hypnosis Downloads and he is featured on The Best Hypnosis Guide on the Web. He is a convention instructor for the National Guild of Hypnotists.