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Author Topic: Altered state of consciousness – What produces them?  (Read 513 times)

Tony Crisp

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Altered state of consciousness – What produces them?
« on: February 08, 2019, 09:35:29 AM »
Dreams themselves are an altered state of consciousness. The term – ASC – refers to a significant change in what is considered a normal waking awareness. Therefore a dream is an excellent example of an ASC. For instance in dreams or in a state where the sense of self is diminished, people can sometimes do or experience things they cannot in ‘normal’ waking consciousness. Problems can be solved in an intuitive way; perception is heightened; some people look ahead to future events, or experience a view of things far distant from their physical body; there is also the possibility of generally impossible healing processes released in the body; memories of early childhood or even life in the womb are more readily accessible in a dream or ASC state than in normal life. Of course, it has to be said that although such things are possible, the run of the mill altered state in dreams of fantasies, has little or nothing of these splendid possibilities. Therefore part of the study of ASC’s is to discover how we can, as humans, learn to use our own potential more adequately. See:esp in dreams; the definitions of dreaming under Freud; out of body experience; dream yoga.

The strange or unusual phenomena met in ASC’s are no longer seen as something simply believed by the gullible. Researchers have been able to witness or record many of them, but there is still no commonly held theory to explain the more radical phenomena such as extraordinary healing or separation of ones self awareness from the body’s location. For instance the yogi Swami Rama demonstrated an altered state in the laboratory conditions of the Menninger Foundation. While wired to record alterations in brain and body he held his right hand in front of him palm up, and while observed by several scientists, caused the left side of his hand to turn bright red, and the right side to become ashen grey. The measuring instruments showed that he had managed to create a temperature difference of 10 degrees Fahrenheit between the two sides of his hand. In explaining what he does, yogi Rama says that ‘All of the body is in the mind, but not all of the mind is in the body.’

A dream itself IS an ASC. In most dreams however, we do not often demonstrate such radically altered talents. Nevertheless, there are differences we can all note. Foremost is the fact that with eyes closed we have managed to create an apparently real world surrounding us which is purely personal and not witnessed by other people in the same room. In this world of our conjuring we feel ourselves completely involved, capable of experiencing all the emotions and responses we would feel if in fact the events we meet in the dream occurred in the waking world. If we make love in our dream we not only feel real passion, our body may also produce all the signs of actual love making, such as ejaculation, that would occur if one had a physical partner. Technically this ability to see a dream as an external reality is called hallucination. Occasionally this occurs while we are awake or using a drug.

Although dream hallucination is taken for granted, it has enormous potential. In our nightly dreams we often touch only a tiny part of this potential. This is understandable if one considers that in the sexual dreams mentioned our body fully takes part in what is being dreamt. This could mean that if we dreamt of our body being hot on one side and freezing on the other, there is the likelihood that we would, like Swami Rama, produce a marked difference of temperature on the opposite sides of our body. In fact people who have learned biofeedback techniques can do this in some measure.

Making one part of our body hot and another cold may not be of great practical benefit, although it probably has a marked healing effect if the extra blood is directed to sick parts of the body. Supposing however, we could dream in a way enabling us to see what was happening in our body, to recognise signs of illness and heal them. This would be a wonderful addition to our natural healing process. This is not a fantasy, it happens with a few people, and understanding the process can help us conscious work with it. Similarly, people have learned to work with the dream process to ‘dream’ traumatic episodes of their birth, babyhood or childhood. In doing so they uncover the powerful reactions that were experienced or decisions made which have subsequently influenced their lives negatively. They also manage to meet the person or baby they were at that period of their life, and help it integrate more fully with the present situation. See: Lucid Dreaming; lucidity – awake in sleep; dream yoga.

 Realistic Time Travel
Although we are often not in the habit of believing that we can usefully interact with a dream image – which in our culture is frequently seen as ‘only imagination’ – we can nevertheless produce powerful personal changes in this way, and there are plenty of examples in psychology and in everyday life of the power and reality of such interaction. In computer use for instance, it is now commonplace to have an image on the screen that connects us either with information stored on the hard disk, or will evoke a programmed response linked with the image. So by moving our cursor to an image and clicking on it we can start a program such as a word processor; or we can cause to be displayed information such as a book, music or a photograph, that is stored on the hard disk. In a similar way, by learning to use an ASC, such as the dream state or a condition in which you are engrossed in a directed fantasy – such as meditation or prayer – and by using a dream image in such fantasy, you can evoke responses from parts of you usually inaccessible. See https://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/altered-states-of-consciousness/