10 Ways to Alter Your Consciousness Without Drugs

Picture of 10 Ways to Alter Your Consciousness Without Drugs

I'm typically not one for altered states of consciousness. I don't do drugs. I've never been drunk. In fact, the only time I can claim to have been synthetically high was when, against my will, I was injected with Fentanyl moments before being put under for surgery (and that high was not a pleasant experience). So, when I purchased a book Get High Now (without drugs) at a book sale, many of my friends and loved ones thought it extremely peculiar. When I set out to make an Instructable along the same theme, they felt I had perhaps come unhinged.

This whole endeavor is highly out of character for me. I am not one to seek out altered states of consciousness, and everyone seemed plain confused as to why I suddenly wanted to (and without drugs, no less). Some friends wanted to know if this meant I would go out drinking with them now. Others simply wanted to know who I was, where I came from, and what I did with the real Randy. All of that said, I am not particularly certain what made all of this resonate with me so strongly, but I found it compelling enough to give it a try.

Collected here are are a number of techniques for altering your consciousness. All of these have been vetted by myself and found to be effective for me on some level. That means that I did try and reject a few consciousness altering exercises that might work for others. The most notable rejection was transcendental meditation. I could not get it to do much of anything for me other than make my legs stiff. Really, the only thing I found transcendental meditation good for was striking a nice pose for the main image of this Instructable.

While none of these 10 approaches are as consciousness-altering as being injected with Fentanyl, I can say that they will all make you perceive the world in alternative ways.
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One very simple way to get dizzy is simply to breathe in a different way than usual. If you ever inflated a large buoy, you probably know what I mean.

teslaberry3 months ago

binaural beats also dovetail with chanting or other sonic repetitive methods for self induced psychoactive states.

the other things you did not put on this list are extreme endurance exercise---such as a full day of walking almost nonstop. this induces endogeous psyhoactive reaction without exogenous drugs.

you did not list extended intensive sex .

you did not list getting into a fight, or fighting vigorously under controlled conditions. this can bring on the same intensive psychoactive reactions as many thrill seeking activities generally-----skydiving, roller coasters , biking in heavy new york city traffic ( my prefered method) .

also, surprisingly you did not mention intensive breathing control .prana yama in indian traditions, chinese have their own breathing traditions as well. fast breaths , slow breaths, rythmic breaths and holding of the breath.

and finally, ---temperature extreme. both the sauna, and the extreme cold. together, or separately.

there is one questionable one which is not fighting, but willing subjecting oneself to being beaten. beyond a certain threshold, pain itself causes intensive psychoative response beyond a certain.

finally i would mention----electro direct current tms and magnetic stimulation. but both of these have dubious undetermined psychoactive effects which are more likely random and highly subjective.

together with these you could include frontal lobe lobotomy too!. that's a bit less dubious . we know what it is usually does to personality and brain function generally. thing is, you don't want to try it becuase it's fully irreversible with our current technology.

teslaberry3 months ago

this one is a drug. goes into skin and nasal epithelium into brain , through nasal membrane, and into blood through lungs and mucous membranes. so this doesn't count imho just because it's not thought of as a classic drug that operates directly on your metabolism, aroma therapies are operating on you through alternative chemical pathways. aromatic molecules are after all volatile chemicals that interact readily with whatever it is that allows you to smell them....

BudS13 months ago

I alter my mind without drugs. I just smoke marijuana. Its not a drug

I personally prefer to sit back for a few hours after a few bowls, play my guitar, and have the visualizer on my TV playing Tool. I'm from Colorado, have my red card, and smoke about 3 grams a day. I live an awesome life.
I read this and cracked up xD! I'm from Illinois so I think this is quite hilarious (and expensive).
Natalina9 months ago

I have one to add from a recent visit to a hot springs in winter, and I'm sure anyone who grew up with access to a hot tub and snow has discovered this before by jumping in snow after a good soak. Going back and forth between a very hot and very cold environment definitely leaves you feeling high, and at least for me I am left energized and later relaxed. The hotter and colder the better!

amanley21 year ago
Binaural Beats are great. I have been using them everyday for almost 3 years now. I mostly just use them for relaxation as they enable me to enter deep states of meditation rather quickly. If you are feeling stressed or anxious then I think these tools work especially good. I also know of a company that combines the isochronics and binaural beats called IsoBeats. You can check them out here: IsoBeats. Also I first learned about these recordings from Binaural Beats if you want to know anything about them then this is a great place to start. They have lots of articles and experiments using these sounds.
Zoasterboy3 years ago
Sometimes I trip out, when I ave a high fever!
I just had one two days ago, and decided to make the most of it, so I quite enjoyed having very vivid daydreams, quite fun actually :)
Problem is, it's difficult to induce, but if you are already there, have fun!
ddaigle1 SABBaS3 years ago
Ive had a few very intense experiences. All were not influenced by any drugs.

