Transpersonal effects

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Transpersonal effects can be described as any subjective effect which feels as if it alters a person's cognitive in a manner which relates to or contains information regarding their place in the universe, the inner workings of reality or consciousness, and the context of their existence. The fullest manifestation of these effects fall under what are sometimes called "peak", "transcendent" or "transformative" experiences.

These effects are typically associated with high dose psychedelic or dissociative experiences. They can occur regardless of the person's spiritual or religious beliefs and often have a distinct and lasting impact on the user's perspective of the world around them. During the experience of a substance-induced transpersonal state, the information conveyed is often felt to be a real and objective truth. However, the person will often come to disagree with these supposed "epiphanies" once the effects of the substance have worn off.

It should be noted that these mindstates are the least reproducible of all effects within the subjective effect index. They are unique in that that simply taking more of a given substance does not necessarily increase the chances of having these states occur. Instead, they seem to rely more on contextual factors such as the person's set and setting.

This page lists and describes the various transpersonal states which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds.

Existential self-realization

Existential self-realization can be described as a sudden realization, revelation, or reaffirmation of a person's existence within this universe. This typically feels like a sudden and profound "waking up" or "rebirth" that results in an intense sense of motivation, an added sense of purpose to one’s life, a sudden comprehension of their own situation, an appreciation for life, and a sense of urgency to make the most out of it while it lasts. During this state, no new knowledge is learned but the previously known information regarding their existence is reintegrated in a sudden and profound manner that results in a deep sense of appreciation for the unlikely circumstances of their own existence. The residual impacts of this effect often carry over into sobriety, potentially resulting in lasting positive benefits for the person.

Existential self-realization is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic and dissociative compounds such as ketamine, LSD, 4-AcO-DMT, and DCK. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent after near death experiences and under the influence of entacogens such as MDMA.

Identity alteration

Main article: Identity alteration

Identity alteration can be defined as the experience of one's sense of self becoming temporarily changed to feel as if it is comprised of different concepts than that which it previously did. For example, while a person may usually feel that they are exclusively their “ego” or a combination of their “ego” and physical body, during this state their sense of identity can change to include the external environment or an object they are interacting with. Alternatively, a person could feel as if their sense of self embodies nothing at all, which is an experience commonly referred to as depersonalisation.

The concept of identity itself can be defined as a fundamental and near universal component of human perception that provides the experience of feeling like a self, a separate system intrinsically differentiated from the external world. This feeling is commonly referred to as one's sense of identity, ego, or selfhood. In general conversation, it is referred to using pronouns such as "I", "me", "mine", and "myself" as a tool for contrasting one's self from other people and any other system which is not felt to be them.

However, it is worth noting that rather than being a static, unmoving, or objective concept that it is often assumed to be, a person's identity can actually be experienced in many ways. There is no component of the human brain, body, or consciousness which can be singled out as the location of a person's individual selfhood. The self is thus speculated to be a learned and constructed concept that arises through a combination of experience, the structure of language, and social interactions with other people. This notion is in stark contrast to the common Western cultural conception that human beings each contain a tangible identity that is a real and separate system from that which resides around it.

Within traditional religions, the intrinsic nature of human identity differs depending on the specific doctrine. For example, Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Islam use an inherently dualist approach which claims that the self is a soul which resides within the body and is intrinsically separate from its external environment.[1] In contrast, Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism take an approach known as monism, or nondualism which generally speaking, assumes that the separate self is illusory and that there is no difference between one's identity or soul and the "external" universe which it resides in.[2]

In regard to identity alteration, there are a total of 5 distinct levels of identity which a person can experience. These various altered states of identity have been arranged into a levelling system that orders its different states from least to the most number of concepts one's identity is currently attributed to. These levels are described and documented below:

