You may have seen a hypnotist, a Maxcoli or someone else, but even if you haven’t seen one, you can find out for yourself by doing a small experiment. So many people are sitting here: if all of you were to close your fists and to think for five minutes that you cannot open your fists anymore, then if after five minutes I were to tell you that now you should all open your fists and, if necessary, use all your strength to do so, thirty percent of you would not be able to open your fists. The more you tried, the more you would find that it is impossible – your own fists! Thirty percent would not be able to open their fists, and this number could go even higher. The more you make efforts to open your fist, the more you will find it tightening up. And the amazing thing is that it is your own fist! You were always able to open it or close it before, so what has gone wrong today? Those five minutes of auto-suggestion that now the hand will not open are nothing but the use of the faculty of hypnosis – and the hand will remain closed.
If you put two chairs five feet apart and then ask a man to lie down over them with his head resting on one chair and his legs on another, his body will fall down because there will be no support for his torso. But first let this man lie down on the floor and hypnotize him there, giving him the suggestion: “No matter what happens, your torso will not bend.” Then after a few minutes, if you lift his body and lay it across the two chairs, he will lie there like a wooden plank. Not only that, but now, even if another man were to sit down on his torso, it will not bend at all. What has happened to this man? His mind’s faculty of hypnosis has been used and the body is simply following it.
Psychologists say that ninety percent of our activities happen as a result of self-hypnosis. A man coughs, and suddenly many others start coughing. One man from the gathering gets up and goes to urinate, and many others follow. You don’t realize that this is just hypnosis. It is nothing but your own faculty of hypnotizing yourself. Until now you were sitting quietly, there was no trace of any coughing, but one man coughs and you are suddenly reminded of coughing. With that reminder the hypnosis catches hold of you and your throat begins to itch. Now you are bound to cough, you cannot avoid it. This was a suggestion, it functioned like a spell, and now you will follow it.
An epidemic spreads in a village…. Have you ever noticed that when an epidemic happens in a village, people start getting infected and falling sick, but the doctors and the nurses who are taking care of them day and night don’t catch the infection? If the disease is infectious, they should be the first ones to catch it. But the doctor knows that he is the doctor, and this hypnosis prevents him from catching the infection. He is so much engrossed in serving others that this hypnosis about the disease does not work on him. Others, of course, go on catching the infection.
Psychologists say that the role of germs in this situation is secondary, the role of the hypnosis is primary; this is what makes people sick or healthy. Psychologists go on to say that if the people of a certain country generally live for seventy years, then the hypnosis settles in the psyche of the whole country that one cannot live longer. The physiologists say that there seems to be no reason why a man’s body should die after such a short life span, that he can live for much longer. But if the country has this notion of a seventy-year limit, then by the time someone is approaching the age of seventy, he has become hypnotized that the time of death is approaching.