Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Un-Hypnosing Oneself

AntiCultControversies : Message: Re: Debunking Hypnosis Myths
[...] For a long time, I thought that the cult where I was involved, used hypnosis because the way how Hassan writes about hypnotic techniques in cults makes an impression that all the cults use hypnosis.
People in cults just believe things, for whatever reason. The above is an example, even if applied to the anti-cult cult.
[...] However, I could not understand why sermons in benign Christian churches are not hypnotic and how to find the difference between hypnotic sermons and non-hypnotic sermons.
That's where the cognitive dissonance kicks in, and people starts to question their belief.

If... then... why?...
Probably, the answer was very simple - in the cult where I was, there were no hypnotic methods used in sermons.
Occam razor - the more one questions, the more those who still cling to their belief have to resort to increasingly complicated and conspiracy-like theories. Until one gets back to the very simple explanation: it just wasn't true to start with. It was just a myth...
Probably, the most "mysterious" among spiritual practices used in Bible-based groups is speaking in tongues. Even though I have a personal experience of speaking in tongues, I cannot fully explain it
in the terms of psychology. I can just say that it is a special kind of prayer to God. By the way, my experience of speaking in tongues has nothing to do with the Bible-based cult where I was involved and I do not think it was mind-controlling.
What speaking in tongue does is to disconnect one with his usual thinking pattern. It's actually a good thing, used in context. It's a bit Zen-like, except Zen uses a softer technique: questions that have no answers, to try and achieve the same thing. It short-circuit our thinking pattern and makes room for something else to enter our cluttered mind.

I would not say that speaking in tongue is my kind of thing, but I experienced something similar in Osho meditations. There's dancing, then lecturing, then for a few minutes you just speak gibberish, after that there's a gong and absolute silence. The speaking gibberish does improve the silent meditation that follows, in that it disconnects the habitual thought- pattern. That's the idea... and I would agree with Lema Nal that it isn't "mind-control" in the anti-cult sense of the term. Nor is it "hypnosis". Even that extreme isn't mind-control...

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