1. Total absence of attributed identity (depersonalization)

Main article: Depersonalization

The lowest level of identity can be described as the sensation that there is a complete absence of having any sense of self at all. This is referred to in psychiatry as "depersonalization". It can be described as an anomaly of self-awareness that consists of a feeling of watching oneself act as one normally would, while also feeling is if they have no control over the situation. It can occur under the influence of hallucinogenic substances, particularly dissociatives,[3] and may persist for some time after sobriety.[4][5] During this state, the affected person may feel that they are "on autopilot" and that the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, or lacking in significance. Individuals who experience depersonalization often feel divorced from their own personal physicality by no longer sensing their body sensations, feelings, emotions, and behaviors as belonging to a person or identity.[6] It is also often claimed by people who have depersonalization that reality seems unreal, distant or hazy. Depersonalization can sometimes be distressing to the user, who may become disoriented by the loss of a sense that their self is the origin of their thoughts and actions. However, it does not have to be an inherently negative altered state of awareness, as it does not directly affect a person's emotions or thought patterns.

It is perfectly normal for many people to slip into this state temporarily, often without even realizing it. For example, many people often note that they enter a detached state of autopilot during stressful situations or when performing monotonous routine tasks such as driving.

In psychology, chronic depersonalization that persists during sobriety for prolonged periods of time is identified as "depersonalization disorder" and is classified by the DSM-IV as a dissociative disorder. While degrees of depersonalization are common and can happen temporarily to anyone who is subject to an anxiety or stress provoking situation, chronic depersonalization is more common within individuals who have experienced a severe trauma or prolonged stress and anxiety. The symptoms of both chronic derealization and depersonalization are common within the general population, with a lifetime prevalence of up to 26-74% and 31–66% at the time of a traumatic event.[7] It has also been demonstrated that derealization may be caused by a dysfunction within the brains visual processing center (occipital lobe) or the temporal lobe, which is used for processing the meaning of sensory input, language comprehension, and emotion association.[8]

Within the context of identity altering effects, depersonalization can be considered as being at the opposite end of the identity spectrum relative to states of unity and interconnectedness. This is because during depersonalisation, a person senses and attributes their identity to nothing, giving a sense of having no self. However, during a state of unity and interconnectedness, one senses and attributes their identity to everything, giving a sense that the entirety of existence is their self.

Depersonalization is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as anxiety and a very similar psychological disorder known as derealization.[5] It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent during the withdrawal symptoms of stimulants and depressants.

2. Self-contained separate identity

The second level of identity can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to their brain and/or body. This is often said to feel as if one is a consciousness, the guiding force located within a body which is immersed in and interacting with a distinctly separate external environment. It is usually accompanied with a sense of free will or agency over all the thoughts and actions the person makes, which results in them feeling as if their decision-making processes are arising from an internal source which is not necessarily determined by cause and effect in the same manner as external systems.

A self-contained separate identity is by far the most common form of identity. Mainstream Western cultural notions consider this conception of the self to be the self-evident or logical way to perceive the world and the only form of identity which isn't intrinsically delusional. Despite being culturally normative, this belief has received considerable debate and criticism within modern neuroscience and philosophy.[9][10] [11][12][13][14][15]

Although drastically altered in comparison to that of sobriety, it is worth noting that hallucinatory states such as ego replacement and 2nd person perspective hallucinations typically still fall under the classification of this level. In both cases, a person still feels as if they are a separate agent facing the external world, but have the perception of being a different identity than their sober self.

3. Identifying with specific "external" systems

The third level of identity alteration can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to (in addition to the body and/or brain) specific external systems or concepts within the immediate environment, particularly those that would usually be considered as intrinsically separate from one's own being.

The experience itself is often described as a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s identity and the specific physical systems or concepts within the perceivable external environment which are currently the subjects of their thoughts or focus. This creates a sensation of becoming inextricably "connected to", "one with", "the same as", or "unified" with whatever the perceived external system happens to be.

There are an endless number of ways in which this level manifests itself, but common examples of the experience often include:

  • Becoming unified with and identifying with a specific object one is interacting with.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with another person or multiple people, particularly common if engaging in sexual or romantic activities.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the entirety of one's own physical body.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with large crowds of people, particularly common at raves and music festivals.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the immediately perceivable external environment, but not the people within it.

