Along with trying out meditation, no reason not to try out self-hypnosis as well I suppose. I've actually been trying this for a while in various ways without much success (some sortof successes.. I guess I can write about what happened at some point..)
In any case, I hadn't been writing about my experiences, or doing things very systematically, so I thought I'd try doing so.
I decided to try for 10 minutes. Now, the first step in hypnosis, as far as I can gather, is relaxing. So I lied down on a foam mat, and started counting down from 10 to 1, saying to myself stuff like "with each number, relax.. letting go.. more and more with each number.." and I would say numbers, 10, 9, 8, and kindof think about my limbs and try to "let go" of them.. at some point I started thinking about sortof massaging my whole body mentally, wiggling everything around.. somehow I associate mashing everything up and kneading it with relaxing.. the association may just be with massaging, but I feel like I do that with my mind too when I'm trying to relax, I try to sortof mash my thoughts around every which way. But I wasn't doing that yet in this attempt, I was focussing on mentally mashing up my body, trying to relax my limbs.
And then I got to thinking about my timer, which was counting down 10 minutes, and I got to worrying about the annoying sound it was going to make after that time. Somehow this was not a big concern while meditating.. I haven't quite figured out what the difference is there.
Anyway, after 4 minutes I finally quit because I was worrying too much about the timer to get more relaxed.
So I tried again using a script that has the Mac's built in voice synthesis speak to me. It waits 10 minutes, and then tells me "good, you have done well, the 10 minutes are up". Unfortunately it's still a bit disturbing to hear "good.." all of a sudden, but I didn't know that until the 10 minutes were up, but it may be an issue for next time.
This time, I think I did ok relaxing my muscles, though I was sitting down this time in front of my computer (I'm not sure whether it's better to relax sitting or lying down). As my muscles got more relaxed, there are some things that happen which I haven't figured out the right thing to do about. First, my eyes seem to have two relaxed states: one is sortof tightly closed, and one is loosely closed, and I feel like they alternate. I feel like the loosely closed state is more relaxed from the point of view of my muscles, but somehow the tightly closed state is more relaxed for my mind.. as if my mind can concentrate better on relaxing in the tightly closed state. At any rate, I decided to not worry about this, and then I started thinking about relaxing myself mentally.
Now, I'm pretty tightly wound mentally, I think. I think a lot, and even while I'm trying to relax I'm watching myself relax and thinking about that (and of course knowing I'm going to write a blog post doesn't help with that, and I tried to forget about that.. we'll see how that goes in the future).
Anyway, I feel like I hit a sortof wall. My mental image was of a hollow rock, like a geode, and I couldn't penetrate it. I tried sortof prying it apart, and I tried "relaxing" through it somehow. Eventually the image changed to a capped steel cylinder, which I also couldn't break through at first, though eventually it opened and I was sucked into it. However, I didn't feel very much more relaxed when this happened, so I'm not sure the "victory sequence" of breaking into the thing was generated from the same part of my brain that was manifesting the impenetrable object to begin with -- though the impenetrable object could have just been me thinking that my subconscious mind has some barrier that is hard to break into.. hard to know.
In any case, then the "alarm" went off and I heard "good", which like I said was a bit alarming, so maybe I need to turn the volume down more on it, or perhaps have my computer start playing relaxing music.