Hypnosis Involves Covert Doing
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.
- Dr. Seuss
Ruminative Self-Focus is an insatiable consumer of the cognitive resources required to exercise your will. The meditation exercises that train you to non-reactively accept the things that happen can stop the hemorrhaging. These Being Mode exercises are the recommended first line of defense and can protect you from the predisposing causes of relapse. However, sooner or later you will encounter a precipitating cause of relapse, and then you may have to do something.
Hypnosis is a label for a wide range of methods designed explicitly to change one's psychological state. Hypnotic methods are used to bring about an intended outcome, typically a transformation from a high-risk psychological state to one that can resourcefully cope with the challenge at hand.
Covert Exercises (Doing Mode)
Once you recognize that you are in a high-risk situation,you have to cope with it. At the most fundamental level, the exercise of will is synonymous with Doing Mode. (Even non-reactive acceptance, when used in the service of helping you escape an addictive trap is part of Doing Mode).
Exercising will is tricky because what you want is continually changing. Indeed, sometimes you may want to lapse, and so at that time lapsing may seem to be the exercise of your will. For our purposes, the Exercise of Will refers to following your path of greatest advantage, as you define it when you have access to your core motivation and Cognitive Processing System.
"Asleep at the wheel" metaphor: When the driver is asleep at the wheel of an automobile in motion, the vehicle's path has nothing to do with the intentions of the driver. Likewise, when you are "asleep at the wheel," your behavior will follow the path of least resistance and hence be determined by cause-and effect principles such as the PIG, the Karma of your conditioning history, counter-regulatory motivation, etc. To prevent relapse, you must somehow awaken the entity that is aware of your core motivation and has access to your Cognitive Processing System before it is too late.
Getting out of an autonomous doing trance is not trivial. You will have to perform as intended during moments when there is a lot of competition for your attention. Exercising will during moments of crisis is analogous to the demonstration of musical or athletic virtuosity: The apparent instantaneous and effortless reactions result from considerable effort expended in preparation and practice.
Intentional Trance Formation
Whatever trance you are experiencing at a given moment is at least partially determined by what you are attending to. So any change in the focus of attention is likely to elicit trance formation. The change may occur as a result of the appearance of a highly salient stimulus, or because you intentionally directed your attention to a particular stimulus, for example getting in the mood for sex by intentionally focusing on sexually arousing thoughts and images.
Merely thinking about the incentive or, perversely, trying not to think about it, increases your urge to use it. The incentive has many associations and there are many salient trance forming thoughts and images that can elicit a high-risk state. To exercise your will, shift your attention from what is most salient to what is meaningful. This purposeful shift is certainly a Doing Mode reaction, but it occurs covertly.
Hypnosis and other covert doing strategies involve the purposeful shifting of attention from salient stimuli that elicit pathogenic states to thoughts or images that elicit resourceful states.
Thought Experiment: Will's Question
Research this Implementation Intention: "When I find myself in a high-risk state [such as thinking of the incentive, or experiencing a negative emotional state], I will focus on Will’s Question: 'What is the best use of my attention right now?'"
Your answer becomes the target for your attention. Since it will probably be less salient than other stimuli that will compete for your attention, you will have to continue to exercise the faculties involved in redirecting your attention back to the intended target, until you achieve Intentional Trance Formation.Each exposure to a high-risk situation is an opportunity to use this exercise to strengthen the faculties required to act as intended despite the influence of local stressors and temptations. Nature will be good to you and will give you many opportunities to enhance your ability to act in accord with your interests during high-risk situations.