The door to the soul is unlocked; you do not need to please the doorkeeper, the door in front of you is yours, intended for you, and the doorkeeper obeys when spoken to.” -Robert Bly
I am a firm believer of the non-ordinary states of consciousness, when I refer to this concept I am not just speaking of drug-induced visions or escaping from “reality”. I am talking about finding peace and wholeness of oneself through looking into the deeper visions and potentials we have at our fingertips through vehicles such as meditation, dreams, yoga or our breath. In this post I refer to two ideas, mediation, hypnosis and will add yoga, breathing and dreams in upcoming blogs.
What if you found out there was a key that would enable you to open and close your doors of perception at will, void of psychedelics? What if you found out you not only held the key, but you were the key? Would you unlock the doors, or keep them shut?
Well, you are the key, and whether or not you choose to enter through the doors is a choice that, although invisible, is life changing. You are the vehicle for the trip, consider this but a mere travel summary. And for a detailed itinerary? Well, that can only be fetched by you -not the part of you reading this, but the altered dream state part of your consciousness that will travel beyond the doors of perception to the wildness of the world where there is a livingness to all things- as it can only be found in a place with exclusive access. A place where you can travel, but no one may follow -not even the conscious, waking state version of yourself scanning these very words.
If you have experimented with psychedelics, you most likely know what it is like to sense the type of “livingness” to all things of which I speak. Even if you haven’t used psychedelics, though, you almost certainly have still experienced this same livingness to all things in the world around you to a noticeable degree at least once, but probably various times as a child -a moment where the world around you took on a shimmery glow, colors suddenly appeared brighter, sounds louder and clearer, physical sensations amplified and, most notably, you could FEEL the world around you. I am not referring to the physical, touching type of feeling, but to the intangible, energy sense of feeling where you could almost feel the luminosity of the world around you within, and you and the luminous rested in harmony as if you were one. You were present, your perceptions altered, your senses heightened. In short, your sensory gating channels opened to some degree, a process more commonly referred to as opening your doors of perception.
Sensory Gating Explained: The Science Behind the Doors of Perception
The “doors of perception” are the part of our brain and central nervous system responsible for filtering input from all external stimuli, involving all of your senses -feeling (both physical and nonphysical), sight, sound, taste and smell. This process, known as “sensory gating” enables us to decipher the difference between “me” and “not me.” Through sensory gating, we are able to manage and comprehend the constant stream of sensory data from the external environment. Without it, we would be unable to filter out what matters and what doesn’t, and all sensory data would touch us deeply and ultimately, we would become over stimulated and overwhelmed and go “crazy” -according to modern medicine, that is. You see, many of the people who are now referred to as “schizophrenics” have wide sensory gating channels that they do not know how to close, causing an overload in stimulus. In indigenous cultures, these people would have instead been called SHAMANS, and would have been taught how to control their doors of perception and open and close them as need be. There are ways to begin opening the doors of perception, or sensory gating channels, without using psychedelics. Of course, the experience will not be as intense or immediate, but nor will it be short lived.
Rather, by utilizing practices that help open your sensory gating channels to some degree by altering your state of consciousness, you learn to open the doors of perception into the metaphysical background of the world and continuously uncover deeper truths to yourself and the world around you. In essence, playing with the doors of perception in this manner, rather than through the use of mind altering substances, allows you to do more than have a life changing experience in which you see the deeper meanings to life for a brief period of time (i.e. a “trip”), but to