Just can't get that hand sensation

Postby moonlightress » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:38 pm

I was given trigger words by a hypnotist for somnambulism (for self-hypnosis), as well as the post-hypnotic suggestion that I will know when I have reached the state because I will get a sensation of numbing/tingling or some kind of sensation in my hand.

I use the triggers and go into hypnosis. But despite the suggestion, I cannot, for the life of me, feel anything in my hand at all. I don’t know where I am depth-wise, but I carry on with the session, as I go deeper further along the way, anyway, and probably do get there. It’s just that the hand sensation was supposed to give me my conscious confirmation, beyond the eye catalepsy, that I am there.

I told her this, and during our second session she strengthened both the triggers words and this post-hypnotic suggestion. Trigger words work great. But the hand sensation? – nuh-uh, not for love or money. It doesn’t happen; I just cannot conjure it up.

It shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I know it's just a test, but damn, why would this post-hypnotic suggestion just not work, when other suggestions and the triggers have taken hold just fine? I have no problems visualizing and getting very vivid pictures in my mind. I don’t have problems going into trance. I’ve tried suggesting it to myself in trance and tried to imagine it, but - nothing.

Why would this be? I would really, really like the confirmation. What else could I be doing?
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#1

Postby jimmyh » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:04 pm

The simple intuitive model of hypnosis is that it's a "state" that you put people in where they accept suggestions automatically, and that outside of that state it doesn't work. The truth isn't quite so simple.

As I mentioned in the other thread, even crazy seeming things like "amnesia" for things that are counterproductive to be aware of are perfectly possible outside hypnosis. You can do it by doing a good job giving them permission to not think about it, in which case it's internally framed as "I don't have to think about this" rather than "amnesia", even if the end result is the same either way. For people who have experience with hypnotic amnesia, it's also possible to get amnesia by simply saying "you remember what it's like to forget your name, right? Okay, do that" -- because they know how to do it. Even though *everyone* can do it, they know how to make sense of the request and connect it to something they know they know how to do.

The "state" helps in that it keeps your disagreeable little "but I don't know how to do that!" voice from being as eager to come up and get in the way. You don't *have* to do that even when not in hypnosis though. For example, if I said "please pass the milk" you'd probably accept that suggestion without objecting that such a task is impossible. Or even if you *don't* yet know how to complete a task, you can set out to do it anyway, intending to succeed, and figuring it out as you go.

It comes down to two things. "Are you willing and ready to see the suggestion as a real possibility without rejecting it preemptively?" and "do you know what is being asked of you?". It sounds like the latter is the sticking point here. You're expecting it to "just work automatically" as that's how hypnotist often frame things (and for good reasons, including that it often feels that way). It seems like your mind doesn't really know what to do with it though. Doesn't know how to make sense of it yet.

Have you had that kind of numb and/or tingly sensation in your hand before? Perhaps when you slept on it wrong and it fell asleep? Or perhaps the feeling of numbness from local anesthesia? Maybe not on you hand, but in your mouth at the dentist? If not, that's probably why it's been difficult.

If you have though, do you remember what it was like? What *was* it like? Where did you feel it, exactly? Was it a stagnant sensation, or was it moving? Did it have a "shimmering" type quality to it? What was it *like*?

When you go into these memories and amplify the feelings you get to study them, does it start to come back to you? Do you start to feel it a bit? Can you imagine what it would be like if that feeling came back even more strongly now, and began to cross the fading boundary between "just a memory" and "what I'm experiencing now, in this moment", as you begin to care less about the fact that the sensations "aren't real" and are "only" internally generated?

Because that's the direction to go if you want your mind to learn how to recreate these sensations for you. Remember what they're like. Focus in on the sensation and what it feels like to experience it. Tell yourself "this!". "This is what I'm looking for when I ask myself for a numb/tingling sensation in trance or otherwise". Once you have a salient reference experience tied to the request, the words "mean" a whole lot more, and it is easier to remember what to do with them.
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#2

Postby moonlightress » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:01 pm

jimmy: that makes SO much sense, thank you.

(I'm joking: do you know, even the bot on the interactive hypnosis website in your signature, spat me out when I couldn’t feel it? If this bothered me before, it sure as hell bothers me TEN times more now….)
jimmyh wrote:It comes down to two things. "Are you willing and ready to see the suggestion as a real possibility without rejecting it preemptively?" and "do you know what is being asked of you?". It sounds like the latter is the sticking point here. You're expecting it to "just work automatically" as that's how hypnotist often frame things (and for good reasons, including that it often feels that way). It seems like your mind doesn't really know what to do with it though. Doesn't know how to make sense of it yet.

