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InFiltration, Part 1

by Wrestlr

[M/M, MC, hypno]

[Synopsis: A college wrestler signs up for a course on using
self-hypnosis to improve his athletic performance. Surprisingly, things do
not go as planned.]

Disclaimer: There's sex, sodomy, and maybe a few other minor perversions
in this. If you don't like that sort of thing, read something else.
Everybody in the story is legal age. Parts of this story may be
autobiographical, or it might be all fiction---who can say?

Occasionally, I borrow a phrase from a specific person in order to make
love with him. In this work, I embrace the "it didn't work" story in
Section 2 from Northeyes, a talented author in his own right. He says the
story is not original to him, that he heard it from others. I've reworked
the scene for my purposes, but I first heard it from him. In this work, I
also draw on some of the hypnosis methods of the psychologist Milton
Erickson, which my friend Chad/Epaphus has been kind (and patient) enough
to explain to me. Again, I've reworked those methods for my own ends, so
any faults are mine, not Chad's. If there's a better teacher in the world,
I haven't found him.

Copyright - 2001 by Wrestlr. Permission granted to archive if and only
if no fee (including any form of "Adult Verification") is charged to read
the file. If anyone pays a cent to anyone to read your site, you can't use
this without the express permission of (and payment to) the author. This
paragraph must be included as part of any archive.

Comments to

Wrestlr's fiction is archived at the following URLs:

* (MC and general M/M stories, plus
my home page)

* (MC and general M/M stories, mirror

* (MC stories)

InFiltration, Part 1


Daryl, Daniel, and me--we hung back after wrestling practice to blitz
ourselves with supersets on the weights and run several extra laps. Coach
likes it when we do extra strength and endurance training like that. Don't
ask me why we decided to do it; it wasn't anything we discussed. We just
did it.

By the time we dragged ourselves into the locker room, the rest of the
team had already changed and booked out of there; hell, by that time, even
Coach was gone and this whole half of the gym was pretty close to deserted.

Man, we were so beat we could hardly move. We hauled ourselves out of
our gear and into the showers, so exhausted we almost have the energy left
to joke like we usually do. Almost! The hot water felt great on our
muscles. We were going to be sore the next day, and we knew it.

By the time we all finished blasting the sweat and funk off ourselves,
we were feeling better, getting some energy back. Nothing like a hot
shower to make you feel alive again. I guess I had this expectant feeling,
like I was waiting for something to happen, but I kept telling myself it
was because I was so tired.

We all started toweling off. We weren't in any hurry so we took our
time getting dressed. Daryl pulled on his boxers; he kept flexing his arms
and shoulders, trying to keep them stretched so they wouldn't be so sore
the next day. He was bitching about his girlfriend again, how she kept
trying to force him into some kind of commitment that he wasn't ready for,
blah blah blah. We'd heard all this before from him, so neither Daniel nor
I was too interested. I was more interested in peeing, so I tugged my
boxers on and trotted off to the urinals.

I heard the locker room door while I was peeing. Daryl and Daniel said
hey to someone but I couldn't see who around the wall that blocked off the
toilet part of the locker room. As I was tucking my cock away, I
recognized his voice, though I couldn't make out what he was saying. All I
heard for certain was confident tone in his final command.

"Hey, Luke," he called out. "You in here?"

"Yeah, Doc," I yelled back. "Taking a piss. Gimme a second." I flushed
the urinal, rinsed and wiped my hands, then headed back out there.

He was waiting next to Daryl and Daniel. Daryl was standing right where
I left him, and Daniel was still sitting on the bench, where he had been
pulling on one of his socks. They were both still, heads slumped slightly
forward, eyes closed. Waiting.

I walked over. "Hey, Doc," I said, pointing at the other two. "What's
up with--"

He just smiled. "Hi, Luke. It's time to get started," and he put his
hand on my forehead and started drawing it down, across my eyes, his
fingertips brushing my eyelids and urging them down, and he said, "Sleep."

I felt ... drowsy. I had only thought I was tired before, compared to
this. I couldn't keep my eyes open, so I let them close, as his hand
continued passing down across my face, in a way that felt almost
instinctively familiar, as I sank back into that familiar hypnotic peace.

When Doc told us to open our eyes, I did. I blinked against the lights
shining in our faces. We were back in the practice room. We were all
stretched out--Daniel, Daryl, and I--on the mats. Naked. How we got
there, why we were naked, none of that mattered. Anytime I felt those
questions tickling at my thoughts, I just let them slide into the back of
my head and fade away.

We all sat up and grinned for the video camera Doc was aiming at us.
Daryl pushed my arm playfully, and I pushed him back, grinning and kinda
hamming it up, and the next thing we know, we're all three wrestling around
on the mat. The camera zoomed in on a three-way match, each of us going
after the others, and sometimes it's two on one but never for very long,
not long enough to get a pin. All this body-on-body friction, the feel of
skin on skin, had me getting hard. My arm, trying for a lock on Daryl, hit
Daniel's hard-on; okay, so he was hard too.

I was grunting, sweating. We all were. The camera panned across us as
we focused on the muscle-on-muscle struggle of wrestling each other.
Straining. None of us willing to surrender; no one going down without a
struggle. Daniel got Daryl on his back and hammered in on him, going for
the pin. I grabbed Daniel's shoulders and tugged, and suddenly it's Daniel
on his back under me, and Daryl was adding his body alongside to mine,
weighing Daniel down. Daniel is two classes above me--he has me beat in
sheer muscle, but I make up for it in skill. With Daryl keeping Daniel's
other arm busy, the end was inevitable. We pressed Daniel down, down, as
the camera angled in, down, shoulders flat against the mat, and Daryl was
counting off the pin, and Daniel was hissing, "No fair, no fair!" But there
was nothing he can do. Two on one--unfair odds maybe--but he's been

Daryl and I pulled back. The camera captured the triumph on our faces.
Daniel didn't sit up, but he didn't just lie there either. Daryl was
sitting back on his heels, and Daniel's hand slid over Daryl's thigh like a
snake heading for a mesmerized bird, his hard rod. Daniel's fingers
encircled it, pulled at it slow and easy. Daryl bent forward and his lips
found Daniel's, then parted to allow his tongue to slip into Daniel's

Part of me was thinking, Holy shit! This seemed familiar, like I'd seen
it before, and another part of me was thinking, Gotta get me some of that!
I was so caught up in watching them kiss, I almost didn't notice when
Daniel's hand creep between my thighs and started milking my cock.