I dont really talk about this too much due to the fact that I dont know anyone but only heard of experiences maybe similar. But I feel it is fitting here.

At the age of 15 I was hanging out with my sister and my best friend, not really doing anything just talking about school ect... I was sitting on a chair and I started noticing that it felt like I was sort of on an elevator going down. I have never really had any experiences like this, so I didnt really understand what was going on.

After a questionable amount of time I felt like I was going down Very very deep, but also "time" was getting older. Now I knew this was certainly something special. I then was asking very unique question about ...I dont remember" and they were instantly answered. And every time they were, I felt heavy "awe". I could probably write a book about this one experience, but to keep it short...

After some time I kept feeling like I was going down, and all of these questions were answered I became in state of heavy "awe" , and time! it felt "ancient" very personal and again ancient. Like the beginning. I kept saying to my self "IT IS, IT JUST IS!", and it meant so much and soo deeply to me. Soon after I felt like I passed through and reached a "nothing point" , "totally black" and I noticed a "graph" almost running vertically, and it represented time. Not like the time we know it as but more like "moments". And I realized that I had left this array of infinite amount of moments. Now this is where it really gets big...

I noticed the presence of an ancient ancient man drawing near, then I eventually saw him, he was sitting in a chair coming closer. I then realized I was that ancient man, and then I bursted out crying of happiness, love and peace. I was "again" enlightened.

and Believe it or not immediately after,

I remembered who I was before I was born, I remembered who I was after I died. I remembered being "there" what seemed seconds "ago". and I remember what it was all about. I had "left" the world plain, the manifestation of David D. and remembered that everything was an allusion created by " I ". Everything! Billions of moments, all unique, all distinct, and everything and everyone in them are just manifestations of " I ".

After a while I felt I was coming back into this realm, this illusion, and I remember saying to myself. "There is no way I will every remember all of this, and really understand it again" for I am now the manifestation of I.

That was 11 years ago, and I still think about it at least once a week. I have tried explaining it to people, tried finding other people with the same experience but am still unable to. I realize with an experience like this, you can't ask for it, you can't consciously get there. It certainly is a paradox. You kind gotta slip in "out" of it, but not by choice.

Don't take anything too serious. Be kind to everything, everyone and your self, for they are all you. We are afraid of death because it doesn't exist, love and have fun.
A lot of responses since I was here last. My fever trips have also been pretty intense, I've gotten them since I was little and they've been getting stronger as I get older.

The mild effects are pretty consistent, in the form of sensory distortion such as losing the ability to sense thickness. I'd feel an object and it can feel both infinitely thin or infinitely thick. Another effect is that all sound is suddenly perceived to be angry/scolding, imagine the unconscious perception of anger one has from an angry voice, but that perception coming from all sounds (voice or not).

The intense effects are always very dysphoric (unlike yours which seemed pretty spiritual/psychadelic trip-like) and delusional. Once I believed I was everyone in the world, which slowly shifted to me believing I was everyone in the Firefox development community.

In my most recent (and terrifying) experience I suddenly believed that all of reality had disappeared, but somehow my consciousness would continue existing in the void for all eternity. At first I was horrified, but somehow accepted it and felt really peaceful, then drifted out of it after a bit.
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That actually reminds me of a study I read recently. It looked at people who had hallucinations at some point or repeatedly. The primary difference between those who were institutionalized for it and those who just went on with life was that those who could integrate the hallucination with their life, such as attributing it to supernatural/external events and not medical problems, were usually able to continue on normally.
Some a little happier, and vise versa.
ddaile1 - your experience sounds similar to several out of body and 'vision' or 'download' experiences I have had. you might find my novel ANTIPHONY interesting, as the main character has several of these types of experiences - he is a string theory physicist and is not sure whether he is going mad or experiencing the ultimate nature of the universe...
Lindie ddaigle13 years ago
As a young child, and I'm talking like between 4 and 6 years old, I'd totally go into my own head, all the while thinking where did I come from, how did I get here. It was a very strange experience. I tried to explain it to people many years later and nobody had an experience like that. You have to start thinking deeply about it, relax, ignore everything around you. I'd do it while walking down the sidewalk, just walking. And I'd usually pull myself out of it, once I was going deeper and deeper because I felt too removed. Haven't done it in a long, long time.
vanisaac Lindie2 years ago
I used to do something similar, although I didn't have sidewalks to walk on. It would happen in the woods. Sometimes I would be going up the creek by my house and I would lose a half mile of my journey. I eventually stopped at about 12/13 when I realized that I was falling into my own mind and it was becoming harder to climb back out.
Lindie vanisaac2 years ago
Sounds totally familiar. I didn't allow myself to stay as long as you did, but it would happen and it was a feeling of having to bring yourself back out...sort of snapping out of it, which reminds me, it sort of seemed to start with an intense day dreamy feeling....and going with it. Even though you bring yourself out, you don't regret having been there. And being so young, you don't know if it's normal, if others do it. I sort of wonder if it could have been something physical that could bring one there, such as low blood pressure (which I have), or low oxygen, or dehydration or.......
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I've got that feeling once again
I can't explain you would not understand
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.
ilpug ashnman22 years ago
I love you.
ashnman2 ilpug2 years ago
Hello ddaigle1, Your experience sounds awesome. I must have read at least 100 books on near death experiences, and that sort of thing, and it appears that you had the experience without the nearly dying part. When I first started my research I would have thought a story like this would be impossible, but now I totally understand it, and I think your very fortunate to have such an experience. Thanks for sharing.
Oh wow ddaigle1.

