Altered Trails https://alteredtrails.com Experience Altered States of Consciousness in Surreal Places Fri, 20 Jul 2018 13:05:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Why Even Animals Look For Mind Altering Plants https://alteredtrails.com/mind-altering/ Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:35:26 +0000 http://alteredtrails.com/?p=289 The post Why Even Animals Look For Mind Altering Plants appeared first on Altered Trails.

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Imagine, one day I would ring at your door be dressed like police and overall look quite official.

Like a cop I would show you my service card and present myself as your county’s brand new nutrition inspector.

With a checklist in my hand I would go straight to your fridge.

I would open the door and examine meticulously its content. After a short while I would pull out a bar of chocolate, take a suspicious look at it and check the nutrient table.

Then I would say: “Oh boy, you way surpassed your monthly consumption limit with these refined carbs.”

Next I would find white bread in the kitchen cabinet and my next comment would be:

“Well, now you really got a bit of bad luck this month. I have to confiscate the chocolate and the white bread. Besides, I have to write you up a ticket. You violated the anti diabetes law.” (you may use any similar sounding law with “anti-” at the beginning).

How would you feel with such an officer in your house?

And a particular important question:

Could you be so sure, to be the owner of your own body, if a third party (government) could fine you because of “wrong” nutrition?

I wouldn’t be so sure. There are enough examples in our actual “reality”, which could make you doubt.

In theory the owner of a valuable object should be able to do with it, what he pleases (including destroying it, even if this is stupid).

So if we are the owners of our bodies (a priceless and valuable “object”), we should also be able to do with it what we please.

This includes consciously or unconsciously destroying it, even if this is stupid.

No different is the situation with the consumption of certain mind altering substances classified sometimes as drugs.

In the field of drugs and other psychoactive substances third party interference is common.

Like our “Nutrition Inspector” government interferes and tells us, which drug we can use to destroy our body and which one isn’t allowed.

Legality and illegality don’t help us to know what is right and what is wrong or what is moral or immoral.

Burning witches had been legal for a long time, but it definitely was morally wrong.

So legality and illegality don’t help us to decide between destroying and harmless drugs (E.g. The completely legal drugs like alcohol, refined sugar, corn syrup, etc.).

All legal drugs are often way more damaging than some as “illegal” classified drugs.

From a neurological standpoint sugar even affects the same brain areas like illegal cocain.

So the debate whether a drug should be illegal or legal is irrelevant, since you and I are owner of our bodies and should be able to do what we want with it.

There is one exception though, if we damage someone else by using our property (in the case of our body, this would be some sort of action).

Just like someone under the influence of drugs, a person with a certain neurological deficit or a psychiatric condition since birth may damage someone without ever having touched any drugs.

A human being can always damage someone else by his actions.

So the drug debate is the wrong debate. The right debate would be about the fact that every human being is responsible for her or his actions, no matter the cause or intent.

 

Why even animals are looking for mind altering plants and altered states of consciousness and why this could be the most natural thing in the world for human beings ?

In the year 2012 John Downer (Emmy Award Photographer) had to take some pictures of bottlenose dolphins.

The goal was to shoot some nice pics of relaxed dolphins.

They managed to take some really nice ones from not only relaxed dolphins, but stoned ones.

You might ask, what did they smoke?

Well, evidently they couldn’t smoke under water, but chew on some pufferfish.

In the following video you can see a dolphin, who takes a pufferfish from the ground, chews on it a few times and then passes it to the other dolphins in the group.

 

At first it looks like a ball game.

But then the pufferfish has enough of those nasty dolphins and defends itself against them with his yellowish toxin.

This is the drug the dolphins wanted in the first place.

A high dosage of this toxin is deadly, but in small quantities it causes altered states of consciousness and moves the dolphins into a trance.

Psychopharmacologists have been analyzing the behavior and strategies of animals, trying to attain altered states of consciousness (see Ronald K. Siegel, Intoxication: The Universal Drive for Mind-Altering Substances (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1989), page 11)).

They came to a broad array of conclusions, that extent of numerous different animal species:

  • Dogs lick mushrooms (or poisonous toads, according to my observation in Costa Rica)
  • Goats eat magic mushrooms
  • Birds chew on marijuana seeds
  • Cats have their catnip
  • Wallabies pounce on a field of poppies
  • Reindeers eat toadstools
  • Baboons prefer to enjoy Iboagain
  • Sheep chew on hallucinogenic lichen
  • Elephants prefer alcohol from fermented fruits
  • And lemurs do this:

 

In his book Intoxication psychopharmacologist Siegel explains, that looking for drugs and altered states of consciousness is a normal biological behavior of animals.

