6 Gateways to Superconsciousness

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6 Gateways to Superconsciousness

Dr Mark Atkinson, MBBS, Sens.ai Medical Director

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.


—C. G. Jung

Have you ever experienced a moment of transcendence, when you felt whole and brilliantly alive, at one with nature or the universe, sensing the sacredness of it all? A Pew Research Center survey in the United States found that around 49% of adults reported having had a “religious or mystical experience” of some kind. In users of psychedelics like psilocybin or LSD, the percentage reporting such experiences can be over 50%. What is the significance of these experiences? Why do they happen? And what if anything can we do to bring a deeper sense of connection, wholeness and sacredness into our everyday experience of life?

My own interest in this arose after experiencing a profound sense of connection and oneness with the totality of the universe during a plant-medicine ceremony in Peru. I was 23 and still training to become a medical doctor. It had such a transformational effect on my way of perceiving reality that it changed the course of my life and has shaped my career. Today at the heart of my work is guiding people through the labyrinth maze of human development and the journey to embodied wholeness and what I call superconsciousness. I could never have foreseen I would be doing this work. But that is part of the deal, when you are sincere about knowing the truth of reality, it gets revealed on a need to know basis. For sure, frustrating to the parts of my personality system that like to be in control!

What follows are my take on 6 ways and methods that reliably can support you in accessing superconsciousness, a taste of the transcendent. This article builds on previous blogs, Three Levels of Happiness and Brain Health Optimization Secrets. If you haven’t already read these I recommend you do.



Let’s Start with Defining Superconsciousness.

Superconsciousness is the direct experience of the Self, your deeper superconscious nature, beyond your personality system. At the heart of this is the realization you are not your body, nor your mind, you are Self, expressing and experiencing life through your body/mind. Unlike the dualistic personality-led mind which perceives separation, and fragments everything into ‘me and not me’, the nondual Self has an infinitely deeper, broader, wiser, more inclusive and loving way of seeing. If you have read anything by a spiritual teacher you probably already know this conceptually.

Here is how you can know it in your experience:



Exercise: Being The Self

This will take just 2 minutes. Take a seat and get comfortable. Allow your eyes to be soft, soft eyes. Allow your tongue to be soft. Mouth open slightly. As you continue to gently keep your eyes and tongue soft, close your eyes and be in the center of your chest. Allow an inner smile to build. Breathe as you continue to be based in your chest.

Without going back to the front of your head to think, allow an answer to arise within you in response to this question: Without referencing memory, who are you? - Soft eyes, soft tongue and allow yourself to sink into the experience you are having. - Without going back to your head, and whilst still based in your heart, gently open your eyes and be with your experience. - What is now present that wasn’t previously so? - What has happened to your sense of connection and caring? - What just happened?

Most people who engage with this simple exercise, experience in response to the question a sense of presence, clarity, caring and freedom. They feel whole, connected, caring and a sense of intimacy with the moment. This is the Self. If you do go back to thinking, not a problem, simply repeat the process and engage it without trying hard, striving or grasping.

Softening the eyes activates the body’s relaxation response. Softening the tongue helps reduce subvocalization - internal mental talk. Basing your attention in your heart changes the way you perceive and experience reality. From the heart we naturally access an open state of receptivity and will notice that the ‘outer wrapper of separation’ has dissolved to reveal a sense of intimacy with and warm caring for everything.

It's really quite remarkable how a shift in perception changes everything. I recommend you repeat this process often, at least three times a day, until your ability to shift out of the personality system and into Self becomes effortless. The Self. Always present, always available and fundamental to who you are. Read on to discover ways to access and live more deeply from the Self.

meditation



Gateway 1: IFS & The Way of Integration

Integration is the process of differentiation and linkage and moving towards wholeness. The differentiation aspect involves recognizing and valuing the unique qualities of the various aspects of our experience and parts of our personality. Linkage refers to connecting these differentiated parts into a coherent harmonious whole from the Self in a well-integrated system. Our mind becomes coherent, flexible, and adaptive. It becomes Self-led.

Integration of the mind is grounded in the understanding that our personality system is a collection of semi-autonomous selves or parts, greatly shaped by our experiences as children, especially in the first five years of your life. Richard Schwartz, creator of Internal Family Systems (IFS) model conceptualizes the mind as consisting of multiple sub-personalities or parts, primarily categorized into Managers, Protectors, and Exiles.

Managers are proactive parts that handle our daily life and protect us from pain. They are focused on maintaining stability and safety through controlling, planning, and caretaking behaviors. You will be very familiar with these because these are your primary selves from which you often are thinking and acting.

Protectors are reactive parts that spring into action to suppress the emergence of painful emotions or memories. This can resort to impulsive, distracting or destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, self-medication or aggression. Their role is to shield (protect) you from the emotional distress held by Exiles.

