At each moment of the day your brain is operating in the mode it has been trained to apply to the circumstances.
An altered state is any resulting from an act of will, be it a mental practice, a physical stress or stimulation, or the ingestion of substances, that causes the brain to operate in a mode other than that which it would “choose” of its own accord.
Altered states can be used to accentuate any value system. They are also the places to find inspiration, novel connections and recollections that make new ideas possible.
Delta is associated with sleep-related processes – deep integration of recent experience. Meditative delta maintains a constant level of consciousness to direct the integration. Gamma seen during delta meditation is effectively only the minimum flicker of real time consciousness required to ensure that the place of meditation is not on fire, that it is just the gardener burning leaves. There’s no need to add it, but doing so does no harm.
Add low alpha/high theta to a sleep-style delta session and you’ll have the basic formula for lucid dreaming. You can run two parallel tracks or use bursts of theta in the delta track, or any combination that allows the two to be perceived separately. Delta needs to dominate in time and emphasis.
Lucid dreaming contains experiences corresponding to descriptions of out of body experiences, remote viewing and communication with entities. Irrespective of interpretation, delta/theta is the gateway. Likelihood of success is affected dramatically by sleep, nutrition, other practices, beliefs and so on. AVS/entrainment is supportive – it will not cause the thing to happen without you co-operating. This includes the understanding that you truly desire the thing to happen, and don’t just want to prove it doesn’t.
Once an altered state has been experienced, by whatever means, it becomes easier for the functional equivalent to be created in the non-altered states. An altered state is a perspective. If it doesn’t ultimately reconcile with the perspectives of the individual’s other states, then we have all the pre-requisites for mental illness.
AVS/entrainment uses techniques with names like “dissociative” and “hypnotic”, terms used to describe mental disorder and a doorway to the sleep-world. Working with altered states is an exercise in inducing various experiences that, if not under will, would be symptomatic of mental illness. Herein lies the integrative potential of psychoactive techniques in the treatment of mood, personality and dissociative disorders. Psychoactive substances and practices have been used for “healing” in most tribal cultures.
Once it is realised that some alternate realities are induced fabrications, it becomes easy to accept that all are, and to then be selective in which you choose to place value.
Theta/gamma with random beta is a good place to start for religious experiences and deep insights. It works best if recently exposed to inspiring information. A podcast on a relevant subject can be a good intro to a session.
Other altered states can be achieved by manipulating serotonin with 10Hz alpha, and stimulating anxiety/excitement sensations with beta.
Any session that attempts a complex interaction between states is improved by an unobtrusive but constant 40Hz gamma or random 30-50Hz gamma, or a delta track on a gamma pitch.
The most important thing to consider in designing altered states sessions is that some type of continuous consciousness has to be maintained in order for the content of the altered state to be recalled. Getting into a deep theta or delta state isn’t difficult. Most do it every night. The trick is to let all the autonomic functions free-fall into deep sleep while leaving sparks of consciousness intact in all the vital places to see what happens, and very frequently, influence the sequences of perceptions.
Whatever state you seek, the session is only part of the setting. Whatever symbols you identify with, they can be correctly used to support the objective of the session. Candle colours, incense, fabrics and furnishings, tools and rituals, mantra/prayer, posture, and so on. A Roman Catholic or Anglican Mass is an excellent example of the effectiveness of identifying mental states with full sets of sensual inputs, ritualised actions and recitation/repetition – the same techniques can be used to reinforce any perspective/belief.
Altered states techniques become more powerful as more people report them effective. It is very hard to write a session that is compellingly effective unless you know you are using techniques that have a better than average reputation. AVS/entrainment is absolutely excellent as a supporting technology for altered states exploration – right from the fundamental emulation of primitive drumbeats. Contemplate what the delta, theta and alpha states mean to you – design an altered states session to encourage the dominant activity you believe will be most useful at the times during the session that would correspond to your typical rate of progression through a complex thought.
Don’t expect the technology to prove itself to you. Let go of preconceptions and prejudices and engage or disengage with the session as appropriate to the design, and focus your thoughts on your conception of the desired outcome. Then be surprised. Engaging with a session is appropriate for interactive lucid dreaming or OOBE, disengaging for viewing applications. Engagement refers to degree of conscious awareness of the sound or structure of the session. Degree of engagement provides a real time control over beta activity – every time you engage in critique of the session, you use beta-rate processes.
Unless you’re using biofeedback or EEG to optimise a particular rhythm, the beat within a range isn’t all that important – more important is that the chosen beat has meaning, literal or symbolic, to you.
Audiostrobe, any visual stimulus that induces hallucination-like imagery, provides a model for non-real perception. The visuals provide an excellent opportunity to witness how the projection of the outside world on our retina gets turned into our recollection of what we saw. Being able to distinguish non-real from real perceptions is a useful indicator of mental well-being.
If you want to create a particular inner experience, then be prepared to use everything at your disposal to engage every aspect of your thought with related sensations, recollections and associations.
It is very easy to apply more meaning than can be justified to an altered-state experience. As all the states, altered and otherwise, align on a common perspective the individual begins to experience the unity implicit in most “higher” understandings.
Quality of this information… mostly optimistic extrapolation of absolutely reliable techniques and verifiable history supported by personal experience.