I Can’t Even Milk an Imaginary Cow
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A year or two ago, I was on stage at a comedy hypnosis show.
I was a subject, not a hypnotist. I’m always curious to see how other hypnotists operate. Besides, it was fun.
They were lucky to have me – I’m a model subject. Being hypnotised is just like anything else… it gets easier with practice, and I’ve had a lot of that.
So I did all the usual stuff.
I froze in place and let them pose me.
I pretended to be a shirt in a dryer.
And the less said about how I sung Itsy Bitsy Spider as a female opera singer, the better.
But the one suggestion I didn’t respond to was to milk an imaginary cow. Everything before and after that was easier to do than not to do it. But that suggestion, my arms were heavy as if I was under a warm blanket on a cold evening.
Probably because I’d been off dairy for a while by then. It’s not that I had no interest in milking a cow – after all, I had no interest in anything else I did on stage either. But I had made the choice to stay clear of the cow juice.
So even though I was highly suggestable and I knew it was all for fun, my unconscious wouldn’t play ball.
I’m not going to say you can never be hypnotised to do something against your will. ‘Never’ is a strong word.
But your moral compass remains intact, even in a hypnotic trance.
Heck, especially in a hypnotic trance.
For the right kind of hypnosis – the sort that liberates you from your limitations while you feel simply amazing – you’re more in touch with your inner voice.
I’m sure you’re an honourable person and you’ve never acted against your own code… but you’ve seen folks do it.
How do they do it? Usually, they find some way to rationalise it to themselves.
They lie to themselves first, even if no one else is listening.
When you’re in a nice trance and in touch with your unconscious mind, there’s nowhere to hide. You can’t lie to yourself because the part of you that rationalises is out for a break.
Had I not been in a trance on that stage, I would have pretended to milk the cow. I would have gone through the motions. After all, I was the only one resisting and the hypnotist was encouraging me. Being the odd one out was embarrassing.
My rationalising self would have faked it, if only to save face.
My unconscious, though, wanted no part of it, so I didn’t move.
Can you imagine forgetting the need to do what’s expected of you – even for a moment?
I think that’s a big part of why hypnosis can be so healing. You see through your own nonsense – your cow manure, if you will.
So many of your problems are caused by you overthinking things, ignoring your instincts, fighting your virtuous self or betraying your senses. Hypnosis gets passed all that, putting you face to face with what you know is right.
write by Michelle Burns