Oh, man!--that felt good. I reached for Daniel's cock, only to find
Daryl had a hand around it already. Mine joined his in jacking Daniel,
slow and easy, slow and steady. My mouth joined theirs. All of our
tongues touching. Me kissing Daryl. Me kissing Daniel. Then me kissing
Daryl by myself as Daniel's head headed down somewhere else.

The camera followed as Daniel licked and kissed and nibbled his way down
Daryl's chest. Daryl is a wiry guy--kind of on the short side and he
wrestles at the lighter weights; he spends a lot of time in the gym, so his
chest is packed with cords of tight muscle. Not a hair on his chest,
though. Daniel's kisses left a wet, glistening trail down those muscles,
across his flat stomach, down along the rigid tube of Daryl's cock. I
watched Daniel kiss the tip, lick the shaft, kiss and lick around the head
... and then slide his mouth over the head and swallow it down slowly.
Holy fuck!

Daryl moaned down deep in his chest as Daniel started sliding his head
up and down the length of Daryl's hard-on. And I gotta admit--Daryl had a
long one. I was impressed by its size, especially on a compact guy like
Daryl, and by how Daniel sucked on it like a pro. Daryl tipped his head
back and let out a low "Ahhh" of pure pleasure.

I pulled myself up a little, sitting back on my heels, knees spread.
Daryl looked down at my erection, his eyes glazed with something that might
be sex, and grinned. He bent himself over onto one elbow, aiming his mouth
at my cock. I used one hand to guide my rod into his open lips, my other
hand sliding around behind his head to rub his scalp and encourage him. He
knew what he was doing when he blew me too--I know an experienced mouth
when I feel one.

I started thrusting my hips a little to meet his mouth. He was so good,
so damned good, I couldn't hold out very long. He had this little trick he
did with his tongue on the sensitive underside of my cockhead, when he had
his mouth pulled nearly all the way off my rod, that just sent spikes of
pleasure through me. Every muscle in my body started seizing up, trying to
force my dick deeper into Daryl's throat. All of my awareness was centered
on my crotch and the fire radiating through it.

"Gonna cum," I grunted. The camera zoomed in on my cock as Daryl pulled
off of it. Doc told me it was okay, to go ahead and cum. I jacked myself
frantically. My body responded with a haze of bliss that locked my eyes
shut. I gasped and groaned, and then I was shooting all over Daryl's chest
and shoulder and cheek while the camera captured every spurt.

I sank back, spent. Doc told me it was okay if I wanted to sleep, but I
didn't want to. I held on tight against the urge to close my eyes, not
wanting to miss a moment.

The camera turned to catch Daniel pulling off Daryl's dick. Daniel was
jacking himself, and he gave a little cry deep in his throat, staring
open-mouthed at his cock as his hand pistoned on it. The camera panned in
for a closer look, and Doc told him to cum. Daniel strangled a moan and
did exactly that, in long, liquid bolts which splattered against his chest.

The camera focused in on Daryl's. Daniel, grinning, bent back down and
licked at them while Daryl pumped at his own meat. He moaned he was ready
to shoot, and then his body was bucking, and he was mumbling, "oh fuck, oh
fuck," and squirting his load out across his tight belly and chest, where
my load had fallen.

Doc told us to crawl in together, and we did, grinning for the camera as
it panned over our naked, cum-speckled bodies, then came in for a close-up
of our faces. Then Doc told us how great it felt to sleep after a powerful
orgasm, and I knew he was right. I was so tired I couldn't stay awake any
longer, and I let my eyes close, already feeling this slip away like a
dream, and I sank into sleep.


I got to the gym about five minutes before the class started. By the
time I found the room, it was 8:00 p.m., on the nose. The class was being
held downstairs, in a part of the gym I never went to that much.

I slipped in. I think this room was usually used for gymnastics or
something. It had mats on the floor but they weren't marked like the
wrestling mats I was used to. The professor wasn't there yet, but the
other five students were. The room had six folding chairs, in two rows of
three each, and another chair off to one side. The other students were
sitting in the rows--I guess that must have seemed more classroom-like. If
my big fear had been that one or two of them would know me, well, it sure
came true in spades: sitting there on the other side of the room were my
roommate Daniel and our friend Daryl. Like me, they're both on the
wrestling team so, uhm, you could say we knew each other pretty well.

I didn't know they were taking this class--neither of them had said a
word about it, especially not Daniel.

So I'm standing there in the doorway trying not to look surprised.
Daniel waved. Daryl nodded. I waved back. Daniel said, "I see he talked
you into adding the class."

Before I could reply, the professor arrived. He was followed by this
guy I kind of knew who was on the basketball team, named Isaac.

The professor immediately took charge of the class. "All right," he
said. "Let's get started. I want you to all have a seat." We all sat
down. Isaac took the chair off to the side. The professor stalked the area
on front of us. I was on the far left end of the second row, with Daniel
and Daryl on the other side of the front row.

"Most of you know Isaac, I think? He's the forward on the basketball
team. He has volunteered to be our guinea pig tonight and help me
demonstrate a few things about hypnosis for you. Now remember, Isaac is an
experienced subject, so your reactions may vary. Just remember what I told
you during our first class: if you want to be hypnotized, and you expect to
be hypnotized, you will be hypnotized."

The professor pointed to a place on the floor in front of us. "Isaac,
why don't you bring your chair up here in front, please, facing the

"Sure thing," Isaac drawled as he pulled his chair up in front of us and
sat down. Playing basketball means Isaac is tall. He's at least
six-foot-four, if not six-six. Lanky and muscled at the same time. He's a
Kentucky farm-boy; that accounts for his drawl. Irish ancestry gave him
red hair, which he wore cut very short, and pale, freckled skin. As tall
as he is, even sitting down his head was nearly even with the professor's

The professor said to us, "Isaac and I are going to get started by
demonstrating a trance state for you. Because he has been hypnotized many
times before, I'm going to use a rapid induction method." The professor
gave us a wink. "Don't try this yourself just yet okay?"

The professor turned to Isaac and said, "Are you ready to be

"Well, sure," Isaac shrugged, grinning, looking a little self-conscious.

"Gentlemen, I'd like to ask for you to be completely silent until this
demonstration is over. I'll be glad to explain and answer your questions
afterward. And remember--if you want to be hypnotized, and expect to be
hypnotized, you will be hypnotized." He turned back to Isaac. "Now, I want
you to watch my finger. Keep your eyes on my finger." The professor held
up one finger, moving it back and forth. Isaac's eyes tracked it. Back
and forth, each time moving a little closer to Isaac's face, a little
closer. Back and forth, closer and closer, with Isaac's eyes following it.
Finally, the professor brought his finger to rest on Isaac's nose, just
below the bridge, leaving him cross-eyed. "Now, close your eyes, Isaac,
but keep looking at my finger through your eyelids. Just follow it."
Slowly, slowly, the professor drew his finger up the bridge of Isaac's
nose, up the middle of his forehead, and back though his hair until it was
poised on the crown of his head. All the while, the professor kept
talking, using this purring, hypnotic voice. "And you'll find that the
farther I draw it back, the tighter and tighter your eyes close, until when
I get back ... here, you can't open them at all."

