Goa: A party-center with a hypno obsession

Statue of Abba Faria hypnotizing a woman

There’s a (relatively) small area of the Indian continent that loves all things hypnosis. It’s called Goa. It’s a place of powerful spirituality. Are Goans on that next level? Are they experiencing truth, or just tripping out on party drugs all the time?

It may be small, but the history is rich with all things related to spirit, magnetism, and hypnotic experiences. That’s why it’s one of the most popular tourist locations in India. If you’re on a journey of new-age discovery, this will take you to some really cool places.

Graph showing searches for hypnosis is different indian regions
Looking at the hypnosis interest per region, you can tell that India loves hypnosis, but the popularity is through the roof in Goa

Perhaps you have heard of the stereotype among the hypnosis community: The idea that Indians are very easy to hypnotize (Maybe it’s the popularity of hypnosis in Bollywood movies). Who knows whether or not it is true–but it definitely originates from Goa.


Goa was the first place to bring hypnotism to the mainstream world

Even in 1810, when a man named Abbe Faria brought hypnosis to Paris, he knew that hypnosis was merely suggestion. He knew that there was no mind control happening, and that effects occur on people because thy will it themselves… and yet he also believed that there is an invisible force possessed by all living beings, whether they are plant, animal, or human. Many professionals believe that this magnetism mainly works as because it is a response to an expected result. Regardless, it is entirely possible to have both of these things.

“There was a man in Paris who made the experience of hypnotism public. Every day, some 60 people used to gather at his residence and it was rare among these, that there were not at least five or six people who were susceptible to fall into a hypnotic trance. He would openly declare that he did not possess any secrets nor any extraordinary powers, and that everything he achieved was dependent on the will of the persons he was performing upon.” – French General Francois Joseph Noizet

Even today, we still do performances of hypnosis taking over people, often on stage or in movies. Despite a skeptical North American culture, many people still believe that hypnosis can control people–they think that a set of images, sights, or sounds (love a human’s voice) can take over control of one’s mind… even to the point of being afraid of it.

an 18th Century French banquet where strange hypnotic feats are being performed
Hypnotic demonstrations were brought to Paris and hypnosis became popularized

The Party Capital of The World

Today you’ll find tons of folklore festivals in Goa, but the possibly the biggest ones are electronic festivals. A psychedelic paradise where inhibitions are freed in the name of waking up from the ego.

There’s even a genre of electronic music named after these festivals. They call it psytrance. Hypnosis has been so ingrained into the culture that the music celebrates the way we are taken away from reality. It highlights how much we live in a bubble of illusion, unable to tell reality from our own senseless egoic thoughts.

That’s right, Goa partied so hard that they made a new type of musical hypnosis-party hybrid.

Feel free to check out an example of it:

Some people believe that the path to enlightenment comes from mind-opening drugs, dancing, and partying. Some believe that it comes from countless hours of silence and self-reflection. If we all have such limited knowledge of true reality, who could possibly know what will bring us the freedom and understanding we need?

Our path is clearly our own choice.

It may be a small subset of India, but you’ll find no shortage of hypnotherapy and even hypnotic training in Goa–Showing that they don’t just party with hypnosis… they use it therapeutically as well. They use it along with many other spiritual modalities like Reiki, vastu pyramid, numerology, Law of Attraction, vibrational sound, and of course, Yoga.

Meditation Vs. Hypnosis: What’s the difference?

Woman in grey shirt doing backwards yoga prayer pose. She is meditating or hypnosis

Hypnosis to do specific things, meditation to do general things.

On Work Smart Hypnosis episode 36, Ross Jeffries discussed hypnosis vs meditation (specifically vipassana). He said that it varies based on the style of meditation (For example, a guided meditation would be different).

They definitely work on different levels. Meditation is about having an experience without changing circumstances or judgement. Its about giving up all control and all personal critique. You give in to your own natural order. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about everything you experience. The more you meditate, the more you see things exactly as they are. The thoughts and ideas coming up in your head no longer seem so valid. You begin to see through you’re own illusions. Many people are afraid to see reality, but seeing things more clearly is actually very comforting.

Those worrisome thoughts that we all think at some point– you might see that they have very little basis.

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Differences in brain activity

The brain tends to increase in activity during meditation and decrease in activity during hypnosis (as a general rule–this could change depending on who is training you or what techniques you use). it depends on the induction, according to Greg Poljasik, when he was featured on Work Smart Hypnosis Podcast 19.

This makes sense, intuitively. If you sit still and pay attention to your thoughts, you will find all kinds of things coming up (increased brain activity). If you are being guided into a calm focus with your hypnotist, then you are thinking much less.

Buckwheat Hull Filled Yoga Meditation Cushion
Meditation pillow

Brainwave patterns

There may be different brainwave patterns with different meditations and hypnotic suggestions. We know that changes in gene expression occur with hypnosis (the physiology of the body is changed). The differences of hypnosis and meditation have yet to be studied extensively though, largely because there are no hard definitions of the difference.

