Mental training

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AuthorTopic: Mental training
Skip to My Lou
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So, I was reading about hypnosis and the interesting things one can do in a hypnotic state, and saw that apparently some people are more hypnotizable than others and wondered if less hypnotizable people could enter as much of a hypnotic state as they can and then be instructed to become more susceptible to hypnosis.

However, looking into hypnosis would require either experimenting with self-hypnosis entirely on my own, which doesn't seem like the best idea to me, or locating a trained hypnotist interested in some experimenting, but they would likely charge me for their services.

So, I wondered if self-reinforcing instruction could be used in other mental training techniques, like whatever you call those ones where you write something down over and over or say something out loud over and over.

Given the things I can already do with my mind, I'm pretty sure that if I instruct myself to follow my own instructions I will be able to get the point where I can follow my own instruction as effectively as though in a hypnotic state.

I thought, perhaps, something along the lines of "I will follow instructions I give myself when I write them in green while simultaneously speaking them aloud." Which is a relatively simple instruction, self-reinforcing, and extremely unlikely to occur accidentally, especially if I am watching out to make sure it doesn't.

However, I decided I would like a second opinion. Can any of you think of an instruction, or a different way of phrasing it, that might be better or more effective?

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"I will obey any instructions that I issue myself if I intend for the instructions that I give myself to be followed."

Watch how badly that doesn't work.

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Guardian
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I strongly advice against doing this without further and more intensive study of the matter. Not because I fear that it wouldn't work, rather because I fear that it might. Self Hypnosis is a technique with rules that have to be followed. You wouldn't want to plant suggestions into your subconscious without knowing how to get rid of them later on, and without knowing how they might change you.

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Polaris
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Shaper
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What if you wrote:
SET I = 0;
WHILE(I == 0){
SLEEP FOR 10 MINUTES;
}
You'd be stuck in a coma...

EDIT: Or at least have you brain messed up due to a syntax error...

[ Saturday, December 01, 2007 13:59: Message edited by: Lt. Sullust ]

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Lt. Sullust
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Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Skip to My Lou
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quote:
Originally written by ef:

I strongly advice against doing this without further and more intensive study of the matter. Not because I fear that it wouldn't work, rather because I fear that it might. Self Hypnosis is a technique with rules that have to be followed. You wouldn't want to plant suggestions into your subconscious without knowing how to get rid of them later on, and without knowing how they might change you.
All very true. To elaborate on "I decided I would like a second opinion" I was tempted to just continue on my own, but my better judgment convinced that this is too dangerous to do alone. This is only one of places I am asking for input and I plan to speak with at least one mental health professional.

The thing is, the idea of deliberately planting ideas into my subconscious and having it work in the background to make them so occurred to me several years ago. The problem is that it worked. Now I can alter all manner of aspects of the operation of my mind and consciousness all but at will, and the need for adding structure and clearly defined boundaries to the whole process is getting rather pronounced. This technique is meant both to fill that need and take the process to the next level.

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Law Bringer
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Er... aside from the point that the subconscious does not come with a compiler, are you sure that it is even possible to "deactivate" your conscious mind sufficiently for suggestions to become dangerously powerful to your subconscious, yet stay conscious enough to issue suggestions? This sounds somewhat contradictory to me.

I know auto-suggestion is believed to be effective too (although in this field you really have to be careful because the snake-oil "personality trainers" outweigh the scientists), but that involves full consciousness...

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quote:
The problem is that it worked.
Ok, that changes the situation. Hypnosis and Self Hypnosis or Autosuggestion are accredited therapeutical tools and have been so since the 1950s. Cancer rehabilitation centers often use them, in my country and in the US as well.

You may have heard that people try these therapies to stop smoking or lose weight. If they don't have a good therapist who knows what he's doing and when, this can backfire. Why? Because if you have emotional issues that lead to uncontrolled eating, ordering your subconscious to stop will work, but does not heal the emotional problem. Your body will now have to find a new and different outlet to express your issues, and will come up with something that's far more destructive than the forbidden path.

So you can force results, but you cannot dissolve blockages in this fashion. You just push them deeper in.

On the other hand, self hypnosis is a beautiful tool to place suggestions of general peace, wellbeing, relaxation and healing.

For you the only healthy path is to learn the thing properly. There are courses online and offline. Offline's better, so you can be supervised and can ask questions. There is nothing to fear, just more than the conscious ego to consider.

Thinking of boundaries, I'll give you one. It won't work for everybody, but I think it will work for you. Next time you you plant a thought, add that it will only work if it is in alignment with your highest good, with your soul's highest purpose. That should get you out of a few traps.

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Polaris
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Skip to My Lou
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Quick response to ef while I form my longer response to Aran:

I've been going with focusing on health. My subconscious and body know what's good for me better than I consciously do, and I've been instructing myself that health and stability are paramount and supersede anything other instruction. Particularly that anything that would cause damage or instability is to be utterly disregarded, as though never suggested.

