Transpersonal effects

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Transpersonal effects can be defined as any subjective effect which feels as if it relates to or contains information regarding one's place in the universe, the inner workings of reality, the context of their existence or their purpose in life. These can occur regardless of one'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 although the user may later come to disagree with the epiphanies once the effects of the substance have worn off.

It should be noted that these effects are the least reproducible of all effects that can occur during a psychedelic experience. They are considered unique in that that simply taking more of the substance does not necessarily increase the chances of having these states occur, and are said to rely more on contextual factors such as the user's set and setting rather than the specific dosage of the substance itself. The fullest manifestation of these effects fall under what are sometimes called "peak", "transcendent" or "transformative" experiences.

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

Existential self-realization

Existential self-realization can be described as a sudden realization, revelation or reaffirmation of one's existence within this universe. This feels like a sudden and profound "waking up", "realization", or "rebirth" that results in an intense sense of motivation, a sudden comprehension of one's 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 learnt but the previously known information regarding one's existence is reintegrated in a sudden and profound manner that results in a deep sense of appreciation for the unlikely circumstance of one's existence.

This component most commonly occurs at moderate dosages of dissociatives. It also occurs during particularly positive psychedelic trips and after near-death experiences.

Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness

Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness can be described as a transpersonal experience in which one feels as if they are being exposed to an array of complex cognitive sensations which contain detailed sets of innately readable, otherwise inaccessible information. This information manifests itself in such a way that it is felt to convey the organization, structure, architecture, framework and inner mechanics of the underlying programming behind all conscious and subconscious psychological processes and their neural substrates. This effect is most commonly interpreted by those who undergo the experience as suddenly having perceivable access to the inner workings of either the universe, reality, or consciousness itself.

The experience of this component is one that appears to uplink specific pieces of information onto the one in this transpersonal state (hallucinogen-induced or not) regarding the nature of reality and human consciousness through the simple experience of themselves as an undifferentiated sentience. Examples of these are difficult to fully define but common sensations, revelations, and concepts are manifested. These generally include:

  • Insight into the processes behind the direction, latency, and tendencies of one's conscious thought stream.
  • Insight into the processes behind the organization, structure, and content of one's immediate, short and long-term memory feedback loops.
  • Insight into the selection and behavior of one's responses to external input and decision-making processes as based upon their individually conditioned personality.

These specific pieces of information are often felt and described to be a profound unveiling of a reality-transforming truth at the time but are afterward usually realized to be ineffable due to the limitations of human language or simply incommunicable nonsense due to the disorientation induced by the overwhelming tide of other cognitive effects that typically accompany this effect.

A vastly more complex and detailed account of this effect is manifested during the experience of Level 8B Geometry.

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 a drastic alteration in one's perception of the flow of time. During this state of mind, it feels that all events or points across the timeline of existence are equally "real" and occurring simultaneously, perpetually and eternally alongside of each other. This is in stark contrast to the commonly held perception of daily living which feels as if it is only the present that is "real" whilst the past is over and the future is yet to manifest.

The experience of this component results in feelings of time as just another physical dimension which has no objective or directional flow. Despite this, however, it does not allow one to directly connect their experiences and memories to future events which have not yet occurred. This is felt to be because (despite the apparent illusory nature of past, present and future) cause and effect is still in place and thus logic dictates that we can only experience life one frame at a time using information which was "previously" acquired from prior events.

A common conclusion that is often reached during the experience of this state is that although one's life will inevitably end, it will occur forever within its own time frame and is therefore perpetual despite not being infinite in length. Although this experience can occur on classic psychedelics like DMT and mescaline, it is most commonly and consistently experienced with psilocin, ayahuasca and LSD.

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 (also known as feelings of duality) can be described as a state of mind that often accompanies ego death levels of memory suppression. It is a powerful sensation in which one sees, understands and physically feels that reality is based upon a system in which the existence or identity of all concepts and situations depend on the co-existence of at least two conditions which are opposite to each other, yet dependent on one another by presupposing each other as logically necessary equivalents.