It is by far no exception.

This reality led Siegel to a controversial conclusion: “Pursuing ecstasy via drugs is a primary motivating force within organisms.”

The urge to get rid of the mind is so strong, that you could consider it as the fourth drive besides getting water, food and reproduce.

What is the reason behind this?

Every organism takes a certain risk with each ecstasy.

At first glance this doesn’t look like a good survival strategy.

If this behavior brings the own species in danger, why should this have made any sense for evolution?

Cats sometimes get brain damaged because of their cat nip and enough stoned birds crash against windows or cars.

Drug consume is business as usual as well in the rainforest as in large cities.

This fact indicates an evolutionary purpose behind it.

Ethno-Botanist Giorgio Samorini mentioned in his book
“Animals and Psychedelics: The Natural World and the Instinct to Alter Consciousness” the very likely reason for drug consumption.

It is the breaking of old behavioral patterns (including believes).

After a while, humans and animals get to a point, where they stay in a routine or behavioral pattern.

They repeat every day the same actions like a robot or plane on autopilot. But the results of these actions get less efficient by the day.

Animals as well as humans are not the best in just changing their behavioral pattern from one moment to another.

Samorini also writes, that maintaining the same rigid behavior pattern helps to conserve  the species.

The modification and the search for new eventual better ways requires, that these patterns are disrupted only for a short time frame.

Using the metaphor of software, this corresponds with the improvement or an iteration of the program.

Siegel and Samorini argue, that animals consume psychoactive plants, to help lateral thinking or problem solving by indirect and creative approaches.

Instead of gradual or iterative improvements it’s about out of the box insights not easily attainable during normal waking consciousness.

The obstacle during waking consciousness is often “ego”.

It works as a censorship organ and filters out so-called “crazy” ideas, not compatible with existing beliefs before we become aware of them.

Ecstasy reduces and bypasses this censorship.

 

Conclusion

Contrary to the opinion influenced by politics and mainstream media, drugs have an important evolutionary part, to disrupt deep-rooted behaviors.

Disrupting these behaviors very often leads to new and better ways for the own development or the development of a whole species.

The consumer has the risk to misuse the drug constantly to escape the material reality.

Positive evolutionary effects reverse to the contrary and destroying the consumer in the long run.

That’s the risk.

Since we are the owners of our bodies, it is not the question, which drug is currently declared as “illegal” or “legal”.

Well, in a way you have to consider this, to not get involved with law and order.

But actually it’s rather the question of how to use them in a responsible way with the right dose (the dose makes the poison.) and how to integrate the altered states of consciousness experiences in day to day life.

Only by that way positive effects like increased productivity or own personal improvement can unfold.

Declaring a drug as “legal” doesn’t garantize the right and responsible use with it (see alcoholics and sugar addicts, hence future diabetics).

Are you even ready for altered states of consciousness?

The post Why Even Animals Look For Mind Altering Plants appeared first on Altered Trails.

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Why Most Meditation Methods Don’t Work https://alteredtrails.com/meditation-methods/ Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:35:51 +0000 http://alteredtrails.com/?p=275 The post Why Most Meditation Methods Don’t Work appeared first on Altered Trails.

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Most people have difficulties to follow the usual meditation instructions you can find.

Some would even say that you could throw most of them to the trash.

I don’t say “throw them in the trash”, but rather that they are not doing justice to the “mental reality”.

How often have you read, that you just have to observe your thoughts or to not think of anything.

If you are distracted from thoughts, you gently come back to your breath, the mantra or another arbitrary meditation prop.

It is well meant and makes a plausible impression in theory.
But it is easier said than done.

These thoughts come from your subconscious mind.

At the beginning of your meditation practice they can be compared to the Niagara falls or a class 5 tornado, which washes or draws you away in no time.

Unfortunately the average meditation methods don’t consider the root of the problem.

They ignore one essential obstacle deep down in your psyche – emotions beneath your thoughts.

Those meditation disturbing thoughts and emotions beneath belong to a “layer of dirt”. It keeps you in stress and keeps you from altered states of consciousness.

They are also connected to limiting beliefs.

 

Negative thoughts and 5 different mental states, according to Patanjali (from the Yoga Sutras)

meditation methods

Yogis and Patanjali were the first psychologists, who examined different mental states.

A psychological work throughout and examination of the mind is the thousand year old Yoga Sutras by Patanjali.

