10 Ways to Alter Your Consciousness Without Drugs


Step 10: Go Upside Down

Picture of Go Upside Down

This seems kind of simplistic, but turning upside down will change the way you perceive things on two levels. First, it will change your visual perspective. The ceiling becomes the floor. Floor lamps become chandeliers. Things in general just get strange. That aside, if you stay upside down for more than a few seconds, you will get a rush of blood to your head. The heart has not evolved not to pump blood against gravity very well and standing on your head means that more blood will settle there. Over a short period this will result in a mildly-altered state of consciousness. Over a long period, this can result in bad things like stroke, heart attack or blindness. I don't recommend standing on your head for very long.

My experience:
While I initially resolved simply to lean upside down over the edge of the couch, I decided to go all out and fully stand on my head. I cannot remember the last time that I had stood on my head, and it was a bit more of a challenge than I remember. However, I leaned against a wall, and once I got up, I was very stable and confident in that position (minus the discomfort of my whole entire body weight pushing down on my neck). After about 30 seconds, my orientation changed and what was up was down; and down was now up.

I was just hanging out here checking things out for about another two to three minutes when I started to feel a throbbing pressure in my head. This was the feeling of blood rushing in. I held this for another 30 seconds and suddenly things did not feel quite right. I decided that perhaps balancing on my head in this state for much longer was not a good idea. I carefully returned to my feet and was very light-headed and dizzy. Aside from a stiff neck, things were feeling good, and perhaps I was imagining things, but my vision seemed sharper.
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DanatTLFN26 days ago

A Great Article Thanks Very much, I think I might start the standing upside down things. Could be good to get the blood flowing.

One other thing I would like to add is eating a really heavy meal before bed. I get awful sleep paralysis when I do this because shortens my breath and makes me catatonic. Its horrible, but you could give that a go.

abrown391 month ago

Very interesting instructable, the thing I am most familiar with is sleep deprivation I usually sleep one day for 4-6 hours and regardless of what I do during the day nothing/grueling physical work I cant sleep the next night, so im almost on a 40 hour day, one day isnt enough to really mess with you that much, but like anything you can adapt to it, I assume if you have a 16 hour awake 8 hour asleep schedule skipping sleep one night will certainly effect you alot more than someone with an irregular sleep schedule.

72 hours is when you really start to lose cognitive ability and coordination, 96 hours with no sleep leaves you delirious like you are high as hell, Its comparable to being incredibly stoned, you have very diminished capacity to do anything, you cant concentrate, even completing simple tasks is almost impossible, your inhibitions are gone, if you want to say something you probably will, obviously thats why sleep deprivation is used as an interrogation technique.

I dont recommend going 96 hours without sleep, for one its not pleasant getting there and unless you are going to be locked in your house and not go anywhere going into public could be dangerous. you may end up in a padded room somewhere or walk into traffic.

This is one of the absolute best instructables I've seen.

From my own personal experience, I would like to comment on fasting. In my opinion, one day is not nearly enough time to commit. Take three or four days or even an entire week. I don't recommend doing this while trying to work a regular job, so take a vacation or at least a mini. Consume only water. (DO NOT attempt to go more than three days without water. Dehydration can kill you.) Not only will you attain an altered state of consciousness, but you will also cleanse your body of many nasty chemical poisons you have stored from things you have eaten and drank which in and of itself is mind-altering.


lyes.demri.33 months ago

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.

teslaberry5 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.

iktrol1 year ago
I found another article that said some other Ways to alter your mind
#4 is the best example
Try it with your upper back on the floor and your legs up. I find it very easy to enter a meditative state like that, especially in a dark room.
There are a couple things I would like to add.

You mentioned the isolation tank - for anyone wishing to pursue further information on them can also look into "sensory deprivation tank(s)" for more resources.

A supplement to the candle meditation is meditating on a burning stick of incense. If done properly (for lack of a better term), the smoke will rise to the ceiling without a single ripple.

A second supplement to the candle meditation is staring into a dark corner of a dark room and watching darkness envelope the entire room from that point. This is taking advantage of tunnel vision, and is more an optical illusion than anything else.

Lastly, relating to the binaural frequencies I have two things to add. The first is that you can naturally listen to it without any electronic devices. There are natural "frequencies" that are individual and unique to each ear. The trick is to meditate on each ear individually and to "harmonize" the two of them. This can result in a very altered state of mind. As well, it is used as the "pathway point" when performing astral projection and attempting an out of body experience.