This experience is usually felt to provide deep insight into the fundamental nature of reality and results in the revelation that basic concepts such as life and death, up and down, self and other, north and south, light and dark, good and bad, big and small, wet and dry, pleasure and suffering, yes and no, internal and external, hot and cold, young and old, something and nothing, being and non-being each exist as states of harmonious and necessary contrast to their opposite force.

Perception of predeterminism

Feelings of predeterminism can be defined as the sudden perspective or feeling that all events, including human actions, are established or decided in advance by prior causes.

This is an effect which can be spontaneously triggered and felt through a distinct change in thought processes. In terms of how it feels, it can be described as a suppression of the assumption that our internal narrative possesses "free will". This removal feels as if it has revealed free will and choice as entirely illusory.

This revelation is not a result of cognitive insight leading one onto a realization but instead occurs through a forced and sudden change in perspective. This creates the undeniable sensation that one's personal choices, physical actions, current situational perspective, and the very subject matter of their thought stream has always been completely predetermined by prior causes and are therefore outside of conscious control. Instead of feeling as if they are dictated by free will, one's thoughts and decision-making processes become suddenly felt as a vast and complex set of internally stored, instantly decided, pre-programmed, and completely autonomous chemical and mechanistic responses to perceived sensory input.

Once the offset of the experience begins to take its toll, the subject will return to feelings of freedom and independence. Despite this, however, they will usually retain information and realizations regarding what is often interpreted as a profound insight into the illusory nature of free will.

Perception of self-design

Feelings of self-design can be described as an alteration of perspective in which one experiences a distinct feeling that they are personally responsible for the creation, design, implementation and prior planning of a concept, process or situation which is normally seen as the result of unrelated external causes.

This effect can be experienced at any time but is most commonly felt within moments of such emotional significance that the situation seems inevitable, predestined or perfect to the point where it is exactly how one would have designed it had they have been given the conscious choice to do so in advance. 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 within one's life such as current or past occurrences, loved ones and key events.
  • Feeling as if one designed, planned out and created certain (or even all) aspects outside of one's life such as current or historical events, nature, life, the universe as a whole and the physical laws which it abides by.

Feelings of self-design are most often triggered by level 4 states of unity and interconnectedness in which one's preconceived notions behind the definition of their concept of “god” or “god-hood” can now be felt as identical to that of one's self and identity. However, this component is still perfectly capable of manifesting independently as a stand alone experience which does not necessitate feelings of unity or "god-hood."

Spirituality enhancement

Spirituality enhancement can be described as the experience of a gradual or sudden shift of personal beliefs and interests into something which holds notions of certain key concepts with higher regard than that which it did previously. These concepts and notions are not limited to but generally include:

  • An increased sense of personal purpose
  • An increased interest in the pursuit of developing personal religious and spiritual ideologies
  • An increased sense of compassion towards nature and other people
  • An increased sense of unity and interconnectedness between oneself, nature, god and the universe as a whole
  • A decreased sense of value placed upon finances and material objects
  • A decreased fear of death and the finite nature of existence[1][2]
  • The formation of complex personal religious beliefs.

Although difficult to fully define, spirituality enhancement can often result in drastic changes within one's personality which can become distinctively noticeable to others around those who undergo it.

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 an alteration in the cognitive rules which define both what one's sense of self or identity is attributed to and what it is felt as separate from. For example, most people feel that the self is inherently separate from their external environment and could not possibly extend into it. On top of this, many people feel that the self is specifically limited to not even the physical body as a whole, but exclusively one's internal narrative or thought stream and the image of their own personality as built up through social interactions with other people.

When experienced, this subjective effect directly changes that which one's self is currently attributed to so that it becomes capable of including systems which were previously perceived as separate to one's identity or being. The experience of this alteration results in intense and inextricable feelings of unity or interconnectedness between oneself and specific or multiple "external" systems.