  • Ksipta: Thoughts and feelings come and go almost unconsciously in a fast sequence. So you are not even conscious, that emotions and thoughts wash you away.
  • Mudha: Your mind is like a heavy water buffalo, which stays for several hours at the same place. This happens most people after a large meal.
  • Viksipta: Thoughts go around aimlessly. In this condition you often have to deal with doubts and obstacles. Thoughts are between indifference and confidence.
  • Ekagrata: The mind is relatively clear. Thought and emotional distractions cloud the mind only partially.
  • Niroda: In this mental state you find unity (Yoga) between subject (you, the observer) and object. The mind is focused only on one thing, without being distracted by external factors. This is one element of a flow state one kind of altered state of consciousness.

Now you know the different mental states and their influence on altered states of consciousness.

Especially the first three mentioned these obstacles and cause stress.

We haven’t dealt with emotions yet.

According to one of my favorite authors, psychiatrist and spiritual teacher Dr. Hawkins out of only one deeply hidden emotion, hundreds if not thousands of different thoughts can be created.

So it doesn’t make much sense, to attack thoughts during meditation.

It is rather better to take on the roots, the emotions.

Thoughts are only the guides that point you to the hidden emotions and beliefs.

But human psyche developed some nasty tricks, to avoid dealing with annoying emotions.

 

Negative thoughts and 3 mental mechanisms according to Dr. Hawkins

meditation methods

 

1. Suppression

If you suppress you consciously or unconsciously push feelings aside.

When suppressing an emotion, there is so much guilt and fear involved, that it can’t be perceived consciously.

It is immediately pushed down to the subconscious mind, before it gets to the surface of conscious mind.

With its different strategies and tactics the psyche takes car that this emotion keeps where it was pushed to.

 

2. Sharing and communicating negative emotions

This mechanism communicates the emotions in different variations to the external world.

There is still the popular opinion of society, that to get rid of emotions and to process them it is a good idea to share them with the environment.

Unfortunately the facts are different.

In the first step of communicating, the regarding emotion is processed and charged with more energy.

As the second step of this mechanism reduces only partially the inner emotional pressure.

The remaining part of the emotion still is suppressed.

If you discharge negative emotions and thoughts with other people in your environment, they perceive this as an attack.

These people are now forced to also suppress, to express or to escape those emotions.

Therefore communicating negative emotions leads sooner or later to the deterioration of relationships.

 

3. The Escape (quite popular)

Very popular is the escape from negative emotions.

In this case we distract us with different things to avoid dealing with them.

This strategy is the livelihood of different industries (E.g. Entertainment, beverages, etc.)

Escapism is a mechanism tolerated by society.

It helps us to avoid to deal with our inner life and hold emotions back from getting to the surface.

There are plenty of other possibilities to escape from yourself and with time become dependent on the means of escape.

Many people urgently want to keep unconscious and even have fear to deal with their selves.

So, it is understandable, that they are especially afraid, to be alone with themselves.

Symptoms of that are compulsive…

  • endlessly talking
  • socializing
  • texting
  • reading
  • working
  • shopping
  • gambling
  • gaming
  • movie watching
  • doing drugs
  • partying

These tactics to avoid being alone with themselves are only helpful to a certain extend.

They are stressful and ineffective, since every activity needs a lot of energy by itself.

This energy is needed to keep the pressure of suppressed negative emotions low.

Suppressed negative emotions, thus sooner or later cause stress.

 

Negative thoughts, emotions and stress

meditation methods

So the real source of stress can we find in our inner workings and not in the external world.

It depends a lot on your limiting beliefs, how you react to external circumstances.

For example, reacting with fear depends on how much fear is already existing in yourself and how much of it has been suppressed.

According to Dr. Hawkins the world is terrifying, chaotic and scary for fearful people.

At this point there is a connection to the way of how this “material” world really arises and that it is not really independent and outside of you.

If you are familiar with the simulation theory or the holographic universe, you may know what I am aiming at.

So what we have inside colors our world. We focus on what we suppressed one day.

Stress thus comes from the accumulated pressure of suppressed negative Emotions.

 

Why a lot of stress reduction methods are not effective

What I mentioned before now explains, why a lot of stress reduction methods are no that effective and only scratch the surface.

They merely try to reduce the symptoms of stress or focus on external stress factors, instead of grasping the causes at the root.

Muscle tension, for example, can be a symptom of sorrow, fear, anger and/or guilt

It is well meant to recommend the person affected some progressive muscle relaxation, but only has a short effect.

Getting rid of suppressed negative emotions would be more effective.

How close physical symptoms are connected with suppressed emotions, I could often experience in the past.

