Is There Some Kind of Altered State Of Consciousness that Occurs During Meditation?

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Is Meditation an Altered State of Consciousness

Have you ever wondered what happens during meditation? If you’ve never meditated, you may have a skewed idea of what happens during this process. 

Many people believe every time you meditate; you enter an altered state of consciousness. In truth, there are many forms and methods for meditating, all of which have unique uses and benefits. 

If you’re wondering whether or not meditation is an altered state of consciousness, follow along to find out. 

“As a longtime practitioner of yoga and a person who’s been involved in physical fitness my whole life, I can tell you, yoga helps you achieve altered states of consciousness. It is not just stretching. The only way you can say that it’s stretching is if you haven’t done it, or that you haven’t done it rigorously for a long period of time.”

– Joe Rogan

Key Points

  • Meditation is a tool used to gain awareness, insight, and clarity within one’s life. 
  • An altered state of consciousness occurs when the mind experiences changes in its brainwaves, changing one’s perspective and perception. 
  • Meditation can be used to access an altered state of consciousness, but not all forms of meditation take you out of your current state of awareness. 
altered state of consciousness ASC
What is an altered state of consciousness (ASC)?

How does meditation work?

Meditation is the practice of changing your state of awareness and consciousness. This practice is often used to gain insight into one’s life or to strengthen their spiritual connection. 

Through focused concentration, meditation is a powerful tool that can help you understand yourself and the world around you on a deeper level. These understandings come from learning to quiet the mind, center your awareness, and change your perspective (have you heard of non-dual awareness yet?). 

Meditation, quiet the mind

What is an altered state of consciousness?

An altered state of consciousness is a state in which the mind is not in its usual waking state. This can be achieved through various means, such as meditation, drugs, or sleep. 

When in an altered state of consciousness, the individual may experience changes in their thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. These altered states are induced by the changes in the mind’s brainwaves. 

These changes can be beneficial, providing new insights and perspectives. However, they can also be harmful if the individual enters an unhealthy mind.

portrait of Altered State Of Consciousness
Portrait of an altered state of mind, from Reddit

You experience a change in brainwaves every day; you are just usually unaware of most of them due to losing consciousness when they occur. While you fall asleep, while you’re sleeping, and when you wake up, the mind’s brainwaves shift through these different states (see also the spiritual meaning of sleeping with eyes open).

Meditation can cause an altered state of consciousness

When people meditate, they often report feeling a sense of peace and calm. This is likely because meditation can lead to an altered state of consciousness. 

In an altered state of consciousness, a person’s brain waves change, and they may become more aware of their surroundings and themselves. Meditation has been shown to alter brain activity and is thought to be beneficial for mental and physical transformation.

There are many reasons for meditation. One of the most common reasons is to change your mindset, perspective, or understanding of a particular topic or idea. 

meditation altered state of mind

Sometimes, this insight is gained through an altered state of consciousness. This is why your dreams may appear to have old memories, people from your past, or contain symbolism that you haven’t been consciously aware of, and it’s because it’s your mind’s interpretation of the state of mind that is most apparent during this time, which is the subconscious. 

The subconscious holds trauma, emotions, and beliefs, as well as many answers that we seek. During meditation, the goal is to subdue the conscious mind and allow the subconscious mind to come to the forefront.

One of the most popular meditation techniques for accessing altered states of consciousness is guided meditation. These guided walk-throughs enable you to easily state in an altered state by creating an inner movie, much like your dream world, except you are fully aware. 

Through guided meditation, you’re creating a dream-like state within your mind, including all of your senses, and you can experience a total change in your perception and perspective. Depending on the duration, skill in meditation, and type of meditation practiced, you can access various brainwave states throughout the process.

Interested in altering your consciousness?

I personally attended the class by Mindvalley: Silva Ultramind System and I was stunned by the results. I also have written a review about it, in case you’re interested.

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If you’re unsure, you can always test-drive their free masterclass: Mastering Altered States for Problem Solving & Performance – it’s also great!

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Meditation doesn’t have to alter your state of consciousness

Not all meditation is an altered state of reality. There are many different types of meditation, and not all induce a change in your brainwaves. 

For some, meditation is simply a way to focus and clear the mind. It can be done with open or closed eyes, sitting upright, or lying down. 

Some people find that they are more productive when they meditate with their eyes open, allowing them to focus on a specific point and keep distractions at bay. Others find that closing their eyes helps them to relax and drift into a deeper state of meditation. 

Not every meditation

Experimenting with different techniques is the best way to find out what works for you. Running, drawing, singing, and dancing are all examples of “meditation” that don’t follow the mainstream image of the practice. 

Not every meditation has to be used to access an altered state; some are essentially used for becoming fully conscious and aware of your current state of mind.

Check out this video for more information on meditation and altered states of consciousness! 


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Author: Richard Alois
Richard, a London-based spiritual explorer and daytime marketer, invites fellow seekers to join him on a journey of discovery through his website, With engaging articles and thought-provoking discussions, Richard's inclusive approach transcends borders, uniting people in the quest for wisdom, inner peace, and self-understanding.

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