We all have a conscious mind, and what some people call either a subconscious or an unconscious mind. Hypnosis deals with your unconscious mind which, for the sake of clarity, I’ll call the inner mind. Your conscious mind is responsible for logical, analytical, linear thinking.
Though our belief systems and behaviors reside in the inner mind, the conscious mind is responsible for guarding them. So, when someone tells you something that you think is not true, your conscious mind may reject the idea or suggestion.
Your inner mind is more symbolic and holistic in nature. Emotions are the domain of your inner mind as are perceptions, habits, beliefs and automatic bodily functions such as breathing and digestion.
Often times we learn something consciously, then the inner mind takes over that learned behavior. So behaviors that we once learned step-by-step, like tying our shoes, are now second nature or automatic, unconscious behavior. These are things we’ve learned to do so well we don’t have to think too much about them. Habits are another example of this automatic behavior.
And what about ideas that our conscious mind accepts? Once an idea is accepted by the conscious mind it can pass through to the inner mind. Once accepted by the inner mind, the mind behaves as if it is true. If the conscious mind is willing to play along, is not paying attention, is in shock or is not yet fully formed (as in the case of a child) new ideas can establish themselves in the inner mind. This is why it is so important to be positive with children.
So, in order to get new, beneficial ideas to be accepted by the inner mind, we must relax the conscious mind and communicate directly with the inner mind. If this idea is accepted by the inner mind, the whole mind is focused and tuned in to making that idea true. Since the inner mind runs the body, our perceptions and emotions, as well as habits, it can line up all those resources to make things happen. Deep in your mind, changes can take place that allow you feel different emotions, have different habits, learn things quickly and respond with a more thoroughly resourceful physiology.
In hypnosis, we temporarily relax the conscious mind and gain access to the powerful inner mind. In this beneficial, relaxed state, we can more easily get positive ideas across to the most powerful parts of our minds.
So one definition of hypnosis is this; Hypnosis is a temporary relaxing of the conscious mind allowing positive and beneficial ideas to become accepted by the inner mind. When these ideas are presented with sufficient skill and connected to an individuals motivations they become powerful permanent allies for healing, personal development or habit control.
Some prominent hypnosis scholars take the position that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. In other words, the person hypnotizing you is merely your guide, showing you how to achieve hypnosis. Another way of putting this is – you must agree to be hypnotized.