Originally Published in this Issue
by John McCallum (1965)
If you followed last month's article, you're ready now to learn how to focus all your concentration when you're training. The trick will improve your progress 100%. You're going to do it in two steps. By learning first the technique of fractional relaxation, and then the technique of auto-suggestion. The combined process is very similar to self-hypnosis.
Don't be frightened by the term "self-hypnosis." It's not as sinister as it sounds. Actually, it's a powerful instrument for self improvement and used by many, many people. Basically, it involves little more than the deliberate planting of positive suggestions within the subconscious mind while under complete and absolute relaxation. All you're going to do is learn to achieve this relaxed state at will and use it once you've achieved it.
It's too bad the whole process isn't better understood by the general public. Most people are scared silly by their own misconceptions.
I used to belong to a study group at the University. We worked with hypnosis. We had a visitor once. A big fat woman trying to lose weight. She looked like a Sumo wrestler. I tried to teach her the technique of auto-suggestion.
She plunked 240 pounds of lard into a chair and I started the relaxation process. She was fighting me. You could tell right away and I asked her what the trouble was.
She said, "I'm frightened."
"Frightened?" I said. "Why?"
"You're trying to hypnotize me, aren't you?"
"Sort of," I said. "But there's nothing to worry about. What are you afraid of?"
"You," she said.
"You might take advantage of me."
"Take advantage of you?" I said. "How do you mean?"
She dimpled up. "You know."
I stepped back in horror and took a good look to see if she was kidding. She had a face like ten miles of bad road. I said, "Madam, there are fourteen people in this room. Believe me, I'll resist your charm though it crush my trembling heart."
Fractional relaxation is the best method of increasing suggestibility in your subconscious mind. Auto-suggestion is the technique of implanting constructive and deliberate thought processes in your subconscious mind.
Let's simplify it a bit.
The process, as I said resembles self-hypnosis. Let's take a quick look at hypnosis proper by way of explanation.
The normal hypnotic process involves two people. The hypnotist -- usually called the operator; and the person being hypnotized -- usually called the subject.
The operator's job, stripped of all its mumbo-jumbo is simply to guide the subject along the proper channels and keep his or her attention focused on what they're doing. Depending on the subject's concentration, the hypnotic state can be light with nothing more than complete relaxation and increased suggestibility, or it can progress right through to the deep trance, or somnambulistic state. At any level of hypnosis, great improvement can be effected in the subject. Bad habits can be eliminated. Memory improved. Confidence developed. The list is almost endless. Under a competent operator, there can be a complete revamping of the subject's personality.
Contrary to popular opinion, hypnosis depends entirely on the person being hypnotized. No one can hypnotize an unwilling subject.
I was an unwilling subject the first time I tried it. I was jittery and I spoke to the operator.
"Listen," I said. "Before we go any further -- what's that pin you're holding in your hand for?"
"Nothing," he said. "Nothing at all."
"Nothing, my eye! You're figuring jabbing it into me, aren't you?"
"It won't hurt," he said. "I'll push it into your hand and you won't feel a thing."
"I better not," I said. "Cause if I do, I'm gonna push your head right through the wall."
You don't have to worry about anybody jabbing pins into you because you won't be using hypnosis proper. You'll be using fractional relaxation. You'll have to learn it. Some people learn the trick almost immediately. Others take longer. Anyone can learn it in a month if they're capable of learning at all.
What you're trying to achieve is absolute relaxation. Not relaxation as you normally know it, but the complete letting go of every particle of tension in your mind and body. If you've ever taken sodium-pentothol you'll know the feeling I'm talking about.
You'll have a whole month in which to learn this. Next month I'll show you how to incorporate auto-suggestion into the relaxed state.
The best time to practice fractional relaxation is when you're lying in bed just before going to sleep. Practice every night. If you can find time to lie down and rest for a few minutes throughout the day you can work in another practice session.
You're going to get a big bonus in the form of added rest if you learn this. You'll find that fifteen minutes in the completely relaxed state is like two hours sleep. There'll be a big surge in your energy level.
