Throughout history Humans Beings from every culture and in every part of the World have made strenuous efforts to find a wide variety of methods to experience altered States of Consciousness, many linked to very specific purposes, many simply to escape their everyday reality. Here are some of the methods employed that have varying degrees of effectiveness and benefit.
“Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
For detailed information on this fundamental skill, click here.
“Psychedelics are not illegal because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out the first story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve phonic structures and culturally laid down novels of behavior and information processing, they open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”
– Terence McKenna
A great many mysteries still surround the sleep state. However, what is well known is that depriving the mind/body system of sleep will induce a wide range of psychological and physical changes – most of them not recommended.
Rhythmic Drumming & Dancing
This is an age old method of changing states consciousness found all over the World. Over recent years millions of people have experienced altered states of mind through the phenomena of Trance Music found in Clubs and Festivals. A good and sound method for those with the energy to make use of it. On the down side it is often associated with some very dubious drug use.
Discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove and earned greater public awareness in the late 20th century based on claims coming from the alternative medicine community that binaural beats could help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other desirable mental states. This technology has now been advanced by modern understanding and technological developments, popularised by The Monroe Institute and their Hemi-Sync system. A highly recommended system for developing and enhancing altered states of consciousness.
Hypnagogia is the state we experience while moving from a waking state to a sleep state, that comfortable, dreamy state that lies between the two experiences. With practice people can learn to control and direct this state of mind towards defined outcomes. This is often the state that is reported by people who’ve experienced lucid dreaming.
Isolation tanks are becoming increasingly popular for achieving deep physical and mental relaxation and altering states of consciousness, particularly when used in association with other methods and substances. There are centres being set up in many towns and cities where the use of an isolation tank is available. They are also now being installed into peoples homes where space and finances allow. Joe Rogan is a huge advocate.
Fasting is another age old method of altering states of consciousness. While very effective in many ways fasting should be approached with caution and carried out under informed supervision.
Over recent years a great many devices have become available to allow users to monitor and engage with aspects of their physiological functions.
Biofeedback can be a highly effective method of providing feedback and allowing people a much greater understanding of how the mind controls all aspects of the bodies activities.
Biofeedback may be used to improve health, performance, and the physiological changes that often occur in conjunction with changes to thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
In time and with practice this skill can then be employed without the use of equipment.
Staring into a flame
Many people have had the experience of staring into a candle flame or the dancing flame of a fire and drifting off into their inner world. Soft, flickering light has the ability to help engage the dream state and can be highly effective when carried out with purpose. In essence it is a form of meditation,
According to a World Health Organisation report “Alcohol is a psychoactive substance with dependence-producing properties that has been widely used in many cultures for centuries. The harmful use of alcohol causes huge amounts of social disruption and places heavy economic burdens on individuals, families, communities and society as a whole.”
While alcohol remains the substance of choice for most people (possibly alongside cannabis) for altering their state of consciousness it can be a very slippery slope and should be used with a clear understanding of personal tolerances.
For detailed information on this dramatically misunderstood field of consciousness exploration please click here.