Awakening and altered states

To perceive everything as one is not an altered state of consciousness. It’s an unaltered state of consciousness. It’s the natural state of consciousness.

– Adyashanti

Enlightenment is not an altered state of consciousness. It’s coming out of an altered state of consciousness.

– Adyashanti

It’s interesting to look at the relationship(s) between awakening and altered states.

MEDICINE FOR A CONDITION

Why is Adya pointing this out?

Likely because some assume that awakening is a kind of altered state. The pointer is medicine for the condition of assuming it’s about altered states.

If we assume it’s a state, we’ll chase states – something that’s “out there” in others or in our future or even past. We’ll miss it right here. So by pointing this out, Adya is inviting us to look at what’s here and now independent of the presence or absence of any particular states.

Awakening is about noticing our more fundamental nature and living from this noticing. And this nature is here no matter what our content of experience is, and no matter what state is here.

THE MORE FUNDAMENTAL ALTERED STATE

Altered states is conventionally defined as the altered states we can experience through drugs, insanity, or something similar. These are not what Adya talks about.

When he says awakening is coming out of an altered state, he probably refers to the altered state created by holding stories as true. The mind believes certain assumptions and stories about ourselves, others, life, and the divine, and – to some extent – perceives and lives as if these stories are true. Most of these assumptions and stories are not very conscious. It will also interpret whatever is happening from within the stories it more explicitly holds as true.

Since thoughts are questions about the world, have a pragmatic function only, and cannot – by their nature – hold any final, full, or absolute truth, holding stories as true brings us out of alignment with reality. It’s a kind of insanity. And it’s responsible for nearly all of the insanity we see in our own life and the world.

THE UPSIDE OF ALTERED STATES

There is one benefit to altered states. If we experience some of them over time, we’ll eventually notice that their nature is to come and go. They are visitors. They are not what this is about.

And there is the same benefit to noticing that we are always experiencing altered states. The content of our experience is always changing. It’s always altered. Noticing that, and really getting it in our bones, helps us notice that we cannot – most fundamentally – be any content of our experience. It all comes and goes. Even anything related to this human self comes and goes and is always changing. So what it is that’s more fundamental? What’s not changing?

INITIAL DRAFT

DEFINITION OF ALTERED STATES

Altered state – a state of mind that differs from the normal state of consciousness, typically one induced by drugs, hypnosis, or mental disorder.

– Oxford Languages

This is the conventional definition of altered states, and it points to dramatically different states from what we consider “normal”.

We can also say that we always experience altered states of consciousness. Every moment is a new state of consciousness and experience.

A MORE FUNDAMENTAL ALTERED STATE

Adya likely refers to a more fundamental altered state of consciousness, and one that becomes very obvious from within awakening.

That’s the altered state that comes from primarily identifying as something within our content of experience. As this human self, as a me, an I, an observer, a doer, and so on.

Our minds takes itself as something within its own content, and perceives and lives as if that’s the case. This is the altered state many of us function from, and it is a kind of very normal and ordinary insanity.

WHY IS ADYA POINTING THIS OUT?

Because some assume that awakening is a kind of altered state. If we assume that, we’ll chase states – something that’s

….

INITIAL OUTLINE

  • altered states and awakening
    • Altered states
      • conventional definition, quite dramatic
      • in reality, always altered states
    • altered state, more fundamentally
      • any time hold mental images and words as true, we create an altered state for ourselves
      • the mind creates an altered state for itself, separation consciousness,
    • awakening
      • notice our nature, oneness noticing itself
      • hold stories lighter, unless emotional issue/trauma
    • spirituality
      • can experience any number of states
      • happen within and as what we are, what we are forms itself into any experience including states

…..

I assume what Adya refers to is the more fundamentally altered state of consciousenss that comes from primarily identifying as something within our content of experience. As this human self, as a me, an I, an observer, a doer, and so on.

…..

When Adya says awakening is coming out of an altered state, he probably refers to the altered state created by holding stories as true. The mind believes certain assumptions and stories about ourselves, others, life, and the divine, and – to some extent – perceives and lives as if these stories are true. Most of these assumptions and stories are not very conscious. It will also interpret whatever is happening from within the stories it more explicitly holds as true.

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