States Of Consciousness (Part 2)

In the First part of this series, I shared with you the different brainwave frequencies, and how they can affect consciousness.

In this part, I would like to begins to list a few different meditation practices  that have also proven to show ways in which to induce other states of consciousness.

Transcendental Meditation

One of the most famous of these practices being Transcendental Meditation™. TM™ was introduced to the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, his most famous of students being The Beatles. TM™ could be labeled a form of concentration meditation. In this practice, one is given a mantra by their teacher. During the meditation, the practitioner focuses on the mantra by repeating it over and over. This can induce a trance-like state. If the practitioner notices the mind wandering from the mantra, they simply bring their attention back to it, and begin again. This meditation is usually set for a period of 20 minutes. Practitioners often refer to the state achieved through this practice as the transcendental state of consciousness

(Another famous practitioner of the TM technique is David Lynch. He has created The David Lynch Foundation to bring the TM technique to inner-city schools.)

Sensory Deprivation/ Floatation Tanks

Floatation tanks were developed in the 1950’s at the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The hypothesis was that by eliminating external stimulus, the mind could relax and become more focused on internal stimulus.

Modern day floatation tanks are filled with dense salt water, and are generally sound proof, and sealed for darkness. The practitioner floats in the tank with their head floating above the water. The sessions generally last about an hour. During that time, the practitioner practices whatever meditation technique they chose. The desired result by the end of the session is increased Theta waves in the brain.

(Comedian Joe Rogan is such a fan, he has his own personal tank in his home)

Breath Work

Breath work s a general term for different breathing techniques that can alter one’s state of consciousness.  Like meditation, there are many types of breath work, and more being developed.  Some famous types of breath work are Pranayama breathing, Tibetan Tantric Tummo, Holotropic Breathwork, as well as forms of movement and breath work together such as Qigong and T’ai Chi.

Each of these techniques brings its own pattern to consciousness. Some Shamanic styles often incorporate music at the same time. (Dr. Andrew Weil gives a quick overview.)

States of Consciousness (Part 1)

What is Consciousness? This question has been subject of debate since the time of Descartes.

Simply put, consciousness can be considered a level of awareness, both internal and external. (Subjective or Objective)  Let’s look at 3 of the most common states of consciousness.

1) Waking state. 

2) Dreaming State

3) Dreamless Sleep

These 3 states of consciousness are pretty self-explanatory and familiar to any mentally healthy functioning human being.  From here, there are many other states of consciousness that very, depending on the source material from which you may be investigating.

One theory on what creates various states of consciousness is based on brainwave patterns.  There are 4 basic ranges of brainwave frequencies.

Beta Waves (14-30 Hz)

Beta waves are the most common in everyday waking state consciousness. Chances are, as you are reading this, you are creating primarily Beta waves. This frequency is often associated with concentration and cognition. Beta waves at the higher levels are associated with anxiety and overwhelm.

Alpha Waves (8-13.9 Hz)

Alpha waves are common while in a state of relaxation, light trance, or meditation. Serotonin levels are increased, and is often associated with the experience of pre-sleep, and pre-waking.

Theta Waves (4-7.9 Hz)

Theta waves occur prominently in REM sleep cycles. They are also common in deep meditation and trance states.

Delta Waves (.1-3.9 Hz)

Dreamless sleep. HGH released in the brain. Non-physical awareness.

The multiple frequencies occurring in any human at anytime create a mandala like pattern that informs the state of consciousness in the moment.  There are many kinds of biofeedback machines that can detect or even entrain particular brain wave states through light or sound waves. (I have been using binaural beats in my meditation practice for years)

There are also 2 other types of brain wave frequencies discovered in the last century, Gamma Waves, and Mu Waves. Most of research has yet to be conclusive on these frequencies.  (See Ken Wilber change his Brainwave patterns Here)

Competition for Love?

Have you ever felt you were in competition for the love and affection of another?  I would like you to try on an idea around this one….

If you are in “competition” for another person, it’s highly likely that you are objectifying that person.

Think about it….

The term competition itself suggest there is someone else to defeat, in order to gain what you want. You have to do what you need to do in order to “win”.

If you desire to be closer to someone, I highly recommend cultivating a Relationship with the other.

In competition for the attention of the other, one must strategize how to win. In a relationship, one is with the other and notices what it is like. From there, one can notice what one appreciates.

I have a hypothesis that even if you win the “competition”, you ultimately lose in the long run.  The “prize” of the relationship with the person was based on strategy, not who one genuinely is. Either the strategy has to continue, ultimately wearing the actual person down while they pretend to be something the actually are not, or they show their true colors, and the person they fought for feels lied to and distrustful.

Cultivating a relationship takes time and honesty. In an honest relationship, the journey is the destination.

Kubrick’s One-Point Perspective

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/48425421″>Kubrick // One-Point Perspective</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/kogonada”>kogonada</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

As in Circling, I enjoy gathering as much perspective as I can. To see the world through as many angles and lenses as possible always energizes me.  One of the things I really enjoy about this video, is the many ways in which just staying with the one perspective, actually allows us to see things we might not have noticed otherwise.

My Experience with the Enneagram

For those of you not familiar, the Enneagram is a personality typology consisting of 9 personality types. It’s origins are debated, but by some accounts it dates back to as early as the 4th century.

As with any personality typology, the average person can see characteristics of themselves in any of the nine types. What makes the Enneagram different in my eyes, is that these types are then connected in a manner that show what various types integrate to in times of security, and disintegrates to in times of stress.

The more I have learned about the Enneagram, the more fascinated I have become.

Initially, I heard about it from several friends who happened to be really in to the subject. Seeing as I respected a lot of the other work they had done in transformation, I thought I would check it out. So, I went online and began to take some random tests that are available. I usually find these tests entertaining, and I also find them frustrating as I can most always identify with all the multiple choice answers in different situations.

I was stunned when I got the results. I had received 100% on several different numbers!  How is that even possible?

After speaking with several different people, I was told that this was common. We can identify with all the different personalities at different stages in our development, and the tests can sometimes reflect that.  After taking several different online tests several different times, I was asked to identify my type for a workshop I was participating in.  Being frustrated the process, I chose one of the numbers I had scored 100% on, and called it good.  I was a 6. It seemed right. I could relate. I wasn’t quite buying into all the fuss, but this would do in order to get through the workshop.

As the topic began to show up more and more in my everyday life, the question would come up from time to time. What number are you on the Enneagram? I would identify as six, and then begin to own the fact that I really didn’t feel like I was any one number, and questioned whether or not this personality typology really worked.

Then, a friend on Facebook gave me some of the best advice I had ever received about discovering my type number. She suggested I read a book on the subject, read the shadow aspects of the types I suspect I might be, and when I read the one that has me most pissed off, and want to throw the book across the room, that would be the type number I most identify with.

The thought amused me, and seeing how I still found the subject interesting, I thought I’d give it a go. I took another online test, and scored 100% in several different numbers. I then checked in with some friends who had recently attended a 3 day Enneagram conference and asked their opinion of which of these numbers they could see me as.  I then went and read the shadow aspects of those numbers.

I laughed. I cringed. It was painful and enlightening at the same time. I had to accept these aspects of myself I had been blind to.

At that point, I had to admit, I had found a personality typology that really added some deeper understanding to my life.

I have recently began to identify as a Type 9. (The Peacemaker/ The Mediator)

I’d love to read any experiences you have had with the Enneagram.