Integration Support for Mystical Experiences
Non-ordinary States of Consciousness
Who might benefit from this therapeutic service?
➢ Anyone who is confused after a N.O.S.E ➢ Anyone who has experienced an altered state ➢ Anyone who has had a Near Death Experience➢ Anyone who is considering using a substance to induce an altered state ➢ Those who consider themselves psychonauts or pilgrims of the unconscious realms ➢ Anyone suffering from anxiety after an non-ordinary-state experience ➢ Anyone who would like support in integrating a mystical experience, or is considering investigating the realm beyond ego ➢ Anyone experiencing recurring dreams, lucid dreams, hypnagogia and hypnopompic, out of body states or dream paralysis
An Overview of Non Ordinary State Experiences
Mystical experiences can be very affirmative and we can reorient our lives to align with what we have learnt after a N.O.S.E. For the sake of framing the term Non Ordinary State Experience let us say here that our normal everyday state-of-consciousness, dominated by the ego, can be called “ordinary reality”, and all other realms of the psyche or states-of-consciousness can be called “non-ordinary”. Psychotherapists call this realm beyond ego, the unconscious.
Carl Jung suggested that the content of our mind is not limited to what we have experienced since birth, but that we are all tapped into a collective terrain, where behaviors are drawn from certain myths and hidden archetypal images. He saw that we are tapped into historical models. He felt that the deepest unconscious mind is the real dynamo of the person and is genetically inherited and not shaped by personal experience.
For most people the unconscious remains hidden other than through unsolicited events, like these common experiences such as sleeping or daydreaming, childbirth, sleep deprivation, sexual euphoria, or even extreme pain. A less common unsolicited entry into an altered reality would be a N.D.E (Near Death Experience see below).
Why would anyone consciously solicit (choose) a non ordinary state?
Since the beginning of time people have been exploring non-ordinary states to more deeply understand their identity and the meaning of human existence. When a person gains access to the “foreign” realms of their psyche, the territory that transcends the tight, limited boundaries of the ego, the individual can be offered an opportunity to acknowledge their narrative in a new way. Their former self-image and world-view can become more expanded, a new level of awareness can become available and for some, an Awakening occurs.
What is an Awakening?
A spiritual awakening can generally be defined as a newfound awareness of a spiritual reality. No person can fully define a spiritual awakening for another. Of course, each person has a different outlook on life and defines things differently. Some people believe that to achieve human wholeness we need a marriage between the unconscious and conscious, and that acknowledging and then experiencing our hidden story can offer us the opportunity to translate our reality more efficiently.
A Wake Up can happen at any moment or period in your life. This can be a spontaneous (unsolicited) event, or for some, more consciously chosen (solicited) experience for others. Another term to describe a shift in awareness can be Rebirth or even Psychic Change. In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the definition a spiritual awakening is a “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism.” The ascetic sage, Gautama Buddha, more commonly known as The Buddha, described his own awakening as – when ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, which happens in one who is heedful, ardent, and resolute. Guru Eckhart Tolle’s spiritual experience came when he was a 29 year old near-suicidal graduate student and underwent a cataclysmic and terrifying spiritual experience that erased his former identity. In one morning. He’s been flooded with a sense of “uninterrupted deep peace and bliss” that has never left him since and written beautifully inspiring books to support human beings coming into contact with their true inner nature (e.g. A New Earth)
Long Term benefits of a N.O.S.E – Briefly, outside of the time it takes to adjust to a new perspective, most people report deeper attunement to Nature and the elements, and a deeper sensitivity in relationship to self (self-love) and others. This usually means that any bad behaviors and addictions eventually (with the right focus and integration) drop away. People report more alignment to their creativity and talents. Some people report a new relationship to Spirit, or a deeper trust in the cycle of Life, Birth & Death, and a secure knowing that there is an afterlife. Overall, generally, a deeper appreciation for life and living.
What are the commonalities of ANY non ordinary state experience?
Prepared or unprepared, the outcomes of subjective experience have some commonalities. Irrespective of whether we consciously decide to consider other states, by engaging in a practice out of curiosity, or spontaneously arrive there in a more common way, there are variations of response. Positive and not so positive. The many variables relate to the person’s history (upbringing, epigenetics), gender, orientation, belief system and their environment & the event or experience in question.
Are all N.O.S.E Positive? Good Trip vs Bad Trip!
