Altered States of Consciousness
Given by Andre Eggelletion, D.D.
at the PLIM 1997 Retreat in White Cloud Michigan
Reported by Dr. Lee Warren, B.A., D.D.
See Related Articles: MEDITATION AND THE POWERS OF THE MIND
Dr. Andre Eggelletion gave a lecture on Altered States of Consciousness which is one of the most mysterious and awesome subjects, besides God (Elohim), for humans to understand. In fact, humans need consciousness to contemplate God, the universe, and himself. Without consciousness there is nothingness. Simply put, consciousness is more than the awareness of our physical surroundings; it is also an awareness of our inner most subjective feelings and thoughts. It is this inner awareness or consciousness that is the means by which God (Elohim) reveals himself to mankind.
Now as things occur within the world and within mankinds mind, altered state of consciousnesses arise to fit the situation. For example, normal waking consciousness is altered when ones wife is having a baby and when one is in a dangerous situation. In fact, modern psychologists have documented hundreds of altered states of consciousness besides the three obvious states: waking, sleeping and dreaming. These three normal states of consciousness correspond with the threefold tabernacle.
There are hundreds of theories put forth to define consciousness, but none have fully explained it because it is not physical even though it manifests through the brain. In fact, the motory/sensory impressions of an infant, the first consciousness that humans understand, emerges through the brain and the nervous system. Modern science has begun to understand altered states of consciousness as a structural arrangement of the brain cells and a biochemical process in the brain, which is where Andre begins his discourse.
Can one measure consciousness in the brain?
Medical science has been able to measure consciousness as the product of the brains activity. There are four levels of brain-wave activity with corresponding Greek letters to designate each: beta, alpha, theta, and delta. The electroencephalogram (EEG) machine measures these brain-wave activities.
The Beta Level
The Beta Level defines our normal waking consciousness. Now 75% of waking consciousness is consumed with monitoring the body's physical functions. The other 25% of the Beta State deals with the thinking and planning state of the mind. The brain waves range from 14 to 27 cycles per second.
The Alpha Level
The Alpha State is the resting state of the brain. It is a passive state where one is non-critical and non-analytical. Listening to music and relaxing is reflexive of this state. One is aware of stimuli.
Mystical states of consciousness happens in the alpha state and they usually occur prior to and just after sleep. The Alpha State also occurs voluntarily during light hypnosis, meditation, biofeedback, day dreaming, hypnogogic and hypnapompic states. The brain waves activity range from 8 to 13 cycles per second.
The Theta State is the Reverie State of conscious that is open to intuition and inspiration. Now stimuli are often ignored in this state. Theta occurs during light sleep. It is accessible during biofeedback and meditation. During this level, one is unaware of ones surroundings. The brain wave-activity ranges from 4 to 8 cycles per second.
The Delta Level
The lowest level of brain activity is the Delta State. In this state the individual is unreceptive to any stimuli. The Delta State usually occurs during a deep sleep.
These four levels of brain-wave activity enable science to understand the various components of consciousness.
What are Altered States of Consciousness?
Andre told the audience that medical science and psychology have determined that humans experience countless numbers of altered states of consciousness everyday of their life, such as day dreaming, internal scanning of ones inner states, joy, rapture, or sadness. Besides these states, there are the ones which everyone experiences: the normal waking state, sleep, and dreaming.
Scriptures and various religious teachings show that the mind can be trained to enter meditative and trance-like states. The eastern religions have documented this process along with modern science.
What causes Altered State of Consciousness?
Now altered states of consciousness fall into three categories: physical, mental, and spiritual and they can be voluntary and involuntary. Physical things, such as drugs, alcohol, sensory deprivation, fasting, staring, fasting, and fatigue, can cause altered states of consciousness.
On a mental level, hypnosis, dreaming, and yoga exercise, to list a few, can alter a persons consciousness.
Finally, on a spiritual level the Holy Spirit can alter a persons consciousness by divine visions and revelation (Rom. 12:2). In the eastern religions this is called cosmic consciousness.
Can one acquire knowledge in this altered state of consciousness?
Throughout history most cultures believed that humans could obtain knowledge in an altered state of consciousness whether through drugs, induced trances, or dreams. The Bible shows that Yahweh revealed knowledge to man and inspired him through visions and dreams (Num. 12:6; Joel 2:28-29), which are altered states of consciousness from the normal waking state.
Most of the time the knowledge obtained during these altered states of consciousness far exceeds that which humans obtain during their normal, analytical, waking state of mind. Prophecies, instructions on how to handle the various affairs of men, healings, and communication with spirits reflect some of these messages given during the non-waking state.
For example, Moses received a vision of an angel in a burning bush (Exo. 3:2-5). While he was in an altered state of consciousness, the angel spoke to him and gave him signs and powers to perform before the Pharaoh in Egypt. The Apostle Peter fell into a trance and Yahweh gave him instructions to go to Cornelius, a Gentile, to preach the gospel to him and his household (Acts. 10th Chapter). Here the Holy Spirit induced a trance, an altered state of consciousness, to show Peter a vision. Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) entered a trance to diagnose various illnesses.
Can the tabernacle pattern explain altered states of consciousness?
Andre Eggelletion ended the discourse by showing how altered states of consciousness operate according to the three compartments in the tabernacle pattern (Exo. 25:8-9). The various states of altered consciousness correspond to the compartments in the tabernacle (see illustration below).
The seven steps
Now moving from one state of consciousness to another corresponds to the high priest ascending and descending through the steps in the tabernacle:
1. The Gate of the Court Round About is symbolic of the beginning of our search within and a desire of a transformation of consciousness.
2. The Altar of Burnt Offering: The death or sacrifice of the normal waking state of consciousness
3. The Laver: The cleansing of the mind.
4. The Door: A division between the normal and altered state.
5. The Holy Place:
(a) The 7-branched lampstand typifies the elevation of ones consciousness through the 7 steps of the pattern.
(b) The Altar of incense represents the Holy Spirit interceding for the souls in clay houses (Rom. 8:26-28).
(c) The Table of shewbread represents the words of the Holy Spirit in a mans consciousness, which elevates or alters a mans consciousness to a higher or mystical state (John 15:3).
6. The 2nd Veil is the doorway or the veil concealing the presence of Yahweh in ones consciousness. (Rev. 4:1-4)
7. Most Holy Place represents the source of visions and revelations, which is the Spirit or Yahweh.
These seven steps show how one leaves one state of consciousness and resurrects into the next by the death of one state and resurrection of another. The Apostle Paul explains this experience as follows. He said that he was lifted up to the third heaven, which is the Most Holy Place by the tabernacle pattern. I must needs glory, though it is not expedient; but I will come to visions and revelations of Yahweh (the Lord). I know a man in the Messiah (Christ), fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or whether out of the body, I know not; Elohim (God) knoweth), such a one caught up even to the third heaven. And I know such a man (whether in the body, or apart from the body, I know not; Elohim (God) knoweth), how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter (2 Cor 12:1-4).
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