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Altered states of consciousness

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An Altered State of Consciousness is any state which is significantly different from a normative Waking Beta wave state. The expression was coined in the 1970s by Carlos Castaneda and describes induced changes in one's mental state, almost always temporary. A synonymous phrase is "altered states of awareness".

Common Causes

An altered state of consciousness can come about accidentally through fever, sleep deprivation, starvation, oxygen deprivation, nitrogen narcosis (deep diving), or a traumatic accident. Intentionally it can sometimes be reached by the use of a sensory deprivation tank or mind-control techniques, hypnosis, meditation, prayer, or disciplines (e.g. Mantra Meditation, Yoga, Sufism or Surat Shabda Yoga). It is sometimes attained through the ingestion of psychoactive drugs such as alcohol and opiates, or hallucinogenic plants and chemicals such as LSD, 2C-I, peyote, marijuana, mescaline, psilocybin mushrooms, and datura (Jimson weed).

Naturally occurring altered states of consciousness include channeling, dreams, premonitions, euphoria, ecstasy, out of body experiences, psychosis and "being in the zone".

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References

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