altered state of consciousness

Using sleep deprivation as an altered state of consciousness

Whenever I don't get enough sleep I can feel it through out the day. My response time is a bit off, and my thought process just isn't as focused. I don't normally go out of my way to get into a state of sleep deprivation, but I recognize that it is an altered state of consciousness, albeit one that is less than pleasant to experience. The feeling of fogginess is a state that can be worked with in a magical context. Sleep deprivation causes a blurring, not quite in control feeling. That feeling is useful for doing magical work where you are raising magic through activity, such as exercise or ecstatic dance. The reason its useful is because you're pushing your current state of sleep deprivation through activity to a point of exhaustion which in turn creates an altered state of no-mind, which can then be used to focus on the goal the person wants to achieve.

Ideally what will happen is that a person will use a state of sleep deprivation in tandem with an activity such as dance. S/he will either create a sigil or will develop some other magical technique that s/he will employ while dancing. For the sake of example, we'll just say the person will focus on the sigil while dancing. Eventually when the person is truly exhausted, s/he will stop dancing, but will continue to focus on the sigil, using the exhaustion as a way to focus every last bit of awareness on it. Then when the person can't keep awake any further s/he will go to sleep, continuing as best as possible to focus on the sigil, so that s/he can charge it in his/her sleep.

When a person has been sleep deprived and goes to sleep exhausted the sleep can be much, much deeper, so this is useful because as the person sleeps s/he allows the sigil to germinate.

Now if the person has thought ahead, s/he will have the sigil positioned in such a way that when s/he awakes, s/he will see the sigil, and recall the activities of the other night, and in that process, fire the sigil. It's a long build-up, but its effective, because you combine a variety of states of awareness into the working and when it fires, all of that effort contributes to the realization of the possibility you want to bring into reality.

Meditation and the relationship to the body

I've been doing a lot of research and practical applications of meditation from various spiritual systems, and the one thing I find consistent is that for meditation to really work, there must be some interaction with the body. The body is the gateway to experiencing meditation, which makes sense as a meditation is really an altered state of physiological consciousness. I put it that way, because it seems to me that there is a tendency to discuss and conceptualize meditation as a state of mind or consciousness that is separate from the experience of the body. But you really can't separate the body from meditation, because you are rooting yourself in the experience of changing your physiology to accomplish an altered state of consciousness. This is why breath plays such a role in meditation. Breath is the key to accessing the body and bringing it into a state of physiological receptivity for an altered state of consciousness. By focusing awareness on the breath a person becomes aware of the body and can slow it down enough to enter into an altered state. Or alternately a person can do some kind of excitatory activity to achieve the same level of awareness. In either case, the body is the foundational core by which meditation is achieved. It's worth remembering that if you want to make meditation a part of your tool set.