Self-Suggestion and the New Huna Theory of Mesmerism and Hypnosis, by Max Freedom Long, , at sacred-texts.com
The making of the idea to be used in self-suggestion is a simple matter if the idea is to be simple and familiar. One finds no difficulty in recalling all memories of yawns which may be needed to work over and draw upon so that a fresh mental image of a yawn can be constructed. Nor does one have to put more than a small amount of vital force and "will" into the idea before it is called to the attention of the low self and begins to act as a suggestion.
But when it comes to making a general idea which may include several steps or stages to complete an action or to bring about a new condition in the body or surroundings, the low self cannot help much. It can give all the memories needed by the middle self to work with, but it does not say gleefully, "Hey! that's something I know all about! So you want me to yawn? Stand back and give me time. I'll yawn for you, and how!"
If one plans to construct a set of idea images which will be used to suggest something new to the low self, or something which will force it to change a fixed habit it has already developed, the low self may look on silently and with apprehension. In some cases it may be frightened and very doubtful, or it may be rebellious and headstrong, already deciding that it will resist.
It is the better part of valor to be cautious in
making one's approach under these conditions. The middle self will do well to walk carefully around and around the proposition, viewing it from all angles before getting down to work on it.
One of the easier approaches, and one which brings delightful results with very little effort, is to be found in setting the mood for next day. We all tend to fall into the habit of carrying certain moods around with us day after day. If something happens to change the mood to a lower or darker level of "blues" or discouragement or fear, then we live at that level for a time. Or if an event is such that it makes us excited, happy, eager or confident, we rise to that level for a time, enjoying it to the full, and then, as the old habit pattern brings pressure to bear on the low self, we sink back to the usual level.
Dr. Hart's method of raising and keeping the mood level has been discussed. In Dianetics and Scientology a similar effort was made and the mood level was charted as "tone". Tone levels were numbered from low to high and the things which caused low tone were listed in contrast with the things which caused high tone. The high tone levels were pointed out to be identifiable by comparison to one's views on life and one's daily actions. The goal and criterion were normal living. Normal living included among other things the acceptance of responsibility such as is found in marrying, earning a living and serving the general social structure of the community by having children and rearing them well. Other and less difficult things were also listed as normal, and the individual was urged to get rid of his "engrams" as fast as possible so that a rise in tone could be more rapidly accomplished.
It all boils down in the last analysis to something which must be taken up and considered before the mood level is attacked. This is the matter of getting oneself to WANT to make a change for the better. Odd as it may seem, a very considerable number of people are found who are so complexed or so influenced by obsessing spirits that they do not wish to be happier—to have the happiness that comes with the brighter moods. For these individuals and the ones who are psychotically deranged and who live in a mood of unreasonable excitement and continuous exhilaration, neglecting the duties of life, self-suggestion is not the answer. They need a psychiatrist. If the mood into which they sink becomes too low and dark, there is grave danger of a stay in a mental hospital.
There is the benefit of better health and energy to be had by using self-suggestion, and if one finds in oneself no interest in feeling active, alert and physically and mentally fit, that also is a danger sign. What we have come to call "psychosomatic illness" comes from bad mental conditions, and many who are ill fall under the classification of those who "enjoy illness". These also need mental therapy from a doctor rather than urging to try to get past their heavy complexes or obsessions and on with the use of self-suggestion.
The majority of us, however, are near enough to being normal, even if subject to mood and other changes. Self-suggestion is for us if we can overcome the habit of living each day with changes of any kind resisted by the low self, and can sit down and take stock of our lives, ourselves, our reactions to those around us and our attitude toward the work we
have to do.
There are many things which cannot be scored on a mood chart, but which can be recognized in ourselves if we ask, "What, if anything, is bothering me? What do I dislike? Why do I dislike it? What do I find too hard or too tiresome or too boring?"
When we have written down the answers which come to us concerning the things we do not like, we can ask, "What do I want? How would I like to change myself? How would I like to have people treat me? Would I like to be more loved, recognized, praised or admired?"
Out of such little examinations, especially if one tries to write down the answers, there will come all sorts of unexpected ideas. Many of these will be provided by the low self if it is invited from the first to give its feeling in the matter of likes and dislikes. Betimes one may do well just to sit quietly with pencil in hand and wait for the low self to get its ideas across. It is a new process to the low self and it may take a little time to get the knack of it, but given time, it will begin to present ideas as if they were old memories suddenly floating into the mind.
