Holistic Health Practices/Part 3
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2006|
|Altered states of consciousness are a product of the deliberate cultivation of abnormal states of consciousness—states not normally experienced apart from a specific technique or program (usually occultic), used to develop them.|
What are Altered States of Consciousness?
Writing in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology (1974, No. 2, p. 125) psychologist and New Age consciousness researcher Kenneth Ring of the University of Connecticut observed that no period in Western psychology “has exceeded the present one in the interest taken in manipulating states of consciousness.” In fact, there is a new global quest for cultivating altered consciousness reinforced by the fact that of some 4,000 modern societies, almost 90 percent already have procedures institutionalized for just such practices.
Altered states of consciousness are a product of the deliberate cultivation of abnormal states of consciousness—states not normally experienced apart from a specific technique or program (usually occultic), used to develop them. Millions of proponents claim that altered states allegedly produce a “higher” state of consciousness or “being,” including dramatic spiritistic (occultic) revelations, psychic powers, personality alteration, and a “positive” restructuring of the participant’s worldview along Eastern/occultic lines. Altered states are used for psychic diagnosis and psychic healing, and are frequently encountered as part of meditation programs which accompany many New Age therapies.
Scientific research in this area is a mixture of investigating normal, marginally altered consciousness (e.g., dreams) and occultic and parapsychological exploration of mystical, occultic states.
Cultivating altered states can be dangerous both emotionally and spiritually. Many cases of temporary and permanent insanity, spirit contact, occult transformation, and spirit possession have resulted. Incredibly, the temporary insanity is frequently interpreted as an indication of spiritual “enlightenment.” Even spirit-possession itself is increasingly interpreted as an altered state of consciousness—allegedly a more evolved condition of existence. For further study, the research of Tal Brooke in Riders of the Cosmic Circuit is illustrative in the area of Eastern (Hindu) religious practice. The fact that altered states are routinely cultivated in meditation, dream work, shamanism, channeling, visualization, hypnosis, various self-help therapies, yoga, and many other practices indicates that they are widespread in society and responsible for a growing number of people being subjected to emotional damage or occult bondage.