I get asked this a lot due to the popularity of guided meditation apps. People wonder what is the difference between meditation or guided meditation and hypnosis. Is there one? Or are they the same thing?
We have a definition of hypnosis – a heightened state of focus, concentration and suggestibility that we can use to create positive changes on an unconscious level. But now we need a definition of meditation.
Meditation, is the practice of clearing your mind. This is usually done by closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing and clearing your head of all thoughts as best you can for a specific amount of time.
This is a very simplified and generalized definition of meditation, I realize, but that is because there are many different forms of meditation, some might involve chanting, some might have different specific goals depending on your specific beliefs and form of meditation.
Now it is interesting to note here that some forms of meditation can cause a hypnotic trance state. However, the level of hypnosis that someone may find themselves in during meditation is typically a light trance, and entering into a hypnotic trance is unintentional.
And that is what I think really separates meditation from hypnosis, (or at least self-hypnosis which meditation has more in common with) the intent of the practice. Meditation is about quieting your thoughts, slowing things down and emptying all concerns from the mind. Its very beneficial for people, and you’ll feel great afterwards, but you won’t find yourself quitting smoking after a session of meditation.
Hypnosis on the other hand sets out to do the opposite of emptying your mind. With hypnosis we are instead directing our unconscious and putting our mind to work in order to solve a problem or create a positive change within ourselves. We’re taking all the power of our minds and focusing it on one thing which makes it possible for us to achieve incredible, rapid, and long lasting positive changes. And you still get the benefits of a meditation session!
Don’t get me wrong, I think meditation is great and very beneficial for people. Both meditation and hypnosis help people change their life in positive ways. They both have their place, and I don’t think it has to be a one vs the other thing. Meditation is used by millions of people all over the world, and it is very common and accepted as an important wellness practice.
Hypnosis on the other hand, is still viewed by a lot of people as being something bizarre and out on the fringes, even questioning if it is real or not! Hypnosis IS real, and people all over the world have used and are using hypnosis in order to harness the power of their minds so they can have success reaching their goals of stopping smoking, losing weight, getting rid of stress, having better relationships (both personal and professional) and even to take a stroke or two off of their golf score!
Hypnosis is a powerful tool that can change your life because it is easy and the changes can happen instantly. Meditation is also a very powerful and beneficial tool for people. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing with either of these modalities. Use the tool that works for you!