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The Difference between Guided Imagery, Hypnosis and Meditation

Buddha_BabySomeone asked recently about the difference between hypnosis and guided imagery. Many counselors say they use “guided imagery” which they may or may not consider related to hypnosis or hypnotherapy. And if that weren’t confusing enough, sometimes people aren’t sure of the difference between meditation and guided imagery.

So what is hypnosis, what is guided imagery, and what is meditation?

There are many kinds of meditation — the common denominator being focused attention.

A famous definition of hypnosis is simply, “focused attention to suggestions given.”

So you could argue that many times hypnosis and meditation are the same, or they overlap.

In the end, however, these words are just labels.

So here’s my suggestion: Be interested in your experience of being — what it feels like simply to be — without relying on labels. Then, whether you’re experiencing something called “guided imagery,” something called “hypnosis” or “hypnotherapy,” or something called “meditation,” you’ll be awake to your experience.

That’s the best meditation and the best hypnotic state, in my opinion.

And if you’re interested in a no-labels dose of guided imagery, hypnosis and meditation all rolled into one, you might want to check out this hypnosis audio mp3: Become Fearlessness & Compassionate

I explained the relationship between hypnosis, language and “emptiness” or “no-thingness” (as understood in Buddhism) in this talk given at Nalanda West in Seattle, Washington:

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