This level of identity alteration most commonly occurs during intense states of focus, meditation, or under the influence of hallucinogens such as psychedelics.

4. Identifying with all perceivable "external" systems

The fourth level of identity alteration can be defined as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to the entirety of their immediately perceivable external environment.

The experience itself is often described as a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s identity and the entirety of their sensory input or the currently perceivable external environment. It creates a sensation in the person that they have “become one with their surroundings.” This is felt to be the result of a person’s sense of self becoming attributed to not just primarily the internal narrative of the ego, but in equal measure to the body itself and everything around it which it is physically perceiving through the senses. This sensation creates the compelling perspective that the person is the external environment experiencing itself through a specific point within it, namely the physical sensory perceptions of the body their consciousness currently resides in.

It is at this point that a key component of the high-level identity alteration experience becomes an extremely noticeable factor. Once a person's sense of self has become attributed to the entirety of their surroundings, this new perspective completely changes how it feels to physically interact with what was previously felt to be an external environment. For example, when a person is not in this state and is interacting with a physical object, it typically feels as though they are a central agent acting on the separate world around them.

However, while undergoing a state of unity with the currently perceivable environment, interacting with an external object consistently feels as if the whole unified system is autonomously acting on itself with no central, separate agent operating the process of interaction. Instead, the process suddenly feels as if it has become completely decentralized and wholistic, as the environment begins to autonomously and harmoniously respond to itself in a predetermined manner to perform the interaction carried out by the individual.

This level of identity alteration most commonly occurs during intense states of focus, meditation, or under the influence of hallucinogens such as psychedelics.

5. Identifying with all known "external" systems

This symbol depicts the universe as a "self-excited circuit". It was originally created by the late theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler in his 1983 paper Law Without Law.

The fifth level of identity alteration can be defined as feeling as if one's identity is simultaneously attributed to the entirety of the immediately perceivable external environment and all known concepts that exist outside of it. These known concepts typically include all of humanity, nature, and the universe as it presently stands in its complete entirety. This feeling is commonly interpreted by people as becoming one with the universe.

When experienced, the effect creates the sudden perspective that the person is not a separate agent approaching an external reality, but is instead the entire universe as a whole experiencing itself, exploring itself, and performing actions upon itself through the specific point in space and time which this particular body and conscious perception happens to currently reside within. People who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion, with the revelation often described as some sort of supposedly profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.”

Although they are not necessarily literal truths about reality, at this point, many commonly reported conclusions of a religious and metaphysical nature often begin to manifest themselves as profound realizations. These are described below:

  • The sudden and total acceptance of death as a fundamental complement of life. Death is no longer felt to be the destruction of a person, but simply the end of this specific point of a greater whole, which has always existed and will continue to exist and live on through everything else in which it resides. Therefore, the death of a small part of the whole is seen as an inevitable, and not worthy of grief or any emotional attachment, but simply a fact of reality.
  • The subjective perspective that the person's preconceived notions of "god" or deities can be felt as identical to the nature of existence and the totality of its contents, including oneself. This typically entails the intuition that if the universe contains all possible power (omnipotence), all possible knowledge (omniscience), is self-creating, and self-sustaining then on either a semantic or literal level the universe and its contents could also be viewed as god.
  • The subjective perspective that the person, by nature of being the universe, is personally responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of every single specific detail and plot element of one's personal life, the history of humanity, and the entirety of the universe. This naturally includes personal responsibility for all humanity's sufferings and flaws but also includes its acts of love and achievements.

This state most commonly occurs during intense states of well-practiced meditation or under the influence of hallucinogens such as psychedelics.

