The Eight Doorways to Altered States of Consciousness

By George A. Boyd © 2014

Many of those who follow the Shamanic Path know of only one doorway to altered states of consciousness: the ingestion of psychoactive drugs. These create an energetic bridge to the astral body that we call the physical etheric pathway.

This doorway to the astral, however, is certainly not the only pathway to altered states of consciousness. We describe eight additional doorways that do not require any tools other than the attention and the breath. These are the methods taught in meditation.

  1. The Kundalini Doorway – the energy substanding awareness, once awakened, follows the Kundalini track through the Subconscious, Metaconscious, and Superconscious mind to unite with the Soul, which brings about illumination and enlightenment. Kundalini meditation opens this doorway.
  2. The Breath Doorway – This taps into the current of life force that the Indians call Prana and the Chinese call Chi. The life force animates the physical body, circulates through the life force dynamos of the astral body, energizes the chakras of the Subconscious mind, activates the energetic switchboard of the etheric body of the Metaconscious mind, provides energy for the activity of the volition and the vehicles of the entire personality. Life force flows downward from the Soul’s etheric form through each vehicle of consciousness of the Superconscious mind, activates the pranic vortex in the Anandamayakosa, and the Pranamayakosa circulates this current throughout the personality and body. Breathing meditations (Pranayama), body recharging exercises, hatha yoga, and martial arts tap into this living stream, and open this doorway.
  3. The Sensory Doorway – The physical senses connect through the astral body, to the focus of attention, to the attentional principle, to the personal intuition, to the senses of the spirit, to the transpersonal intuition, to the Soul’s experience of itself. Pratyahara methods that reverse the currents of sight, hearing, smell-taste, and touch tap into this pathway. Opening this pathway to the focus of attention brings light to the eye of the mind. When is extended to the attentional principle through Raja Yoga, it awakens the faculty of Metavision. When it is expanded to the vista of the spirit through Nada Yoga, it stimulates Heart Sight.
  4. The Astral Doorway – The astral body has the ability of astral projection and astral travel to any location in the physical world and the dimensional worlds of the Astral Plane. The astral body can be directed through autohypnosis and intention to explore the unconscious, Subconscious, Metaconscious, and Superconscious bands of the mind, and open the astral doorway.
  5. The Volitional/Intentional Pathway – Personal volition can be trained to take charge of each vehicle of the personality, and to make choices to gain control of personal destiny. Transpersonal volition can be activated to operate the powers and abilities of the Superconscious mind. The faculty of intention, which operates through the attentional principle can be trained to move the attentional principle in full consciousness through the Higher Planes, to activate transformational mantras, to commune with spiritual guides, and to make attunements using the Divine Light. Active will training, study of the higher octaves of the will, and the Tratakam exercise of Raja Yoga opens this doorway.
  6. The Attentional Doorway – Collecting the attention and guiding it move upward through the focal points of the mind, or to track across the unconscious mind, are methods to open the attentional doorway. Learning to concentrate the mind (Dharana, Samatha), to monitor experience in the present time (Mindfulness, Vipassana), to contemplate the contents of awareness (Dhyana), and to gain union with the object of meditation (Samadhi) are methods that enable you to access this pathway of the attention.
  7. The Symbolic Intuitional Doorway – When you dialog with your Higher Self, you contemplate the meaning of a symbol or an astrological array, you use a structured method of Reflective Meditation or Receptive Meditation, you ask a probing, repetitive question to your Subconscious mind (Process meditation), or when you inquire “Who am I?” again and again, you are tapping into this inner intuitional stream. Jnana Yoga and invocational methods open this doorway.
  8. Identification Doorway – When you place your attention upon your ego, your Self, your spirit, a nucleus of identity, or your Soul, and realize this is who you are, you are opening the identification doorway. This is the culmination of the discernment phase of Jnana Yoga that leads to realization of your essential nature and Gnosis.

We invite you to lean how to open these other eight doorways, and leave behind your dependence on psychoactive drugs to alter your awareness. We teach you how to open each of these other eight doorways in our intermediate meditation classes, the on-line and by-mail Accelerated Meditation Program and the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation.

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