Sarah Shin and Ben Vickers, the publishers and editors of a collection of psychedelic poems for the 21st century called Altered States, present the second installment of a three-part series for V/A on practices for expanding one’s consciousness. It is based on the poem that Los Angeles-based artist Paige Emery contributed to the book. For V/A, Emery transformed the text into an audio work: a, in her own words, “deep, watery submersion of internal worldbuilding seeping into material praxis.” Instructions for Self-Hypnosis follows Sarah Shin’s Forest Dreaming and figures as another tool for inducing an altered state, enabling its practitioners to imagine new experiences, methods, and aesthetics.
Hypnosis is a practice of entering a trance-like state in which the mind is deeply suggestible. Departing from the analytical mind in order to reach the parasympathetic realm of healing, the hypnotized subject can access deeply ingrained patterns that lurk below the level of conscious awareness to provide an opening for meditative communication with the deepest levels of the self.
This guided hypnosis is best listened to on headphones and in a comfortable and warm environment. At the point of deepest hypnotic submersion, you will be invited to plant a seed—an affirmation or mantra you need to visualize taking root in yourself. An “anchor” is applied while under hypnosis—pressing together your finger and thumb while saying your healing words. This is a tool that helps your body remember, so when you are in your normal waking day amongst turbulent challenges, you can press together your finger and thumb to trigger the new memory you have planted in yourself, allowing it to surface in your new material world.
In this guidance, “I have a choice” is such a memory, to remind you that every day, every moment, can be an active choice. Although many things are out of our control, we have agency in our words, our actions, and our reactions. Planting the seed of choice at the unconscious level during hypnosis can help us reaching deeply ingrained narratives and behavioral patterns and work with brain plasticity to embody the choices we have in how to react, interact, and change.
Practice series curated: Ignota
Text, Audio & Image: Paige Emery
Production: MJ Harding