One of these experiences I had as a yoga teacher and participant in workshops with intensive long Breathwork sessions.

Because of ceasing tensions, many people got suddenly access to their subconscious mind and were confronted and overwhelmed with suppressed emotions.

This often led to tears, but had a very relieving effect of the affected.

I particularly remember a meditation several years ago.

A woman began to cry and was clearer than ever, that she didn’t want to marry her future spouse.

There was only a little inconvenience. She was only a few days of her wedding.

It wasn’t the best timing, but it was better realizing it now than too late maybe already with kids.

 

What you can do before or while meditating

Should you give meditation a try again and be confronted with too many (negative) thoughts, you may want to try the “Letting Go” technique of Dr. Hawkins.

It’s a very simple but not easy technique and does the contrary, to the mentioned mechanisms.

The first step is to become conscious of negative emotions, let it come to the surface and stay with it. You let it do, what it has to do without changing it.

Allow yourself to have the emotion, without resisting it, communicating it, fearing it, banning it or moralizing it.

Especially if you resist an emotion, it keeps existing.
You give it the energy it needs for survival.

So stay with the emotion until the energy behind it decreases.

Focus again and again on the emotion behind the first occurring thoughts (symptoms for emotions beneath).

For example, if you have thoughts about a difficult person in your life before beginning to meditate and you keep going in circles, try to feel it.

Which negative emotions are behind these thoughts?

Maybe anger, fear, disappointment or all together?

In this case you work through each of the emotions with the “Letting Go” technique, to shut down the connected thoughts.

Seen from another perspective, we could be thankful for these at the first glance annoying thoughts.

They are like motion detectors and tell us:

“Sorry for the interruption, but you have a suppressed emotion there in your subconscious, which needs your attention.”

Using this technique only once is no guarantee, that the feeling doesn’t come back again.

If an already “processed” negative emotion comes back, it only means, that there are still some small amounts, which need to be let go.

This coming back of negative emotions is understandable, if you suppressed an emotion for a long time.

This can be compared with an inflated air mattress, from which you would like to release air as fast as possible.

So as a first step you sit on the air mattress and get the impression that quite a lot of air is released.

But there is still some air remaining.

By rolling up, folding and weight transfer you can release it too.

Letting go of negative emotions are worth while. After it you feel lighter, reduce stress and can meditate much better.

Accessing and experiencing altered states of consciousness will be also easier.

By releasing and letting go suppressed negative emotions you reduce your risk of having a difficult time for example in a holotropic breathing experience, doing Ayahuasca in the jungle or making a trip to Colorado or other states, where Marihuana is legalized.

If you do this exercise regularly, your thoughts get more and more to the state of “Ekagrata” (The mind is relatively clear.Thought and emotional distractions cloud the mind only partially.)

 

Conclusion

Now, you may know the connection between negative thoughts, negative emotions, stress and obstacles for meditation created by this mechanism.

Altered states of consciousness are not easy to access for the most part, if suppressed emotions cloud your mind with uncontrollable thoughts leading to stress.

Forcing altered states of consciousness experiences ignoring this, may lead to a “bad trip”.

There is one exception to this. If you choose a lighter flow state experience.

Let me know, if you tried the technique and how you did.

Are you even ready for altered states of consciousness?

The post Why Most Meditation Methods Don’t Work appeared first on Altered Trails.

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How Muse The Brain Sensing Headband And 15 Other Tools Help You Access Altered States Of Consciousness https://alteredtrails.com/muse-the-brain-sensing-headband/ Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:34:38 +0000 http://alteredtrails.com/?p=260 The post How Muse The Brain Sensing Headband And 15 Other Tools Help You Access Altered States Of Consciousness appeared first on Altered Trails.

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Okay, click on this button and “Bam” you are in an altered state of consciousness.

To be sure the 16 tools I present you today are not designed to get you in an altered state of consciousness by pressing a button.

But they can help you become more mindful (one need of accessing altered states of consciousness).

You have to bring unconscious issues to the surface.
So you can simplify the process of attaining altered states of consciousness.

In your private or working life this can be the realization of toxic people being around you and/or limiting beliefs.

During meditation this can be certain thoughts, which are based on feelings. Latter are based on past events and beliefs.

The more subconscious things you can dissolve, the easier you can access altered states of consciousness and your true self.

There are some wrong concepts floating around about altered states of consciousness.

They are nothing, which you have to produce first, since they represent the essence of your true self.

You can compare it to remove layers of dirt of lower levels of consciousness, to be able to see the next higher one in a clearer way.

Actually, all levels exist all the time.

