An Altered state of consciousness is any state that differs significantly from baseline or normal waking consciousness. This waking consciousness is a fragmented stream while deep altered consciousness is characterized by wholeness and unity. An intense Altered State can be induced through years of meditative practice or, sometimes, by ingesting chemical substances.
All of us have experienced altered consciousness at some time in our lives. In normal life, one may slide into mild altered states while daydreaming, being absorbed in a television programmed, listening to music or, sometimes, through euphoric lovemaking.
A growing number of people are now experiencing a variety of non-ordinary states of consciousness. These include near-death experiences, past-life memories, out-of-body travel, intuitive knowledge, telepathy and clairvoyance..
Extrasensory phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, intuition and channeling are also supposed to be honed in Altered States of awareness. Today, a host of traditional and new techniques are available to induce altered states. Meditation, yoga, tantra, drumming, chanting, ecstatic dance, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, biofeedback, mind-music, electronic brain machines and chemicals among others are in use.