I recently read an essay called ‘Psychology, Reality and Consciousness’ by Daniel Goleman. He writes about multi-level consciousness and how Western culture permits only one interpretation of reality – that which we perceive when we are awake in ordinary daily life or “waking state awareness.”
Other cultures permit multi-state consciousness where reality varies depending on your level and type of awareness. Multi-states of consciousness, which we often ethnocentrically call Altered States, are well documented in eastern texts and in western writing on transpersonal psychology.
What does all this have to do with the price of anything? Well, do we accept our lot in life or fight against it? That’s a common question, at least in my life. New Age types vote for acceptance, atheists and social justice types say fight. But framing the issue through waking state conscious is seriously limiting. If we see only A and B, acceptance or fight, we will be stuck on one side or the other of a narrowly defined problem. But what we see depends very much on how we see, on our state of consciousness. If we permit alternative states to emerge, a whole world of alternative realities opens up.
Emigration is once again a reality around the world. Emigration brings a particularly intense and painful form of loneliness. An emigrant at least initially, lives in a world where they know maybe a few people superficially and nobody intimately. That is their current immutable reality. Lincoln’s dog (see Quotes for Living: Abraham Lincoln). Given a single state consciousness, the choices are limited. The emigrant can return home to a different kind of pain. They can battle loneliness with an intense and often desperate burst of socializing and wait until some relationships take root. They can drink away their loneliness, as many do.
In another state of consciousness, reality presents very differently. In other states, reality can be an intense experience of union – union with what really doesn’t need to be defined. In this state, loneliness doesn’t exist. So how would the absence of loneliness affect the immutable reality of being alone in a foreign country?
A lonely person often comes across as needy. Neediness generally repels rather than attracts. Conversely and ironically, a deep state of inner union can be magnetic. The effect: that period of initial socializing can be gentler, more measured and have far quicker and healthier results. In other words, the altered state of awareness can affect what appears to be immutable reality.