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To Aran:

I'm not necessarily talking about hypnosis (though I find it fascinating and will likely involve it or at least many of the principles it includes), but about the power of the human mind to control itself.

As a couple of examples, we could take simple association and visualization and take them to an extreme.

There is a visualization mental exercise that anyone can do. Close your eyes and envision a table in as great a level of detail as you can. Picture the grain of the wood (or whatever your table is made of) the color, the texture. Do this with as much focus for as long as you can until it's almost as though you are looking at it (or as close as you can get to that with whatever level of practice at visualization that you have). Imagine a lemon on the table, again in as much detail as possible, imagine you are picking it up, feel it's texture, the shape of it, see the color. Imagine that in your other hand you have a knife, (what color? what kind of handle? how long? serrated or not?) Cut the lemon in half, bring half of it up to your nose and smell it, squeeze it and feel the juice run down your hand, now take a bite.

Many people can do this so clearly they could swear they actually have a lemony taste in their mouth. I'm so familiar with this exercise my mouth tastes a little sour right now, just writing about it. The human mind is easily capable of simulating sensory perception.

Imagine that you take this particular mental exercise and do it so often, with such concentration, and so intensely develop your ability to visualize things, that when you do it you taste lemon as clearly as though you had actually just bitten into one. Just listening to some one verbally run though this exercise would be enough to make you taste lemon.

Now we take this principle, slightly abstractify it, and apply it to what I've suggested. If I focus so hard, so intensely, on the principle that I will follow instructions I give myself, if I do all sorts of things for years and years to develop the mental functions used in doing that (like visualization is the function used to make you taste lemon in the example), if I spend hours of each day willing it to be so, commanding my mind to make it so, and various other methods, the idea that I will be able to instruct myself to taste lemon and the parts of my brain that say "you are tasting this particular taste" will be activated, does not seem so far-fetched to me.

Of course, I plan to use it for rather more complex, abstract, and cerebral things than inducing the hallucination of a taste, but that would merely require I give instructions that activate the parts of the brain necessary for such things, rather than the "you are tasting this" parts.

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Guardian
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quote:
Particularly that anything that would cause damage or instability is to be utterly disregarded
Are you sure that this is wise? A cold now and then is good training for your immune system. And think of all the people who say that an illness or accident has changed how they think about life and changed their life styles. How are we to know what's the 'healthiest' path in the long run?

quote:
if I spend hours of each day willing it to be so, commanding my mind to make it so
There's too much force here. Imagine an artist, highly focused, yet completely relaxed, absorbed in the presence of what he's doing.

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Polaris
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Skip to My Lou
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quote:
Originally written by ef:

Are you sure that this is wise? A cold now and then is good training for your immune system. And think of all the people who say that an illness or accident has changed how they think about life and changed their life styles. How are we to know what's the 'healthiest' path in the long run?
I meant that instructions that I give myself that would cause harm or instability are to be disregarded. I have no intention of mucking about with my body's natural processes in any way without, at least, a very great deal more knowledge of biology.

[quote]There's too much force here. Imagine an artist, highly focused, yet completely relaxed, absorbed in the presence of what he's doing.[/quote]A good point. Though those of were only a couple of examples of the many methods I use, I should probably mix in a bit more of relaxed/accepting/surrendering methods than I have been, for the sake of balance.

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Law Bringer
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You don't even have to consciously do something to have the subconscious act without the conscious control. I used to walk the same path between buildings in college that when I left the library and was thinking about a problem, my body would walk without me controlling it to reach a destination. The problem was that the destination wasn't the one I had set out on, but one that I could go to from the library.

The thing is repetition to lodge the idea in the brain so that you can do it without conscious control or knowledge that you are doing it.
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I do not know what you've read and what techniques you use, so you may already be aware of what I'm going to say. Nevertheless, I feel better telling you.

Never use negatives like 'I don't want' or 'I won't be'. The subconscious does not understand negatives and blends them out. So 'I don't want to be ill' changes to 'I want to be ill'.

Don't use words like 'damage' or 'instability' that bring up unpleasant associations. The language of the unconscious is image and emotion and it reacts to those. So whatever statement you want to make, do it in a positive and uplifting way.

Don't use past tense or future, stay with present tense, with the 'I am'. If you point to the future, your subconscious understands that this is not now and won't do anything.

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Polaris
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Raven v. Writing Desk
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Out of curiosity, what are "the things you can already do with your mind" and how did you come to explore and develop them?

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
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Oh, he's telekinetic.

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This is quite interesting. How much time would you have to devote to hypnosis each day to make it effective, and how long does it last? Does practicing the visualization thing make your mind work faster and remember facts longer?