Do it like this.
Lay on your back and get as comfortable as possible. Stretch your arms and legs a couple of times and then let them relax.
Open your eye fix them on a spot on the ceiling. If the room is too dark then just imagine a spot. Keep your eyes on the spot and start suggesting to yourself that your eyes are becoming heavy and tired. Repeat over and over that your eyes are like lead weights and soon they'll close. Don't talk out loud. Just imagine the words.
I told my wife about this once. She was having trouble getting to sleep and I figured it would help her relax. I forgot to tell her to do the suggesting in her head. I was just getting to sleep myself when she started talking.
"What the heck are you doing?" I said. "Have you flipped your lid?"
"Certainly not," she said. "I'm relaxing."
"You're supposed to do the talking in your head."
"Am I? You didn't tell me that."
"I didn't tell you to lie there and babble all night, either."
"Was I keeping you awake?"
"Awake?" I said. "Heavens, no. But there's a burglar in the basement and he's complaining about the noise."
"Well, I tell you what, Fats," she said. "Get him to hang around till you start snoring and he'll really have something to complain about."
Do the talking in your head. Keep repeating the suggestion that your eyes are heavy and tired. Make the suggestions monotonous. Keep repeating them. Over and over. Over and over.
After a minute or so you'll find your eyelids getting tired. Let your eyes close. Just lie there as limply as possible with your eyes closed and your whole body relaxed.
Now start relaxing your whole body. Start with your feet and ankles. Concentrate on dissolving every bit of tension. Suggest to yourself that your feet and ankles are limp. Relaxed. Explore their muscles. Relax them. Search out tense parts. Relax them.
Work up through your ankles into your calves. Relax them. Make them limp. Heavy. Soft as an old dish rag.
Next your knees. Then your thighs. Relax them. More relaxed than they've ever been before. Keep suggesting relaxation. Loosen your thighs. Make them heavy. Soft.
Work through your whole body this way. Take on section at a time. Don't let your mind wander. Keep suggesting relaxation. Work right through from the tips of your toes to the top of your head.
The whole process will take you about ten minutes.
Now lay there with your eyes still closed and as relaxed as possible and start counting to yourself. Count slowly and deliberately and suggest relaxation between each number. Something like this -- "ONE. Very relaxed now. Very tired and relaxed. Dropping down into a deep relaxing sleep. TWO. Very tired, Very heavy. Very tired. Very heavy. Completely relaxed now and dropping down into deep sleep. THREE. Drowsy now. Tired and drowsy. Heavy and tired and drowsy. Limp and relaxed and dropping down to deep, deep sleep."
And so on. Don't try to memorize any definite patter. Just talk to yourself along that vein.
Count up to twenty-five. If you're successful, you'll be in the completely relaxed state and receptive to auto-suggestion.
You probably won't achieve the relaxed state the first time you try it. Very few people do. Keep at it and you'll get it before the month is up.
You'll know the relaxed state when you get it. Your body will be so completely relaxed you won't even feel it. The sensation is like having your mind alert and your body so limp it feels drugged. When you get this sensation, just lie there and you'll drift into a natural sleep. You'll have the best and most refreshing sleep of your life.
Next month I'll show you how to incorporate auto-suggestion into the relaxed state and how to achieve the relaxed state at will. You'll learn how to use auto-suggestion. You'll learn how to boost your strength and development. You'll learn how to use it to broaden and improve your day to day living.
This series is going to take you step by step to the most advanced methods of training. You'll end up the finished product. But you've got to want it and you've got to concentrate on it. Don't let anybody kid you that muscle comes easy. It doesn't. You've got to have strong mental drive to get what you're after -- muscles or anything else. If you expect a build like Grimek then you've got to want it and you've got to want it bad. You've got to want it so bad you can taste it.
There aren't any magic potions and there isn't any wonder system. You'll reach your goals one way and one way only. That's by intelligent planned physical effort backed by intense and consuming desire.
Practice fractional relaxation. Next month I'll show you how to build the positive mental drive you've got to have to accomplish anything in this world.