Exiles are the most vulnerable parts of our psyche, they carry our emotional pain and traumatic memories.These parts are often isolated from the rest of the internal system and kept hidden by our managers and protectors.

At the core of the IFS approach is the process of healing by contacting a dimension within us all called the Self. It is innately superconscious (aware of being aware), compassionate, caring, curious and confident. From the Self we welcome and accept all arising selves unconditionally. We resolve inter-self conflicts (there are often many) and welcome home the Exiled parts compassionately and safely, facilitating their integration into the whole mental system. The system starts to function as an integrated, harmonious whole. This then becomes reflected in the way we relate to the parts who show up in ‘others’. We naturally become more caring and accepting of others. This process of integration is at the heart of the movement towards the second half of life.

Richard describes the core characteristics of this Self. There are 8 C’s and 5 P’s:

  • 8 Cs: Confidence. Calmness. Creativity. Clarity. Curiosity. Courage. Compassion. Connectedness
  • 5 Ps: Presence. Patience. Perspective. Persistence. Playfulness.

I recommend you read his book No Bad Parts and work with a practitioner trained either in Internal Family Systems, Focusing, The Big Mind Process and/or Voice Dialogue. Life feels and flows so much better when we show up from the Self. It’s from here that we naturally relate to the parts with us and the parts showing up in others with compassion. It changes everything.

brain puzzle



Gateway 2: Exploring the Self with Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is both a method to train for enhanced regulation of yourself and a tool that can support your developmental journey, especially when it’s combined with meditation and heart coherence training. I will cover the latter shortly. With neurofeedback, I find it helpful to conceive of the Self as an ocean. Most people, when they look out of their eyes, experience themselves as a ‘separate’ wave, and see a world they perceive as separate. At a brainwave level this is dominated by high beta brain wave activity. If you have a busy, distracted mind and experience yourself as being separate from life, chances are this is where you are. The magic of life, the happiness, peace and freedom we seek, is located in the depths of the ocean. To know and receive these blessings, plus more, we must dive beneath the surface of the waves and enter into the deeper ocean - and be transformed by what we find there.

For that to happen it is highly advisable to become competent and proficient in heart coherence training (will discuss this next), low beta SMR training (focus) and alpha brainwave training (relaxation). The home use brain training system created by Sens.ai does exactly that.

SMR helps train for a high performance brain that is alert, focused and responsive. Beta training typically focuses on Slow beta / SMR Sensorimotor Rhythm (12-15Hz) training. This trains for laser-like focus, sustained attention, reduced distractibility and cognitive performance. Alpha brainwave training increases our capacity to access and experience a relaxed, alert, calm state of mind. It also supports enhanced emotional regulation; psychological resilience; stress reduction; divergent thinking; creativity; positive mood; accelerated learning; increased pain tolerance; accessing flow and imagination.

Once your brain is trained for focus and calm and has resilience then it’s time to explore the depths of the ocean (theta training) and the essence of the ocean (gamma training). In theta training we can access deeper sources of information, intuition and wisdom; connect to our emotions; relax deeply; reprogram beliefs; access and process trauma; access inner stillness, flow and deep presence. Gamma brainwaves are the fastest brainwaves and are an emerging area of significant research interest as they are associated with deep learning, epiphanies, non-ordinary states of consciousness and peak / mystical experiences associated with whole brain synchronization. Gamma in balance is associated with good memory; a high level of cognitive performance; compassion; high levels of happiness and joy; aha-moments; heightened creativity; non-duality (unity perception) and bliss.

It's tempting of course to jump straight to gamma training! However we want to train SMR and Alpha first and then theta and gamma and combinations of alpha-gamma, theta-gamma and then ultimately theta-alpha-gamma synchrony. Synchrony happens when brain waves in the front and back of your head are coherent (in relationship) and in phase (peak and valleys of the waveform happening at the same time.) It’s an exquisite state of being.

Sens.ai can systematically train all of these, with the caveat that you must successfully have the foundational SMR and alpha training in place. The real key to lasting change are The Missions. The Sens.ai Missions are a prescribed course of training designed to achieve a particular outcome. There are three categories of Missions. ME. WE. ALL.

Everyone starts with the ME category. This category focuses on improving self-care, including sleep, focus, mental clarity and stress reduction. You have to be able to control your attention and access calm, in order to progress to WE. WE is focused on how we are in the world and how we relate to others and the world. This includes accessing creativity, developing a deeper level of mindfulness, letting go of limiting conditioning and bringing our best work to the world. Once the ME and WE dimensions of training are stable and present, Sens.ai unlocks ALL. ALL is our highest level of Mission. It is at this level that we can train our brain to access transpersonal states of being. This includes qualities such as wholeness, oneness, unity and bliss. Sens.ai is the complete brain/heart/mind training system.

using sens.ai



Gateway 3: From Head to Heart

Ultimately the journey to superconsciousness is a journey from head to heart.

