Week 14. Tantra and trance states: Ecstasy Copy

In Greek, ekstasis means to be placed outside, so this state involves a person standing outside of or transcending themselves. 

Ecstasy is an emotional or religious frenzy or trance-like state involving an experience of mystic self-transcendence and extreme happiness or joy. Self-transcendence is an expansion of personal boundaries through experiencing spiritual concepts, like considering oneself an integral part of the universe. The individual overcomes the boundaries of the self-allowing for spiritual realisation and growth. 

There are three perceptive levels of ecstasy like overwhelming emotional perception like awe and joy, physiological response where there was focus on a dominant idea and the nervous system itself is in part cut off from physical sensory input and intuitive perception of the transpersonal experience of expanded states of awareness. 

Ecstatic State:

The ecstatic state generates long-lasting feelings of euphoria and happiness bringing clarity to the individual’s mind and soul. This connection to a new layer of consciousness creates new insights and leads to the ultimate contact with true reality. 

This state can be inhibited by repressed energy in the body, causing pain and stress. It can be elicited by a number of traditional methods like breathwork, chanting, music, sex, shamanic ritual, initiatory experiences and psychedelics. 

Breathwork:

Conscious connected breathing is a cycle of breathing, without any pauses between the inhale and exhale. This technique is used to calm the mind and bring it into an altered state of consciousness to allow blocked emotional energies in the body to be released. 

The extra oxygen in the body through the deeper and longer breaths, allows for a stronger connect with Spirit and your true self. This also increases feelings of peace, joy and compassion, due to the induced ecstatic state.

Chanting:

Rhythmic stimulation of the body can produce a profound change in consciousness, enabling you to experience different areas of an alternate reality.

They are effective means to bring individuals into direct experience with spirits, leading to an ecstatic state. 

Healing mantras and chants bridge the two worlds of humanity and eternity. Mantras protect the mind from the habitual, unconscious cycles of thought and action that we get caught up in, we use the mantra as a sanctuary that houses the source of power to manifest our intention. 

Chanting removes any energy blocks in the body, increasing relaxation and focusing the mind. Repetitive chants often increase alpha and theta activity, becoming relaxed while attentive to the outside world. Heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones are reduced. 

Music & Drumming:

Chakras are various focal energy centres in the body. There are seven chakras in our body, which have their own frequencies, and start from the root into the pelvis, the solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown of the head.

Chakra attuned music means certain sounds have the vibrational power to tap into the body’s chakra frequencies into harmony and these sounds awaken a specific emotional state within us.

Drum provides a simple and effective way to induce an ecstatic trance state. The drum needs to be played at an even tempo of three to four beats per second for at least 15 minutes. The drums used in the shamanic journey are sometimes made from animal hides, so drums should be infused with these animals spirits, along with the spirit of the tree. Vegan drums are anyway becoming more and more popular.

Rattles are used to send signals to the spirit worlds to aid any healing processes, when used in conjunction with drumming, an ecstatic state is likely.

Sex:

Tantric sections of Hinduism and Buddhism see sex as a symbolic expression of the unity of the universe.

Sex can generate higher states of consciousness, as sex has a similar psychological effect to other spiritual activities, generally a stronger effect. 

It generates new energy inside our bodies, and any emotional blocks are dissolved creating feelings of intense well-being and euphoria.

Sex creates a state of intense absorption, normal everyday worries subside as an expansion occurs with the universe. 

Ecstatic feelings created by sensual pleasure and the release of endorphins, suggesting chemical-hormonal changes also play a part in creating this ecstasy.  

Shamanic Ritual: 

Shamanic rituals involve guidance by a shaman or a shamanic practitioner, using ritualised words, sounds and gestures to allow the individuals to meet higher spiritual powers. Shamans and shamanic practitioners are believed to interact with a spirit world through an altered state of consciousness, they direct these spiritual energies into the physical world to heal. 

Meditation and drumming are used to put the individual into a trance-like ecstatic state, where the individual can delve deeper into their consciousness and connect with their true selves. A greater connection to the spiritual self can allow for revelations and growth. 

Shamanic ecstasy is provoked by the ascension of the shaman’s soul into the heavens. These ecstatic states are achieved through strenuous training and initiation. 

Ecstatic experience occurs in both the awakened state and dream state, as lucid dreams play a significant role in the shaman’s life.

Intoxicants:

Many intoxicants have hallucinogenic and stimulant effects. Ecstasy is a euphoria-inducing stimulant and hallucinogen. It increases energy levels, pleasure and distorts sensory and time perception. It does this by influencing the brains dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels, which boosts mood levels and enhance concentration.  

There are many negative effects to taking ecstasy though like neurotoxicity, where neurons can become damaged from long term use and the cause of psychological effects, like anxiety and depression through addiction. 

Plant medicine:

A series of recent studies suggests that psychedelics may be useful for alleviating depression and anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.

Plant-based hallucinogens have been used in ceremonies around the world for centuries. During the 1950s and 1960s, there was considerable interest in the potential for psychedelics to treat mental illness and substance use—in fact, researchers published more than 1,000 scientific papers during this period showing the promise of certain drugs. But with the late ’60s and early ’70s came a political and social backlash against all drugs, which abruptly halted research on psychedelics.

The resurgence of interest in psychedelics among medical researchers in the past decade has led to new findings and ongoing clinical trials using LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and other drugs. But while this research is taking place in clinical settings, an underground—and understudied—community of people is helping others to use plant-based hallucinogenic drugs. In guided sessions or ceremonies, facilitators https://innercamp.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/onsite_mexico_cover_2-scaled-1.jpgister drugs like ayahuasca or psilocybin to people looking to alter their consciousness and improve their mental health.

Little research exists on how hallucinogens are being used in this underground world.

In plant medicine ceremonies, facilitators are responsible for ensuring the physical and emotional safety of all participants. They create a safe physical environment, help participants think about their intention or goal for the ceremony, assist during the ceremony as needed, and help participants integrate the lessons learned during the psychedelic experience into their everyday lives.

Facilitators see plant medicine as different from recreational drug use.

Facilitators described the purpose of drug use as “checking out” or having fun to “numb the pain” of life and its small and large traumas. In contrast, plant medicine use is all about facing life’s difficulties in a safe and supportive environment. Used in the context of community and ritual, ingestion of plant medicines (like ayahuasca and psilocybin mushrooms) is seen as a powerful healing modality. Ingestion of these plants is taken very seriously and the ability to use them is seen as a privilege.

Early clinical evidence suggests that plant medicines such as ayahuasca, psilocybin, and iboga may be effective treatments for many kinds of addiction, from tobacco to alcohol to opioids.

References:

https://www.onecommune.com/ecstatic-breathwork-with-scott-schwenk

https://ecstatictrance.com/trance/

https://www.drugs.com/illicit/ecstasy.html

https://stason.org/TULARC/new-age/shamanism/3-What-is-Shamanic-Ecstasy-and-how-does-it-compare-with-oth.html

https://www.wikihow.com/Practice-Shamanism

https://shamanicdrumming.com/shamanic_journeying.html#:~:text=The%20drum%2C%20sometimes%20called%20the%20shamans%20horse%2C%20provides,can%20journey%20successfully%20even%20on%20their%20first%20attempt.

https://www.shamanismfacts.com/shamanic-journey/

http://www.the-unscripted-self.com/rebirthing.html

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-ecstasy-22091

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-darkness/201201/transcendent-sex

http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2018/june/the-underground-world-of-psychedelics-and-the-potential-of-plant.html

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