Several years ago, I was invited to present a paper at a conference in Montreal that bore the heading – “The Future of Consciousness”. Following my presentation I scanned the program for possible papers or workshops I might be interested in attending. What caught my attention was a seminar by Russian psychologist Dr. Vladimir Raikov titled “The Other Side of the Mind”.
The room was packed, standing room only. His presentation illuminated a beacon of human potential that up to now had been ignored by western science. Dr. Raikov’s specialty was hypnosis and he worked mostly with students in their twenties who attended the Moscow Pedagogical Institute. He described how he would select, for example, a science or physics major with the artistic skills of drawing stick figures at best, but not much more. He would then trance train them, guide them into a deeply absorbed hypnotic state and to use his term, “artificially reincarnate” them into becoming a famous artist such as Repin, the famous Russian painter of the early 20th century or the 16th century Renaissance artist, Raphael.
However, this was not the common eyes closed, passive-receptive state we are familiar with in the west, but what Dr. Raikov described as a new form of eyes open, hyperalert “active trance”. In contrast to the soothing, calming, relaxing inductions I was familiar with, Dr. Raikov utilized a very authoritarian, direct almost forceful manner in which he would make statements such as… “you are Repin…you see the world like Repin…you have his vision…his abilities…you are a great artist…you have the range of talent of Repin…you will now paint like Repin…” and so forth.
Raikov would then provide his subject, Elena, in this case, a mathematics major with a sketch pad, pieces of charcoal and coloured pencils. She was encouraged to take time off from her science and math courses and practice sketching on her own.
Over a period of eight weeks she was re-hypnotized twice a week, taken into a deep hyperalert trance and the “artificial reincarnation” of Repin was reinforced on each hypnotic session. At the end of this “training” or profound alteration of beliefs, Elena was not a Repin. However, according to invited art critics who examined her work, she had the abilities of a highly seasoned art illustrator and could have taken on a new career as a professional artist had she chosen to do so.
Is there another area code of our psyche that we need to explore in order to potentiate the latent potential awaiting us and yeasting in the subterranean grotto of our minds? Does “artificial reincarnation” reach into the past or is there another symbolic aspect to the underside of our consciousness that we do not yet have the Rosetta stone or vocabulary to translate?
What I found most interesting about Raikov’s work is that he utilizes time distortion in his hypnotic protocol. Time distortion is one of the most common experiences in a person’s trance. On many occasions, at the end of ten minutes of clock time in hypnosis, a client will report that it feels as if they have been in a trance for twenty to thirty minutes, and on some occasions insist that I must be mistaken.
Teaching time distortion while in a hypnotic state can produce a number of desired outcomes. Psychiatrist Milton Erickson co-authored a book, Time Distortion in Hypnosis where subjects were taught to hypnotically expand time and mentally calculate an arithmetical problem in one minute that would have taken ten to fifteen minutes in ordinary consciousness. Pain patients were taught to contract or compress time so they could reduce their perception of suffering. In treating obesity, time was accelerated where time between meals was made to go very rapidly. Severe trauma could be distorted so that the traumatic event would be experienced in a much shorter period of time.
Another example of Raikov’s work included working with a student who requested assistance in improving his chess game. The student was introduced to the Russian Grand Master Mikhail Tal, who agreed to cooperate in this experiment.
The student was awesome, nervous and understandably fidgety sitting opposite one of the greatest masters in the world. He lost the first game badly and was soundly thrashed in the second game. The student was allowed the first move in the third game and lost badly again.
Then Raikov took the student into an adjacent room and for the next hour or so he was taken into the deepest trance possible. Over and over again, he was “artificially reincarnated” as the late American chess champion, Paul Morphy, accompanied by the usual very authoritarian, direct suggestions and admonitions.
While in hyperalert, highly focused eyes open trance, the young man walked quickly across the room, sat confidently and played with the authority of a champion. The grand master won two close games but the student managed to stalemate the third game! Unheard of! A student stalemating an International Grand Champion! Mikhail Tal later commented that it was a complete transformation. The young student… “played brilliantly…was daring…imaginative…and brimming with confidence”.
Other aspects of Raikov’s research include improving memory, accelerating the learning of a foreign language and “artificial reincarnation” into the future or precognition of new inventions yet to be discovered.
Psychiatrist Milton Erickson’s favourite definition of hypnosis was “the induction of conviction”. Could it be than in a profoundly deep, yet hyperalert hypnotic state that our inner critic, our inner skeptic or our intellectual straight jackets are temporarily psychologically anaesthetized, or set aside, thus, we can be utterly convinced, have no doubt whatsoever so that our creativity, imagination, playfulness and our true heritage can be released from the bondage of our cultural belief trances so that we can soar into the further reaches of our lunar consciousness? Incidentally, later in his life, Dr. Erickson provided another definition of hypnosis… “discovering what you already know, but don’t know that you know it”.
Based on Raikov’s work, I am beginning to wonder if many of us who are using classical eyes closed hypnosis to extend human capacities are perhaps looking through the wrong end of the telescope. And who would you deep trance identify with if you had the opportunity?
Incidentally, based of Raikov’s work I have developed a Deep Trance Identification CD that is available on my website drpulos.com.