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Hypnosis: Access to the Skylight
My first journeys to inner space were provided by psychologists experimenting with child hypnosis, I was nine years old. This was a special program to find out how hypnotize children are, and then to see if this changes as they grow up. The setting was the Ernest Hilgard Laboratory at Stanford University, and the psychologists had been sent to local Palo Alto elementary schools in order to sign up volunteers ( I believe Ram Dass - Richard Alpert was also at Stanford during this same time: 1960). Dr Ernest Hilgard published a book from this research, "Hypnosis".
Only two children in the fourth grade class at Ventura elementary school volunteered, myself and one of my friends. I was fascinated with the description of trance states which the psychologists used in hypnosis; I recall that I had recently seen stage hypnosis on television and it looked like fun. My parents were asked permission, and they consented. I think they hoped the sessions would help me, for I was an unusual kid with �adjustment� problems, for which I had been seeing a psychologist by the name of Dr. Light (on Alma ["soul"] St., in Palo Alto).
The psychologist were pleased to find that I was a good subject for hypnosis. I went deeply into trance and the various tests gave them good results. I found the sessions to be extraordinarily peaceful, and fascinating - because it was if during the hypnosis sessions I would slip into hidden and secret passageways through to another dimension. These sessions were conducted during summer vacations over the course of about five years, from when I was ages 9 to 14. Each session lasted about an hour or so, and was scheduled several times during the week for 2 or 3 weeks.
I had experienced something similar to hypnotic trance, hyperventilating. It was not uncommon for children in my neighborhood to take ten or more deep breaths while another child would squeeze the chest. This sent consciousness out of the body on a seemingly timeless trip, which actually only lasted a few minutes. Hypnosis was similar in that it sent me to another world, or another dimension and then back again. Falling asleep and dreaming, and then awakening is the next closest experience that everyone is familiar with. During hypnosis the transition is made consciously, the passage way between the outer world and inner is revealed, it is perceived with no loss of awareness or memory - as is frequently the case with sleep and dreams.
At age 14, after five years of hypnosis sessions (usually during summer vacations) I found myself becoming profoundly fascinated with inner states of consciousness. A neighbor showed me a copy of �Self Hypnosis� by Leslie Lecron ( I met Dr. Lecron at his home in Carmel some years later). I went to the bookshop and purchased it, I think it was the first book I bought. Soon there after I was engaged in self hypnosis, exploring the various potentials, hidden within, via this amazing technique. The same neighbor invited me to hear a lecture by Benjamin Woodman, a hypnotist, who was presenting at the local YMCA. He hypnotized the whole audience and afterwards invited those who were really interested to another smaller group of hypnosis exploration in the Los Altos Hills, with great enthusiasm I went.
The esoteric Ben Woodman group was exploring past life times, or age regression - as it is called. His wife, an excellent hypnosis subject, made the journey back in time, to before birth, to the in-between life time state. From this place, or dimension she would answer questions. Each participant in the session had one or more questions to ask, usually about spiritual and philosophical themes, and sometimes about issues concerning mundane secular life. From the in-between life time state, accessed via hypnosis, she became another being, or found another deeper part of herself through which wisdom flowed to our small group - yet she recalled nothing upon awakening. The book this group recommended is called, �Many Wonderful Things�, by Irene Spect and Robert Huffman ( some years later, I met Robert Huffman, in Colorado). The book is a true story about the authors journeys to the in-between life time state. After reading this book, I built a hypnosis isolation chamber within a closet at our new home in Santa Cruz, California. For a long time I told no one about it, or anything about my new relaxing pastime of journeys to pre-birth states of consciousness: I did not know anyone who would understand or believe me.
A friend of mine, who was also a falconer, volunteered to share a secret with me. After school we would go out to the nearby fields and fly our hawks and falcons. He told me that he had been flying, like our falcons, in inner spaces, and this was made possible with a substance called LSD. I had never heard of it, or about anything like it. As he began to describe in vivid terms his visionary experiences I was astounded, for he was describing some of the qualities of my hypnosis experiences, especially those connected with the in-between life time states. I shared some of my hypnosis experiences with him, and he was equally amazed that a non drug technique could reveal a similar kind of experience, and we both realized these were very difficult to describe with words.
At his home he showed me a book called, �LSD� by Richard Alpert, PhD and Sidney Cohen, PhD, MD, that attempted descriptions of these unusual states of consciousness, so similar to my own hypnosis trance state experiences. After reading this book and others such as Aldous Huxley�s �The Doors of Perception� and �Heaven and Hell�, (see books by Huxley) I decided to try LSD. I later wrote to the famous psychiatrist, Humphrey Osmond, MD, (who gave mescaline to Aldous Huxley) and he answered my inquiry. My question was: what was he doing now, where had psychedelics lead him? His reply was: to hypnosis, as a viable and very useful alternative (LSD had been made illegal) for accessing similar states of consciousness.
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(c) Paul C Adams 2013