In Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, we strive to break through inaccurate and media-fuelled misunderstandings of what trance is. We emphasise its normalcy, its ordinariness, as something fundamentally, and very basically, human. We talk about how we experience trance every day, several times a day, when we daydream while doing something relatively monotonous that doesn’t occupy much brain space, like washing up, or driving somewhere very familiar.
And yet, daydreaming itself is something that has been scorned, ridiculed, and undervalued, almost as much as trance. The unreachable windows of Victorian school buildings are monuments to education’s efforts to drill out our natural inclination to daydream. Society teaches us from a young age that daydreaming is inconvenient, a waste of time, something we are reprimanded for doing.
So we train ourselves to measure our day by its productivity and shake off our reveries as quickly as we can. We get increasingly good at doing this, so that by the time we are adults we inevitably feel lost, out of touch with our inner self, at a loss as to who we are, because we have spent so little time stopping to listen, to process, to understand.
In The School of Life: An Emotional Education (2019), Alain de Botton eloquently captures with his words, both the unfortunate reputation, and the significant value, of daydreaming:
“THE IMPORTANCE OF STARING OUT OF THE WINDOW
We tend to reproach ourselves for staring out of the window. Most of the time we are supposed to be working, or studying , or ticking things off a to-do-list. It can seem almost the definition of wasted time, It appears to produce nothing, to serve no purpose. We equate it with boredom, distraction, futility. The act of cupping our chin in our hands near a pane of glass and letting our eyes drift in the middle distance does not enjoy high prestige. We don’t go around saying, ‘I had a great day today. The high point was staring out of the window.’ But maybe, in a better society, this is exactly what people would quietly say to one another.
The point of staring out of a window is, paradoxically, not to find out what is going on outside. It is, rather, an exercise in discovering the contents of our own minds. It is easy to imagine we know what we think, what we feel and what’s going on in our heads. But we rarely do entirely. There’s a huge amount of what makes us who we are that circulates unexplored and unused. It’s potential lies untapped. It is shy and doesn’t emerge under the pressure of direct questioning. If we do it right, staring out of the window offers a way for us to be alert to the quieter suggestions and perspectives of our deeper selves.”