So you can also go the opposite direction and add more layers of dirt on top, limiting your consciousness and live in the realm of lower levels.

Don’t get me wrong. The term “level” just helps for better comprehension and doesn’t imply any sort of hierarchy, which doesn’t exist in the first place.

Several of such factors are:

  • Toxic people
  • Regular consumption of consciousness limiting substances like alcohol
  • Consciousness limiting information (e.g. 95% of news and TV)

In the opposite direction, this is also the danger of consciousness altering substances. He who consumes them, gets access to an area which wasn’t accessible before.

Because it appears that the substance helped in that, you may draw a wrong conclusionPeople very often conclude that the substance causes the altered state of consciousness.

But actually only a layer of dirt (e.g. negative emotions, thoughts, believes) was removed or bypassed temporarily.

Instead you access an area, which has been existing the whole time.

Under certain conditions effective shortcuts are possible:

  1. You use those substances in a conscious way
  2. You know the right dose
  3. You know how you integrate the experience into the “normal” day to day consciousness afterwards.

Less risky, but a bit more laborious is meditating.
Removing the dirty layers just takes a bit longer.

And then there are still some “natural” shortcuts via Breathwork.

Here too, one basic technique is to make yourself aware of thoughts and feelings without judging.

There are tools which help the user aware of brain activity.
Further tools complement these tools.

This instand feedback may eventually cause altered states of consciousness similar to psychedelic substances, bypassing the “layers of dirt” temporarily.

At the moment 90% of these tools are bio sensors in different variations.

If you check the negative reviews of a popular e-commerce platform, you will realize that this technology is still in an early phase.

16 Tools, which help you on your way to altered states of consciousness

muse the brain sensing headband

Personal bio sensors

Wearing bio sensors the user can make himself aware of changes in his state of mind and bodily functions.

Most devices measure in a more or less successful way brain waves, heart frequency and breath.

Spire, for example, measures breath and emotional states.

Another bio sensor comes from Hearth Math Solution.
This one enables you to regulate your heart frequency and thus to better calm down.

Muse promises to help you learn the art of meditation, when the brain is focused and when it is distracted.

Art Projects

Art (not every work of art) always had a consciousness altering element.

Often the work of art itself is the intent to translate individual altered states of consciousness to the “normal” world and to capture it there.

There is a current trend with art projects to make it more interactive with technology and bio sensors.

Some works of art were designed in a way, that they change from one moment to another and can never be experienced in the same way again.

One example is the so called Mutual Wave Machine.

It’s a capsular closed room for two people, which produces audiovisual impressions according to the brain activity of both.

You will hear and see what your other half is thinking in an abstract manner. So if you want to try it, make sure you choose the right partner.

The more your brainwaves are in sync, the more vivid and harmonious patterns it produces.

If there is no sync at all between you and your partner’s brainwaves a dark audiovisual chaos occurs.

 

Several similar art projects:

 

Further tools and projects:

  • Neuromore: a platform that bundles data from different bionsensors creating an audio-visual experience for its users.
  • OpenBCI: An open source project, where hardware and software for EEG based brain computer interfaces is developed.
  • SoundSelf: a video game in development, based on virtual reality. The core component of the project is, that the player can create virtual reality again and again by her own voice.
  • Focus@Will: A platform with many pieces of music, which are optimized for higher focus and productivity. They adapted those pieces of music to the natural focus cycle of the brain.
  • Nervana: The devices from Nervana stimulate and synchronize the vagus nerve in a non-invasive manner with music. Thereby fast relaxation and heightened focus are caused.
  • Neumitra: Everybody knows them – places that relax and places do the contrary. Neumitra maps those places with an interactive map. Every user can edit and share other places on the map.
  • Lief: Lief is another bio sensor. This one is put on the body like a patch. It measures your heart rate, your breath and gives you instant feedback of your state. Based on that it gives you hints, what you could do to reduce your stress reaction. You get a training in awareness about your stress situations and what triggers them.

 

Conclusion

There have always been “tools” and “technology” to trigger altered states of consciousness in short time. (E.g. Ayahuasca, Cannabis, Breathwork, Dance, Yoga, rituals, etc.)

By the fast developing technologies it is obvious that they too will be used for that at some point.

Technology will simplify to make things aware as a first step and as a second step, simplify access to altered states of consciousness.

Like older “tools” the challenge won’t be making altered states of consciousness possible. It is rather to be able to integrate those states back into day to day life.

If not it would only be another technology based drug with a certain addiction factor used for escapism.

What would you like to know more about? Let me know.

Are you even ready for altered states of consciousness?