Many people who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion with its destruction often described as some sort of profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.” Depending on the degree to which this supposed illusion has been lifted, it can lead to five possible levels of differing intensity and degrees of interconnectedness.

These are listed and described below:

1. Unity between specific external systems

The lowest and least complex level can be referred to as a state of “unity between specific external systems.” This 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. Instead, it 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 and from one's identity.

There are an endless number of ways in which this level manifests itself 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

The second of these two levels can be referred to as a state of “unity between the self and specific external systems.” It can be defined as the experience of 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 comprising their central point of cognitive focus.

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

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

This creates a sensation which is often described by people as the experience of becoming inextricably "connected to", "one with", "the same as", or "unified" with whatever the perceived external system happens to be.

3. Unity between the self and all perceivable external systems

The third of these five differing levels of interconnectedness can be referred to as "a state of unity between the self and all perceivable external systems." It is defined as the experience of a loss of perceived boundaries between a person’s identity and the entirety of their sensory input including the currently perceivable external environment. The experience as a whole is generally described by people as “becoming one with my surroundings.”

This is felt to be the result of a person’s central sense of self becoming attributed to not just the internal narrative of the ego, but in equal measure to the body itself and everything around it with which it is physically connected to through the senses. Once this sensation is in place, it creates the undeniable perspective that one is the external environment experiencing itself through the specific point within it that this body’s physical sensory perception happens to currently reside in.

It is at this level that a key component of the 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 it feels as though they are a central agent organizing the separate world around themselves while physically interacting with an object. However, whilst undergoing a state of unity with the currently perceivable environment, interacting with an external object consistently feels as if the system as a whole is autonomously organizing itself and that one is no longer a central agent operating the process of interaction. Instead the process suddenly feels as if it has become completely decentralized and mutual across itself as the environment begins to autonomously, mechanically and harmoniously respond to itself to perform the predetermined function of the particular interaction.

4. Unity between the self and all presently occurring external systems

The fourth of these five differing levels of interconnectedness can be referred to as a "state of unity between the self and all presently occurring external systems." It is defined as the experience of a loss of perceived boundaries between a person's sense of self, the perceivable external environment, and all which they know to currently exist outside of this through their internally stored model of reality. This feels as if one's sense of self has become attributed to not just the external environment but all of humanity, nature, and the universe as it presently stands in its complete entirety. The experience of this is commonly interpreted by people as “becoming one with the universe.”

When experienced, this 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.

5. Unity between the self and all external systems

The fifth of these five differing levels of interconnectedness can be referred to as a "state of unity between the self and the creation of all external systems." It is defined as the experience of a loss of perceived boundaries between a person's identity and all external systems of behavior. This includes not just the systems as they currently stand within the present moment but at each known point of their existence throughout all timelines as defined by the person's internally stored model of reality. It can also include imaginary, hypothetical, and fictional systems or concepts.

When experienced, this feels as if one's sense of self has become attributed to all of space and time including every single past and future event such as the initial creation and eventual destruction of existence. At this point, a number of commonly reported conclusions of a religious and metaphysical nature often begin to manifest themselves as profound realizations. These are described and listed below:

  • A perspective which feels personally responsible for the self-designing, planning, and implementation of every single specific detail and plot element of one's personal life, the history of humanity, and the universe as a whole. This naturally includes personal responsibility for humanity's sufferings and its flaws, but also includes its acts of love and achievements.
  • The sudden and total acceptance of death as a fundamental component of one's life. This is because death is no longer felt to be the destruction of oneself but simply the end of this specific point of conscious awareness, the vast majority of which has always existed and will continue to exist and live on through everything else in which it resides.
  • The realization that one's preconceived notions behind the definition of their concept of “god” or “god-hood” can now be felt as identical to the nature of existence and to that of one's self.

See also

External links


  1. Magic Mushrooms and LSD Help Cancer Patients Overcome Fear of Death, Say Scientists |
  2. LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with a life-threatening disease: A qualitative study of acute and sustained subjective effects |