Before I get into it, I need you to follow my watch until your eyes start to get heavy. Ok.
When I was growing up, I really thought that was how it worked. I thought if a person followed the pendulum as it swung back and forth for a few seconds they'd be trapped and psychologically at the mercy of the hypnotist. I believed it to the point where I threw away a pocket watch two days after someone gifted it to me. However, the immediate trance and uncontrollable, unconscious state of hypnosis may be the experience of some. You know the ones that stand on stage with the hypnotist, he says a few words, snaps his fingers, and the volunteer all of a sudden thinks he's a chicken. Then, with the shout of a trigger word, the person is back to normal wondering why the audience is laughing hysterically at him. I've seen it happen and have had associates attest to it. This just hasn't been the case on my journey.
As skeptical as I might be about that level of mind control, the possibility of controlling the mind to accomplish unbelievable feats is undeniable. And I don't mean someone else coercing a person to do things. I'm talking about an individual using his own mental power to convince himself of the possibilities. My own story is a small example, but I'm sure you read about incredible things happening all over the world everyday. You don't walk a tightrope 50 stories above ground or finish a decathlon or survive for days under rubble without absolute mental strength. And I would wonder whenever I came across one of those stories "How did these people get it?"
The answer is in their training, upbringing, and life experiences, which all point to the same thing: the mind. Of course, this all isn't for the purposes of doing death-defying stunts or pushing the body past exhaustion. I've become a firm believer in the power of positive change and one's conscious efforts toward it. I also believe that if the mind is in alignment total prosperity is possible, including well-being, success, wealth, and happiness. The question isn't can the mind produce these things, it's how can we get our minds to do it? This is where hypnosis and meditation come into play. But how do they differ? Which one is most effective? And what are the benefits of either of the two?
According to Wikipedia, hypnosis is "a state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion".¹ Webster's dictionary defines it as "a trance-like state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject".²
Meditation is defined in Webster as "the act or process of spending time in quiet thought; an expression of a person's thoughts on something".³ Wikipedia says it's "a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself".⁴
So, basically, as you can see, the main difference between hypnosis and meditation lies in its mode of influence. Hypnosis attempts to persuade the mind through external suggestions, while meditation allows the person to clear the mind. If we look deeper, hypnosis comes from without, while meditation comes from within. Hypnosis takes the ideas that you may want and sets them atop your current being. Meditation prepares our current self for the changes we seek by attempting to push away negative energy and clearing thoughts. When deciphering between the two, the idea of inward/outward energy and the mind's attachment to suggestions weigh heavily.
These two techniques are so similar in how they are practiced that it's not really possible to say generally which one is more effective than the other. That answer comes down to how its perceived by the individual. So, if you feel more comfortable, free, motivated, or happy using hypnosis, then continue doing using hypnosis. If meditation gives you those feelings, then keep meditating. Both can help you achieve your desired goal, but it's likely that one will prove more worthy than the other for you. If you haven't done either, then you might want to consider trying one practice for a period of time. Once you've gotten a feel of it, try the other for a period of time. Do these separately. Chart or take note on how you felt with both and then choose from there. In that, you will find which is more effective.
Both meditation and hypnosis bring a wealth of benefit to the table. Hypnosis is more on the side of concentrated therapy. So, you will find all types of hypnosis sessions on the internet: from quitting cigarettes to getting over claustrophobia. Meditation attempts to bring peace, calm, and tranquility in all situations, which allows for the purging of bad habits, fears, and any other negative entity from the mind and body. If done correctly, the benefits of both can be life-changing and freeing. But again, when choosing between the two, it comes down to which resonates more with you.
In closing, becoming the best you and producing the results you want in this life ultimately comes down to what's happening on the inside of you. Your mind is the key to the doors you want opened. Whether you choose to try hypnosis or begin meditating, the fundamental idea should be to get the best out of yourself. So get that pocket watch ready or find a comfortable position on the floor. In due time, you'll be dominating that tightrope and astonishing the masses.