The post How Muse The Brain Sensing Headband And 15 Other Tools Help You Access Altered States Of Consciousness appeared first on Altered Trails.

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How Google Uses Altered Consciousness For More Productivity https://alteredtrails.com/altered-consciousness/ Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:05:22 +0000 http://alteredtrails.com/?p=248 The post How Google Uses Altered Consciousness For More Productivity appeared first on Altered Trails.

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Chances are you don’t know about one of Google’s rather unconventional hiring practices.

CEO Eric Schmidt had to go through some tough situations during “Burning Man” event in the “Black Rock Desert” of Nevada.

He had to withstand five nights without sleep, more than enough heat, a relentless sun and a chilly night.

The cherry on top was an uncertain, unsteady and complex situation.

They wanted him to stretch to his limits and beyond.

With more and more small and larger companies of Silicon Valley, a participation in this event should appear on your curriculum.

For, this psychedelic event makes people work together as a team under extreme conditions.

In most cases group flow states are reached.

In this article you will learn, what this event is all about and how more and more professionals and entrepreneurs use altered states of consciousness for their productivity.

 

What is “flow” and what happens in a flow state?

altered consciousness

As you can read in this article, flow is one of many altered states of consciousness.

In this state you feel very good and can peak perform.

Your focus reaches such a high level, that you forget everything else (including your sense for your little “I”).

Action and perception merge. Time stands still and feeling for linear time is not there anymore.

Several hours can pass by like a few minutes.

There is no consistent research about this altered state of consciousness yet, which could be called 100% scientific.

Thus, we will get a bit into borderline science (my favorite field).

You predominantly find anecdotal evidence and a few scientific studies with little consensus between different researchers.

So far several participants of the Flow Genome Project contributed anecdotal evidence.

Part of it are entrepreneurs, scientists and authors.
They reported being 700 percent more creative in flow.

Additionally a study of McKinsey Managers resulted in Managers being 500 percent more productive.

Professor Teresa Amabile discovered that humans in flow state are not only more creative at the moment of flow, but also one day after.

So, it can be speculated, that you can profit from the positive effects of flow also long-term.

Still challenging, but this can be measured in the brain via brain wave frequencies.

While in normal waking-state fast beta waves prevail, in a flow state they switch to slower alpha and theta waves.

Alpha waves are connected with daydreaming. Theta waves appear during REM sleep phases or shortly before falling asleep.

Precisely in these moments different and conflicting ideas can be combined very efficiently.

This power of deduction is what is needed for problem solving.

And problem solving is something needed by the Sillicon Valley’s startup culture.

It is not limited to them only. Everyone who needs out-of-the-box thinking can enjoy this.

A change in brain wave pattern is one aspect of “Flow”.

Another one is the temporary deactivation of the prefrontal cortex.

This is the place where we solve complex thinking problems. It is also the place which creates the feeling of the little “I”.

At least from the physiological viewpoint, this is the explanation, why the “I” feeling dissolves during flow.

You can also ask a philosophical question at this point.

Who are you, if the feeling of “I” can be dissolved that easily and you still are aware of it at the same time?

Who is this other you watching this, then?

This dissolution brings several benefits for your creativity.

Since this part of the brain is usually also the inner critique and doubter for all kinds of things.

Some call this inner critic “Inner Woody Allan”.

In more spiritual circles, it is called “monkey mind” or “brain monkey”.

In any case this is something you don’t need in a creative brainstorm session.

Moreover, this deactivation causes us to be more courageous. It also enables us to imagine different possibilities and perspectives.

Something important, when wanting to dissolve limiting beliefs.

Neurochemically also very interesting things are happening during flow.

Here too, research hasn’t found 100% consensus.
Even measuring flow with EEG is already a challenge.

Back to neurochemistry:

Where researchers don’t have any consensus is, in which sequence different substances are emitted by the body during flow.

If you would like to dig deeper at this point, I can recommend the book Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment.

It is established knowledge, that the body distributes larger amounts of dopamine, endorphin, noradrenaline, anandamide and serotonin during “flow”.

All increase performance and influence creativity.

Noradrenalin and dopamine increase your focus and imagination.

They also help you, absorbing a large amount of information.

Furthermore, they increase your capacity to recognize patterns and to combine new ideas in new ways with each other.

Anandamides increase lateral thinking.

All in all this is the ideal endogenous chemical cocktail, helping us to attack problems in a particularly creative way.

Specially in group work environments flow states are important.
As examples military elite units could be mentioned.

The problem with normal daily consciousness is, that the brain can process only a limited amount of information.