Thanks for posting this comment and trying your best to put it into words and associate vocabulary with that un-explainable thing that you felt. The SIKH religious scriptures speak of exactly the same illusion created by "I" that tries to create a boundary and separates us from the rest of the universe.

You would be also glad to hear a talk that I stumbled upon on TED. (not sure if you've already seen it) Here is the link to it:

How did you suddenly get into this state and level while you were just sitting and chatting. I am curious to know.
To be honest I have no idea, I have thought about it a lot and the only conclusion I came up with is that it was "not from me", it was shown to me. That experience was truly given to me. Like I said earlier its not something I think you can convince your self of, or consciously get your self there. Its not in, but out. For months after that, I knew that that experience was so rare, it felt like I won the lottery a hundred times in a row. One example that sort of hits it on the nail is this:

Imagine a character in a video game. He/she has no idea of anything but only what is inside of the game. No thoughts or actions can leave the game from within the game. That IS ALL THEY KNOW. Then all of a sudden they are transported out through the IO's of the computer, they start to notice the simplicity of the world they live in. The 16/32 bit graphics, the absolute unawareness of the other characters, the 3 dimensions seam very.... linear. Then moments later they are eye to eye with a what seems ancient being. Then realizes he/she is looking through the eyes of that being.

You are then: just a person playing a video game, realizing, remembering that it was all just a game. You remember that last time you snapped out of that daze, which seems just a few minutes ago. But... you remember "always" being there. And you are happy. Very very happy, a heavy sense of love, and peace. Peace that is unable to measured against anything other than peace.

Thank you for your interest in this. I do enjoy talking about this.
Incredible David. I can relate to that video game analogy. I would like to know (if you have the time), what else can you say more about:  

1. "IT IS, IT JUST IS". This is an ultimate statement. It is mind blowing and I can only try to imagine from what you put forward.

2. "Looking through the eyes of that being ..." And when you see that ancient being (yourself), you are seeing him from an altogether different dimension (that the character is unaware of) which is unreachable for him. Are you are able to see the WHOLE game at that instant (that the character while playing, only experiences a moment at a time). And because you are watching from a higher dimension (I remember the Abbot Abbot's book "Flatland" here), you can see what is restricted to the character's linear sight? Or, is it not about just the physical senses, but more than that? Like what?

3. "3 dimensional seems very ... linear". What about time? I remember u said, time seemed just vertical on the graph, like a moment when you reached the end, the "nothing point". Would the instant you see the ancient character, be like a lifetime longer or even more, in terms of the character's life? I ask because you say you remembered who you were before you were born and after you life. All that you realized in that instant. How long, do you think (or know) that you were outside the ancient character, if you can try to remember. And did DAVID live multiple lives?

4. You conclude "Be kind to everything, everyone and your self, for they are all you" and I consider this to be the ultimate lesson. Many scholars and wise men have said that, maybe because they had similar insights. But, is this all there is to it? Tell me, if the ancient character is an awesome scientist or an engineer or artist. Does his creation matter? Well, it matters to the world he lives in, I assume, but otherwise. What do we call "development" of the society etc. What about the laws of physics. What if a game in which everyone is kind, and another game in which they are not. And are there really multiple games, with the same character living different all his possible lives (permutations), like the quantum physics states. Would they ever interact or keep running in their own sandboxes? This is amazing. And you say: "Everything! Billions of moments, all unique, all distinct, and everything and everyone in them are just manifestations of " I ". Does it means all this world with all this magnificence and history and future, all passes in just a moment, when you see from that level, probably then a new game starts over?

