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Meditation/Relaxation, Mind Teachers

Meditation and Self Hypnosis – both disciplines of the mind

By Winsome Coutts

Meditation and Self Hypnosis both focus on achieving special mental states to create positive personal changes, but are they just the same thing, or completely different? Read on...

Is there a difference between meditation and hypnosis?


One of the most hotly debated topics in the meditation and hypnosis communities is whether or not there is a difference between the two. Is meditation just self hypnosis?

Part of the challenge in finding the answer to this question is meditation has not been extensively studied in scientific settings. There are so many different forms of meditation that most of them have never been inside a laboratory. Some data is available for TM and some Buddhist awareness practices – but direct comparison data with hypnosis is sketchy.

And while hypnosis has been the subject of many thousands of studies, there is still no clear answer to what exactly triggers the hypnotic states with people.

Most studies resort to merely documenting observed changes in physiology, brain patterns and responsiveness during both states.

If you observe someone in meditation sitting next to someone under self hypnosis you generally would not be able to tell them apart from their physiology. Both meditation and hypnosis share techniques of gradual relaxation, and losing sense of one's body to turn thoughts inward. In both meditation and hypnosis there is a gradual slowing of brain waves and a feeling of relaxation.

So is there really a difference?
One school of thought argues that is hypnosis is merely meditation with a therapeutic purpose. Hypnosis is used as a tool to deal with issues such as anxiety, depression, childhood issues and addictions. Placing hypnotic suggestions when a person is deeply relaxed has been proven to assist in healing these issues.

This school of thought believes that the object of meditation is a spiritual or mindfulness goal with no preconceived end determined. They believe hypnosis is focussed intention towards a particular goal – where specific outcomes are sought in order to make behavioural or mental changes for a person.

Meditation is seen as letting go of mental programs while hypnosis is seen as replacing mental programs


They argue that meditation is merely unfocussed attention and any therapeutic benefit is incidental to the process rather than the purpose of the process.

This school believes that if any "work" needs to be done it should be pursued under the guidance of hypnosis rather than meditation. They also believe that if the person is seeking spiritual growth or comfort then hypnosis is not appropriate and meditation is the better option.

Another school of thought argues that there is no difference between the two – guided meditations and self hypnosis are one and the same thing. The terms self hypnosis and meditation are used interchangeably by people within these traditions. Each are seen as equally valid means of resolving issues and difficulties.

This school argues that guided meditations and self hypnosis are designed to relax and create a state of alternate consciousness. They usually both have a goal in mind – whether it is just relaxation, weight loss or communicating with a spirit guide. They are seen in the context of self help – with the individual in control of their own healing. For these reasons they are seen as the same thing.

The bottom line – no matter whether it is or it isn't the same thing, both meditation and hypnosis create lasting physical, emotional and spiritual benefits for people who do them. Follow the path that is right for you – call it whatever you want, but enjoy the health benefits that it gives you.

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Winsome Coutts is the passion behind the new self help authority site, www.4lifeselfhelp.com. She is a lifelong student of personal development, meditation and goal setting. In the pursuit of her own dreams, she has created www.4lifeselfhelp.com as a tool to help others find success and happiness along with resources to live an abundant life.

Visit www.4lifeselfhelp.com today to take advantage of their resource library, free articles, resource tools and guidance.

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