Yes, it’s the latter. (I’m good with the first, on the conscious level at least.)
Have you had that kind of numb and/or tingly sensation in your hand before? Perhaps when you slept on it wrong and it fell asleep? Or perhaps the feeling of numbness from local anesthesia? Maybe not on you hand, but in your mouth at the dentist? If not, that's probably why it's been difficult.

And the thing is, I have. Many, many times. An arm or leg goes to sleep when you sit on it too long, it tingles, the whole thing. Your jaw gets numb at the dentist (although then you can’t feel anything at all….) I had that numb sensation in both hands before I had carpal tunnel surgery to decompress the nerves. I do have the memories, but I can’t recall or retrieve the actual physical sensation.
Since I read your post, I’ve even been taking ice cubes out of the freezer and sitting with them on my hand, thinking “There. That’s the feeling.” :lol:
If you have though, do you remember what it was like? What *was* it like? Where did you feel it, exactly? Was it a stagnant sensation, or was it moving? Did it have a "shimmering" type quality to it? What was it *like*?
When you go into these memories and amplify the feelings you get to study them, does it start to come back to you? Do you start to feel it a bit? Can you imagine what it would be like if that feeling came back even more strongly now, and began to cross the fading boundary between "just a memory" and "what I'm experiencing now, in this moment", as you begin to care less about the fact that the sensations "aren't real" and are "only" internally generated?

These questions give me some way to work on it. Thank you, so much. I’ve not known if it’s something I need to try to make happen, or if it’s something I need to let go of and let happen. It sounds like I can do some trying to make it happen. At least as far as recalling and creating the sensation to let my mind know what it is I'm looking for. (Have I understood it right?)

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#3

Postby moonlightress » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:41 pm

But now, thinking about it, I have a further question:

If I am sitting, not in trance, imagining the sensation and feeling something in my hand - how is that a confirmation that I am in a certain state (as the suggestion made to me says?) - if I'm not in trance when imagining it?

There is something I am not grasping.
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#4

Postby moonlightress » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:03 am

moonlightress wrote:jimmy: that makes SO much sense, thank you.

(I'm joking: do you know .....

I can't edit the post anymore but the "I'm joking" bit pertains to the "do you know..." that follows, not to the sentence before it. I just reread it this morning and it sounded wrong. :roll:

I wasn't joking about it making lots of sense. ☺
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#5

Postby jimmyh » Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:56 am

These questions give me some way to work on it. Thank you, so much. I’ve not known if it’s something I need to try to make happen, or if it’s something I need to let go of and let happen. It sounds like I can do some trying to make it happen. At least as far as recalling and creating the sensation to let my mind know what it is I'm looking for. (Have I understood it right?)


That’s a tricky/confusing one. On one hand, you don’t want people trying to force things, and on the other you don’t want them just sitting there spacing out and not engaging.

Say the goal is for you to see the sky as green. One thing that doesn’t work is to look at a (clearly) blue sky and say “this is green dammit! Work!!”. You can’t force yourself to see things as differently than they seem to be by telling yourself you *should*. That’s just modifying your meta level belief about “what is the right color to see the sky” and leaving the object level question of “what color is the sky?” untouched. Because of this, hypnotists say things like “don’t try to make it work, just let it happen”.

Another separate thing that doesn’t work is to just sit there twiddling your thumbs while the hypnotist talks at someone who isn’t even listening. If your attention is on your thumbs, it’s not on the suggestions and so that won’t work either. It seems you’re falling into the trap where instead of focusing on [the right thing to focus on], you’re focusing on other things that aren’t helping. “It isn’t working!” “I can’t force it, so I’ll just let it happen” “Why isn’t it working!? [It’s supposed to and look at how it’s *notI!*]”.

If I’m trying to get you to see that the sky is green, I’m not going to point you at your belief that the sky is blue and invalidate it. I’m going to point at the sky *itself*, and in particular, the green aspects of it. It *is* a little green, and if you focus in on that you can see that. Once you realize that nothing else is even important, that’s all you’re going to see because your mind just doesn’t want to bother you with irrelevant stuff. As a subject who wants to see the sky as green (or feel a tingling in your arm, or whatever), what you have to do is actively engage with the process and focus on the extent to which you are experiencing the desired effect, making room for it to not be everything you’re experience, and not caring to get distracted by that. So yes, you “make” it happen in a sense, and “in a sense* “all hypnosis is self hypnosis” because regardless of what you may consider “conscious” or not, you have to engage with the hypnotists frame for it to work. At the same time, you shouldn’t “try” from the outside to force a frame that doesn’t seem to fit. Look for how well it does, for sure. If that’s what you want. Or if it seems like a bad frame, then consider just saying that and rejecting the suggestion(s) outright.