Depending on the modality, like using a substance for the purpose of corrective therapeutic needs, some methods (i.e. using psychoactive substances) can function like catalysts by allowing a past event in the person’s biography to emerge. From repressed memory, along with their associative replay of the stored perceptions, a hidden guided message relating to the formation of a personality can emerge (e.g., a time when the theme of victim started and the associated thought – I am stupid or – I must perform to be loved etc). For example, disassociated engraved stored patterns may be impacting the quality of your bonding abilities, courage, etc. These substances only reveal the contents of a person ́s biography, but now the information is encrypted and needs to be unriddled. The scenes can show up metaphorically. Ancestral epigenetic phenomena can also show up. Some of the scenes may be distressing and difficult to experience, and could be considered a BAD trip. Our preparation suggest you consciously solicit a N.O.S.E with the attitude that, physical reactions aside, undesirable feelings and visions can be filtered through afterwards and used as part of the integration material. All information made available from the unconscious is useful with the right integration methods. The attached agitation or unease can show up during or the session or afterwards. This is all In-For-Mation!!
Unsolicited – or spontaneous N.O.S.E
Some spontaneous encounters are very positive.What do we mean by Spontaneous or Unsolicited. These terms indicate that you did not consciously choose this experience. It just happened! (link to other paragraph) Some report a gentle opening into a rich reality never known, an intense peace, a swirling free associative kaleidiscopectic space where memory and thought is mixed to deliver a remarkable landscape of self exploration. Others report apparitions, tunnels of light, meetings with beings not of this world, or dead relatives (ancestors). In a N.O.S.E we can be taken out of a restricted way of thinking, offered a glimpse of the liminal where we peek underneath the veil of this current time and place.
Common themes (not dreams!!)
- overwhelming feelings of peace
- hearing angelic sounds
- seeing a tunnel of light
- witnessing the self being out of the body
- meeting nonphysical beings
- meeting deceased friends and relatives
- recognisable otherworldliness
- receiving meaningful messages about life
- overviews of hurts and grief
- difficult lessons on forgiveness and fears
- wordless emptiness of vast proportions
- universal oneness with everything
- teachings on the duality of human existence
In a non-ordinary state of consciousness, the universe can appear fluid and non-mechanical, space and time are relative, moral absolutes vanish, death is but a transition and life exists in a variety of forms.
However, for others the expansion can result in a total detachment from this reality, disorientated. Some N.O.S.E can be difficult to interpret,and after the event the person ́s system responds with high levels of anxiety. Not all journeys into the unknown are affirmative. Some experiences are scary, taking us to the depths of our psyche, or unknown terrain (like floating outside our own body but still being aware of that physical shell below). We may not be prepared to handle these expansions. Although there is a school of thought that we will only be served up an encounter that we our psyche can manage, the proof is often in how easy it is for the person to integrate these new realisations over time.
What is a N.O.S.E really like?
Without having investigated any other state than your everyday way of being it can be very difficult to describe an altered reality in advance. It is almost like trying to describe the taste of a strawberry or an apple to someone who has never tasted fruit. The intensity of the experience can also play a role, the modality used, or the depth of the trauma endured (you can experience a N.O.S as a result of a traumatic experience, e.g. a prolonged sense of pain, a surgical investigation, an attack, being trapped, an accident or some form of torture.
But What Is Not To Say Someone Has Imagined their N.O.S.E? Where is the proof? PROOF; is evidence so strong it would be statistically unreasonable to deny it!
Near Death phenomena
Since 1998, Jeffrey Long, M.D., a radiation oncologist in Louisiana, has been documenting N.D.E´s across cultures, languages and countries. He employed agents to interview thousands of people about their experiences, worldwide. From a recent interview he is reported saying “in the very first version of the survey in 1998 when I first put the website up, I asked that question: Was your experience dream-like in any way? I deliberately worded that in a somewhat non-scientific way because it was leading them to answer yes if any part of their NDE was dreamlike. I thought, geez that’s about as aggressively as I can conceive of wording a question to bring out any dream-like aspects, at any time, in any way during the experience. Well, the responses to that question were so overwhelmingly, “NO, absolutely not, no way, are you kidding?” I felt bad I was asking them that because the responses were not only so uniformly no, but so emphatically no. I ended up taking that question out.
Peter Fenwick (born 25 May 1935) is a neuropsychiatrist and neuropsychologist, has spent the last decade studying N.D phenomena. He has written over (Number) relating to the stories gathered and offering people encouragement to use an NDE to embrace life more passionately. In this talk he encourages people to recognise their fears around Death being the Final Border. He is one of the champions for the concept of the “Good Death” experience and feels the concept of an afterlife to be undeniable.