Edit: Hey, my 234th post!

[ Saturday, December 01, 2007 19:10: Message edited by: The Ratt ]

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I'm surprised by the premise that the subconscious mind (whatever that is) will respond to conscious commands. Why should that work any better than trying to control your car by shouting 'Stop!' and 'Go!' at the engine block? It seems rather quaint to me to imagine that the subconscious understands English, for example. So what's the theory here?

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SoF: I'm having similar trouble accepting certain claims made by the hypnosis experts, but at least some of these concepts are simple enough: For one thing, your conscious mind is supposedly the only thing that separates your "inside" world from the "outside" - it's alleged that a baby will only learn to distinguish between its own mind and the outside reality after some time (no clue how they test that).

So it's not a long stretch to infer that if you can enter a trance in which your conscious mind is completely passive, it is possible to give information to your subconscious mind so suggestively that the subconscious will identify it as its own thought. You're really not giving an order; you're "planting" a thought.

Language ability must function at a lower level that conscious and subconscious, or it wouldn't work. That is why I'm skeptical of the idea that you could, for example, hypnotize someone into forgetting how to understand or speak a language.

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Skip to My Lou
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To ef:

I'd heard about negatives, like not using "not", but not the others. Fortunately, I have a tendency to use happy, positive words anyway, and I've been focusing on the "health and stability" and similar things more than the "damage and instability" sort of things. The tense one is interesting, and throws a bit of wrench into the phrasing I have above.

Do you, or does anyone, know of any reliable sources they could refer me to to read up on these sorts of things?

To Slarty:

As for how I get into things, I've always had a tendency to spend far more time focused upon the inner working of my mind than on anything that was occurring externally. Over the course of my life, as I hear an interesting thing mentioned here or there, I start thinking about it, looking into it and exploring what I can find out about it within my own mind. As I think about these things, and ideas occur to me, I start exploring those too.

As for what I can do, one thing I've been working on is my capacity to shift my state of consciousness at will. I originally got into this to help me get to sleep and have been having some success. Mainly, what I do is similar to relaxing your muscles and slowing and deepening your breathing, only you focus on relaxing your brain, and I also shift what I'm doing with my mind down a gear or three from the more active thought, such as things associated with beta waves, to things that require less intensive mental activity. There is also a more abstract and difficult to describe releasing and relaxing and allowing yourself to enter a more relaxed state.

There is also what I described above about planting suggestions within my subconscious and having it work to develop them. Perhaps it does not work exactly like a "compiler" as Aran put it, and may lean more towards a focus upon developing mental capacities that I often keep semi-consciously in the back of my mind devoting the parts of mind that my conscious focus is not at that moment utilizing to work towards the directive.

As an example, I read about Lucid Dreaming and wished to increase my frequency of such and of clearer, better remembered regular dreaming. I applied the above principle to this and within a few months I moved to where I am now, dreaming vivid dreams every night, for the majority of the night, with so high a level of coherency and involvement that I often begin using too many of the higher functions of my brain and shift up out of sleep.

One of my favorites is my capacity to tap the capacities of the less conscious parts of my mind. For example, I decided that instead of the "look and peck" method, I was going to learn actual keyboarding and began a typing program. When learning things like typing you begin by consciously thinking of where your fingers are and recalling from memory which finger to place upon which key and then pressing it. As you practice, you begin to do this unconsciously, your fingers finding and pressing the keys while all you are consciously paying attention to what you are writing. Those of you who use keyboarding can check this right now and see the difference between when you are just thinking of the words and typing and when you think about the typing itself.

The trick is to do this deliberately. To consciously surrender control of an action to the parts of mind that can do it far faster and better than you could ever consciously stop and recall from memory where each key you need to press is. The surrendering of conscious control to the less conscious yet remaining aware enough of it's functioning to direct what it is doing yet not so much as to become fully consciously aware of what it is doing and thus take conscious control, is a state I find very complex and difficult to achieve. Dramatically increasing my capacity to do this is one of the main things I plan to develop with the method this thread is about.

Another thing is the extent to which I have developed my capacity for visualization (though I'm not sure we can call it that given that I include my other senses). I am able to focus upon a visualization with high enough a level of detail and clarity that I can see things almost as though actually watching them, taste tastes, and feel sensations. I plan to next work on the audio and then the olfactory.

to SoT: I wouldn't use just sentence form instructions. While my hand is writing and my lips are speaking I would mentally be focusing upon the abstractions of the meanings of what I'm saying/writing.

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Lifecrafter
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quote:
Originally written by Thoughts in Chaos:

Oh, he's telekinetic.
Theres nothing stupid about the principle. It's just a rather large thing to comprehend. Look at it this way, try lifted a cement block. Heavy eh? Now try lifting said block with your mind alone. Your taking the strain off your limbs, but run the risk of ending up with your brains in your boots.
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Raven v. Writing Desk
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Interesting, Alex.