That help?

But now, thinking about it, I have a further question:

If I am sitting, not in trance, imagining the sensation and feeling something in my hand - how is that a confirmation that I am in a certain state (as the suggestion made to me says?) - if I'm not in trance when imagining it?

There is something I am not grasping.


Heh, yep. Now you’re starting to see some of the issues I have with “state” based approaches. It’s a bit of a fib. There’s no clean distinction between “in a trance” and “not in a trance”, and it’s not possible to cleanly separate phenomena as things that can only be done at different “depths”. With people who have experience with it, if I need name amnesia to make a point, I’ll just say “you remember what it’s like to forget your name, right? Okay, *do that*” — no induction needed.

This brings up another point related to the above about the difference between doing something “consciously” and “unconsciously”. If I say “please pass the milk” and you do, you’d probably see it as something you did “consciously” but that that really means is that you did it while also being aware of what you’re doing and framing it like a choice that you endorse. The action itself isn’t really any different than acting on a hypnotic suggestion, just the way you interpret it. As you begin to see how to incorporate more and more things into “conscious” choices, you need less and less “trance” for the same things.
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#6

Postby moonlightress » Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:58 pm

jimmyh wrote:It seems you’re falling into the trap where instead of focusing on [the right thing to focus on], you’re focusing on other things that aren’t helping. “It isn’t working!” “I can’t force it, so I’ll just let it happen” “Why isn’t it working!? [It’s supposed to and look at how it’s *notI!*]”.

Yes. This.

At the same time, you shouldn’t “try” from the outside to force a frame that doesn’t seem to fit. Look for how well it does, for sure. If that’s what you want. Or if it seems like a bad frame, then consider just saying that and rejecting the suggestion(s) outright.

I think this is where I’m headed. Your example of the sky being a *little* green might work better, (it isn’t even remotely so, here, today, but I do get your point!) as focusing on something that’s just a tiny bit true according to my beliefs, would enable me to go “yes, I see that” – then it’s not too far for me to:
… actively engage with the process and focus on the extent to which you are experiencing the desired effect, making room for it to not be everything you’re experience, and not caring to get distracted by that.
….. Once you realize that nothing else is even important, that’s all you’re going to see because your mind just doesn’t want to bother you with irrelevant stuff.

That help?

Very much. Thank you.

Heh, yep. Now you’re starting to see some of the issues I have with “state” based approaches. It’s a bit of a fib. There’s no clean distinction between “in a trance” and “not in a trance”, and it’s not possible to cleanly separate phenomena as things that can only be done at different “depths”.

OK, sure. I’m not trained and will take your word for it. But I know I feel tangibly, physically different in a light state than a very deep state. How do you then interpret the catatonia in Esdaile, that you see in many YouTube demonstrations?

This brings up another point related to the above about the difference between doing something “consciously” and “unconsciously”. If I say “please pass the milk” and you do, you’d probably see it as something you did “consciously” but that that really means is that you did it while also being aware of what you’re doing and framing it like a choice that you endorse. The action itself isn’t really any different than acting on a hypnotic suggestion, just the way you interpret it. As you begin to see how to incorporate more and more things into “conscious” choices, you need less and less “trance” for the same things.

I’m not sure I understand and I’d really like to.

The example I mentioned somewhere above here, where I could pinpoint the (spiritually oriented) suggestion, after you pointed out the change and asked what had changed: it wasn’t conscious at that point, but since our conversation, and with the self hypnosis repetition of it, I do think it out consciously sometimes. And then I do something to make it happen, which feels perfectly natural and unforced, because I accept the premise and it’s congruent with how I see myself. Is this what you mean when you say “pass the milk”??

I do think, though, that the fact the suggestion was first presented subconsciously (i.e. in trance) made the difference, enabled it to sneak in the back door and blend in on the couch in front of the TV. I watch very little TV, so by the time my conscious noticed, it’d been there a while and seemed like part of the furniture. There wasn’t, to my conscious, a sharp delineation between it not being there and then being there. It’s like the frog that leaps out of the boiling water, but if you raise the temperature gradually, it doesn’t notice, adapts, and ends up dying (I swear politicians know this tactic!)

