-Close your eyes
-Still your body
-Don’t do anything else
When we meditate, we do one thing with all our mental ability and naturally enter a trance state during which many beneficial changes take place in our bodies: our blood pressure and heart rate might rise briefly, they soon slow down and the body gets very calm even as the mind remains focused and alert. This condition feels really good and is great for our mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Here’s a link to an interesting program on NPR about trance.
Fun facts: you put yourself into a trance (it’s guided by a hypnotist, but not possible to en-trance someone who doesn’t want to do it). The term ‘mesmerize’ comes from Franz Mesmer, 18th century Austrian physician who thought that certain flows within the body could be influenced by the movements of the sun and the moon, and could be used to treat illness by manipulating those flows by a gifted guide (what he did was mostly hooey, but there is evidence now that hypnosis is a successful intervention for many behaviors like smoking that we’d like to stop). And the practice pre-dates Mesmer by centuries — trance states are described in ancient texts from Egypt, China, Rome and Greece.
One characteristic of being in a trance is that by disconnecting from other stimuli, you become more suggestible and absorb new information in a non-critical way. Some people are easily hypnotized, for other people, despite wanting to be put in a trance, it’s nearly impossible. You cannot go into an endless trance – the moment you fall asleep the trance ends (it is a focused state of consciousness).