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.
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 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.)