The subconscious is much more effective.

As already mentioned above, creativity can flow without obstacles during flow.

Normal daily consciousness retreats and the subconsciousness take over.

The endogenous chemical substances of flow not only improve creativity, but do a lot of other things:

  • Increasing of focus
  • Reducing muscle reaction times
  • Faster pattern recognition

This is a capacity sought by elite military units.

If they get into enemy territory faster information processing and pattern recognition is crucial.

This can decide about life and death.

Is is for example the fast recognition of different dangerous situations:

 

  • Who has to be disarmed.
  • Which civilians need to get out of the field of fire.
  • When the trigger has to be pulled and when not.

These small teams like the Seals are that well trained, that these small groups forms one sole unit.

Because of the flow state they act as one organism.

Hierarchies are flexible and switch dynamically and intuitively according to flow.

Sometimes one leads the group sometimes another.

By the way fast pattern recognition is also helpful trading.

Navy Seals are an extreme example, and not everybody needs to be part of them, to get into group flow.

Risky and life threatening situations are particularly predestined for causing flow states.

But, they can also be attained in not such situations. Singing is an example of that.

This study shows, that “Flow” or “social flow” can also be reached by singing in a group like in a choir or in the spiritual field, when chanting mantras.

The study was done with a Jazz-Ensemble group.

 

Conclusion

Flow states can be a booster for increased productivity.

It creates the ideal endogenous chemical cocktail.

This helps to attack problems in a creative way and peak perform in different fields.

Normal daily consciousness makes room for the subconscious mind. And the latter uses fast broadband speed.

I am curious: In which situations have you been in a flow state yet?

Are you even ready for altered states of consciousness?

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3 Examples of Altered States of Consciousness https://alteredtrails.com/altered-state-of-consciousness-examples/ Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:57:08 +0000 http://alteredtrails.com/?p=234 The post 3 Examples of Altered States of Consciousness appeared first on Altered Trails.

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Everyone and her aunt associates the term “extasis” or “trance” with something else.

Some imagine some kind of tribal dances in an African village where pupils are not existing and the eyes show only the white.

Others visualize some ecstasy trip during an electronic music event.

And others imagine themselves in an ashram in India chanting to the feet of some guru early at 06:00am.

Only a few would imagine, that NAVSPECWAR-DEVGRU (Navy Special Warfare-Development Group), known as Seal Team 6, would have access to ecstasy or altered states of consciousness.

DEVGRU has recognized for a long time now, that accessing altered states of consciousness like “flow” is crucial for the success and failure of a mission.

This is not only a decision about life and death, but also if the mission was economically sound.

For, Seal Team 6 has much higher cost for ammunition and equipment than other organizations of the US Marines.

Failures can get costly very fast.

So in this case it is all about accessing altered states of consciousness to increase productivity.

The military interest in this area always has been existing.

Remember the connections between military, secret agencies and drug cartels and/or war on drugs.

They are flushed to the surface of public debate from time to time.

What is actually going on, can’t be brought to light at once, but usually appears gradually on the surface of the public.

The increased interest in altered states of consciousness of the past years was caused by the more and more scientific studies and technology.

Access to this knowledge has become systematically better and better.

Psychiatrist of Johns Hopkins elaborated the following definition for altered states of consciousness:

  • A dramatic change in perception
  • Intensive and often unusual emotions
  • Deep changes in thinking processes and behavior

There is a multitude of different altered states of consciousness.

They can be caused by different techniques, situations and substances or can occur spontaneously.

All of them are more or less in the same brain frequency range. In order not to over extend this article, I present you three examples of  the most important ones.

 

Flow-States

altered state of consciousness examples

I wrote already about flow states in this article. These are moments, which are known as being in the “zone”.

They comprise also group flow, in which a group becomes one without external coercion.

Most people have experienced this type of altered state of consciousness. You too?

It may happen for example when going for a run, dancing or doing creative work like crafting, drawing, painting, writing or working in the repair shop.

While running, it can happen, that you switch in a type of trance state by combining your double quick with breathing.

In this state, there is only running, but no person running. (By the way philosophically asking: Has this person ever existed?).

Flow states usually are associated with athletes or artists.

Because peak performance can be reached in this state, DEVGRU (Seal Team 6) and Google are particularly interested in them.

The difference to other states is, that this kind of state can’t be “negative” in any way of form.

On one hand it is a very addictive feeling not having to deal with the little mind, always chattering and trying to create some drama.

On the other hand, these states are the entrance or first step towards way deeper altered states of consciousness. There, great insights can be gained and healing can take place.

