Integral Meditation As A Method Of Inducing Altered States Of Consciousness In Mindfulness, Psychotherapy And Daily Functioning Eugene Pustoshkin , Tatyana Parfenova (Altstates.Net, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation) A1
Integral Meditation (IM) is an integrative experiential system of contemplative/mindfulness development and a complex technique of psychotherapeutic intervention developed and continuously refined by the authors, a clinical psychologist (Eugene Pustoshkin) and a mindfulness instructor/consultant (Tatyana Parfenova). It is primarily based on Holoscendence (a therapeutic metamethod founded by Sergey Kupriyanov, PhD in Med.) and Integral Theory of Consciousness (Ken Wilber & Allan Combs). IM has been applied in processes of individual psychotherapy & counseling and in group work (including online sessions). IM combines awareness psychotechnologies developed by Soviet/post-Soviet consciousness researchers (e.g., advanced deconcentration techniques developed in the practice of psychotherapy, extreme sports training, etc.) with a phenomenology of non-pharmacological altered states of consciousness (ASC). The IM methodology's integrated psychotherapy framework contextualizes individual and group experiences within a nuanced understanding of the spectrum of psychopathology/therapy (allowing to integrate multilevel "shadow" material--which is applicable to trauma healing, psychedelic experience integration, etc.). IM techniques were tested by the authors in over 100 workshops (including weeklong retreats), both as singular events and within longterm training programs, and in countless individual sessions--involving, in overall, several hundreds of participants. IM has proven to induce various ASC quickly and reliably in both novice and experienced subjects. In novices ASC could last from a few moments to 30 minutes and more; in advanced practitioners these states can be experienced continuously (as plateau experiences) throughout the day (and sometimes during dreaming states). Specific techniques of stabilizing altered states are developed in IM. Alternations of consciousness have been observed: e.g., significant shifts in perceptive fields (including, most notably, vivid oscillations of the visual field, often described by subjects as "psychedelic" visionary experiences, and shifts in auditory experience), alternations in somatic self-sense (fluctuations of bodily experiences, including changes in subjective feelings of body temperature and alternations in muscle/body tensions), time experience (slowing down, acceleration of felt time), emotional experience (vivid states of rapture, compassion, etc.), relational experience (increased rapport, empathy, trust, shifts in self-other perception, shifts in facial perception, etc.) and many other states (including intense peak experiences and lucid dreaming). IM can be used as a meditation tool to work with various objects (not just immediate sensory objects but also stages of child & adult development), which also produces experiences of altered consciousness (e.g., resurfacing and reintegration of forgotten traumatic experiences from childhood or enhancement of thinking processes). Since this meditation is practiced with eyes open, it can be integrated with most activities of the day. IM techniques are applied not just to induce varieties of meditative states (formal mindfulness practice) but also in communication and daily activities. IM can be enacted in extraverted daily activities that require active participation in one's surroundings (e.g., business, sports). The accumulated experience of practicing and teaching IM allowed us to build a sophisticated system of contemplative phenomenology, generating essential data on how human consciousness is functioning in its various states--including intersubjective dynamics. Such a deliberate practice of intentionality allows seeing consciousness as a very plastic, co-enactive dimension of our being-in-the-world.