Is an N.D.E similar to or different from N.O.S.E? Ultimately a Near Death Experience is classified as a Non Ordinary State Experience, of the unsolicited kind. There are common themes that run through all these states. Near-death experience exhibits many attributes of mystical awareness. Assessing the mystical quality of psychedelic experience, Walter Pahnke identified a nine-category typology of mystical experience. It is used to illustrate the mystical nature of near-death experience. The typology also describes the self-transformation which follows the mystical state of consciousness. The self-transformational elements of a near-death experience mapped by Pahnke’s mystical typology characterises the near-death experience and allows for a definition of near-death experience as a mystical state, mirroring other N.O.S.E´s, like Plant Medicine, Breathwork and other altered states. Here are some of his observations during a study, where he encouraged dying patients to undergo N.O.S.E´s as a preparation for their nearing Departure – An overall sense of Unity or cosmic oneness achieved through positive ego transcendence. Although the usual sense of identity, or ego, fades away, consciousness and memory are not lost; instead, the person becomes very much aware of being part of a dimension much vaster and greater than himself. In addition to the route of the “inner world” where external sense impressions are left behind, unity can also be experienced through the external world, so that a person reports that he feels a part of everything that is (for example, objects, other people, or the universe), or more simply, that “all is One.”. Other qualities reported were:
- Transcendence of Time and Space means that the subject feels beyond past, present, and future, and beyond ordinary dimensional space in the realm of eternity or infinity.
- Deeply Felt Positive Mood containing the elements of joy, blessedness, peace, and love to an overwhelming degree of intensity, often accompanied by tears.
- A sense of Sacredness is a non-rational, intuitive, hushed, palpitant response of awe and wonder in the presence of an inspiring Reality. The main elements are awe, humility, and reverence, but the terms of traditional theology or religion need not necessarily be used in the description.
- The Noetic Quality, as named by William James,
- A feeling of insight or illumination that, on an intuitive, nonrational level and with a tremendous force of certainty, subjectively has the status of Ultimate Reality. This knowledge is not n increase in facts but is a gain in psychological, philosophical, or theological insight
In helping individuals work with these non-ordinary states (including spontaneous). I believe it is important to prepare for the experience beforehand (if solicited) as well as integrating it afterward. This can involve setting intentions, scheduling time afterward to let the experience sink in, and processing the experience in a way that will facilitate understanding and growth.
Some people experience a premonition beforehand, perhaps a dreamlike quality to the day before and then a peak altered state (e.g. link to Near Death), sometimes in a very familiar setting. These are considered Unsolicited N.O.S.E, where people arrive into an altered reality with no predertimed decision to do so. Sometimes an external shock or an unexpected intrusion can impact on the body and trigger the person, breaking their relationship to this reality, like an act of violence on their person, a shocking accident, a trauma, a heartbreak that brings an ego death, a relationship to severe pain or a near death occurrence.
For people who have no choice, arriving into the altered reality of a N.O.S.E in an unplanned way, irrespective of the outcome, will offer new material to decipher. Allowing yourself supportive counsel in Integration Therapy, tailored to meet your direct experience, with full engagement and open curiosity, can be the best self care at this time of change. The possibility is, if you are viewing this material, you are already considering seeking support in navigating your relationship to this event. Even if at first you feel shy to speak it out, or confused about how to match the experience in words, we encourage you to understand these are familiar reactions. Societal norms and fears of being misjudged, or even a protectiveness around the sacredness of the encounter can hold you back from reaching out. Take your time if you are not feeling anxious, but start to journal the memories as best you can as this is rich terrain, and if it indeed feels wordless, draw it, dance it, sing it, bake it! We will be here when you are ready to connect.
More recently people have begun searching for answers to a deep seated suspicions that something is missing in their lives. Feelings of disconnection and depression are driving people to choose modalities that allow them to expand outwards and meet a part of themselves yet unknown. As religious beliefs drop away, people are drawn to collective creative experiences that offer an opportunity to meet a version of Spirit or the Divine that makes more sense to them directly. These modalities can include meditation, breathwork, medicinal herbs, dance (movement medicine, 5 rhythms), shamanic practices (drumming, soul retrieval, fasted long dances) and for some, sexual practices (conscious self pleasure, or engaged kundalini states). There are other ways people can create altered states of consciousness, less common, like taking an entheogen (a class of psychoactive substances that induces any type of spiritual experience aimed at development or sacred use) in a ceremonial way, with supportive teams of people, sometimes following methods from other indigienous cultures, like Ayahuasca.
So now you think you are ready to be a Psychonaut – a sailor of the mind!