5. I love the word "allusion" you carefully selected in your comment. The word was new for me, and makes more sense now.

Although I have never experienced any such thing myself, but read about it, heard from people and had extremely religious people "try" to explain in disconnected and arcane sense. (Your language is clear and concepts closer to me, since I am an Electronics Engineer) I believe what you experienced was what you learn when you see that there is NO "Duality" or the boundary of "I". You are blessed and I am real glad to get to talk to you. Thank YOU!
Yes, for maybe years after that "IT IS, IT JUST IS" still rang bells for me. Anytime I was presented with the infamous question/s "what is life, what is this all about" = It is, it just is.

I just read a little on the Sikh, never heard of it but.

"There is one supreme eternal reality; the truth; immanent in all things; creator of all things; immanent in creation. Without fear and without hatred; not subject to time; beyond birth and death; self-revealing." pretty much nailed it on the dot. Thank you.

Before looking through the eyes,

At this point I could see a massive array of moments. Time is something of and in those moments. Outside of them there is only NOW. Time as you know is only a tool, there is no real "time" to reference it to except the movement of our solar system, or the insane calculations coming from NIST. but really, we can only relate to time because we have memory. I remember that about 8 minutes ago I started your reply, I was thinking how I can word this correctly and started to pull up more realizations I had from this experience, then after I read a little on Sikh from Wiki. So those series of moments usually come up to be around 8 minutes, at this state of mind.
but if I had no memory, it would always be NOW. its not like it isn't but I would have nothing to reference it to/with. So...

I noticed the character's linear sight? I noticed that he is living in a realm that has "time" in it. That is what he is doing. He is experiencing that moment, and convinced of no other.
So in a sense, from being so unaware,
He is the witness of the creator, "himself", and I think "that is the point".

I literally remembered that " I " put David here, to separate, to experience, to witness.
Again I remembered always being there.

"But, is this all there is to it? " To love and to be positive more than not, is to me completely acceptable in my life.

If anyone had all the time in the world at no end, I don't think they would do anything to "get somewhere", I don't think they would be learning or teaching, in order to achieve something. They would only just literally "BE"

My final question would be that this important lesson, "To Love and to be positive ... to be kind to everything and yourself for they are all you, and Life, it is, it just is" comes after the realization and rarest of insights. I am sure NOT everyone gets to that realm, like they just buy a ticket and go an get this lesson and start living in peace and without hatred, treating the whole humanity as ONE. Is it necessary that everyone tries at-least (or that is what everybody is doing, trying to find the meaning in their existence), or one just needs to live a life guided by this lesson, because someone already got it decoded for all the others.
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I knew I was generalizing and creating a simplistic view while I wrote the previous comment, but thanks for your views. And that rice bowl quote is nice :-)
iktrol1 year ago
I found another article that said some other Ways to alter your mind
#4 is the best example
How about Shamanic Drumming? It was so intense for me the first time I tried it...
kelcylane2 years ago
It doesn't lock on you,right..?

If I was to try one..I'd have to be able to get out... I'm terrified of the dark... I seriously get freaked out if I'm in the dark for more than maybe a minute or two.

kelcylane2 years ago
I tried something similar.
I chanted a mantra in my mind..about losing weight "Eat less,exercise more."
I sat here and said it to myself over and over again..
I had the feeling that was like when my mind goes to sleep. My mind going to sleep...Its a nice feeling. I can be writing in my diary,watching a movie,etc...and When I get done...Its like I just woke up..but I'm tired.

But when I tried this,I probably didn't do it right..
But I tried to close my eyes,they were getting dry,but I would get there were 'things' around me...I feel that sometimes when I'm going to my room at night and its dark.
freeza362 years ago
ok, I have a few questions, and a comment. First off, did you find a website with free biurnal beats? Also, does the isolation tank have to have the super saturated salt water? I plan to try both of these, plus more. One last thing also, sometimes as I am listening to music (specifically a song that has good instrumental or "strikes a chord" persay) it seems like a shiver will travel through my entire body. This does not work with the same song over and over, unless it is a touching song. Hard to describe.....
Excess3 years ago
Would you mind sharing some of this webpages you mention? I'm very curious about this particular experiment.
samy32 Excess2 years ago
Sure I use binaural beats for sleep. I found a company doing binaural beats and isochronic tones at the same time. They blend it together on the same sound clip. I use to wake up at about 4 am and cant sleep again. I keep my MP3 under my pillow and use it to get back deep sleeping. here it the link:
mrshr3d Excess3 years ago
I use an open source program called SBaGen, available on Linux, Mac and Windows - It's pretty cool if you want to experiment with making your binaural beat sequences, done using a simple scripting language.

There is also an SBaGen forum here - where users submit sequences they have made:

Happy Beating! :-)
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