Orange hypnotic spiral

Accomplishing goals with hypnosis or meditation

The goal with meditation is generally not as precise. It’s used to improve general health, reduce stress, and gain invaluable insights. Though countless goals ARE accomplished through meditation, they come on their own rather than fixating on a goal.

Hypnosis addresses certain kinds of suffering and fear. Like a headache or a phobia. But what are you can you do about all the suffering or fear that you experience? What can you do about the type of suffering that is inherently part of life? The fact that we will lose things. the fact that we will change, things will change–and we don’t want to change.

Additionally, what are you going to do after your goal? Some people go crazy after they achieve it.

Meditation addresses this bigger picture, though its a longer process. Where the two intersect is in altered states of consciousness. They both cause lowered brainwave patterns, but it definitely feels different, and activates some different parts of the brain.

As a concept, you can combine the techniques from meditation into hypnosis, but it may be executed differently.

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Meditation can be very powerful, and is proven to help with an unlimited number of ailments.

Studies give us valuable info, but may not answer all our questions

Meditation and hypnosis have been extensively studied, and the positive effects are enormous in nearly every single study. As always though, we need a lot more studies to determine very specific things, and the world of mind training is extremely complex in the possibilities. One could even say that this is the golden age of discovery in this area.

Sometimes the difference may not even be distinguishable.

If you were to take a few moments to relax, reaffirm calmness, and breathe slowly… are you doing self-hypnosis or meditation? In this case, it is very much the same. The mind and body simply work best when you are calm and clear. A guided meditation is almost identical to a hypnosis session—the main difference being the position you are in. A guided meditation usually involves sitting in a position with your back straight, where a hypnosis session usually instructs you to sit or lie back in a reclined, easy position. Though sitting is the most traditional position, you can meditate or do hypnosis in any position. You might decide to entirely dismiss the differences as mere semantics or cultural ideas.

Young girl smelling a flower
It’s always best to take a breather.

Different goals, different methods

If your goal is to solve a specific problem, then without a doubt, your best option is hypnotherapy. You can download a recording, but it’s best to see a licensed hypnotherapist in your local area if this is a serious problem–especially if it’s because caused by a deep underlying issue. Just search “hypnotherapist in my area” and Google will know what you mean.

If your goal is to improve yourself in a certain area or two, then a hypnosis download is an excellent idea. Don’t be afraid to shop around and find the right one for you–remember, we all respond differently to different people and recordings. You can find recordings for nearly anything, even very specific things, like improving your golf game, fibromyalgia relief, or to have an amazing sexual experience. If you can’t find a recording, then you can find a hypnotist to do a custom recording for you (Most users find this works much better, because it’s made specifically to your desires.)

If you want overall improvement in your life, then meditation is for you.

I find that a lot of people want it all– they want excellent health, super-powered mind focus, a beautiful partner, wonderful sexual ability, greater performance at work. They want everything but you generally do just one thing at a time with hypnosis. With meditation, you get to improve all of these things, with no one goal in particular.

Think of this role-playing analogy… you could imagine that hypnosis is like a strength potion or a stamina potion. You can get a +10 bonus to one of those traits. But meditation is like an overall booster. You could add a few points to ALL of your  stats.

If you are introverted (or you just like to read), it may be best to read a book to get a grasp on meditation. Zen Mind, Beginner Mind is a popular choice. Just like the Power of Now.  If you are extroverted, you’ll enjoy jumping right in to a local meditation group. Check your local university, as they often have a free meditation group that meets daily.

If you want to be a world champion–the greatest achiever in your endeavors, then it’s recommended that you do do both meditation and hypnosis. Different parts of the mind and body are activated with different kinds of meditation and hypnosis. Challenge yourself with new practices and diversify your training. Set up a specific time to do it each day. Meditate in the morning and do hypnosis at night. This is recommended because your mind is usually clearest in the morning and hypnosis will tend to make you sleepy.

Your morning meditation practice does not need to lengthy. Even 5 or 10 minutes of awareness can grant you extraordinary power if done consistently every day.


On a similar note, I wonder if anyone has ever used a meditation brainwave reading band with hypnosis. Ever since I saw that Pat Flynn uses this for meditation, I have been curious. This seems to be the only way that you can read your brainwave patterns at a consumer (read: sane and affordable) level.

Man sitting and meditating while wearing a Gaiam brain sensing headband
This band plays different gentle sounds to let you know how your brainwave levels are doing.


I think we’re looking at meditation as the next big health revolution. In the 1940’s, if you went running , people would ask you, “who’s chasing you?”. Right now, if you tell people that you meditate, and I have a lot of experience with telling people this, they’re gonna look at you like you’re a little weird– most of the time. That’s gonna change. Meditation is going to join the pantheon of no-brainers like exercise, brushing your teeth, and taking the meds that your doctor prescribed you. These are all things that if you don’t do, you feel guilty about, and that is where I think we are headed with meditation. -Dan Harris