Being Prepared Versus Being Ready for an Awakening
It is important to make a distinction between being prepared for an awakening and being ready. I’m defining readiness as something that only your spirit (some call it a soul, others higher self) can decide. If you ego defense system is impenetrable, i.e. your narrative around Who I Am and Identity is too tightly woven, you can feel ready to awaken into this world but it won’t matter how much preparation for such a shift you do. You will continue to sleep like a seedling waiting for the right conditions before it decides to sprout. If it does feel ready, then it sprouts, but some of you may not be prepared for this sprouting.
How do I translate the experience? A person’s ability to Integrate their N.O.S.E can vary depending on self awareness, previous unexplained experiences, the person’s nervous system etc.
Positive or not, integration is the key to grounding your experience.
- When do I start Integration?
There can be a period of time after a N.O.S.E where you feel elated or invincible (often a welcome state after a lifetime of discomfort for some). It is suggested to give yourself time to digest new information. A system of self tracking gives way to making space for any revelations that are yet to appear. A Time To Gather was setup to support you to plan your integration in a way that will suit your storyline.
ALERT Ego inflation Spiritual bypassing was first coined by psychologist John Welwood and refers to the use of spiritual practices or beliefs to avoid dealing with pain and suffering. Spiritual bypassing is a way for us to not only avoid pain, but legitimise such avoidance, (i.e. The New Age Movement, people jumping from one expansive experience to the next). It means not being willing to deal with emotional pain, and so distractions becomes the key. It can manifest as inflation, e.g., I know best, so I will start to direct others, before doing the deeper uncomfortable piece of sitting into the revealing rawness of my own stuff – it’s a metaphysical limbo basically. It is important not to fall into this trap. N.O.S.E can leave you feeling more powerful, almost Super Human for a time period. When this wears off, we encourage you not to jump into the next experience in an effort to chase away discomfort. It is all part of the process. Giving yourself time between experiences allows for the body and mind to settle and then the spirit has a dwelling place, to show all the manifestations of your story.
Consciously deciding to consider other states?
Beyond providing remarkable journeys through the ´mind´, exploring or experiencing a non ordinary state can provide shifts in creativity, problem solving, and cognitive ability. Integration programme is designed to suit your needs. Urges to do things differently can be difficult to translate at first. A Time To Gather encourages you to start new ways of experiencing the World by using a developmental approach that gives way for what has been hidden (buried away through lack of expression, numbing, shyness, bullying etc.,) to come to the surface and find expression. We live in one of the most connected times on earth but never before have we been so lonely, so alienated from each other, from ourselves, and from the natural world. Whether this manifests as having difficulty finding community, feeling anxious about your worthiness and place in the world, or simply feeling disconnected, the absence of belonging is the great silent wound of our times. A N.O.S.E can offer you a window into removing ego structures, which means your narrative, or WHO you are in the World becomes less important. This strangely offers a deeper sense of peace as you are no longer tied up in the constructs of Identity. What is hidden may astound you!
A N.O.S.E can offer you a window into the Oneness of all, and how you are part of that. But then reality hits and you are back to feeling alone again. This is very natural. It is like a reunion, with all that you ever imagined would be waiting for you, in your sense of belonging to this World, and then it is back to the day day. That is why it is very necessary to offer yourself love and kindness and connection, in whatever way that needs to come in. Integration involves self compassion and self love and you may need to learn this as a whole new skill!
B. I experienced a new state and something has changed, I think I believe in an afterlife!!
The Peace That Passes All understanding: Your sense of Beingness is now recognised as being formless. You experience something new? You have begun to realise the ultimate truth of who you are. The I am aspect of Self has changed dramatically. You have been given the opportunity to look beyond Identity. You have seen that the YOU believed to be is no longer as fixed as before. Your consciousness is shifting into a new openness. You now have a sense of inner peace or a new perspective on the connectedness of all things. You have perhaps realised your thoughts are not who you are. Your Ego, or your Story, the roles you play in life no longer matter as much as they did. Integration now involves nurturing this understanding. It takes time. You may be left with positive images of the visions that unfolded during your N.O.S.E and that can be given recognition, but the bigger picture or gift is to use the in-form-ation that has been made available.
Perceived Negative Experience
- Why did I feel stuck?
