Altered consciousness vs. increased consciousness
This is from a blog that hates me. It has nothing to do with me. I'm just lifting it because it's a theme I tend to gravitate towards and write about now and again:
This is a brief follow-up to my earlier post. It’s one thing to spontaneously experience an altered state of consciousness, quite another to practice various techniques designed to actively trigger or cultivate an altered state of consciousness. I think the latter is foolhardy. It exposes you to malevolent spiritual forces that are more powerful that you. Once you open that door, you may not be able to close it.
Even in the case of a spontaneously altered state of consciousness, that still needs to be scrutinized (e.g. 1 Jn 4:1-3).
There is truth in this statement, but it also presents a very common limited view of 'altered consciousness.'
A Christian can *increase* consciousness without necessarily altering their consciousness. You can alter your consciousness by smoking pot or getting drunk or doing some more hardcore drug. This usually lets the spirits in *because there is no control* on the part of the person taking in the consciousness altering substances. There may not even be much of a developed essential core in the individual to fall back on once their surface personality is wiped off the map.
For instance, some people take a recreational drug or get drunk and they're pretty much still the same person, just some motor skill deterioration and what not. Others take a drug or get drunk and they metamorphose into an explosively angry human pit bull or a totally inappropriate quasi-rapist...or worse. The former has an essential core built up, to some degree. The latter is hollow, so to speak, and thus at the mercy of channeling the spirits unimpeded.
But this isn't serious spiritual development or the way to any kind of spiritual development.
In serious spiritual development you really don't want to *alter* your consciousness. You actually want to *increase* your consciousness, or, to put it more plainly, you want to be more awake.
A person has to be ready for it though. A person who is not ready for it could just end up building up features of their fallen nature. Or, prior to that - with little discernment - they could just connect with a teaching/teacher/group that is offering devil-inspired nonsense or worse.
Here's where it can get tricky. When you test your limits for being awake you provoke all the features of your inner fallen nature. You also attract the ire of the world and the attention of the devil. Fun!
Those are the three fronts of the battle that make up spiritual warfare.
This is not necessarily letting demonic forces into you (though admittedly it can seem that way, for anybody who has experienced it). It's just simply becoming known as a soldier of Christ on the spiritual battlefield. Regeneration itself effects this. You're no longer a tame slave in the devil's kingdom going along with the flow. You're now noticed and a threat. The key is having a basic degree of understanding of what is going on and having a basic degree of control that you are able to operate from.
I.e. you need knowledge and you need being. That is to say, we are ignorant and we are weak. We generally don't even know what the features of our fallen nature are. Talk about being an easy victim, when you don't even know what you are in bondage to. But even once we get knowledge of them we find that we are very weak in our ability to go against them.
Individuals - Christians - don't even usually get to this point unless they are able to basically survive it. Having discernment for what is true. Seeing what is on-the-mark and what is off-the-mark. Having a basic level of internal development which is similar to regeneration by the word and the Spirit but is more a basic level of internal awakeness.
In my experience - and others I know - you are naked at first on the battlefield. You are pretty much at the mercy of the forces you are up against. Though obviously you have some protection or you'd be jumping out a window or something. This is where God and the Bible come in. I instinctively avoided such things until I was regenerated by the word and the Spirit. Though I was always working and developing towards it. But the real thing, where you provoke limits in a serious way, I avoided. Until I had the Spirit of Christ in me. Even then I didn't know how naked I was on the battlefield. Eventually you have to don the armor of God. With experience you learn you can't proceed on your own and that you need the armor of God including prayer.
At that point though it's easy to back off, feeling you're already 'there.' Moving forward into that battle needs a degree of valuation for the activity and the goal that is a whole battle on its own. Easier to become a fat monk pouring over the same books - old ground - until death sneaks up on you...
In this post I have not mentioned any teachings or 'schools' or material or influences or anything like that because really a person has to find that on their own. It requires development and a degree of separation from the world. You have to get knocked down pretty good by life too. You have to see your own nothingness. You have to have help, really, from God to even get out of the unconscious patterns of life. This touches on higher aspects of time as well that I won't go into (I have before on this blog though!)...
Suffice to say *increased consciousness* (or will, or conscience for that matter) is not the same as what is commonly known as *altered consciousness.*