I could see Isaac struggle for a moment, but his eyes didn't, seemingly
couldn't, open. While we watched, the professor cupped Isaac's head with
both hands and began to move his head around in big circles, back, side,
front, side, working his fingers into Isaac's neck and telling him to
relax, how relaxed he was, relaxing more. "After all, Isaac, you've been
hypnotized many times, so you know all about relaxing, right? Remember the
feeling in your body as you let go completely into a deep ... hypnotic ...
peace ..."

Then, the professor simply let go. And Isaac's head slumped forward,
eyes still closed, as if deeply asleep.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"Isaac, can you hear me?"

After a moment, Isaac mumbled, "Mmm ... hmmm ..."

The professor turned to us and winked. "Isaac, I wonder if you would
mind doing something for us. I think a lot of the gentlemen watching you
expect hypnosis to be about making the subject do funny things. I wonder,
Isaac, if you would mind quacking like a duck for us, please?"

And Isaac said slowly, "Quack ... quack, quack."

The professor grinned, and several of us had to suppress little laughs.

"Thank you, Isaac, but that has got to be one of the worst duck
imitations I've ever heard. Perhaps another animal is more your forté?
How about a chicken, Isaac--would you cluck like a chicken for us?"

And Isaac said, "Blaaaawk! Blowk-blawk-blaaawk!"

Daniel and one other guy on the far end couldn't stop themselves from
laughing. The professor quieted them with a wink and a finger touching his

"That's better, Isaac, but maybe there's another animal you're better
at? Perhaps a dog? Would you bark like a dog for us, Isaac?"

Isaac lifted his head, eyes still closed and barked out, "Woof!
Woof-roof-roof." A fairly passable bark too.

"That's excellent, Isaac," the professor said. As he tipped Isaac's
head back down, he purred, "Sleep now, twice as deeply as before. You're
doing very well."

The professor told us about the symptoms of a trance and pointed some of
them out on Isaac, such as the motion of his eyes under his closed eyelids
and this little twitch in his finger, as if he was dreaming. The professor
performed something he called a "deepening exercise," in which he made
Isaac's arm rise and stiffen and become numb--catalepsy, he called it.
Finally, he brought Isaac out of the trance, telling him he would wake up
on the count of three, feeling relaxed and refreshed.

"And one, two, three," the professor said, and snapped his fingers.

Isaac's head lifted, and his eyes opened. He sucked in a deep breath
and looked around as if he was a little disoriented.

"How do you feel. Isaac?"

Isaac shrugged, half-yawning. "Uh, fine, I guess."

"And there you have it, gentlemen--the hypnotic trance, start to finish.
Thank you, Isaac." The professor applauded, and we joined in. Isaac looked
kind of embarrassed but he smiled and tried to take it all in stride. He
stood up, pulled his chair back off to the side, and sat down again.

"Okay, gentlemen. Hypnosis is all in the subject's mind, and I mean
that literally. As the hypnotist, I'm just the guide or the facilitator.
The subject does the majority of the work. And, yes, that means you just
watched Isaac hypnotize himself. Everything that Isaac just did--the
hypnosis part, I mean, not the animal sounds, which was just a bit of
showmanship on my part, I admit--I can teach you to do."

The professor gave us a smile. "Now, you've all heard about the
benefits of hypnosis for athletes. Sports psychology. Mental
preparedness. Visualization. A lot of pretty buzzwords, right? Well, I've
talked with each of you during the screening process when you enrolled in
this class, so I know you know a little bit about what to expect. A little
improvement here, a better form there, a nip, a tuck--maybe even enough to
make the difference in a really close match. That's easy. But is that all
you really want? What if I told you there were so much more hypnosis can
help you achieve? First, I'm going to hypnotize you; then once you've got
some experience I'm going to teach you to hypnotize yourselves. More
importantly, I'm going to teach you to reach beyond your limitations, to
dream beyond your limitations, and to achieve more than you've ever hoped
for. Does that sound like something you want to grab for?"

We mumbled "yes" and "sure."

"I can't hear you. Say again?"

We knew the drill from our own coaches, and all six of us shouted out,
"Yessir!," pretty much in unison.

The professor beamed as he paced back and forth in front of us. "That's
what I like to hear. Enthusiasm. That's the key. Enthusiasm makes you
want things, things you maybe can't even name yet. Wanting is the first
step. If you want to be hypnotized, and expect to be hypnotized, you will
be hypnotized. Right?"

We shouted back, "Right!"

The professor smiled at us. "Now, it's time for a little preparatory
exercise. I'm sure you all want to jump right into the hypnosis training,
but what I want you to do first are some trust-building exercises that are
designed to help you get in touch with your subconscious mind. These are
some exercises that create a state called 'waking hypnosis.' Sounds
complicated, right? Well, it isn't. In fact, you may have even performed
these exercises before, in slightly different forms. They're just ways to
get your conscious mind and your unconscious mind ready to talk to one
another, by introducing a cooperative, trust-oriented state into your
conscious mind. Remember what I told you during our screening interviews?
It's all about visualization, affirmation, and projection. Visualize
exactly what you want your subject to do. Say, in a positive, affirming
manner, exactly what you want him to do. Project your confidence that the
subject will do what you've said as if it's a given and the task has
already been accomplished--and you'll find it has indeed been

The professor had us pair off. Daryl and Daniel were a pair. I was
paired with Marco, from the soccer team. The other pair was Tony from the
swim team and Cameron from the tennis team.

The professor demonstrated the three exercises with Isaac, then he told
us to try them. They didn't look like all that much, and I didn't see how
they were supposed to get us used to introducing "suggestibility" into our
conscious minds, but they seemed to work for Isaac.

"Gentlemen, remember this: if you want to be hypnotized, and you expect
to be hypnotized, you will be hypnotized. Cameron, do you want to be

Cameron blushed a little in spite of himself and said, "Yeah, I guess--"

"You guess? You don't know? I'm disappointed. Let me ask you again:
do you want to be hypnotized?"

Cameron straightened up and said, "Yessir."

"Then you will be. And you, Daryl, do you want to be hypnotized?"


"Then you will be. Want to be hypnotized, expect to be hypnotized, and
you will be hypnotized. Okay, gentlemen, begin."

