Friday, September 21, 2012

Altering Consciousness as a Trait of Being

     “Freud saw no way out of suffering but to bear it; the Buddhist psychologist offers an alternative: alter the process of ordinary consciousness and thereby end suffering. The state of consciousness which transcends all the ordinary realms of being is the ‘Buddha realm.’ Buddhahood is attained by transforming ordinary consciousness, principally through meditation, and once attained is characterized by the extinction of all those states – eg anxiety, needfulness, pride – which mark the ordinary realms of existence. Buddhahood is a higher-order integration than any suggested by the developmental schema of contemporary psychology.
     What is particularly intriguing about the Buddhist developmental schema is that it not only expands the constructs of contemporary psychology’s view of what is possible, but also gives details of the means whereby such a change can occur, namely, that via meditation – an attentional manipulation – one can enter an altered state, and that through systematic retraining of attentional habits one can alter consciousness as a trait of being. Such an enduring alteration of the structure and process of consciousness is no longer an ASC (altered state of consciousness), but represents an altered trait of consciousness, or ATC, where attributes of an ASC are assimilated in ordinary states of consciousness.” Daniel Goleman

         Walsh R, Vaughan F eds. Paths beyond ego. The transpersonal vision. Penguin Putnam Inc, NY, 1993.

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