Similar concepts

Similar accounts of the experience of unity with the universe and the apparent illusory nature of the self can be found across a surprisingly large variety of independent religious, philosophical, and psychological sources. A number of these have been collected and listed as a set of documented examples below:

  • Egolessness is a documented emotional state within psychology where one feels no ego (or self) and no distinct sense of self apart from the world around oneself. This is often described as feelings of oneness and being inextricably woven into the fabric of one’s surroundings or environment.
  • Monism is a philosophical position which argues that there is only one thing which all things are not separate from and it works together as a unified system of behavior.
  • Dialectical monism is a philosophical position which argues that the appearance of duality arises from the mind's need to impose divisions and boundaries upon an essentially unified whole. Thus, for the dialectical monist, reality is ultimately a single unified system but can usually only be experienced in terms of division.
  • Oceanic feeling is a state within psychology which is described as a sensation of an indissoluble bond of being connected with the external world in its integral form.
  • Nondualism is a philosophy found within many religions which states that there is no difference between the concept of the external environment and the self.
  • Alan Watts is a philosopher who spoke extensively about the illusory nature of the self. His lectures can be found for free on the Pirate Bay and in parts within many videos across YouTube. His book “The Book on the Taboo of Knowing Who You Are” is dedicated to a formal explanation of the philosophies and logic behind this perspective and can be found within the form of a free PDF.
  • Interconnectedness is a philosophical concept which defines itself as part of the terminology of a world view which sees a oneness in all things. This is based on the idea that all things are of a single underlying substance or reality and that there is no true separation deeper than appearances.
  • Samadhi is a Buddhist concept described as a state of mind in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object.
  • Overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.

Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness

Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness can be described the experience of being exposed to an array of complex, autonomously-generated, cognitive sensations and conceptual thoughts which contain detailed sets of innately readable information.

The information within these sensations is felt to convey the organization, structure, architecture, framework and inner mechanics of the underlying programming behind all conscious and subconscious psychological processes. Those who undergo this effect commonly interpret the experience as suddenly having perceivable access to the inner workings of either the universe, reality, or consciousness itself.

The experience of this effect often feels capable of bestowing specific pieces of information onto trippers regarding the nature of human consciousness, and sometimes reality itself. The pieces of information felt to be revealed are highly varied, but some common sensations, revelations, and concepts are manifested between individuals. These generally include:

  • Insight into the processes behind the direction, behavior, and content of one's conscious thought stream.
  • Insight into the processes behind the organization, behavior, and content of one's short and long-term memory.
  • Insight into the selection and behavior of one's responses to external input and decision-making processes as based on their individual personality.
  • Insight into the origin and influences behind one’s character traits and beliefs.

These specific pieces of information are often felt and understood to be a profound unveiling of an undeniable truth at the time. Afterward, they are usually realized to be ineffable due to the limitations of human language and cognition, or simply nonsensical, and delusional due to the impairment caused by of other accompanying cognitive effects.

Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness is often accompanied by a vastly more complex and visual version of this effect which is referred to as Level 8B Geometry. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic tryptamines such as psilocin, ayahuasca, DMT, and 4-AcO-DMT. cannabinoids.

Perception of eternalism

The image above represents how a person under the influence of this component would view themselves as an organism. This is often described as being a singular structure which stretches through the physical dimension of time alongside of all other identically behaving structures which the universe as a whole is entirely comprised of.

Perception of eternalism can be described as the experience of a major alteration of one's perspective of the fundamental mechanics behind the linear continuity of time moving from the past to the present to the future. During this state of mind, it feels as if all points across the timeline of existence are equally "real" and are occurring simultaneously alongside each other. Every point in time is felt to exist regardless of the person's current position within the overall timeline, much as all points in physical space persist regardless of the observer's location. However, it is important to understand that these conclusions and feelings should not be accepted at face value as inherently true.

While all moments are felt to be equally real, the directional flow of time is felt to be maintained, with the present always being the moment which is currently experienced. All moments in time are still felt to be linked together by causality, the past necessitating the present, which necessitates the future, and so forth.

A common conclusion that is reached during the experience of this state is that although one's life inevitably will end, it will apparently persist forever within its own timeframe and is therefore perpetual despite not being infinite in its length. Birth and death are therefore merely the start and end points of the range of time that a person exists in eternally, if not experiences eternally.

