Essay: Shamanic Approaches vs. Altered State

Pages: 7 (2382 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] There are different definitions of religion, which are partially applicable to Shamanism, but the ideology of a 'moral community', called church, or 'institution' does not precisely fit (Ashvind, 1999).

Religious perceptions

In addition, Shamanism is a wider concept than religion because it involves healing, medical ideologies, counselling, interpreting (for instance, dreams), therapeutic work, art, trance and others. Ellison and Levin term religion as "a multifaceted and multidimensional realm of human life that entails behaviours, attitudes, beliefs, experiences, values, and other (Johanson, Revonsuo & Wedlund, 2008). This is appropriate for shamanism and caused a controversy between the western scholars, in their analysis of whether humanism falls under a religious aspect or not (Wedlund, 2008). Wedlund describes Shamanism as a "multifaceted religious phenomenon." In addition, Block, (1995) asserts, "Shamanism in the strict sense is pre-eminently a religious phenomenon." Block, (2001) observes that Shamanism generates all other religious forms because of its cultural adaptation to biologically based Altered States of Consciousness (ASC). Block, (2001), as Ashvind (1999) asserts that Shamanism symbolizes an autonomic intricate and even if there are any religious components within it; they may be from other forms and not necessarily from religious perspectives.

In the traditional times, the eastern civilizations emphasized much on altered state of consciousness than the western civilization. Altered state of consciousness is significant to the eastern religions. They play a crucial role in the practice and content of most cultural activities ranging from poetry, painting, dancing and traditional martial arts throughout Asia. In essence, the eastern civilizations pay a great deal of focus to examining the nature of ASC and develop methods to produce in a more effective manner. There are various techniques used to altering states of consciousness. They include; purely mental meditation techniques, ancillary physical techniques and finally behavioural techniques which blends both the mental and physical constituents (Winkelman & Cardenas, 2011).

The emphasis of Eastern approaches to altering consciousness is wide and intricate, and for better understanding, ASC involves the Yoga, Vedanta and East-Asian Buddhism. These cultures provide a succinct understanding of ASC and other higher states of consciousness. Even though, they emerge from diverse imageries and have conflicting metaphysical evaluations, they all focus on meditation, and acknowledge the various levels of mind and illustrate similar basic higher states of consciousness. The Eastern cultures focusing on developing the higher states of consciousness maintain that meditation, when effective is capable of settling down the activity of the mind, therefore, ensuring that the fundamental structure of the mind is effective and functioning with clarity. Every tradition holds its own interpretation based on their own theories, but they all agree that experience is significant for it enlivens the true nature of ourselves and help relieve it to express itself naturally and entirely throughout an individual's life (Winkelman & Cardenas, 2011).

Conclusion

In this essay, the issue of shamanism and altered states of consciousness (ASC) is discussed from a cross-cultural and multidisciplinary perspective. It is proposed that regardless of considerable differences in usage of these terms, there are numerous conceptual and empirical baselines used for distinction among various types of trance practitioners. The authors assert that shamanism is a cultural adaptation of bringing together societies to the biological ability for altered state of consciousness, and that the specific nature of that expression transforms as societies become more intricate.

The essay also examines the function of ASC in understanding shamanic practices, the roots of religious experience, and the contemporary demonstration of the potential for trance. Eastern cultural acceptance of alatered state of consciousness extends the understanding of these phenomena, and allows integration of shamanistic and ASC perspectives into absolute understanding human of psychology, consciousness, and awareness of the world.

References

Ashvind N. (1999). Shamans, Healing, and Mental Health, Journal of Child and Family

Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, 1, pp. 131-134

Block, N. (1995). On confusion about a function of consciousness. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 18, 227 -- 247.

Block, N. (2001). Paradox and cross-purposes of recent work on consciousness. Cognition, 79,197 -- 219.

Chalmers, D. (1996). The conscious mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Churchland, P.S. (2002). Brain-Wise: Studies in neurophilosophy. Cambridge, MA: MIT

Press.

Dretske, F. (1995). Naturalizing the mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Farthing, G.W. (1992). The Psychology of Consciousness. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:

Prentice-Hall.

Fingelkurts, A.A., Fingelkurts, A.A., Kallio, S., & Revonsuo, A. (2007a). Hypnosis

induced reorganization in the composition of brain oscillations in EEG: A case study. Contemporary, Hypnosis, 24, 3 -- 18.

Fingelkurts, An. A., Fingelkurts, Al. A., Kallio, S., & Revonsuo, A. (2007b). Cortex

functional connectivity as a neurophysiological correlate of hypnosis: An EEG

case study. Neuropsychologia, 45, 1452 -- 1462.

Johanson, M., Valli, K., Revonsuo, A., Chaplin, J.E., & Wedlund, J.E. (2008). Alterations in the contents of consciousness in partial epileptic seizures. Epilepsy & Behaviour, 13, 366 -- 371.

Johanson, M., Valli, K., Revonsuo, A., & Wedlund, J.E. (2008). Content analysis of subjective experiences in partial epileptic seizures. Epilepsy & Behaviour, 12, 170 -- 182.

Kallio, S., & Revonsuo, A. (2003). Hypnotic phenomena and altered states of consciousness:

A multilevel framework of description and explanation. Contemporary Hypnosis, 3, 111 -- 164.

Kallio, S., & Revonsuo, A. (2005). Altering the state of the altered state debate: Reply to commentaries. Contemporary Hypnosis, 1, 46 -- 55.

Kallio, S., Revonsuo,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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