It is a standard move in hypnosis and imagery work to use an “induction phase” to start things off. Hypnotists and image workers ease people into closing their eyes and heading down stairs or to a nature setting for a walk.
Why is this necessary? These opening images and suggestions are needed by most of us to shift inward, relax, and be open to what the imaginal world contains. Typically, it takes a bit of time to move from our everyday concerns towards a place that is quite dreamy and less goal-oriented.
But we can get masterful enough that long induction times are not needed. We can have powerful images without closing our eyes and descinding a staircase. In fact I freely get people to resist closing their eyes as I lead them through a standard induction to prove this point.
Spot Imagery Popping Up Everywhere in Your Daily Life
A big obstacle to having imagery upon command is realizing just how much imagery we engage in during the typical day. We don’t just think and feel using words. Images rapidly fire up and die away as we: imagine some worry; figure out what we want for lunch; as we describe some event to a friend; have a gut feel about someone we like or don’t like; as we look at photos, diagrams, and movies online; and give instructions to someone who has lost their way on the road.
Start now to notice just how much imagery is in your life. Catch it everywhere you can. This will show just how fast imagery can fire in your mind under conditions not resembling a long imagery induction.
Get Simple, Drop Imagery Blocking Thoughts and Feelings
Inductions were developed to get us to move away from blocking thoughts, feelings, and tensions we too often carry with us everywhere we go. For rapid imagery, get good at learning how to drop that stuff, at least for a few minutes. This usually requires a change of life philosophy. Regular life philosophy has us on alert carrying concerns about any unfinished business or worry a bit or a lot about what is coming up next. When we are not doing that, we are analyzing and planning. We need to drop that stuff to enter deeply into imagery. We need to become simple. Simple in the sense that we are going to bring our focus to the moment (goodbye worries and guilt) and do what we have to do. In the case of imagery, we have to tune inward and get dreamy. The more stuff we leave behind and be our simple selves, the quicker and deeper we can go.
Find the Feeling
Adding to this practice is the practice of regular imagery practice. If a person has consistently practiced getting into an altered state, in time, this state can be evoked. The practitioner knows they are there through a combination of a physical sense of a shift in their body towards quiet and ease and a mental shift towards imagery, dreaminess, or at a minimum, a deep quiet receptivity.
But getting there takes some time. Here’s the practice steps:
-consistently practice with moderate or long sessions so you create the opportunity to experience the full range of shifting that happens
-consistently observe in these sessions what it feels like for you to go deeper into imagery. Pay attention to your body: look for shifts in breathing, changes in muscle tone, expanding ease and even disconnection from your body; and pay attention how you loose your grip on inner chatter and the external world.
-when you are comfortable that you have done enough of the above, try shorter sessions of 5 minutes or so and see how deep you can go. Make comparisons: how does the short experience compare to the longer sessions; what is the same between sessions; what can you accomplish in the longer sessions that you can’t and can in the short sessions with no lengthy period of easing into deep imagery.
Start in the Same Place
Our overall goal is to get to where we can: shift to inward focus, move into a space which feels poetic in the sense that imagery has a feeling tone that draws us in by way of our curiosity and desire to know more, and a space that calls us to be open to abstractions, surprising combinations, mystery, and discovery of what is important for us to know at the time of our looking.
To get in that place faster, start off all of your sessions with the same place. Find an inner spot that is special to you and stick with it. Develop it over time by getting to know its details. This depth of knowledge, picking a spot that is special to you, and regular practice will start up an automatic association in your unconscious. Bring up the spot in imagery and your body, thinking, feeling, and unconscious will start to move quickly into the routine patterns of being that you have created in your past sessions.