There is a second part, which is the second and last thing I wished to add. During this meditation, I always suggest to flip the main breaker to your home. This will allow you to not be distracted by the electronic resonance provided by every electronic device in your home. It also amplifies any other standard meditation when used alongside it.
Gonazar3 years ago
Very interesting instructable, I definitely will try some of these when I have the chance, thank you!

Related to going upside down, in my experience it's not necessary to invert your whole body. Personally I can change my perspective easily (though it probably helps to be lying down). Just imagine the ceiling as the floor and how your points of view would change accordingly.

Another thing is a shift in space. Ex I'm on the second floor of my house, walking past my staircase. Normally I think of this as an elevated floor (second floor), but sometimes my perspective changes and I see it as the Current floor and the staircase is a hole in the floor. I suppose this would be easier to imagine as some structure vs. a void in the floor.

Other shifts include imagining the space around you from a different view point, without actually going there. Ex: I'm sitting on one side of the room, I imagine what it would look like if I were sitting on the other side. Sometimes this effect is aided by memory of an instance when you really were over there, however you can enhance the feeling a bit more by imagining your current self in the imaginary space as well.
Try the "ceiling is the floor" thing with a big mirror. Hold it at your waist, look down into it and walk around your house. You'll find yourself stepping over where the door doesn't go all the way to the ceiling. Hard not to anyway. Just don't get hurt on the furniture you can't see. Another odd thing I used to do when I was a kid.
I used to do that too! I still do occasionally. WARNING: This stunt usually results in uncontrollable giggles.
XofHope3 years ago
Like you I don't do drugs and have never been drunk, maybe because of that I can't help wondering why those things appeal to so many people.

I've been in some of the altered states you describe, although mostly unwillingly. I suffer from severe insomnia, so sleep deprivation in an old acquaintance of mine and it's just as you describe! I do suspect it's pretty much like being drunk and although it's interesting as a one time experiment I don't recommend severe insomnia to anyone.

Because when I haven't slept for long I also can't eat, I've also experienced fasting. It causes a bit of light headedness that can be interesting but so far nothing more interesting than that. The combination of sleep and food deprivation can cause some powerful mind altered states, but you'll probably feel so sick (like I do) that it's never a good idea.

The most interesting experience I've had so far was some sort of self sensory deprivation. Because my insomnia comes mostly from not being able to "shut down" my brain and so I keep thinking (doesn't matter what, sometimes my mind just goes in circles, over the same thing over and over again), I once tried to willingly disconnect it. I lay in bed on my back trying to disconnect my senses. I sleep with the door and windows shut, in absolute darkness, so vision was taken care of. By lying perfectly still, tact stopped having input too. Eventually I was also able to ignore sound. The hardest part was actually stopping thought, because it's like that story about the flying carpet: it will fly as long as you don't think of the word "cow", obviously that was all the rider could think about. But some nights later there was this brief moment in which there was nothing at all in my mind and then it happened! I had a most amazing OBE (out of body experience), not that that was what I was going for, it'd never had occurred to me that might happen. So there I was, floating above myself, surround by bright light. It really was amazing but after a bit I began feeling a terrible cold inside and decided to come back. I haven't tried it again, I'm not sure how safe, or not, going that far is.
skinley3 years ago
Good job. I like your explorations. I have another one for you. It's called "the God Helmet". I was looking at all forms of mind exploration too and stumbled on this. Check out Wikipedia for a little technical background but basically a Canadian Neuroscientist was looking at the possibility of the mind itself being responsible for certain religious states (talking with god) or Alien abduction experiences or other "I hear voices" experiences.

He used magnets magnetic fields to alter the mental process and voila, some amazing altered states. You can actually buy these things online and explore various possibilities (not all is understood just yet). There is some interesting research on creativity, religious states, awareness, emotion, etc...

Anyway, keep up the good work (My experience with floatation tanks and sleep dep were great). (Have you seen ALTERED STATES - the movie based on some of the sensory deprivation / lsd experiments with John C Lilly (the movie is mostly fiction but fun) and John C Lilly was the guy who created and did the initial experiments with tanks.
Zoasterboy3 years ago
Sometimes I trip out, when I ave a high fever!