This sudden change in perspective starkly contrasts with the standard perception of time in which only the present is felt to exist, while the past no longer is and the future is yet to be.

Perception of eternalism is often accompanied by other coinciding transpersonal effects such as unity and interconnectedness and feelings of interdependent opposites. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Perception of interdependent opposites

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang, are concepts used to describe how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world.

Perception of interdependent opposites can be described as the experience of a powerful subjective feeling that reality is based upon a binary system in which the existence of fundamentally important concepts or situations logically arise from and depend upon the co-existence of their opposite. This perception is not just understood at a cognitive level, but manifests as intuitive sensations which are felt rather than thought by the person.

This experience is usually interpreted as providing a deep insight into the fundamental nature of reality. For example, concepts such as existence and non-existence, life and death, up and down, self and other, light and dark, good and bad, big and small, pleasure and suffering, yes and no, internal and external, hot and cold, young and old, etc are felt to exist as harmonious forces which necessarily contrast their opposite force in a state of equilibrium.

Perception of interdependent opposites is often accompanied by other coinciding transpersonal effects such as ego death, unity and interconnectedness, and perception of eternalism. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Perception of predeterminism

Perception of predeterminism can be described as the sensation that all physical and mental processes are the result of prior causes, that every event and choice is an inevitable outcome that could not have happened differently, and that all of reality is a complex causal chain that can be traced back to the beginning of time. This is accompanied by the absence of the feeling that a person's decision-making processes and general cognitive faculties inherently possess "free will”. This sudden change in perspective causes the person to feel as if their personal choices, physical actions, and individual personality traits have always been completely predetermined by prior causes and are, therefore, outside of their conscious control.

During this state, a person begins to feel as if their decisions arise from a complex set of internally stored, pre-programmed, and completely autonomous, instant electrochemical responses to perceived sensory input. These sensations are often interpreted as somehow disproving the concept of free will, as the experience of this effect feels as if it is fundamentally incompatible with the notion of being self-determined. This state can also lead a person to the conclusion that their very identity and selfhood are the cumulative results of their biology and past experiences.

Once the effect begins to wear off, a person will often return to their everyday feelings of freedom and independence. Despite this, however, they will often retain realizations regarding what is often interpreted as a profound insight into the apparent illusory nature of free will.

Perception of predeterminism is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as ego death and physical autonomy. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Perception of self-design

Perception of self-design can be described as the experience of feeling that one is personally responsible for the creation, design, manifestation of a concept, process, or event which is normally seen as the result of unrelated external causes. It can be broken down into two separate sub-components which include:

  • Feeling as if one designed, planned out, and created certain, or even all, aspects of one's life such as current or past events, loved ones, and key events.
  • Feeling as if one designed, planned out and created certain, or even all, aspects of the external world such as current or historical events, nature, life, the universe as a whole, and the physical laws which it abides by.

This effect typically occurs suddenly and spontaneously. However, it is most commonly felt during emotionally significant situations which are so enjoyable and fulfilling that they are exactly how the person would have designed it had they have somehow been given the conscious choice to do so in advance. This is especially true of situations that seem improbable or are completely unexpected.

Perception of self-design is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as ego death, delusions of grandiosity and high level unity and interconnectedness. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Spirituality enhancement

Spirituality enhancement can be described as the experience of a shift in a person’s personal beliefs regarding their existence and place within the universe, their relationship to others, and what they value as meaningful in life. It results in a person rethinking the significance they place on certain key concepts, holding some in higher regard than they did previously, and dismissing others as less important.[16] These concepts and notions are not limited to but generally include:

  • An increased sense of personal purpose.[17]
  • An increased interest in the pursuit of developing personal religious and spiritual ideologies.[18][19]
    • The formation of complex personal religious beliefs.
  • An increased sense of compassion towards nature and other people.[18][19][20]
  • An increased sense of unity and interconnectedness between oneself, nature, "god", and the universe as a whole.[16][18][20][21][22][23][24]
  • A decreased sense of value placed upon money and material objects.[20]
  • A decreased fear and greater acceptance of death and the finite nature of existence.[16][25][26][27]

Although difficult to fully specify due to the subjective aspect of spirituality enhancement, these changes in to a person's belief system can often result in profound changes in a person's personality[20][22][28] which can sometimes be distinctively noticeable to the people around those who undergo it. This shift can occur suddenly but will usually increase gradually over time as a person repeatedly uses the psychoactive substance which is inducing it.

