Tricky one Aaron:-)
The ongoing debate between 'placebo' and 'real'. Surely there's a 'better' way of describing the difference between them.
I'd agree that hypnosis rides on a person's ability to give up agency voluntarily to some 'other' (whether that be an actual person, a recording, a script or whatever) whereas 'emptiness' meditation, well, I dunno.
Another 'big thing', 'suggestibility' hangs on IMO/IME is the assumption that some other person (let's call them an 'authority' to get started) is able to resolve or do 'stuff' 'for you' that you can't do yourself. In many cases IME that's been true. Mired as I have been known to get in my own 'loop'.
Good to hear from you, I haven't seen you in awhile. I'm sorry it took so long to respond to you, but I thought you brought up some important points, so I wanted to make sure I addressed them with the degree of effort they deserved.
The first point you made that I think needs to be clarified, is the idea that hypnosis can make people do things they don't want to, you actually said, "give up voluntary control", but most people don't see the difference. In fact you hit it right on the nail, because what you learn practicing hypnosis on others and yourself is that you can't make anyone do anything they don't want to do. [edit- However it's important to remember, that if one is put in an altered state and repeatedly exposed to the same information, that the subject will be more suggestible to the idea or notion being suggested, even if they may not have been open to it before.]
My point is that, if you teach someone long enough that if they meditate on the great Panda Kabu, that eventually he will appear to them as a great ball of light and they will reach inner contentment, nine times out of ten, they will achieve just that. Others may laugh or think that they're faking the experience, but in fact, they aren't. They really have had the experience. This either means that the great Panda Kabu actually exists (which is highly unlikely since I just made him up) or that during meditation the mind can create things that have been suggested to exist, in other words, the mind fills in the blanks.
This is an important idea to address, because it may explain a great deal about metaphysical experiences that people have during trance and meditative states. The notion of sidhis and such are also important to address, because almost all of the metaphysical abilities that are being presented by gurus and masters can be duplicated by illusionists like David Blaine. In fact David Blaine practices meditation and yoga as part of his regiment of training as an illusionist. The thing we've learned about many of these abilities is that they us the power of the mind (our mind) to distract us from what is really happening, so the man's hand goes left, we follow and miss that he's pulled a rabbit out of his right hand sleeve.
My point is that much of what we may consider to be sidhis are not sidhis at all. The ability to withstand cold, the ability to hold our breath for extreme periods of time, and even the ability to recall whatever we want to using such techniques as the palace of the mind, are not supernatural or signs of enlightenment, but rather the results of practice and suggestion.
If you put someone under hypnosis and tell them they are holding a hot water bottle, but instead they're holding an ice cube, nine times out of ten they experience no actual physical discomfort or damage from holding the ice cube, the same goes for Tummo meditation. Now the difference is that meditation can take years to accomplish this feat, while hypnosis can do it almost immediately.
Anyways I'm going to stop there, I think people get my point.
Edited by Aaron, 31 August 2012 - 02:01 PM.