“We are all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy” ~ R. D. Laing

We are in a trance when our attention is limited and there is a certain repetition of thoughts and preoccupations. When obsessed with our self, our attention can feel like “tunnel vision” and can be characterized as a repetitive or circular flow of consciousness.

Repetition thoughts about our self can induce a trance by limiting our attention and overloading our mind with repeated thoughts leaving our conscious minds relatively limited.We may not be aware of our surroundings because of fixed attention.

What is interesting is that this dissociated or trance state is often combined with rewards. That is, we are generally encouraged to go into a social or personal trance even though this state results in a somewhat narrow conscious awareness.

The most common misunderstanding about trance is the assumption that it is not our normal day-to-day awareness, but instead an altered state of awareness.

The truth is that we are always in trance, but most of the time we are in the mass trance based on consensus reality. We have subconsciously agreed to our cultural perception of reality that we were introduced to in infancy, initiated into during early childhood, and confirmed in during adolescence. The shades of this trance state vary slightly from culture to culture.

Spend an afternoon sitting on a bench in a shopping mall and watch the people go by. What do you see? A family rushing to catch a movie. Some teenagers laughing and whispering. A business woman with purposeful stride and eyes straight ahead. Just let the panorama of people go by and really watch them, their expressions, movements and tones of voice.

Without judgment, what can you tell about their trance states? After an hour or so, you’ve probably cataloged a lot of states, but spend a while longer and you’ll start to recognize that you’re really just watching many slight variations of the dominant trance — consensus reality. Most aren’t really interacting with reality in fundamentally different ways. It is as if the people you are watching have their minds tuned to the same octave but are playing slightly different notes with varying degrees of skill.

Although this consensus trance has long since become habit, it is actually a lot of work to maintain. We use subtle trance inducing techniques all the time. How many fast food restaurant jingles play through your head? How often do you catch your thoughts racing around, chattering in high-speed circles? Most people spend hours running these trance inducing exercises without even recognizing it.

4 Responses

  1. Carol…We as individuals are cells similar to being part of a social organism…if we believe we are separate beings with a free will then our social organism is in conflict with itself and potentially destructive…as cells of an organism our power is being in harmony with it rather than setting goals or directions…and our social organism should be in harmony with the global organism which should be in harmony with the universal organism or super organism.


  2. O.K. I may possibly be looking for a different word than trance. I like what you wrote, but what is the medium that connects us? If our combined trance is to believe it’s going to rain, will it happen? If there’s a country with hot blooded, temperamental people, will there be weather to match? Hope you don’t mind me playing devil’s advocate. Your articles are always thought provoking.

  3. Carol,

    There is no separate individual with a their own separate trance…there are only socially interactive trances…I look around the Internet for other people’s trance to influence my trance…you read my blog to influence your trance…there is no such thing as a trance developing independently within a separate person.


  4. I feel like I’m always trying to remember someone else’s trance. To know where they are coming from helps me to relate. Anymore, without our previously defined consciousness trance, everything has to be spontaneous, and nary the twain shall meet? What’s next? Will everyone be tuning into a universal consciousness?

    If we all have our own individual trance, how and where to we hook up to our surrounding humanity?

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