Spirituality enhancement is unlikely to be an isolated effect component but rather the result of a combination of an appropriate setting[18] in conjunction with other coinciding effects such as analysis enhancement, autonomous voice communication, novelty enhancement, perception of interdependent opposites, perception of predeterminism, perception of self-design, personal bias suppression, and unity and interconnectedness. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of dissociatives, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM.

Unity and interconnectedness

This symbol depicts the universe as a "self-excited" circuit. It was originally created by the late theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler in his 1983 paper Law Without Law. The eye represents the self and the line directly opposite represents that which it is perceiving within the "external" environment. The two sections are connected into each other via arrows to demonstrate that it is a singular and unified system.

Unity and interconnectedness can be described as the experience of one's sense of self becoming temporarily changed to feel as if it is constituted by a wider array of concepts than that which it previously did. For example, while a person may usually feel that they are exclusively their “ego” or a combination of their “ego” and physical body, during this state their sense of identity can change to also include the external environment or an object they are interacting with. This results in intense and inextricable feelings of unity or interconnectedness between oneself and varying arrays of previously "external" systems.

It is worth noting that many people who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion, the destruction of which is often described as some sort of profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.” However, it is important to understand that these conclusions and feelings should not necessarily be accepted at face value as inherently true.

Unity and interconnectedness most commonly occurs under the influence of psychedelic and dissociative compounds such as LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, mescaline, and ketamine. However it can also occur during well-practiced meditation, deep states of contemplation, and intense focus.

There are a total of 5 distinct levels of identity which a person can experience during this state. These various altered states of unity have been arranged into a leveling system that orders its different states from least to the most number of concepts that one's identity is currently attributed to. These levels are described below:

1. Unity between specific "external" systems

At the lowest level, this effect can be described as a perceived sense of unity between two or more systems within the external environment which in everyday life are usually perceived as separate from each other. This is the least complex level of unity, as it is the only level of interconnectedness in which the subjective experience of unity does not involve a state of interconnectedness between the self and the external.

There are an endless number of ways in which this level can manifest, but common examples of the experience often include:

  • A sense of unity between specific living things such as animals or plants and their surrounding ecosystems.
  • A sense of unity between other human beings and the objects they are currently interacting with.
  • A sense of unity between any number of currently perceivable inanimate objects.
  • A sense of unity between humanity and nature.
  • A sense of unity between literally any combination of perceivable external systems and concepts.

2. Unity between the self and specific "external" systems

At this level, unity can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to (in addition to the body and/or brain) specific external systems or concepts within the immediate environment, particularly those that would usually be considered as intrinsically separate from one's own being.

The experience itself is often described as a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s identity and the specific physical systems or concepts within the perceivable external environment which are currently the subject of a person's attention. This creates a sensation of becoming inextricably "connected to", "one with", "the same as", or "unified" with whatever the perceived external system happens to be.

There are an endless number of ways in which this level can manifest itself, but common examples of the experience often include:

  • Becoming unified with and identifying with a specific object one is interacting with.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with another person or multiple people, particularly common if engaging in sexual or romantic activities.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the entirety of one's own physical body.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with large crowds of people, particularly common at raves and music festivals.
  • Becoming unified with and identifying with the external environment, but not the people within it.

3. Unity between the self and all perceivable "external" systems

At this level, unity can be described as feeling as if one's identity is attributed to the entirety of their immediately perceivable external environment due to a loss of perceived boundaries between the previously separate systems.