My first reaction is that most of this has nothing to do with the unconscious.

Touch typing I think is just muscle memory, much as playing a musical instrument is. And I, at least, can also touch type at the same speed while focusing on it consciously; and it seems to me more like a set of things that I have so practiced and rehearsed that they are always easily grabbed from the storeroom of my memory -- just as words are. (That may be related to the fact that I refused to train to touch type, and just pecked over and over until I knew Qwerty biblically.)

The getting to sleep bit just sounds like relexation -- and perhaps that "just" is unjustified, but relaxation does seem to describe everything you mention doing.

I'm also not clear what visualization has to do with the unconscious -- isn't it just memory (or creative generation) plus a conscious process?

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
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My understanding is that hypnosis is an entirely conscious behavior, and the claims of its advocates are unsupported and largely constructed on the assumption that the brain operates on some level besides neurochemical synapses.

It is very tempting to reify thoughts, feelings, and personalities - to pretend they operate on a level besides the one which our natural science has pinned them to - but it is still inappropriate. We are a beautiful architecture of chemicals, nothing more, and anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is a fool or a liar.

While I cannot recommend Skepdic without serious reservations - like many similar sites and organizations, it is skeptical about things relating to the natural and most human sciences but completely loses its jaundiced, scientific eye when it comes to politics - it has a good writeup of the subject here.
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? Man, ? Amazing
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quote:
Originally written by Najosz Thjsza Kjras:

We are a beautiful architecture of chemicals, nothing more, and anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is a fool or a liar.
Yet, your personal vat of chemicals chose this topic of conversation as worthy of a response, and then created that response based on memories in that vat which predispose you to pick that response out of so many possibilities, including those picked by Aran, SoT, Slarty, and Alex. How ... unique.

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Skip to My Lou
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quote:
Originally written by Elastikon:

Interesting, Alex.

My first reaction is that most of this has nothing to do with the unconscious.

And it all may, in fact, have absolutely nothing to do with the unconscious. I have a tendency to use it as a catch-all term for all mental activity I am not directly focusing upon/aware of/deliberately controlling.

Though I am interested in the "how" of all of it, the main thing is that I am going for is increasing my capacities for focus, control, and utilizing as much of the potential of the mind as possible. I don't really care to what extent this may or may not involve the "unconscious", however we are defining it, except for the utility of the techniques that claim to have something to do with the "unconscious/subconscious".

The point of mentioning visualization was to point to it as a development of focus and control.

Typing was merely an example. Muscle memory could technically be a possibility, as many things I do with what I was talking about often tend to involve physical movement/dexterity. However, it seems unlikely, given that the ratio of time spent actually keyboarding to looking-and-pecking is about 1:5,000. I haven't read much on muscle memory, but I'm guessing it doesn't develop after minuscule amounts of time, especially when conflicting methods are being used rather more often. There is also the fact that there is, for me at least, an extremely clear difference between when I am focusing on the typing and when I'm not.

We could look at what Randomizer said. Whatever we are going to call it when you get so involved in your thoughts that you stop really registering what's going on around you and your "autopilot" takes over. This is happens to me a lot, with all sorts of things, and to a noticeable, sometimes dramatic, extent, I am consistently better, more efficient, more whatever (depending on what it is) when I am not paying attention.

Also, I could point to the example of one time at work when I worked at the library. I was processing the books that people had put on hold and had shipped over that location, which involved typing in the number on the bar code of the book, writing the name that appeared on the computer on a slip of paper that we then put in the book with the name sticking out so it could be seen, and then shelving it alphabetically on the cart next to me. It was tedious, and I did it annoyingly often. One time my mind wandered and I came back to myself to find that I had processed 1/3 of the holds with no conscious memory of doing so.

What I would really like to do is be able to do these sorts of things deliberately, but whatever part of mind it is that is in charge of that, generally only kicks in when I am not paying attention, which brings up the problems inherent in the whole "don't think about an elephant" sort of thing. Though I have been working on deliberately not thinking about things with some success.

From the things I've read, my opinion of hypnosis is that it is a mechanically induced state of extreme concentration. The business of increased susceptibility to suggestion and whatnot being largely do the fact what you are focusing on so very intensely is doing exactly as Mr. hypnotist says. There is undeniable evidence of the extraordinary things people can while "hypnotized", and what I would like is to be able to summon that level of focus at will.

The point of the technique this thread was made about is if I can train myself to follow my own instruction, whether it has anything to do with the "unconscious" or is merely a matter of an abstract association taken to an intense extreme, then I can begin instructing myself to further develop these capacities, similar to as I've done with sleep and dreaming, but accelerated, more focused, and with greater conscious control.

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