I ran into paraliminals the other day for the first time. Actually, it occurs to me that you might wonder what I am talking about!
I have mentioned in previous posts that one of the personal development blogs I follow is written by Steve Pavlina.
Well, Steve was writing about the benefits of certain paraliminals used by a personal development site called Learning Strategies. Learning Strategies apparently uses paraliminals in certain reprogramming strategies, and I was intrigued.
So, I signed up for a free online demonstration.
First of all, paraliminals need to be distinguished from subliminals, as the latter operate below the level of your conscious awareness. There are no subliminal messages in paraliminals.
When you listen to a paraliminal you use headphones (or it is highly recommended that you do), and you actually get 2 distinct voices in each ear. There are apparently good (and supposedly even scientific) reasons for doing it this way, having to do with the voices speaking to the separate functions of each of the 2 different hemispheres of the brain.
The messages are sometime given against the backdrop of music (again, this music apparently has been specially developed to assist in the more efficient delivery of paraliminal suggestions—I won’t bother with the “how” explanation here), and contain advice, instruction, some affirmations, and some quite vivid visualizations. The idea is to help the listener reach a very relaxed, even meditative state, and then use the visualizations, advice and instruction to overcome certain issues, such as self-esteem issues, procrastination issues, prosperity issues, low energy issues, and so on, and to thereby improve upon one’s life.
I have to say that hearing 2 voices is incredibly distracting. In fact it is impossible to focus on both, and almost impossible to focus on either one for any period of time. But again, that is part of the technique. Apparently the mind eventually figures out that it is impossible to focus under these conditions on a conscious level, and it basically shifts into neutral, allowing you to just relax and get very passive about the whole event.
A few negatives.
First of all, as far as I can tell, the term “paraliminal” is a term that was made up by the Learning Institute. I can’t find any evidence that this is a term used, or even recognized by the larger scientific community. Not fatal—but a flag.
And the instructions and explanations about how all this works, all of which originates from the Learning Institute, are full of phrases like neuro-linguistic programming, accelerated learning, preconscious learning, and paraconscious mind. Now all of these phrases, with the possible exception of paraconscious mind, are considered by many in the scientific community to be just so many examples of pseudoscience—and not supported by legitimate scientific study. Again, not fatal—there is lots out there in this field of mind/body/spirit that is viewed with suspicion (at the very least) by the scientific community, and some of this criticism is, frankly, just closed-mindedness—but it is another flag.
And then, one of my pet peeves—much of what has been written about paraliminals by people that are not part of the Learning Institute (in fact almost all that has been written that I could find), even though their writing is presented as an independent and well thought out analysis of the technique, concludes with a link to the Learning Institute and an offer to sell you some of their product! Really???!!!
A few positives.
At this point I have been faithfully listening to my paraliminals for about a week. I can’t yet report any obvious improvement in self-esteem issues, procrastination issues, low energy issues, or prosperity issues. Maybe these changes are underway, I don’t know. If I detect any changes—positive or negative—I’ll report back.
But, I can personally confirm that the paraliminal programs that you listen to, either with CD’s or MP3 downloads, are incredibly relaxing. In fact I don’t know that I have ever been that relaxed—even with meditation (tho’ I will say that there are some self-hypnosis programs that I have listened to that are right up there too!). In fact, they are so relaxing, so soothing, so easy and enjoyable to listen to—-that I am going to listen to them, regularly, for that reason alone!
And I am operating on the premise that anything else I derive from this practice is a bonus—not necessary as far as I am concerned—just a bonus.
I’ll keep you posted.