Why is this important?
Altered states of mind allow you, not only to see the world from an alternate perspective, they allow you to tap into a formerly unused aspect of yourself. This is a very useful, as projection, visualization, and sometimes the aspect on it’s own helps unravel life’s mysteries. I could also venture to say, through experience, that an altered state can easily give you knowledge just from it’s activation.
There are many ways to achieve an altered state of mind.
Ritualization (to make a ritual, or to make into a ritual) is the most effective way. It involves a long set of tasks and a good amount of time. Usually, a group is involved. Most people just down have a coven waiting around, making this option very nonviable for the majority. We all know what a ritual is, I’m assuming.
A ritual is a set of tasks or steps to draw power to, to draw power from, or to honor an idea, idol, symbol, or spirit.
This ambiguity means, that from a singular standpoint you can revere your own idol, and to create sanctity for your own experience. Making it effective in mass. Also, there is a uniting effect of a ritual. When the same people perform the same ritual, there is a spiritual and psychological unity. This unity can be felt, it is tangible within your mind. You can observe this within ministries and orders the world over. Once one person is united within the group, in mind and spirit, there is no separation, from the person’s own will. It is truly an awesome experience.
However, there are very viable alternatives.
For the most obvious, there is meditation. It is a mental exercise, to rid the mind and charge it for use. It does not contain the benefits of a ritual, but it can be ritualized to be more effective than it’s brethren. Within meditation, there are certain practices which allow for many different altered states to be achieved.
There is sensory altered states. These include the uses of: excitation, stressors (a stressor is any outward influence that causes stress), sensory deprivation and sensory overload. These are just fancy words for pain, stress, emotion, pleasure, and lack of sense. These are quite easy to obtain and materials to activate these means are free, or nearly free. In terms of two-factor theory, low arousal, high arousal, no arousal, all things in between and all stress; low, high, or no stress.
Now, there are nearly infinite ways to go about this.
But, the goal is self-actualization with the attainment a state of being attuned with gnosis, or a natural and clear frame of mind with pure knowledge unaffected by the human condition. By being unaffected, I mean a state of sentience above that of a normal human.
Now, I know this all is a little heady, and maybe even a tad bit condescending, but it’s true. I am not going to profess to be a full master at entering gnosis, but, when you have entered it, you will know. It feels like you know anything and everything at a sudden moment, and it is. It is a moment of total insight.
Thank you so much for your time, and good journeys, maybe we’ll meet along the path some day.
And, as a final foot note, I leave you a quote of Gnosis:
Plato The Statesman 258e —
“Stranger: ‘In this way, then, divide all science into two arts, calling the one practical, and the other purely intellectual .’
Younger Socrates: ‘Let us assume that all science is one and that these are its two forms.'”
3 thoughts on “Practice and Practicality: Altered states!”
That’s a good answer. It’s nice to talk about loaded subjects with a fresh perspective. Your comment about shamans being “functional schizophrenics” caught my attention, though. The DSM is rapidly losing it’s credibility for a lot of different reasons which I think makes it a good time to remember that shamanism predates (to a degree that can only be understated) any process for judging the sanity of another human. I would go so far as to say that schizophrenics are shamans that have been orphaned from their original context and that society is a “functional hell” which decides to get along without shamanism (and ritual, mindfulness, magick, etc..), no matter what the consequences. That being said, I will leave the issues there so that other things can be discussed. I recommend experimenting in a safe place with safe people, no matter how old are clean cut you are. The natural world has amazing gifts to give. Namaste.
From a psychological perspective, I can only give you, “probably, maybe”, it’s a theory based science. Although, the theory of arousal and emotion does have a strange correlation with parapsychology, and also, most shamans are now believed to be functional schizophrenics. From a metaphysical perspective, I can say, with those substances your mind is open and altered to foreign energy the likes of which should be studied intensively. As for spirit science, which is more than meets the eye when one delves into the forums, you find a melting pot of religious ideas, holistic medicine, psychology, gnostic ideas and spiritual studies. The “stoned ape” theory is novel, but does have some basis; as in, the effects of drugs (which are mind expansive and nerve stimulating) could be sought, and transferred from generation to generation. As for spiritual history, I prefer traditional archaeology and intelligent design.
What’s really amazing to me is that each of these methods of reaching altered states is perfectly compatible with the one which is most taboo, misunderstood, and difficult to come by; entheogens. By far, most of my most profound states of seeing the unseeable and knowing the unknowable were under the influence of either lysergic acid, psilocybin, or mescaline. What are your thoughts on this? How do you suppose Terence McKenna’s “Stoned Ape” theory fits into the Spirit Science narrative? Sometimes I wonder if we were not the only lifeforms placed here as if a part of an experiment…