The professor had the three pairs of us going at this at the same time.
Marco took the subjective role first, with me as the "assistant." The first
exercise started with Marco standing close to the wall, facing it. My job
was to "suggest" that he had to fall backward and that I'd catch him. I
had him stand there, arms at his side, and told him to relax his body, that
he was sensing the muscles of his body relaxing and freeing themselves of
all stiffness. Like Doc told us, I put my hand on his shoulder and pulled
back gently. Marco resisted, which meant he wasn't cooperating yet. I
talked him through the "your body is relaxed" part again, then pulled at
his shoulder again. This time he moved easily. He was ready.

I recited the little speech, trying hard to sound confident and
authoritative. "Close your eyes. Now, think that your body is going to
start swaying backward, that you're going to fall over backward. Think of
nothing else. You will soon feel as if something is compelling you to fall
backward. I am standing right behind you, and as you fall, I'll catch you.
When you feel the urge to fall, do not resist. Just let yourself go."

I reached out like the professor had showed us and tipped Marco's head
back. My fingertips rested on the nape of his neck. I drew my fingers
down, lightly, making what the professor called a "contact pass" down to
the base of Marco's spine. I did that three times.

Then I said, "When I withdraw my hands, you will fall slowly backward."
I repeated that twice, and then slowly, Marco's body began to topple

I caught him and returned him to his feet, just like the professor had
shown us. Marco seemed a little dazed. "Wow," he said.

I didn't have time to ask what he meant--the professor was telling us to
go right into the second exercise, which we did, then the third one, and
then it was my turn.

When we worked through the first exercise, I understood exactly what
Marco felt. It was as if suddenly I did feel a compulsion to fall
backward, and I did. Don't ask me why--I just let it happen.

The second exercise was like the first, only I was to fall forward into
Marco's arms. "Look at me," he said. "Focus your attention fully on my
eyes." He put his fingertips lightly at my temples and looked me steadily
in the eye for several seconds. Then he said slowly, "When I remove my
hands, you will slowly fall forward." He pulled his hands away gradually.
"You are falling forward, falling, falling. You cannot stop falling."

And then my body was tipping forward, and I was falling, and Marco
caught me.

Talk about weird--it was like I couldn't stop myself. Around us, it was
happening to the others too, and they were talking about how freaky it felt

The third exercise involved me standing in front of Marco. He pulled my
right arm out straight from my shoulder and told me to make a first and to
stiffen my entire arm. With his hand holding my fist, he made more
"contact passes" from my chest down my arm with his other hand. "Think
that your arm is stiff, and you cannot bend it," he said. "Look me
squarely in the eye and do not blink. When I count three, you will find
your arm has become so stiff and rigid that you cannot bend it, no matter
how hard you try. It has become stiff and rigid, and the more you try to
bend it, the stiffer it becomes. When I count three, you will be unable to
bend your arm. One, two, three! Now try to bend it. Your arm is stiff,
stiffer. You cannot bend it."

I tried and, sure enough, my arm refused to bend.

"All right," Marco said, "the influence has flowed away, and you can
bend your arm again." And he pulled my arm down.

"Wow," I said, :massaging and flexing my arm, "that was sure weird."

"Gentlemen," Doc called out, catching our attention. "Gentlemen, now
that you've all experienced waking hypnosis, it's time to move on to the
next stage. I'd like to try to induce a trance in a couple of you, to
start getting you prepared to learn self-hypnosis. I'd like to ask two of
you to volunteer--Cameron, Tony, how about you? Bring your chairs up here
to the front of the room and turn them facing the class. That's right.
Isaac, why don't you bring your chair up here alongside Cameron? That's
perfect. The rest of you, please line your chairs up in a row so you can

As we all sat back down, the professor continued. "What you just
experienced was waking suggestibility, a kind of waking trance or waking
hypnosis. The next step is the full trance state, or hypnotic sleep. This
will take you deeper into the hypnotic state and introduce
hyper-suggestibility. I'm going to focus my attention on Tony and Cameron;
but the rest of you, please feel free to follow along if you like. I think
you'll find it a rewarding first step." He stood behind Isaac's chair.
"Hypnosis is easy to induce, and most people find it a very pleasant
experience. Isn't that right, Isaac?"

Isaac shrugged and drawled, "Yeah."

"Once you've had some experience as a subject, you'll find it very easy
to induce it in yourself." He reached out his hand, placed his palm on
Isaac's forehead. "It's as easy as going to ..." He slid his hand down
across Isaac's face, covering his eyes. "... sleep." As Doc's hand passed
on, Isaac's eyes were closed and his head drooped forward. When he did
that, man, you should have seen Cameron's and Tony's expressions--it was
like suddenly they realized it was inevitable they were going to be

The professor whispered quickly to Isaac, "I want you to count backward
from three thousand down to zero. Every number helps relax you deeper into
this pleasant hypnotic peace. If you get distracted or lose count, just
start over at three thousand again." Then to us, he smiled and said,
"Remember: if you want to be hypnotized, and expect to be hypnotized, you
will be hypnotized."

The professor stood in the oval space between the four of us who were
just watching, and Tony, Cameron, and Isaac across from us. He said to
Tony, "During our screening interview, you said one of the things you
wanted to get out of this class was to overcome some problems you've been
having in shifting between study mode and worrying about class work, versus
athletic mode and focusing on your performance in swim practice. Can you
think of any situation at all in which that problem, that difficulty with
shifting from the study mode to the swimming mode, or shifting from any
mental state to another might be useful?"

Now, to some of the guys, it must have seemed like the professor was
delaying the inevitable; but from what I had read, I knew this was actually
the beginning of the trance induction, a question that focused Tony's
attention on a novel idea and created a paradox, a moment of confusion.
The idea is, you discover that the behavior you want to get rid of has a
purpose, and maybe you shouldn't get rid of it, and maybe you need to work
on something slightly different instead. The professor and Tony talked for
a couple of moments. No, Tony didn't want to get rid of his study mode,
and no, he didn't want to get rid of his athletic mode. What he needed to
do was get better at compartmentalizing each and calling up the mode that
was appropriate. "That's what prevents you from jumping into things
unprepared," Tony decided.

"That's right," Doc said. "It's all in the filter you apply, and when."

Doc talked with Cameron too. As a tennis player, Cameron had very
specific points in his serving technique that he wanted to overcome:
hunched shoulders and a sloppy finish. Doc announced that he was going to
begin his formal trance induction with Cameron, and that he was going to
use a trance induction that contained all of the ingredients of a

To Cameron, he said, "All you need to do is sit up straight and pay
attention to yourself sitting in your chair." Without turning away from
Cameron, he added, "Tony, you may feel free to follow along with my
suggestions, if you like. The rest of you, too--if you feel yourself
starting to follow along, that's fine. Just give yourself permission to
follow my instructions."