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#7

Postby jimmyh » Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:38 pm

I think this is where I’m headed. Your example of the sky being a *little* green might work better, (it isn’t even remotely so, here, today, but I do get your point!) as focusing on something that’s just a tiny bit true according to my beliefs, would enable me to go “yes, I see that” – then it’s not too far for me to:


Heh. So, there’s two points to that example. The surface point is “this is how you go about helping people perceive differently”. You focus on what *is*, and point at it not what they “should see”. I don’t necessarily see the sky as “a little green” in any real sense, but since there is always noise in our perceptions, you can find a little bit of green experience in there anyway if you look hard enough. It’s a weird one to be focusing on perhaps just the noise, since normally I wouldn’t actually be telling anyone that the sky is green unless the sky actually is green and they don’t get it yet — but that’s how you go about getting people to see green skies regardless.

The second part is that it highlights well the option of “no it’s not, you dork”. That’s generally what I feel the right option is whenever hypnotic suggestions just flat out don’t fit reality. Other than for the fun of seeing that you can, I don’t see much point in hallucinations. Perceiving more accurately, sure. Changing reality, sure. Focusing differently, sure. But adding on top of that the actual belief that something is real? If that has a use, find the use without the lie.


OK, sure. I’m not trained and will take your word for it. But I know I feel tangibly, physically different in a light state than a very deep state. How do you then interpret the catatonia in Esdaile, that you see in many YouTube demonstrations?


Nah, don’t take my word for it. I’m not even “trained”, I’ve just been thinking about and playing with this stuff for a while. Call me out. I’ll explain :)

A lot of the stuff in hypnosis is simply the result of suggestion. If you look at the scientific literature on hypnotic amnesia, it basically says “It’s all suggested. If it’s not unknowingly implied by the hypnotist, it’s from their preexisting ideas of what hypnosis is”. I think that’s actually not quite true, but the point is that you have to be really really careful about stuff like that. All of the stuff I’ve seen about deep trances and the like involve the hypnotist telling the audience what the hypnotic subject is doing and why, and then acting like it’s some inherent part of this specific state without controlling for the possibility that the person is just fulfilling expectations. For example, when you hear stuff like “They are nonresponsive in this state. The only way to get them out is to threaten that they will never be able to return to this state if they do not” is pants on head retarded.

Like amnesia though, I do think that there is a bit more to the story. There are definitely non-suggested indicators of trance that pop up even when you’re not thinking about trance yourself. It happened in the example I gave in the other thread. I had that “oh sh**, this chick is hypnotized” realization based on a “look” that she had which was not at all suggested, and this actually counts as a double blind experiment because neither she nor I were thinking about it as “hypnosis” and therefore couldn’t be sneaking in “this is how you’re supposed to act when hypnotized” suggestions.
I’m not saying that spontaneous catatonia doesn’t exist or isn’t meaningful, but that the demarcation still isn’t super sharp, there isn’t any overwhelming difference between what can be done in these states and what can be done otherwise, and when you are explicitly suggesting that people show signs of trance, the distinctions mean even less other than as a convincer.


The example I mentioned somewhere above here, where I could pinpoint the (spiritually oriented) suggestion, after you pointed out the change and asked what had changed: it wasn’t conscious at that point, but since our conversation, and with the self hypnosis repetition of it, I do think it out consciously sometimes. And then I do something to make it happen, which feels perfectly natural and unforced, because I accept the premise and it’s congruent with how I see myself. Is this what you mean when you say “pass the milk”??


Yes, that does sound like an example of what I’m talking about. It also applies to “hypnotic phenomena” though.
For example, one morning my wife woke me up with blood pouring out of her hand because broken glass had fallen on it and it had cut a vein lengthwise. When I was directing her to constrict her blood vessels to stop the bleeding, it was delivered very hypnotically — focusing my own attention first, directing her what to look at, what to remember and imagine and what to do with the presupposition that it was to be taken on unconsciously and never giving her mind a chance to wander. Now though, when she says something about her hands being cold while her core is warm, I just say “so send more blood to them?” and she says “I did, and it’s better now” — you know, just like any normal donkey thing that anyone can do.

As another kind of example, one of my friends is a total control freak. She would make a terrible hypnotic subject, and wouldn’t want to try. Over the years of knowing me and watching “crazy” things I say turn out to be true and to “work” over and over, she sorta lost the whole “impossible!” thing that hypnosis is designed to bypass. So when I told her about how I seemed to have somehow stumbled on the ability to just “decide” that my injuries aren’t going to swell she did the normal skepticism thing, and then when she broke her thumb she thought “shrug, might as well try it” and then her thumb didn’t swell either. That never would have worked for her when I first met her, and it only worked because she has now learned to see the world in a way that is compatible with weird sh** like that happening.