Deeper states have very often a healing character. So, they can sometimes come with at the first glance perceived negative or lets say difficult moments.

Just interested in peak performance, and no paradigm shifts, healing, higher dimensions or other life changing effects?

Then you are good to go with flow states.

 

Mystical or contemplative states

altered state of consciousness examples

Mystical or contemplative states could be met until now in the realm of spirituality or religion.

Usually these techniques and activities are being used:

  • Chanting
  • Dance (E.g. Sufis in mystical Islam)
  • Meditation
  • Sex (e.g. Tantra Yoga)
  • Just recently technologies (not completely developed yet)

Technology in this field usually only supports your goal to shut up the little “I” (you know the monkey mind/ neocortex).

Up until now mystical states occurred usually in spiritual circles. They were associated with saints and spiritual seekers.

These states are much deeper than flow states and different levels of healing on a subconscious level can and need to take place in order to be stable.

A corrupted body-mind system wouldn’t be very stable during such states.

The way to get into these states works without external substances and uses the body as “portal”.

 

Psychedelic States

altered state of consciousness examples

The consumption of external, natural or synthetic substances like LSD, mushrooms, Ayahuasca, Cannabis, etc. is usually necessary to attain a psychedelic state.

Soon 3-D printing will be a driving factor in this field.

Different molecules could be printed according to individual needs, when this technology is mature enough.

Thereby you will be able to produce your own individual substance.

Usually when most people think of psychedelics they think of hippies, flower power and “trippy” ravers.

In a sense psychedelics are more like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates.

You never know what’s coming and enough knowledge about dosage is essential.

This is because if you do this the first time and have never done any work on yourself.

You might open up a box of all kinds of surprises. In comparison to the before mentioned state, the access to your subconscious doesn’t happen in a gradual way.

It’s more like the fast lane and involves a higher risk. This direct effect makes some sort of preparation almost mandatory.

From the neurological perspective all mentioned states have a strong similarity.

Normal waking consciousness always has the same brain wave signature. This can be measured in the prefrontal cortex.

For example, beta frequency brainwaves regularly distribute stress hormones like cortisol and noradrenaline.

The previously mentioned three altered states of consciousness change this signature.

Brain activity changes to either hyperactivity or is barely existing (inactive).

It slows down to unsteady beta, alpha and deep theta waves. Stress hormones like cortisol and noradrenaline retreat.

Then they are substituted by performance and happiness increasing substances like dopamine, endorphine, anandamide, serotonin and oxytocine.

By having that knowledge, altered states of consciousness can be caused faster than before.

If this is a good thing depends on you. The same cautions apply as using psychedelics to get there fast.

Instead of practicing meditations for decades to access alpha and theta brainwaves, you could connect yourself to a neurofeedback device, bringing you directly in this brainwave frequency.

So the learning curve could be shortened quite a bit.

I agree only partially with the researchers. Since this technology is based on the assumption that the brain causes consciousness.

So shortening the meditation, learning curve might not be fully successful.

The current evidence base shows that brains are more like an interface or receiving station for non-local consciousness than a producer of it.

What points in this direction?

  • Cases of NDE (near death experiences) and temporary cerebral death
  • Findings of quantum physics
  • The simulation hypothesis
  • The body of work of biologist Dr. Lipton

Still neurofeedback devices could work. Even if they operate from a likely wrong assumption of a mechanistic and materialistic thinking approach.

My theory is this.

Instead of helping the brain to “produce” altered states of consciousness, this technology helps the brain as interface to connect faster with a certain frequency range of non-local consciousness.

Let’s compare this with a radio device.

The hassle of looking mechanically for the right channel of an old radio receiver would correspond with the long-time meditation in a lonely cave in India with “prana nutrition”.

The faster digital channel search would be the neurofeedback device and other technologies, helping to get you into a meditative state faster.

Conclusion

Some interesting things with interesting technological developments are happening right now, helping you to access altered states of consciousness faster.

Yet, as usual we should pay attention, that this technology doesn’t get into the wrong hands and will be accessible only by a small group of people.

One example of this from the past would be the technology development of MK-Ultra.

Similar to the internet, access should be possible for as many people as possible.

Humanity needs an increase of an overall level of consciousness.

The worldwide legal situation communicates indirectly the message, that consciousness, reducing substances like alcohol is clearly favored and consciousness increasing psychoactive substances are not wanted.

Cannabis is still illegal in most countries of the world.

Compare this with a much more damaging drug like alcohol.

About what would you like to know more about? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you even ready for altered states of consciousness?

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