He took a deep breath and let it out as a long sigh. "Take a deep
breath with me," he said. "All of you." And we did, held it for a second,
and sighed it out when he did. "That's it. A deep, relaxing breath. And
one more ... Good. Now, I want you to feel the sensation of your back
against the chair, the sensation of your weight bearing down in the chair
seat, the sensation of your feet being supported by the floor, the weight
of your hands resting lightly on your thighs, the texture of your jeans
against your finger tips, the muscle tension around your mouth ...
forehead ... behind your ears ... The air flowing through your nasal
passages as you inhale and exhale, the rise and fall of your chest. Allow
your mind to drift off to some pleasant experience, and look down a long
tunnel and see something at the end of the tunnel." Cameron closed his eyes
as Doc spoke and appeared to become more relaxed. Doc suggested that he
explore ways to make his corrections. "You know something about anatomy.
You have seen the correct way you should be moving through your serve.
Your unconscious mind knows how to do it. Remember a time when you learned
something and you didn't know before you started that you would learn it.
As a child, you learned to ride a bike. It was hard at first, but after
awhile you forgot how hard it was."

From what I'd read, I knew Doc was making his suggestions intentionally
vague and general so that Cameron could make a wide search for his answer
about how to correct his serve. The reference to childhood was supposed to
invoke the state of unconscious, "childhood" learning, which is much freer
and more spontaneous than conscious, "adult" learning.

Doc left Cameron to work on that, and turned to Tony, who had followed
along as he spoke to Cameron. Tony's eyes were closed and he was relaxed.
Doc said, "Tony, your conscious mind has identified a problem, but your
unconscious mind might have a different idea. You can be curious what this
might be." Doc continued to present that same idea in a couple of different
ways, and suggested that they knew how to accomplish what they needed to
do, then waited a little while as Cameron and Tony did their own
unconscious work.

Doc started them through a deepening exercise, similar to the one he had
demonstrated with Isaac earlier. Helping them relax their bodies more
deeply. Helping them open their subconscious minds more fully to his
suggestions. He suggested that their right hands felt very light, lighter
than air, and that they would start to rise into the air. Tony's hand
moved first; his arm bending at the elbow until his hand rose to about
shoulder level. Cameron's hand moved too, from the wrist, pointing almost
directly upward. "Gentlemen, your hands are floating in the air because
you have successfully opened your subconscious mind and helped it accept
these suggestions. Your hands floating in the air like that means that you
have let yourselves go into, and continue to be in, a very relaxed state of
hypnotic peace."

After working with them a while longer, helping them deepen a little
more, Doc suggested that Cameron and Tony could open their eyes, that their
subconscious minds could let their conscious minds engage and seem to "wake
up" even though they would still be in a deep state of hypnosis, rather
than their normal waking state of consciousness. When he told them to,
they lifted their heads and opened their eyes.

"You're doing beautifully, gentlemen. I'd like to ask you a couple of
questions about what you just experienced, if you don't mind? Cameron, I
think you told me during our screening interview that you had never
experienced a trance before. Is that correct?" Doc smiled like he knew a

Cameron looked at him. "Yeah, that's right," he said.

"Cameron, I wonder if you'd mind telling us about the induction you just
experienced, please? How did it feel to you? What went through your

Cameron thought a second, then said, "I was surprised. It was amazing
how fast I felt myself going under. It was a little scary, so I pulled
myself back out of it a little. Then, I just watched myself practicing my
serve. I don't remember what happened after that."

Doc said, "Well, the next time you serve, you will find out whether you
discovered an answer to your question." He turned to Tony and asked him to
tell us what he had experienced too.

Tony said, "I can only remember a little bit of what you said. Half the
time, I just tuned out your voice somehow. And while I said I wanted to
work on how I worry about my classes and stuff when I'm swimming, at some
point I realized what I wanted to work on was something completely
different, and I think I did find a solution. It kind of surprised me, I

Doc told Tony to keep that new problem to himself, so that his
subconscious could continue to work on it undisturbed, reminding him that
hypnosis allows people to gain greater access to the resources of their
unconscious minds, and that in trance, the unconscious is freed from the
critical, logically conscious mind which places limits on what people can
do rather than discovering novel solutions.

"Just a couple more questions for you, Tony and Cameron, if you don't
mind. You're both perfectly awake and aware of what's going on around you,

Tony said, "Uh, yeah."

Cameron said, "I guess so--sure."

"You don't notice anything unusual, right? As far as you know, you're
awake and the same as always?"

They looked at each other. Cameron said, "Yeah, I think so."

"I'd like you both to look at your right hands, please. Notice anything
about them? You've both got them raised in the air, don't you?" That was
true--they still had their hands raised from when Doc performed the
deepening exercise with them earlier. "Your hands being held up like
that--that means something, doesn't it? Something special. Think for a
moment and tell me what it is. Your conscious mind may not know the
answer, but some part of you does."

Tony said, "Uh ..." Okay, he's a typical jock and not that sharp

Cameron said, "It means ... uh ... I think it means we're still
hypnotized, right?"

"That's right. Good answer, Cameron--that shows your conscious and
subconscious minds are already beginning to work together. That's exactly
what your hands being raised like that means. It means I'm talking to both
your conscious mind and your subconscious mind right now. It's time now to
let your subconscious take control again. Close your eyes, and just let
yourself slip back into that pleasant state of hypnotic peace."

Tony had a funny look on his face, like he wasn't sure he believed what
he was hearing, but his eyes were already starting to close. Cameron's
too. Their eyelids closed and their heads drooped forward, and Doc
continued with, "That's perfect. You're both doing beautifully at learning
how to experience a trance."

He repeated, to the rest of us, that we could follow along if we wanted.
Then he led Tony and Cameron through an exercise that sounded an awful lot
like a second induction, telling them again how relaxed they felt
themselves becoming, how drowsy, how easily and how deeply they were moving
themselves into a hypnotic trance. He told Tony and Cameron that he had a
very special instruction for them both, that he wanted them to each start
counting down, backward from three thousand, how they would feel each
number they counted off helping them relax and focus and become more deeply
hypnotized. He told them to begin counting and not to let anything
distract them.

Doc turned to the rest of us and said, "That second induction seemed
like it was for their benefit, but it was actually for yours. I know you
were each giving yourself permission to follow along, and I think you'll be
pleasantly surprised to find you've already allowed yourself to enter a
light trance. That's good. Now I'm going to help you deepen your trance
so that you can enjoy the benefits of hypnosis too. Your part is easy. I
want all four of you to start counting backward, from three thousand all
the way down to zero, out loud and in unison. Go ahead."