Some people report a disconnected feeling between body and mind. They realise that their minds were overactive and that their thinking created a resistance to the experience. There is a ́straddling ́ between the known and unknown. Some people get stuck there. In order to surrender to what is being offered during whatever out of the ordinary happening that is occuring, either chosen or unsolicited, a release or a letting go, by literally dropping away from our held sense of identity can allow a person to be exposed to new modes of perception and understanding that can change a beings outlook on life forever. Those who get stuck in the straddle arena sometimes report feeling like the experience was incomplete. Sometimes there is a feeling that there was a place to go to but a deeper realisation that some part of the self was not willing to Let Go. The therapeutic process can assist with the idea of Surrender to the unknown.
Feeling unsettled since your N.O.S.E?
You wake up in a hospital or regain consciousness after an accident or a strange state and cannot find the words to match what has just happened. Now you have had time to settle yourself, physical impact aside, you are noticing changes to your thinking that are difficult to interpret. You are remembering being somewhere else, encountering experiences that you have no way to explain. Some people get a deep seated feeling that what they had just encountered was NOT a dream but a different place and time.
It does not matter how you arrived here. If you are experiencing anxiety for a prolonged period of time after a N.O.S.E, it can be this event was experienced by you as traumatising. An individual, even the well-prepared, seeking to deal with the aftermath of shock should not let fear symptoms go on for any longer than a few days. It can be very useful if the experience is still fresh when you approach a support system. (Link to the request page)
THE SUPPORT SYSTEM
What can I expect from this therapeutic support system?
Your personalised integration therapy after a N.O.S.E includes many factors. Firstly we have you fill out a carefully formulated questionnaire, to get a sense of your history and current state of health and well-being. This is relating to Mind, Body and Spirit.
Evaluating your responses might result in a referral for a different therapeutic approach. If we decide to work together, where your state of well-being has been affirmative enough to use our model, we move forward to Stage 2.
Stage 2 is a person to person online session which allows us to go over together the criteria for this modality, the contract between us and the way the therapy will flow. This is a Getting To Know you session. From here we will either agree or disagree to work together.
Stage 3 is delivery of your personalised directive for this journey. This can involve the following principles:
To achieve a sustainable positive lifetime outcome, we encourage you as the client to create new behavioral patterns and develop a grown up state of being. Any left over emotional links to hurt are worked through using a tailored system of care. Attention to daily life, using tracking methods, allow detection unuseful negative reactions that are taking up space.
After any expanded states experience we assist you to setup a platform of assisted integration, where you begin to explore the event through various methods, including journalling, bodywork, philosophy, (etc). It is important to consider this is an investment in Yourself. What is Self-care? For some this question is obvious, for others, is an extension in self development.
We now know that you have the task of recalibrating yourself, but your journey towards integration can be multi folded, including considerations on past trauma, inherited or other. Studies in epigenetics would lead to suggest that we inherit certain insecurities from our ancestors (https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2dwn6s) and the work of Gabor Mate has highlighted the need for enquiry on our true nature of trauma and addiction by looking at our family of origin and how we were imprinted. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojq-U13726E
If you find the notion of self evaluation confusing it might indicate that you were not quite prepared for this expansive awakening. Others may consider themselves self-reflective and well journeyed in the area of ́know thy-self ́ and yet some aspect of a recent N.O.S.E is feeling considerably unmanageable. The evidence is clear, for some, having passed through the depths of your unconscious can have repercussions, and the timing (as with N.D.E etc.,) can be out of your control. A system of monitored self-process can give you the answers on how you need to recalibrate. Bodywork and energetic tools can play a huge role. (link to bodywork page)
Disturbance after your N.O.S.E?
Trauma can happen with any overwhelming circumstance: a basic hallmark of a traumatic experience is anything that’s “too much, too fast, too soon” for a particular human nervous system to handle. Long periods of ungroundedness, anxiety and paranoia, if left unattended, can create massive ruptures in the human psyche and be difficult to resolve. The quicker you get solutions to soothing your system the better. During stage 3 we will hopefully have a sense of the urgency your need and work from there.
Aftercare can include reinforcing the emotions as they reveal themselves. Grief being one aspect, as we rediscover what has been lost to us, or realise it for the first time. This is very person oriented therapy. After a N.O.S.E we may have travelled to a new depth where we start to recognise behaviors we were never aware of have interrupted our evolution
In order to navigate some of the changes and challenges that may come your way, as a direct result of an -awakening- part of this programme looks at the concept of Mis-identification with a view to Re-identifying. Confused? It is something like Unbecoming in order to Become with the suggestion that over time, as you start to wonder more about who you are, you can begin by deciding who you are not.
How is this process supported?.
- Individually tailored weekly protocols
- Persona research
- Tracking daily life
- Education on the different N.O.S.E
- Re-parenting concepts
- Book reviews