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p. 1007. Altered states of consciousnesslocked

  • Susan Blackmore

Abstract

‘Altered states of consciousness’ discusses the states of consciousness during sleep, dreaming, hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, meditation, and after taking psychoactive drugs. Psychologist Charles Tart defines an altered state of consciousness (ASC) as ‘a qualitative alteration in the overall pattern of mental functioning, such that the experiencer feels his consciousness is radically different from the way it functions ordinarily’. This certainly captures the idea of ASCs, but also creates problems, such as knowing what a ‘normal’ state is. In both mystical experiences and long-term meditation, people describe seeing through the illusions of duality and seeing the world as it truly is.

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