Daniel's voice started, "Three thousand ... two thousand, nine hundred
and ninety-nine ..." And the rest of us took up the chant too.

"Good. While you're counting, feel each number helping you relax. Each
number you count off helps you let go and sink deeper into that cooperative

He let us recite off several more numbers. "Good. You feel it working,
I know. Starting to feel more relaxed with each number. More in tune with
your subconscious. More open to my suggestions. Maybe even a little
tired, a little sleepy. That's perfectly normal, so let it happen. I'm
going to come around to each of you as you're counting, and I'm going to
look deeply into your eyes. While you're counting, with your permission,
I'm going to touch a certain spot in your neck, just under your ear. That
spot is one of the most primitive parts of the human body--it is connected
to the part of your brain that secretes a hormone which triggers the normal
relaxation and sleep cycle common to all animals, even humans. Maybe you
will be surprised to find that you will not flinch or draw back away from
me. Once I've touched that spot and your brain starts releasing its
hormone, you may find it even easier to let yourself relax and sleep, maybe
even go directly into a trance state."

I'd never heard of this spot Doc was talking about or this hormone, but
while we continued counting, Doc walked directly to Daniel, seated on the
far side from me. Daniel had to tip his head back to look up at him. Doc
smiled confidently, staring directly into Daniel's eyes as Daniel stared
back. "Look deeply into my eyes," Doc directed. "That's right." They held
the eye contact for a few seconds, long enough for us to chant off a few
more numbers. Then the professor slowly reached up to Daniel's neck,
pressing a spot where his neck met the base of his skull just behind his
ear lobe. The touch made Daniel's head tip forward slightly, and Daniel
blinked several times. As the rest of us continued chanting, Daniel's
voice faltered and fell behind: "two thousand nine ... hun--hundred ...
nine hun ... dred ..."

Still staring into Daniel's eyes, Doc instructed him authoritatively,
"Sleep," with a firm exhalation of his own breath as he tipped Daniel's
head forward.

Daniel looked a little surprised, but his eyes closed immediately. His
head rested gently forward, bowed a little toward his chest and a little
sideways. His shoulders slumped, and his voice fell silent with a final
sigh, like a man who had fallen completely asleep.

As the other three of us kept counting, Doc stepped in front of Marco,
next to me. "Look into my eyes, deeply, deeper," Doc directed. They held
their eye contact while we chanted off a few more numbers, and then the
professor slowly reached up and touched Marco's neck. Marco blinked, kind
of smiled, and blinked again as the professor ordered him, "Sleep," with a
sigh. Marco's eyes closed a final time, and his head dropped forward into

That left only Daryl and I counting. Doc moved in front of me, and I
looked up at him, looked him right in the eye. I didn't look away. When
he touched the side of my neck, I felt--I dunno--this warm lethargy start
spreading through me. My eyelids felt heavy and I couldn't stop blinking.
When he said, "Sleep now," my eyes closed and I couldn't stop myself from
falling into the deep pit of sleep.

I remember the professor talking to us, but not much else. Some time
later, he clapped his hands, and my eyes snapped open. I yawned and looked
around. We were all sitting up, rubbing our eyes, and grinning sheepishly.
I reached for my shirt and started to pull it back on. I didn't remember
taking it off, but apparently I had. The others had, too.

"Gentlemen, that's all we have time for today," Doc said. "Thank you,
and I'll see you all next time."


Coach told us about this special course the Athletics department was
offering in conjunction with the Psychology department. Something called
"Sports Hypnosis." Supposed to teach you all about how to use self-hypnosis
to increase your athletic performance. I wasn't too interested until he
told us it only met twice a week but carried five hours of credit--and
counted toward any major in the Athletics department. He encouraged us all
to sign up. But there was a catch--enrollment was limited to a small
group, and we'd need the professor's approval to sign up. If we were
interested, we should call the professor's office in the Psych department
and set up an appointment to talk to him, blah blah blah.

Well, it couldn't hurt, I figured. Sounded like an easy A, and I could
always use five hours of A for my grade point average. And who
knows--maybe I'd get something out of it.

I figured I shouldn't come across like just another dumb jock looking
for an easy A. So I went by the library and got a couple of books on
hypnosis and, back on my bed at the apartment, I settled in to start going
through them. The library had a lot of books on hypnosis, mostly written
in hardcore technical-ese. Way over my head. It also had a lot on
self-hypnosis and a lot of bullshit books on what the authors
euphemistically called "sports hypnosis" that were really more about
telling yourself affirmations and hoping some of them came true. But it
only had two on the use of hypnosis in sports psychology. Those were the
two I checked out.

I'm a wrestler. I've read some articles in sports magazines about
sports psychology and a couple about how some athletes use hypnosis too.
Trouble is, a lot of what gets written about sports psychology is total
bullshit. There are a lot of books that talk about vague crap like
"attitude" and "visualization." Truth is, most of them never rise above the
"be the ball" happy-talk level, and they never get around to giving you any
useful advice on how to actually accomplish anything meaningful. But there
was an article in this sports magazine I'd read about how a couple of
athletes had improved their performance through self-hypnosis, so I figured
maybe there was something to it.

I wasn't really happy with one of the books, though I checked it out
anyway. That one was called HypnoSport. In theory, it was an Australian
hypnotherapist writing up a collection of case studies and advice about
how, over the years, he had helped a lot of athletes overcome mental
stumbling blocks and improve their performances, and he did have some
information that looked like it might be useful. Mostly, though, the
hypnotherapist was writing about his own ego.

The other book was Sport Hypnosis. Not the cleverest title, maybe, but
it looked like a better resource. That's the one I was reading when my
roommate Daniel--he's on the wrestling team too--came home.

"Whassup?" he asked, standing in my bedroom door.

"Doing some research for a paper," I said.

"Oh. Yuck. What's the topic?" He picked up one of the books and read
the title off the spine. "HypnoSport? Where'd you get this?"

"The Library. Ever been there? It's the big building with all the
windows. They have lots of books there."

"Har-de-har-har. What are you reading this stuff for? You going to
take that class the Coach talked about?

"Yeah, I'm thinking about it," I said. "I figure it might help my

"I thought your major was chasing chicks?"

"Nah--I've already got my Ph.D. in Love-ology. It's all about how you
grade on their curves."

Daniel came back with, "Is that why I get more girls?"

I grinned. "There's quantity, my friend, and then there's quality."

