Altered States of Consciousness – Meditation vs. Other Ways
What I am going to tell you in this post about the altered states of consciousness is based on my own experiences and learning, through this article, I really want to debunk various myths associated with meditation because often people with less knowledge about it believe that it is just another way to escape the reality.
Before talking about how meditation works, I want to answer a basic question.
What Is Altered States of Consciousness?
Let us consider this particular moment; if you are able to perceive your environment with total awareness then you are fully conscious.
But during our day we often go through phases where we are not fully awake, it could be when you are daydreaming, obsessed with a particular thought, immersed in your favorite music, etc.
In all the above-mentioned activities we are experiencing a different mind state than the normal fully awake state, so it could be said that your consciousness varied during those times.
Now, those were just a slight variation of mind state which we all experience frequently. The degree to which we perceive things properly using our 5 senses decides the quality of our consciousness.
Sleeping is a highly altered state of consciousness because when we are asleep we are least aware of the sensory information, that doesn’t always mean that we are not having any experience during that state because we do dream while sleeping.
So, one easy way to know if your consciousness is altered is to check if you are able to properly perceive your surroundings using your five senses, if you doubt it even a little then there are high chances that your consciousness might have altered.
Escaping the Reality
It is true that many people become too obsessed with the things/method that alters their state of consciousness because it helps them to experience the world in a different way from normal (often in an exalted manner).
Use of psychedelics is the most popular way for doing this. In fact, there indeed is a big reason why people get so attracted to these drugs and it is none other than to escape reality.
There are also many other good/bad methods they use for doing this like hypnosis, binaural beats, alcohol and a lot more other stuff that enables them to mess up with their mind’s normal working which temporarily helps them to run away from reality.
Meditation is a totally different process from what I have discussed above because rather than making you escape reality it shows you the true nature of everything. The alerted state of consciousness that one experiences during deep meditations often help one to have profound insights that could be life changing.
See, whenever a person uses the other methods he gets to an altered consciousness state and then comes back with dissatisfaction. He craves for those experiences over and over because that gives him a temporary relief from his life issues.
On the other hand, when a person meditates, he wakes up with a satisfaction and he becomes more alert than before, sometimes this shift in perception leads to the end of his miseries.
Unlike the trance states that many other methods assure, it is not necessary that you will have that type of intense experiences with meditation, but with regular practice, you will definitely be able to improve your mind states to a great extent.
I would recommend you insight meditation as I have practiced it for a long time and it has helped me immensely to reach deep relaxed mind states.
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