(Art by Acro @sodalite96/https://twitter.com/sodalite96 Used with their permission. Go check them out!)
Oftentimes new subjects come to me and they don’t know the first thing about trance. None of its mechanics or methods, and so it can be very daunting for them; to step into such a wide abyss without knowing what to expect and what is expected of you. Many of them, even experienced subjects, expect that 100% of the work is and should be done by the Hypnotist. In truth both parties, the hypnotist and the subject, must be willing and able. But while it’s more readily apparent what must be done in order for a tist to be successful in their endeavors, many subjects/potential subjects can have a hard time understanding what it takes to get the most out of their trance, both from pre-recorded files, and from live sessions with a hypnotist. So, I’m here to give you what is in my opinion, the essential Crash Course to Trance, starting first with trancing to files.
Find yourself somewhere nice, darkened and quiet, where you know you won’t be disturbed. This is already a hard task for a lot of subjects, living with other people always increases the chance that one might barge in on you, eyes glazed over, drooling all over yourself. Or that someone’s reckless pounding from above might shake the abyss so thoroughly that it takes you out of trance. But here is the thing I will stress. While physical quiet is a good idea as it allows you to focus on the words and suggestions streaming into your head, What matters so much more is internal peace and quiet. A location where you can feel at ease and safe and secure in yourself. A locked bedroom surrounded by mountains of pillows. Your favorite plush armchair that threatens to swallow you almost as well as the Abyss of Trance. The peaceful morning route on the train whose path you know so well that you can be lulled into trance just by the rumbling vibrations of the tracks beneath your seat. Wherever you can be comfortable.
The ideal location for trance I’m sure does exist in some government facility or therapists office somewhere, where you can be dropped into an isolation tank and be brainwashed clean. But most of us will never encounter that. So what matters then is the ideal mindset for trance, which is one of peace, safety, trust and assurance.
This is one of the reasons so many love using files. Because its barrier to entry is so low. All you really need is something to play the file on and a place to listen. This is in contrast to working directly with a tist where you need, at the very least, A good internet connection, maybe a camera, Another person who you trust and who might be wildly inconsistent. Or working in person which probably will require a whole location and time-table to get set up. No, Files are relatively simple and they are no better or worse than live sessions for certain purposes. However, like all simple things, they can be elevated by improving its ingredients. A box cake from the store and a home-made chiffon are functionally the same, but their difference comes in the ingredients and technique.
So for trance I recommend spoiling yourself a little, at the very least buy yourself some decent quality over-ear headphones. Many file-makers (myself included) add frequencies and binaural beats underneath the main track. These serve the purpose of training your own brain’s waveforms to a certain frequency, thus more easily taking you into trance. But they can only be detected and properly registered with some good headphones. Additionally, The encapsulation of headphones provides a more immersive experience, isolating you and transporting you through the trance experience like you are in your own little world. Trust me. $600 studio headphones aren’t needed, But a good quality wired $40 headset goes a long way and is multi-purpose. A decent quality chair or mattress also will serve you well, not just in trance but in life.
Trance is a very tricky state that, like all things, requires practice and patience to master. Staying in trance is like a tightrope walk, teetering gently between the realm of conscious awareness, and the oblivion of total unconscious and sleep. It is the liminal space between the two, that subconscious space that makes trance and hypnosis possible. It is the state where your mind is most open to total suggestion and where magical things can happen. So how does one walk the line between these two modes of being? The answer is focus. Or rather Half-focus. Focusing without focusing. With descriptions like that it can sound like some kind of Zen riddle, but that is often what it feels like sometimes. Now this is not a laser focus like you would expect in a classroom setting, no one is being tested here. It’s a more gentle and subtle focus. Like focusing on the world around you. Focusing on the wind on your face, the rise and fall of your lungs; On the way your body just goes loose and slumps over. The trick is to go in and to follow along, to listen and pay attention and try to comply with the suggestions given at first. Suspend your disbelief and engage with it unironically and without pretense. If you notice yourself drifting, don’t try to force it back to focus. Simply let it explore where it wants and to carry on organically. Nothing in trance needs to be forced. Simply focused on and allowed to happen.
Many subs oscillate in trance, their minds ebbing and flowing like a Sine wave; wavering in and out of trance, one minute aware, the next minute completely blank and asleep, and then for a brief moment in bliss. But it averages out to trance at the end of it. One must also not fear dropping out of trance. Focusing too much on that eventuality makes it a self fulfilling prophecy. Just Focus-not-focus-half-focus and enjoy yourself.
So many subjects look at files and their mind begins to spin with endless questions and anxieties. Worries about “losing themselves” or “changing too much” or “doing things they don’t want to do.” It’s a valid set of concerns for a new subject, uninitiated in the true mechanics of trance and only knowing of hypnosis what is shown in the media. Evil villains and monsters brainwashing our heroes to do horribly enticing and arousing things. So ingrained is this idea that it even crossed over into the allure of hypnosis files. And while I won’t say it’s impossible for that to happen, I have 3 comments on it to ease your mind. First, with Files, one of the best things about it is that the subject gets to control practically every single aspect of the experience. When you do it, how many times you listen, and whether you listen at all to begin with. While all files should be clearly labelled with Content and trigger warnings and given an explicit summary of what they are and what they do, we know that is not the case. The amount of “Mystery files” I’ve seen on various forums irks me to no end. But it appeals to some people. However, for those who are not particularly fond of surprises you have the absolute power to review the file before you trance to it. You can give it a fully aware walk through, or just jump through segments to look for anything that doesn’t suit your taste.
Once you’ve done that however you might still be conflicted about some content. Not openly averse to it, but unsure. Dumbing down and IQ reduction are probably number one on this list. People are so terrified of somehow losing everything when they learn to stop overthinking things. For these concerns my second point suggests Introspection. Ask yourself “Why do I/Don’t I want this?” “Is it really as bad as my anxiety is making it out to be?” Because if you like something a lot, and really want it, then why should you deny yourself it out of fear? Even aside from dumbing, many desires are tinged with this air of guilt or fear. Terrified to acknowledge or grab hold of what we truly want and own up to it. In my estimation Hypnosis can be one of the best ways of dabbling with those desires because in trance there is no shame or judgement.
Finally, my 3rd point says you don’t have to worry. If you really don’t like a suggestion you can always leave it behind. Your mind has built in fail-safes to reject suggestions you haven’t agreed to. A file cannot make you do something unless you want it, at least subconsciously. The old cliche goes “All Hypnosis is Self-Hypnosis” and what that fundamentally means is that as a subject you are the one who decides what happens. You consent and go along with things and allow them to happen to you. It is your desire, your focus, your arousal and your own subconscious that allows hypnosis to work. Subjects have more power than they know.