The effect creates a sensation in the person that they have become "one with their surroundings.” This is felt to be the result of a person’s sense of self becoming attributed to not just primarily the internal narrative of the ego, but in equal measure to the body itself and everything around it which it is physically perceiving through the senses. It creates the compelling perspective that one is the external environment experiencing itself through a specific point within it, namely the physical sensory perceptions of the body that one's consciousness is currently residing in.

It is at this point that a key component of the high-level unity experience becomes an extremely noticeable factor. Once a person's sense of self has become attributed to the entirety of their surroundings, this new perspective completely changes how it feels to physically interact with what was previously felt to be an external environment. For example, when one is not in this state and is interacting with a physical object, it typically feels as though one is a central agent acting on the separate world around them. However, while undergoing a state of unity with the currently perceivable environment, interacting with an external object consistently feels as if the whole unified system is autonomously acting on itself with no central, separate agent operating the process of interaction. Instead, the process suddenly feels as if it has become completely decentralized and holistic, as the environment begins to autonomously and harmoniously respond to itself in a predetermined manner to perform the interaction carried out by the individual.

4. Unity between the self and all known "external" systems

At the highest level, this effect can be described as feeling as if one's identity is simultaneously attributed to the entirety of the immediately perceivable external environment and all known concepts that exist outside of it. These known concepts typically include all of humanity, nature, and the universe as it presently stands in its complete entirety. This feeling is commonly interpreted by people as "becoming one with the universe".

When experienced, the effect creates the sudden perspective that one is not a separate agent approaching an external reality, but is instead the entire universe as a whole experiencing itself, exploring itself, and performing actions upon itself through the specific point in space and time which this particular body and conscious perception happens to currently reside within. People who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion, with the revelation often described as some sort of profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.”

Although they are not necessarily literal truths about reality, at this point, many commonly reported conclusions of a religious and metaphysical nature often begin to manifest themselves as profound realizations. These are described and listed below:

  • The sudden and total acceptance of death as a fundamental complement of life. Death is no longer felt to be the destruction of oneself, but simply the end of this specific point of a greater whole, which has always existed and will continue to exist and live on through everything else in which it resides. Therefore, the death of a small part of the whole is seen as an inevitable, and not worthy of grief or any emotional attachment, but simply a fact of reality.
  • The subjective perspective that one's preconceived notions of "god" or deities can be felt as identical to the nature of existence and the totality of its contents, including oneself. This typically entails the intuition that if the universe contains all possible power (omnipotence), all possible knowledge (omniscience), is self-creating, and self-sustaining then on either a semantic or literal level the universe and its contents could also be viewed as a god.
  • The subjective perspective that one, by nature of being the universe, is personally responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of every single specific detail and plot element of one's personal life, the history of humanity, and the entirety of the universe. This naturally includes personal responsibility for all humanity's sufferings and flaws but also includes its acts of love and achievements.