These old memories are very often the recalls of things which came earlier in one's life and which, at the time, caused one to be much moved and to come to great determinations to do or not to do, to try or not to try, something. Old lost and forgotten ambitions, plans and desires will gradually be called to your attention by the low self, and as they are brought up out of the memory they should be studied carefully and one should make a firm decision as to whether the old things once desired are still desirable or have served their purpose and should be given
up with finality. Old fears, angers, resentments and other things which were accompanied by strong emotional reactions in the past need especial study and rationalization. To reason about them and their meaning as they may apply today is to rationalize the impressions and clean them up before letting them sink back again into the memory storage.
A host of our small feelings of fretfulness, dissatisfaction, dislike and, especially, restlessness have their roots in old things such as these under discussion. If left unrationalized in terms of what they actually mean today—not what they meant in days past—they can trip us up as if they were tiny complexes. Take time to clean house mentally with this catharsis and prophylaxis, then you will have the board swept clear before you as you lay out your plans to decide what betterment in moods you will most enjoy and will begin working to get.
In the experimental work done by the Huna Research Associates, a simple assignment was given to find out approximately how long the average Associate could hold his attention on a selected mental image before tiring and having the mind let go its grip. This assignment was decided upon because of the disagreement on many points by authors of books on concentration and meditation. Some writers stated one thing, some another.
Among the oldest of the writings to be consulted were those of Patanjali, whose "Yoga Aphorisms" have been a favorite text in Yoga circles since about 140 B. C. This early psychologist, as well as one of the several Kapilas who wrote on Yoga at an even earlier date, may have had some contact with Huna. Both wrote in Sanskrit, which is not a very flexible
language and which is not well adapted to hiding double meanings in words (as was the language used by the ancient men who evolved Huna). But symbol words such as were used in Huna are still to be recognized in the Sanskrit texts. All of the aphorisms were originally called "sutras", which gives the odd meaning of "threads", and commentators have been quick to explain that this has something to do with the act of sewing or uniting things, being a reference to the basic goal of Yoga—that of uniting the lower self with the higher. This fits neatly into the Huna theory that the two lower selves are connected by a large thread or cord of shadowy body substance to the High Self. These cords may not be used for the normal interchange of vital force and thought forms when the low self is prevented from doing its part in the interchange by a feeling of guilt or by a complex of one kind or another. Another symbol found in Huna and often in the Huna parts of the Bible, as well as in the religious writings of India, is that of the "path" and of its being blocked or open. In early Yoga texts the "gunas", or "knots", are often mentioned, and one may assume with safety that the original Huna meanings of the symbolic thread and knot were well known, even if lost in a maze of speculation in the later periods.
Patanjali wasted little time on the many and complicated bodily postures and breathing exercises which came later to be regarded as so necessary for the gaining of proper mental control and concentration. He advised the beginner to make himself comfortable in a seated position, then to get on with the business of quieting the mind and stopping the trains of thought flowing through it in haphazard manner.
In passing, it is interesting to note that in Yoga circles their concentration and meditation exercises were aimed at three major benefits. First there was "Hatha" yoga, or the department in which physical good was the goal. Next there came "Raja" yoga or the work to correct and perfect the reasoning and "will" power of the middle self and to bring the low self under control. Third came the goal which overshadowed all else—that of making and keeping normal contact with the High Self—the attainment of "union".
These are also the goals of Huna, and in self-suggestion we begin with the first two steps, leaving the third to come later.
To get back to the matter of tests made by the Huna Research Associates. Tests were carried on to see how long a mental image could be held. It was quickly learned that the low self is in control of all efforts to keep a given image in the focus of attention. It tires quickly, and despite the determination of the middle self to keep the attention on the image, will allow it to slip back into the memory storage. If the middle self is not alert, the low self will substitute some other image and start a train of thought more to its liking.
Some Associates reported a holding time for images of hardly more than five seconds. Others, especially those who had taken training in concentration, reported holding times of up to three minutes. The average was about thirty seconds.
