The most powerful tool in self-hypnosis is the posthypnotic suggestion. As you remember, a hypnotic trance takes place when the conscious mind loses its ability to make critical decisions. During that time your unconscious accepts the suggestion as a reality. A powerful suggestion continues to function after the hypnotic trance has ended, and your conscious mind accepts the suggestion as part of its decision-making process.
The deeper the hypnotic trance, the easier it is to implant the suggestion into your unconscious mind. The more you experience the suggestion as a reality, the more it will actually be a reality in your waking state.
When you create a posthypnotic suggestion for yourself, it is important to consider how it could affect others. Actions that you take because of the suggestion could be misunderstood. This subject will be addressed in a later chapter.
The stage show hypnotist seeks out subjects who have fantasy-prone personalities, to ensure that his demonstration will be successful. He wants to have his posthypnotic suggestions accepted as realities. The good subject will dance with a mop, walk an invisible dog, or taste water as vinegar. The audience will enjoy laugh after laugh at the subject's expense.
However, problems can arise when a person's reality is different from everyone else's reality. If the stage show subject were to leave the demonstration and be placed in a public setting, no one would understand what was happening, yet the reality of the posthypnotic suggestion would still be in effect. The person's actions would not be understood. What would you think if you saw someone dancing with a mop or walking an invisible dog down a street? Many people carry out posthypnotic suggestions that they have absorbed without even knowing they were doing so.
Remember that posthypnotic suggestions can be very powerful. In your unconscious mind, they are real, and they can recreate this reality when they are triggered, no matter where you are. When you give yourself a suggestion, always include cautions such as, “The suggestion is only as strong as needed, and I will always be aware of where I am.”