See also

External links

References

  1. The Oxford Handbook of the Abrahamic Religions (Dualism) | https://books.google.com/books?id=IR6DCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA416&lpg=PA416&dq=abrahamic+religions+dualism&source=bl&ots=QbSwQ9NwFL&sig=DbBYFrrpk9MYJG7RDNNmu3h3dtY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwik9K3HkvnOAhWJyyYKHZOnBWMQ6AEILTAC#v=onepage&q=abrahamic%20religions%20dualism&f=false
  2. Hindu and Buddhist Nonduality: Conflict in the New Church Mind? | http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/isi-news-nonduality.html
  3. Walsh, S. L., Strain, E. C., Abreu, M. E., & Bigelow, G. E. (2001). Enadoline, a selective kappa opioid agonist: comparison with butorphanol and hydromorphone in humans. Psychopharmacology, 157(2), 151-162. https://doi.org/10.1007/s002130100788
  4. American Psychiatric Association (2004). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR (Text Revision). American Psychiatric Association. ISBN 0-89042-024-6.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Espiard, M. L., Lecardeur, L., Abadie, P., Halbecq, I., & Dollfus, S. (2005). Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder after psilocybin consumption: a case study. European Psychiatry, 20(5), 458-460. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2005.04.008
  6. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depersonalization-derealization-disorder/basics/definition/con-20033401
  7. The epidemiology of depersonalisation and derealisation. A systematic review | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15022041
  8. Separating depersonalisation and derealisation: the relevance of the “lesion method” (bmj.com) | http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/72/4/530
  9. The self is an illusion: a conceptual framework for psychotherapy (sagepub.com) | http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1039856216689531
  10. The self-illusion and psychotherapy (PsychologyToday) | https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-skeptical-shrink/201703/the-self-illusion-and-psychotherapy
  11. The Self is Not an Illusion (PsychologyToday)https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-self-illusion/201205/what-is-the-self-illusion
  12. The Ego Tunnel (pdf) | http://xenopraxis.net/readings/metzinger_egotunnel.pdf
  13. The Illusion of the Self An Interview with Bruce Hood | https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-illusion-of-the-self2
  14. The illusion of the self (philosophynow) | https://philosophynow.org/issues/97/The_Illusion_of_the_Self
  15. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201704/the-self-is-not-illusion
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Gasser, P., Kirchner, K., & Passie, T. (2015). LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with a life-threatening disease: a qualitative study of acute and sustained subjective effects. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 29(1), 57-68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881114555249
  17. Peterman, A. H., Fitchett, G., Brady, M. J., Hernandez, L., & Cella, D. (2002). Measuring spiritual well-being in people with cancer: the functional assessment of chronic illness therapy—Spiritual Well-being Scale (FACIT-Sp). Annals of behavioral medicine, 24(1), 49-58. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15324796ABM2401_06
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Trichter, S., Klimo, J., & Krippner, S. (2009). Changes in spirituality among ayahuasca ceremony novice participants. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 41(2), 121-134. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2009.10399905
  19. 19.0 19.1 Griffiths, R. R., Johnson, M. W., Richards, W. A., Richards, B. D., McCann, U., & Jesse, R. (2011). Psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences: immediate and persisting dose-related effects. Psychopharmacology, 218(4), 649-665. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-011-2358-5
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Lerner, M., & Lyvers, M. (2006). Values and Beliefs of Psychedelic Drug Users: A Cross-Cultural Study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 38(2), 143-147. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2006.10399838
  21. Griffiths, R. R., Richards, W. A., McCann, U., & Jesse, R. (2006). Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology, 187(3), 268-283. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-006-0457-5
  22. 22.0 22.1 MacLean, K. A., Johnson, M. W., & Griffiths, R. R. (2011). Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(11), 1453-1461. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881111420188
  23. Kometer, M., Pokorny, T., Seifritz, E., & Volleinweider, F. X. (2015). Psilocybin-induced spiritual experiences and insightfulness are associated with synchronization of neuronal oscillations. Psychopharmacology, 232(19), 3663-3676. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-015-4026-7
  24. Lyvers, M., & Meester, M. (2012). Illicit use of LSD or psilocybin, but not MDMA or nonpsychedelic drugs, is associated with mystical experiences in a dose-dependent manner. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 44(5), 410-417. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2012.736842
  25. Ross, S., Bossis, A., Guss, J., Agin-Liebes, G., Malone, T., Cohen, B., ... & Su, Z. (2016). Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(12), 1165-1180. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881116675512
  26. Richards, W., Grof, S., Goodman, L., & Kurland, A. (1972). LSD-assisted psychotherapy and the human encounter with death. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 4(2), 121. https://www.erowid.org/references/refs_view.php?ID=6424
  27. Grob, C. S., Danforth, A. L., Chopra, G. S., Hagerty, M., McKay, C. R., Halberstadt, A. L., & Greer, G. R. (2011). Pilot study of psilocybin treatment for anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer. Archives of general psychiatry, 68(1), 71-78. https://doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.116
  28. Studerus, E., Kometer, M., Hasler, F., & Vollenweider, F. X. (2011). Acute, subacute and long-term subjective effects of psilocybin in healthy humans: a pooled analysis of experimental studies. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(11), 1434-1452. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881110382466