In our ordinary state of consciousness, the world operates in a predictable way. Some basic and familiar rules of ordinary consciousness include the following assumptions: you exist at a fixed point in time limited in your ability to perceive the present world by the five senses, emotional experiences, and thoughts; you have the ability to recall autobiographically based past events and a reasonable ability to predict future events; and the world you operate within follows the basic rules of linear causality. The general consensus is that the world we agree we experience exists in the present moment.
Non-Ordinary State of Consciousness
Transcendence of one, several, or all of these basic rules can occur within a non-ordinary state of consciousness. For example, an individual in a non-ordinary state of consciousness may experience events such as: reliving past experiences or seeing future ones, the subjective experience, or “knowing,” of another person or other part of the natural world (animal, plant, natural object, extra-terrestrial), experiences in the womb or during the birth process, communication with deceased relatives, mathematical or scientific concepts, past lives/reincarnation, or union with abstract ideas like love or the universe. It is impossible to describe the unlimited range of experiences accessible in non-ordinary states; as a “non-ordinary” state is by its definition unlimited.
The subjective experience of a non-ordinary states of consciousness has a wide emotional range, but cannot be classified as either “good or bad” or “real or not real.” From a clinical and therapeutic standpoint, the NOSC is not judged in any way, other than to ask how this new information might be used to aide in healing, similar to the way in which classical psychoanalytic material such as fantasies or unconscious associations were understood as doorways into the deeper psyche.
In our chemical assisted therapy sessions, similar to the methods used by the MAPS MDMA assisted psychotherapy training protocol, content experienced in a non-ordinary state is always considered useful to the healing and growth of the participant. We have been trained to approach these experiences non-judgmentally and to trust that the experience, no matter how unpleasant or blissful, is emerging for the sake of healing.