Are dreams hypnotic trances?

This is a simple question, with answers ranging from ‘definitely’ to ‘definitely not’.

Let’s unpack it a little, shall we?

In a trance state, your consciousness is less able to interfere with your unconscious processes. That’s why answers to complex problems can come to you, as if in a flash. Your unconscious is excellent at solving problems – especially those with many moving parts.

If you know all the variables and can do the calculations, then do the calculations.

But as soon as there’s any uncertainty or subjectivity, your unconscious is better at it.

Dreams are like the ultimate state of unconscious expression.

Your conscious mind likes labels, boundaries, continuity and logic. In a dream, none of those apply. You can talk with someone who looks like your best friend but also kinda sorta feels like your father. You can be in the kitchen, turn around and find yourself in a meadow.

In this state of mind, it’s easy to just go with the flow and accept whatever you see as the truth.

Your dreaming self is incredibly suggestible. A butler might tell you they’re a tiger and your mind will go to great lengths to accept that, changing what you see and hear until it’s true.

Lucid dreaming isn’t much different. You’re aware of what’s happening and you have more control, but you still adhere to the strangeness of dream logic.

What about subliminal messaging – listening to an audio tape while you sleep? I say, meh. They probably work for some folks, but they’re not as effective as they claim.

Sure, you’re suggestible in a dream… but you’re also so deep in the dream state that you delete most of what you hear around you. You’re suggestible within the dream – less so to things outside it.

But, yeah, in answer to the question, dreams are hypnotic questions.

You can flip the question, too:

“Are hypnotic trances dreamlike?”

The answer is, oh yes indeed, they are.

In a trance, your mind can present all sorts of ideas, images and symbols. They can flow freely and transform between them. Conventions, boundaries and labels don’t burden you.

This is a state of pure creativity.

Not every thought you have will be a good one. That’s too high a bar for any process. Your brain plays, experimenting with different concepts and combinations until it finds something that feels right.

Will it be right too?

That’s where logic comes in. You can test it, experiment with it and see if it holds up.

At least now you have an idea to test – one you would never have gotten to with logic alone.

Some folks think suggestibility is a weakness.

It’s not. If someone has no suggestibility, they’re stubborn to the point of being ill. Every time you learn, cheer up and adapt to your circumstances, it’s been because you were open-minded in your thinking.

It only makes you vulnerable when you’re always suggestible with everyone.

It surprised folks to learn hypnosis makes you less suggestible. By channelling your mental flexibility into moments where it does the most good, it frees you up to dig in your heels when you need to.

That’s one of those things about hypnosis that becomes obvious when you experience it.

You can experience it here:

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