Reference State

Consider the world view of a person deeply depressed. Reality is coloured by whatever doubts and fears are conjured. More often than not, the doubts and fears are not particularly rational, they have little likelihood of being realised. Other times depression is exactly the correct expression of the situation.

Consider those who have had their sexual needs met by a loving partner – for them the world will look very different to that seen by those who met in bars and stumbled into drunk sex.

When seeking the elusive Altered States, it is worth considering the starting point and the modification desired.

Successful treatment of depression is a successful alteration to state.

The nature of the intrusions in contemplation/meditation will depend greatly on general state of mind – guilt and shame make for much more uncomfortable introspection than love and hope.

One challenge for the explorer of self is to identify the point on each spectrum that provides the most realistic world view, and then deviate from there to acquire the perspectives desired from altered states. Like many others, I cannot tolerate my reference point without chemical assistance – antidepressants bring me close enough to allow me to fine tune by whatever other means I may choose. Other chemicals – painkillers, alcohol and so on, each induce their characteristic deflections from the reference state.

Our society hints at what it considers optimum. The mix of prescription and non-prescription substances used by a population gives an insight into where people’s natural reference states lie and what they have to use to get their actual state into an acceptable range. Media tells of what we must do to fit in and feel good.

I just watched a documentary on The War on Drugs, replete with references to “the drug problem”. There is no drug problem. There are vast socio-economic problems creating internal conflicts that can only be assuaged by chemical adjustment. Some can find their centre with prescription drugs. For others the discrepancies are too great and more potent or more relevant substances will be sought. In my experience people only seek to alter their perspective if the one they have is unacceptable.

There is sufficient harsh reality for anyone but the most hardened to be rightly distressed. There is much that cannot be justified morally or rationally – yet we have to treat such things as normal in our society. There shouldn’t be a human being with a reference state that sees the condition of humanity as acceptable.

Theta/alpha/gamma sessions are superb for exploring your own deep held beliefs about your world, for finding out what you really think before your justification and rationalisation mechanisms kick in.


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