KIRAN ATMA: Altered State Characteristics
Showing posts with label Altered State Characteristics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Altered State Characteristics. Show all posts

Shamanic Heart, Altered Perception And Consciousness - Altered State Characteristics



Certain features of changed states are worth learning about since they explain some of the events that occur when we change our state: 


• improved absorption and decreased distractibility

• narrower focus of attention 

• less voluntary activity (mental and physical)

• passive responsiveness 

• relative effortlessness

• reduction of internal dialogue

• alteration of cognitive functions – facilitation of atypical modes of thinking 

• enhanced imaginal processing – emergence of archetypal images 

• modification of memory processing – increased activity in the memory regions of the brain • relative dominance of right hemisphere functioning

• catalepsy – muscle stiffness 

• dissociation – a split in the normal integrative functions of the mind

• amnesia – memory loss or forgetting

• hyperamnesia – very vivid remembering

• analgesia – loss of sensation in a specific part of the body 


Altered states are also interesting because they produce so-called "altered state phenomena," which can occur spontaneously or be induced, such as: 


Looking at the above lists, which are by no means exhaustive, it becomes clear why working therapeutically directly inside altered states, particularly if we wish to access unconsciously stored information, seems to be more simpler and more effective than working with the brain in its regular condition. 

Alternate states differ, and we have some influence over them, which improves with experience. 


  • We may, for example, slow down brain activity or raise activity in regions of the brain that are involved in ‘remembering' or ‘thinking in pictures,' or reduce activity in the portion of the brain that ‘experiences pain,' and so on and so forth, depending on what we concentrate on. 
  • We have direct access to disconnected, traumatic, and scary stuff when we utilize altered states directly in a therapeutic environment, and we offer clients the opportunity to expand their awareness in the process. 
  • We assist them in gaining access to a world that they would otherwise be unable to enter. It makes no difference whether we understand this world as being simply the personal subconscious or also the communal unconscious, or as being outside or within our brains at this time; what matters is that we offer clients the opportunity to extend their perception of their reality. 
  • We may urge traumatized individuals to remember incidents in order to cope with the very unpleasant feelings that may be unleashed. 

Why do this without also allowing them to experience the benefits of altered states, such as profound relaxation, archetypal helpful figures, and a feeling of being a part of something greater and bigger, something that cares for their soul? 


  • Clients benefit from altered state experiences as long as appropriate integration and re-association are prioritized and the initial separation is not enforced. 
  • Many severely traumatized individuals visit New Age practitioners and join spiritual organizations, which is unsurprising. 

For a long time, I assumed that this first represents an escape from emotional wounding into the realm of the spiritual, an avoidance of painful processes to heal emotional damage, and that this second represents a fit with their mental capacities, as many trauma survivors are used to dissociating from traumatizing realities by accessing and activating certain states. 

After speaking with and working with a number of trauma survivors, I still believe this reasoning is valid, but I also understand that many instinctively recognize that the spiritual component is comforting, that it places the suffering they have experienced in a larger context, and that some spiritual practices can help to release mental/emotional trauma on a much deeper level, provided they also cater to the needs of those who are suffering. 


You may also want to read more about Shamanism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.