I do think, though, that the fact the suggestion was first presented subconsciously (i.e. in trance) made the difference, enabled it to sneak in the back door and blend in on the couch in front of the TV. I watch very little TV, so by the time my conscious noticed, it’d been there a while and seemed like part of the furniture. [...]


Well sure. That’s one way in. Though as I said in the other thread, I think it’s worth noting that you’re the one that decided to let that suggestion sneak in without flipping your sh** at it.
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#8

Postby moonlightress » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:06 pm

jimmyh wrote:The second part is that it highlights well the option of “no it’s not, you dork”. That’s generally what I feel the right option is whenever hypnotic suggestions just flat out don’t fit reality. Other than for the fun of seeing that you can, I don’t see much point in hallucinations.

It's at the point now where I want to do it for the fun of seeing that I can. Because I'd get an kick out of being able to make my mind produce a hallucination. :lol: I don't need to use it for anything, I did know that. I've thought about what you've said about hypnotic phenomena vis-a-vis discrete states, and for the purposes of self-hypnosis, it's irrelevant where I am state-wise. Trigger words and a few "deeper and deeper"s are good enough, and then wherever I am, is fine. It was just that the convincer would've be fun and impressive for me. I've dropped it for now (I have another exam in a week) but when I have a bit more time, I'll get back to gazing intently at the sky looking for a pixel or two of green, metaphorically speaking. :wink: For the fun of it.

Much of what I've gleaned about hypnosis has been through Ines' eyes and from her school of thought, hence my interest in states (and believing they were all-important, actually). Ines seems to do different things in different states and at different levels, so she distinguishes between them and does tests. From what I'm reading about this school of thought, some states/levels are reached from other states, so there is a reason to know where one is. (I hope I'm not misrepresenting here; it's only my understanding, and I may have the wrong end of the stick). So it's enriching to read a different viewpoint that says they're fluid and the phenomena are fluid.

I think back now, to the hypnotist I had my first session with earlier this year, who did an excellent job of the pre-talk. He drew the iceberg model of the mind, mentioned, amongst other things, that the subconscious can be reached by speaking to it, then said, I want to show you how this works: hold this pendulum and do nothing but focus on my voice and listen to the words I am saying. Only later I read about Chevreul's pendulum and ideomotor response. When the pendulum started doing what he told it to, and I knew *I* wasn't moving it and I knew *he* wasn't moving it, ergo it must be me moving it, unawares... it blew my mind. What a convincer that was. But the point of mentioning it, was that I found it even more convincing because I wasn't in a state of "trance" while this was happening. (I know better now...! :lol:)
For example, when you hear stuff like “They are nonresponsive in this state. The only way to get them out is to threaten that they will never be able to return to this state if they do not” is pants on head retarded.

Wasn't that maybe just Elman trying to make sure he didn't get jailed, like they used to do to the vaudeville hypnotists until their subjects emerged? (When the occasional subject would spontaneously go into Esdaile and be so euphoric they wouldn't want to emerge, and the myth came about that you could get "stuck" in hypnosis.) :lol:

I’m not saying that spontaneous catatonia doesn’t exist or isn’t meaningful, but that the demarcation still isn’t super sharp, there isn’t any overwhelming difference between what can be done in these states and what can be done otherwise, and when you are explicitly suggesting that people show signs of trance, the distinctions mean even less other than as a convincer.

OK, maybe the demos on YouTube of people doing the arm/leg catalepsy on subjects in Esdaile are simply convincers for the class they're teaching, to demonstrate how something works.
For example, one morning my wife woke me up with blood pouring out of her hand because broken glass had fallen on it and it had cut a vein lengthwise. When I was directing her to constrict her blood vessels to stop the bleeding....

Had I only known this was possible, I could have used this last week, when I cut my finger and couldn't get it to stop bleeding.... :lol:
Though as I said in the other thread, I think it’s worth noting that you’re the one that decided to let that suggestion sneak in without flipping your sh** at it.

Decided on what level? You mean just allowed it? Well yes, I did allow it.
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#9

Postby moonlightress » Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:30 pm

... but on the topic of states - (it continues to fascinate me, and I want to see how deep I can go, because I'm curious, because it feels fantastic and because there's stuff you can do even deeper down, like healing; I've got physical stuff to heal) - have you ever read this?

Coma/Esdaile State: New research by Kevin Hogan
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