The conclusion is obvious and irresistible that when a mesmerist employs the old methods of inducing the subjective state, - passes, fixed gazing, and mental concentration, - he hypnotizes himself by the same act by which he mesmerizes the subject.
The far-reaching significance of this fact will be instantly apparent to those who are aware that telepathy is the normal means of communication between two subjective minds, and that it is only between subjective minds that telepathy can be employed. The objective mind has no part or lot in telepathy until the threshold of consciousness is displaced so as to enable the objective mind to take cognizance of the message. It will be understood, therefore, that when the subject is mesmerized, and all his objective senses are in complete abeyance, and the operator with whom he is en rapport is in a partially subjective state, the conditions exist which render possible the exhibition of telepathic powers.
This is what was meant when it was said in an earlier chapter of this book that the discoveries of Braid had really served to retard the progress of hypnotic science; not because his discoveries are not of the utmost practical value, but because much of their true significance has been misunderstood. The fact that persons can be hypnotized by his methods, and that many of the phenomena common to mesmerism can be produced by that means, is a fact of vast importance; but it is only one link in the great chain, and not the whole chain, as his followers would have us believe. The later discovery of the law of suggestion was also of the most transcendent interest and importance; but it is not the whole law of psychic science. This, too, has helped to retard the progress of the science in its higher branches. When it was discovered that suggestion by itself could induce the hypnotic state, Braid's methods were in turn abandoned by students of the science. This was partly because it was easier than Braid's method, and partly because it produced less physical and mental excitement, and hence, for therapeutic purposes, was less liable to excite the patient unduly. But the fact remains that neither by Braid-ism nor by the suggestive method can the subject ordinarily be made to respond telepathically.
It is true that there might be exceptions to the rule. If, for instance, the operator in employing either of the methods should come in physical contact with the subject, and should at the same time happen to concentrate his gaze upon some object for a length of time, and fix his mind upon the work in hand, he would be very likely to come into telepathic communication with the subject. That this has often happened there can be no doubt; and it constitutes one of the possible sources of error which lie in the pathway both of the Paris and the Nancy schools. It is perhaps superfluous to remark that the higher phenomena of hypnotism can only be developed with certainty of results by throwing aside our prejudices against the fluidic theory, and employing the old mesmeric methods.
In this connection it is deemed proper to offer a few suggestions as to the best methods to be employed for producing mesmeric effects, either for therapeutic or for any other purposes.
It is recommended, for several reasons, that the mesmeric passes be employed. First, they are so generally believed to be necessary that they greatly assist by way of suggestion. Secondly, they are a great assistance to the operator, as they enable him more effectually to concentrate his mind upon the work in hand, and to fix his attention upon the parts which he desires to affect. Thirdly, they operate as a suggestion to the operator himself, which is as necessary and as potent to effect the object sought as is suggestion to the subject. Fourthly, whether the fluidic theory is correct or not, the power, whatever it is, appears to flow from the fingers; and, inasmuch as it appears to do so, the effect, both upon the mind of the operator and of the subject, is the same as if it were so, - the great desideratum being the confidence of both.
The most important point to be gained, however, is self-confidence in the mind of the operator. Without that no greater results can be produced by mesmeric methods than by the process of simple oral suggestion. The latter affects the mind of the subject alone, and all the subsequent effects are due solely to the action of his mind. Mesmeric methods, on the other hand, if properly applied, supplement the effects of oral suggestion by a constant force emanating from the subjective mind of the operator. In order to evoke that force it is necessary for the operator to inspire his own subjective mind with confidence. This can be done by the simple process of auto-suggestion. The power to do this does not depend upon his objective belief. The power to control subjective belief is inherent in the objective mind; and that control can be made absolute, even in direct contradiction to objective belief. If, therefore, the mesmeric operator doubts his power over his subject, he can, nevertheless, exert all the necessary force simply by reiterated affirmation to himself that he possesses that power. This affirmation need not, and perhaps should not, be uttered aloud.
But it should be constantly reiterated mentally while the passes are being made; and if in addition to this he concentrates his gaze upon the open or closed eyes of the subject, or upon any part of the head or face, the effect will be all the more powerful. Whatever effect is desired should be formulated in the mind of the operator, and reiterated with persistency until it is produced. The principle involved is obvious, and easily understood. The subject is passive, and receptive of subjective mental impressions. The subjective mind of the operator is charged with faith and confidence by auto-suggestion. That faith is impressed telepathically upon the subjective mind of the patient; and even though his objective belief may not coincide with the subjective impression thus received, the latter obtains control unconsciously to the subject, and the end is accomplished.