"Damn! So you're screwed both ways, huh?" he laughed.

"Now who thinks he's the comedian?"

Daniel thumbed through the book. "Looks like pretty boring stuff." Then
he tossed the book to me and said, "Good luck, buddy," and sauntered out to
the kitchen.

Daniel was right--these books were turning out less informative than I
had hoped.


"So that's why I'd like to sign up for the course, Doctor," I said, as I
settled back in the chair.

It hadn't taken me long to call the Psych department and set up an
appointment to talk t the professor. In fact, it was the day after I'd
checked those books out of the library. The professor had been willing to
talk to me and had some time available that night, after his last class.

So at 8:30 sharp that night, I knocked on his door. We introduced
ourselves. He invited me to have a seat, and I did, in the big chair by
his desk. It was awfully warm in his office. Not uncomfortably so, but
since most of the classrooms and offices hover a little below room
temperature, it was warmer in his office than I would have expected. He
sat on the corner of his desk, trying to keep it all very informal and make
me feel at home.

"Talking about hypnosis," he said, "and mental training can be pretty
awkward. Mental training is an expanding field, with all sorts of articles
and books coming out every year, but very few of these publications mention
hypnosis, even though most of the techniques the authors discuss are taken
directly from hypnosis. Even among athletes who see the importance of
mental training, many are not aware of--or are nervous about--how hypnosis
can help. Part of the problem is that mental training covers a variety of
skills. The most obvious is the mental state during competition, being
able to get into what athletes call the zone. Are you with me so far?"

I nodded. He was watching me pretty closely as he talked. I got the
feeling he was trying to get a read on me, trying to get a feel for my body
language. Coach had taught us some things about physical rapport and how
to use it against opponents on the wrestling mats, and I was thinking I was
seeing it in action here too.

"The zone is the feeling that you are at the peak of your ability, where
the actions are smooth and competent, and where your performance is the
best. Getting 'in the zone' is often regarded as a chance
happening--something you can accomplish on a good day but not when you're
having an off day. But skill in controlling both relaxation and that
energized ability to get in the 'zone' is more learnable through training
than most athletes like yourself may realize. Still with me?"

I nodded again.

"Mental training is about how you perform in competition but also
includes other areas, such as learning to get the most out of practice
sessions. It allows you to learn techniques more effectively and build
strength more rapidly. Learning to focus appropriately, to block out the
irrelevant, is valuable in both performance and practice. It helps you
develop not just the skills themselves but also the confidence to use

I nodded and said, "Okay," to let him know I was following him.

"The system I use is very simple, and it's ideal for limited
environments, such as sports practice and events. The key is to set up
filters that kick in every time the player walks onto the practice area or
the game field or the playing surface. In professional sports like hockey,
football, swimming, or soccer, there are very few things that really
matter. The rules, the ball or puck, the technique, the players on your
team, maybe your opponent in a direct competition sport like wrestling, and
the goal. Now, there are some other things that only matter a little bit
of the time: The coach, the players on the other team, and the referees,
for example. And finally, there are a number of things that not only don't
matter to the game at all but can actually get in the way: That's the crowd
and the time clock--everyone and everything else. That's the core of my
filter system: Until the goal is achieved, only the important things will
matter. Everything unimportant will not even be noticed. And the opponent
or the other team, though on the field, will be regarded as an annoying
barrier which will have to be controlled and avoided. As long as the team
follows the rules, the referees will not matter or get involved, so the
player is free to just play by the rules. Once the goal is achieved or the
player comes off the field, all of the filters are turned off, and the body
gets a rush of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment. Each player gets
to join the crowd in the excitement of the moment. Once they return to
play themselves, the filters turn back on, and they, once more, will
concentrate on the game. All this will just happen. With baseball, for
example, the focus is all in swinging and running for offense, and in
fielding and running in defense. The filters can be turned on for as long
as the player is practicing or playing, and the filters can be shut off as
long as the player is on the sidelines or in the locker room, depending on
what the athlete and the trainer or coach dictate."

"Okay," I said, stifling a yawn.

"I know--it's not very exciting stuff, is it? But it's useful and
fairly easy to learn once you get past your mental resistance. In my
classes, I start slowly. I use these preliminary conferences to get to
know the guys in the class and what they hope to gain from the class--that
helps me plan my approaches to the subject matter. Then, for our first few
class meetings, I'll spend some time talking about what hypnosis and mental
filters are and what they aren't. Dispelling the myths, in other words.
I'm planning to bring in an athlete I've worked with previously, Isaac from
the basketball team--do you know him?"

I nodded, perking up. I didn't know Isaac had been using hypnosis.

"Isaac and I are going to work through some exercises together in front
of the class to demonstrate the process of hypnosis is, and what the people
in the class can expect--to take some of the 'mystery' out of it. I'm
going to have the students work through some preliminary trust-building
exercises, and then I might try a relaxation exercise with the class.
Around the fourth or fifth class, they'll actually start trying
self-hypnosis on their own and working with me to help set up their
personal sets of mental filters."

He yawned, stretching luxuriously. It was contagious, and I yawned too.

"Sorry," he said, grinning. "It's kind of warm in here and it's late. I
guess I'm more tired than I realized. You too, perhaps?"

I nodded again. "Yeah. Sorry."

"Don't worry about it. Perfectly natural response." He shifted his
position, and I shifted mine too. "Luke, I'll be honest--I usually use
these mini-conferences to screen out the people who are serious about
sports psychology from the ones who are just going to waste my time; but
with you, let's forgo the usual mini-lecture. I want to try something else
instead, if you'll let me."

"Like what ...?"

"Maybe the best way to explain the power of suggestion and mental
filters is to actually demonstrate them on you. Would you like me to try

"Uh ..." He had kind of caught me off-guard there. "Uhm, thanks, but I
don't know ... What if I can't be hypnotized?"

"You know, Luke, everyone says that. Even Isaac, before I made a
believer out of him. The only difference between you and the other
athletes I've worked with is, by signing up, they've indicated their
willingness to at least try it."

He leaned over his desk and scribbled something on a piece of paper.
Then he walked over to me and stared me right in the eye. His voice was
soft but commanding. He said, "You are stuck to that chair. You are glued
down. Your legs cannot move. You are rigid and immobile."

I of course immediately tested my legs. They moved. So I jumped my
feet and said, "It didn't work. See? I told you I couldn't be

He grinned, picked up the piece of paper from the desk, and showed me
what he had scribbled. It read, "I will make you stand up."

I started laughing, and he joined in.

"See, Luke, not all suggestion involves the hypnotic trance state, and
this little test demonstrates how we're all open to suggestion in some
ways, even if we swear we aren't."