More experiments were tried, and in these the mental picture was allowed to move. Faces smiled, and heads nodded, lips moved and spoke, eyes opened and closed. With this changing of the image, the
tiring or exhaustion of vital force on the part of the low self appeared to be avoided. It was as though the two selves were able to use up the force in one idea or mental image, then lay it aside and take up another, much as one might exhaust the charges in one tiny storage battery after another. The ideas in their molds of shadowy body stuff, after being allowed to sink back into the memory storage place for an instant to absorb more vital force, could be recalled and held again for the same length of time. Moving trains of these images could be held with ease because they moved on as fast as the force in them was used up. But, although the time of concentration was extended almost indefinitely, the focus was diffused instead of pointed and sharp.
The experiments helped evolve a method of concentration in which the image concentrated upon was let go as if to rest it for an instant, then called back and held again. This gives a feeling of rhythmic and slow "pulsing" of the image. It allows an image to be held for a long period of time, and this is very useful. It allows the mental image to be built up more strongly and made to hold a larger and larger charge of "will" force. The pulsing method also prevents the intrusion of other images or the marching across the stage of mind of a parade of unrelated ideas. It may be said to mark a milestone of discovery in the preparation of ideas to be used in self-suggestion.
Other ways of making mental images were tested, such as compounding sets of little ideas which were needed to make up a larger general concept composed of a whole cluster of thought forms. Here the minds of some were found to be able to grasp and
hold more than the minds of others—hold wider and more detailed pictures or images. For instance, in building a picture of oneself going out to win more friends, there is the setting out, the meeting of new acquaintances, the doing of specific acts, and the getting of desired responses. Here the picture has, of necessity, to move, so must be run over and over like a short piece of film. It falls under our heading of "meditation" rather than concentration, but can be reduced and condensed in time and covered with a single suggestion command, such as "Make friends." (We will come back to this shortening process a little later.)
Tests by the Associates also brought out sharply the fact that mental images of the visual type may be difficult for some to construct, while impressions based on some of the other senses are comparatively easy. Some found it easier and better to imagine auditory or tactile impressions and concentrate upon them. Taste and smell, or a combination of sensory impressions, helped on the making of a mental image which was not of the visual type.
The intensity of sensation with which mental impressions can be reproduced varies greatly. Some can actually cause in themselves the sensation of seeing a color, or of hearing a sound. Usually there are certain better loved colors or sounds which the low self will recall and reproduce better than others.
What was learned, by and large, was that we all have our strong and weak points when it comes to making the idea structures to be used in self-suggestion. The beginner needs to run through some tests to determine which are his strong points and which his weak ones.
If one tries concentrating on one color after another, it will soon be apparent whether one color comes clearer than the others, or whether the low self is able to hand up only memories of different colors rather than the sensation of actually seeing them. If one finds a face is grey instead of in color when recalled and held as something to concentrate upon for practice, that shows a certain lack of visual ability. It may indicate that some of the other senses should be tried in making experimental images. The touch of the fingers on the cheek may be recalled and may bring back a vivid imaging, or the picturing of a flower may be made suddenly easy if its perfume and the feel of its petals are remembered, along with its color.
The low self, of course, is right with us every step of the way in making the images, and its cooperation is something to be courted, and, when obtained, acknowledged with praise. Things which are hated or disliked are poor to use as images, although old hurts and fears are easier to hold longer in concentration. They may upset the low self badly and make it shy away from the whole matter of self-suggestion. Happy and loved and pleasant memories are best for practice, and by using them, the low self will soon come to enjoy the work and help with valuable enthusiasm. If it learns to expect happy and pleasant results, and if pleasant things, which do not run counter to habits, such, for example, as smoking, are worked on in the mood field for a time, the low self will learn to help make mental images with pleasure and confidence.
Learning to concentrate and meditate, as we use these terms, is hardest for those who need most to
get the low self in hand. With some the low self is headstrong like a willful child, which cannot be made to pay attention for more than a moment before it scampers away to indulge in its own play devices. If the concentration time is less than twenty seconds, when using the pulsation-of-image method, one needs to take time for daily practice. The time of holding an image can be gradually lengthened and the low self brought under control. The average time of from one to two minutes for such concentration is good enough for self-suggestion purposes of a very effective kind.
The meditation form of moving image should be something that can be held for at least three minutes, but the low self may tire and run off with the show. It may present pictures of its own which have not been dictated by the middle self in its endeavor to make a set of general images covering larger actions and situations, such as the one of making friends.
