Recently, the topic of altered states came up on a discussion forum I participate in. I posted this information...
One easy way to experience an altered state is to just observe yourself as you fall asleep at night and try to notice when you are in the hypnogogic state. When that happens it is very hard to concentrate on one thing for more than a few seconds and you have very vivid mental imagery.
If you try repeating a phrase over and over as you fall asleep, (or while you are doing relaxation exercises), you get to a point where you can't concentrate on it for more than a few seconds without your mind wandering and at the same time you experience very vivid mental imagery. Then you are in the hypnogogic state and your brain is probably producing lots of theta waves. Theta waves have been reported to coincide with psychic experiences.
I find the hypnogogic state is a good state for doing remote viewing and spirit communication. I explain this in more detail on my web site.
If you don't want to get too spooky, just consider the hypnogogic state a good state to access the unconscious. If you have a personal or spiritual question, repeat the question over and over and when your mind wanders and you have mental imagery, see if there isn't an answer or symbolic answer somewhere in the mental noise.
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