"Yeah, okay--I guess I see your point."

"Have a seat," he said, and I sat back down. "That experiment creates a
win-win situation from my point of view. Whether you stood or not, I
proved my point."

"Very clever," I agreed.

"You know, I've always found that athletes respond very well to a
particular deepening suggestion. Probably because they are so accustomed
to using their bodies, they go into an immediate, deep trance when told to
gradually tighten their arms, shoulders, and chest muscles. I count from
one to five and ask them to get tighter and tighter with each number. Then
I count backward from five to one, asking them to become more and more
relaxed. Repeating the exercise twice, and then ending at the number 1, or
sometimes zero, produces a very deep hypnotic state. But for you, at
first, I'd like to try something a little different."

"Uhm ..." I said, not sure where this was going.

He didn't seem to notice. "I really envy you as a wrestler," he
continued. "Wrestlers are more in touch with their bodies than just about
any other kind of athlete, because you have to use your whole body. You
know how every part of your body feels at every moment, whether it's tense
or relaxed.. Athletes are usually pretty good at hypnosis to begin with
because they have a lot of experience in focusing. The point of
suggestion--hypnosis too, for that matter--is to help you relax your body
and get directly in touch with your subconscious. Hypnosis is not about
the 'will,' and it's not about 'overpowering' your will. It's about using
the imagination. There is nothing particular for you to do to go into
trance. No 'right' or 'wrong' way to go into trance. You can just let
yourself be consciously thinking whatever you're thinking and not really
particularly trying to make yourself go into trance, because trance is not
really a 'doing'--it's more an 'allowing.' Trance is like going to sleep in
a way because it's more like allowing sleep to be there than making
yourself go to sleep. So, consciously, you can let whatever enters your
consciousness be there. It could be the distractions or the sounds around;
it could be the distraction of how your feet feel, as your legs press them
down against the floor, and initially you could be very aware of these
things, or you might be lost in your thoughts, wondering whether they are
going to go into a trance and what it would be like to go into a trance,
and maybe you'll be wondering how you'll know when you are in a trance. So
you can just let those thoughts, that wondering, be there and make sure
that you take care of yourself in whatever way is appropriate as you go
into trance. So you don't have to do anything to go into a trance. You
can just allow yourself to have whatever experience you're going to have.

"Now, much of the time, people find they relax as they go into trance,
but it's not really necessary for you to relax when you go into trance,
because it certainly isn't universal. So you can have muscle tension and
you can pay attention to that tension, and you can be comfortable knowing
that you can go into a trance with that tension being there, that there
isn't anything you need to work on to let go of or to relax.

"And how will you know when you are in a trance? Maybe a change in the
muscles around your eyes? Will it be when your eyelids grow heavy? Will
your eyes close? Maybe it will be a change in your sense of where you are
right now. You may be sure that you're not going into a trance
consciously, and you may be concerned consciously that you won't go into a
trance. Just let that concern be there, and know that you can trust this
situation, a situation in which you may want to go into a trance, one in
which you may be willing to go into a trance, and may feel yourself
responding by going deeper into a trance, because you may not be aware at
the unconscious level of other responses you are having. You may not have
noticed the alterations in the muscles. You may not have noticed the
alterations in your sense of attachment to your arms and hands. Your hands
and arms could become detached in your experience, could in their way
develop a trance or mind of their own.

"You might feel changes in your forearm or your wrist. Unconsciously,
you may find yourself starting to respond, and that response would just
come on its own. Because the unconscious can use that muscle tension and
turn it into movement. It may feel as if there's a force pushing upward
from underneath your palm, pushing the hand and arm up, a little at a time,
and your conscious mind really doesn't know which hand lifts first. So if
your unconscious wants to, one of your hands could start to lift, on its
own, lift up, and you just allow that movement to happen.

"That's good, Luke. Make sure you give yourself permission to be
exactly the way you are and to have exactly the experience you're having,
and when you're ready, at your own rate, you can start to complete your
experience of being in trance. There's nothing you need to do
particularly. Just give yourself permission to relax the rest of the way
into your trance. Continue enjoying this pleasant experience as your
subconscious mind receives everything I tell you. You will be pleased by
the way you automatically respond to everything I say ..."

Some time later, I heard him say, "Luke, you may open your eyes now, if
you'd like, and you may find yourself able to respond to me normally
without leaving your trance. Luke, can you tell me how you feel?"

I opened my eyes and looked up at him. My hand hovered in front of me.
There was some reason why it was raised, a special reason that had to do
with the way I felt. I felt--"Focused. Very focused."

"Good, Luke. Now, do you have anything that your conscious mind would
like to say to your unconscious mind? You don't have to say it out loud,
and you don't even have to be aware of it. Just take a moment and let the
communication occur. Just tell me when you're finished."

I sat there, looking at him. Something was happening in the back of my
head. "Finished," I said.

"Very good, Luke," he said. "Now, just allow your eyes to close, if you
want, and let yourself sink back down deeper into your trance again."

He snapped his fingers and I opened my eyes, blinking. "Wide awake
now," he said. "Do you remember what happened?"

I yawned and stretched. "Yeah--yeah, I guess so. You hypnotized me?"

He nodded. "That was the more traditional trance state. Did you enjoy

"I dunno. It felt--different."

"Everyone experiences the trance state differently. After you have
entered the trance state once, it becomes easier for you to enter it next
time. One trick we hypnotists use is giving you a key phrase or a trigger
to make re-induction easier, and every time it's used, you enter hypnosis
more quickly and deeply." He held his palm up to my forehead. I pulled
back a little, but his hand followed me. "Each time," he said, "it gets
stronger each time. For example ..." And he started pulling his hand down
across my eyes, and even before he said, "Sleep," my eyes were closing.

He snapped his fingers again, and I opened my eyes, thinking, What the

"Just like that. Re-induction strengthens to the trance and helps the
hypnosis work faster," he said. He reached out and put his hand on my
forehead again. "Sleep," he declared as his hand slipped down across my
face, and I was out again.

He snapped his fingers again, waking me. "How did it feel?"

I blinked. I thought about it for a minute. My body felt ... odd.
The words "more relaxed than you've ever felt before" came to mind.

"Good," I said. "Very relaxed."

"That's good, Luke. Very good. You know, Luke, I think you'd do very
well in my class. It will be meeting at 8 p.m., two days a week, in the
gym, Room 128. Just turn this permission form in at the Registrar's office
and they'll get you signed up." He held out the form.

"Cool." I stood up, took it, and shook his hand as he walked me to his
office door. "Thanks for your time, Doc."

Continue to Part 2


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