To strengthen the idea structure of a thing concentrated or meditated upon, is very simple. Patanjali wrote wisely that meditation is based on the meditations which have gone before. In other words, one recalls from the memory store, with the aid of the low self, the idea structures already worked upon, then works them over still more. In this way, as in learning to memorize a poem, the structures become familiar and strong and take on more and more vital force and "will" charge. After a little practice the ideas can be recalled instantly and one can go over them without half trying because the low self is beginning to do part of the work. But to let the low self do all the work will be to stop laying the heavy and all-important charge of "will" force on the structures, and that is to be avoided by carefully attending
to the work of going over and over the ideas.
It has been the experience of a number of experimenters that very often, if the middle self is firmly determined to follow through and get the low self to help while making a drive to bring about certain better conditions, the low self will begin to react to the charged ideas even before the time comes to relax it consciously and give it the suggestion.
Things like the yawn, or sleep, or awakening at a certain time in the morning, are tasks which the low self already has been accustomed to care for. In these it is often necessary only to make a single strong idea and dwell on it as a picturing of what is desired, in order to have the low self react without the formality of giving the suggestion. All it may need is to hear the middle self say, "Tonight we will sleep deeply and soundly. We will have a really profound and enjoyable and refreshing sleep, with pleasant dreams. In the morning we will awaken exactly at six o'clock and we will be feeling ever so refreshed and ready to begin the day." Next to the yawn, this suggestion of better sleep is the easiest thing for the beginner to demonstrate.
With practice one can begin to construct a trigger or release word, which when spoken or thought, will recall the entire idea structure and hand it over to the low self with its charges, causing reactions to begin at once. The entire picture of a fine and restful night of sleep can be shortened gradually in the recall-and-strengthen process by using fewer words in describing the good sleep. It can be reduced to something like, "Sound sleep, and awakening at six". If several meanings are assigned to a single word, that word can be used as a trigger word, but usually
there is no need for such great brevity unless one may frequently be thrown into positions where the low self has to be reminded by a single word what it must do or refrain from doing. The old idea of counting to ten before letting the temper show, might serve as an example. If this were used as a suggestion and the formula reduced to a single word, "Count", it might start the desired reaction in the low self on the instant under emergency conditions.
The relationship of the middle and low selves is a very close one, and, normally it is a happy one. But if a "house is divided against itself", the pulling and hauling is very destructive. The low self is to be loved and cherished, brought along patiently and carefully. It is not to be hammered over the head with suggestion, but is to be told what glowing things you are undertaking and how fine it will be for the low self to do everything possible in its department of life to help bring about the new and happier state of things. If the middle self can work up real enthusiasm over the change which is to be made, and can match this enthusiasm with determination—which is the exercising of the "will"—the work will be half accomplished before it is begun. It will remain only for the middle self to get the low self to relax once a day and then to turn over to it the heavily charged ideas in the form of a suggestion. With the giving of the suggestion day after day, the trigger words can be decided upon, and the results will grow more and more apparent.
One thing which must not be forgotten is that when a suggestion is given to the low self, one must not be an Indian giver and demand the idea back at once so that it can be mulled over and worried as a
dog worries a bone. The idea is to be given bodily to the low self, and then the middle self is to stop thinking about it—take its hands off and keep them off—until the next period of suggestion. Let the low self have its head and work out a way to begin to make the appropriate reactions. One does not plant a seed, then dig it up daily to see if it is growing. The low self is the moist soil, and the seed will have been planted in it after making the soil as receptive as is humanly possible. After the planting there must be faith that the soil will do its part and that the seed will do its. If the middle self has full confidence and faith in the outcome, the low self will also have faith and will do wonders to make the seed grow. But if there is doubt on the part of the middle self, that doubt will be shared by the low self and it will lose heart and not try to grow the seed. Self-suggestion calls for team work. It calls for a happily carried out and united effort—for integration of purposes, desires and determinations.
If integration and full, smoothly working cooperation between the low and middle selves is brought about, little difficulty will be experienced in including the High Self in the team and so completing the normal state of integration which, in all ages, has been the goal of Huna and of closely related systems such as Christianity, Gnosticism and early Yoga. One day it will become the goal of philosophy. Then we shall have perfected a philosophical system which will match what we cannot help but observe all about us—not the preconceived notions which the philosophers may have borrowed or evolved in hit-and-miss fashion.