Heart coherence is a type of biofeedback training that uses heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of the oscillation or variation in the interval between consecutive heart beats. As a marker of physiological resilience and behavioral flexibility, HRV reflects our ability to adapt effectively to stress and environmental demands. Heart coherence training evokes a smooth, sine-wave-like pattern in the heart rate variability trace. This is called coherence. By accessing coherence we access an optimal state of functioning characterized by increased synchronization and harmony in the body's systems, particularly the heart, brain, and nervous system.

When in coherence many people report a significant improvement in emotional stability, mental clarity, and cognitive functioning. Other benefits include reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, enhanced resilience and wellbeing and deeper sense of connection to self, others and nature. The best way to access coherence, and you can try this now, is to soften your eyes, soften your tongue, without effort be centered in your heart and from here breath gently in and out of your nose. The in-breath and out-breath should be equal duration. As you do this, allow a feeling of gratitude or care to arise and fill you. Be heartful. This is coherence. Note coherence is not a state of relaxation. In coherence, we feel energized and engaged, calm, connected and balanced.

My personal opinion is that the best way to support our journey to superconsciousness, is to train the brain (neurofeedback), mind (meditation) and heart (coherence) together.



Gateway 4: Ultimate Mind Training - Meditation

Meditation, perhaps the most widely recognized tool for exploring and developing consciousness, has been practiced for thousands of years. Meditative practice goes well beyond calming the nervous system. It is a method to practice non-ordinary waking states with attention and awareness. There are many definitions of meditation and they vary according to the type of meditation and the intent behind engaging them. There are four main styles of meditation and each has its place and purpose.

They are:
- Focused Attention - Open Awareness - Open Heart - Being (NonDuality)

I recommend training all 4 styles over time and starting with focused attention, as guided by Sens.ai, given attentional control is the foundation for the other styles. In my experience meditation when done from the Self (aware Presence) and engaged with a welcoming attitude towards whatever experience you are having can be profoundly transformational. Of all the consciousness development methods, meditation has the best researched track record when it comes to expanding consciousness and supporting mental health and inner wellbeing. Long-term meditators as a whole have a nervous system and way of being that is generally more present, calm, balanced and responsive.

When commencing meditation it is wise to start with methods that place the foundations in place: focused attention and open awareness. From here I recommend you explore specific types of meditations that are known to support the shift in identity from personality consciousness to Self consciousness. There are many, including effortless mindfulness, movement meditation, 5Rhythms, OSHO active meditations and what the spiritual teacher Adyashanti calls True Meditation. Many systems of Yoga also integrate meditation and breathwork. The Sens.ai app provides 12 meditations that can evoke deep insight and realization. These include four that were impactful to me: Gone, Forgiveness, Freedom of Spaciousness and Unconditional Lovingness.



Gateway 5: Conscious Connected Breathing

Breathwork can be a gateway into superconsciousness, the direct experience of freedom and bliss. Indeed, I know many people who say conscious connected breathing, where you breathe typically (at least initially) faster and deeper than normal, without pause between the transitions was the first time they felt truly free and unburdened. Often the breathwork session is accompanied by specially curated music. If you are curious and drawn to it, there are many pathways to experience it under the guidance of a teacher. When it comes to breathwork approaches there are many, including my own Freedom Process™ breathwork, Rebirthing, Holotropic Breathwork, Grof Legacy breathwork, Integrative Breathwork, Clarity Breathwork, Shamanic Breathwork and Transformational Breath. A helpful resource is the International Breathwork Foundation website.

Consciously connected breathing evokes an altered state of consciousness and for many allows suppressed or stuck energies and emotions to arise into awareness. It’s fascinating how this happens. Feeling safe in the presence of a breathe work teacher and/or sitter (someone by your side providing presence and unconditional support) and welcoming whatever shows up appears to help create the optimal inner conditions for what many people experience as a transformational process. Holding the intention at the beginning of the session for the highest and best possible outcome to unfold also helps. As the session draws to a close, this is an important time to open up to and settle into what is now showing up. This process of integration can last hours, days and beyond. There are many parallels with the ceremonial use of plant medicines here.

breathing



Gateway 6: Plant Medicine

Plant medicine, which includes the use of psychoactive plants like ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, ibogaine, and peyote, has been a part of human spiritual practices for thousands of years. When ingested within a consciously prepared setting and as part of an integrative process guided by an experienced facilitator and team, these substances can induce powerful altered states of consciousness, offering deep insights and emotional healing. Plenty of people consider their experience with plant-based psychedelics to be among the most personally meaningful experiences of their lives.

If considering using these substances for consciousness development and healing my personal recommendation is to do so when you are called from within to engage with them and do so in a way that is legal and safe. You simply know and sense it’s the right thing to do. This is in contrast to a more hedonistic, unconscious, recreational approach to using them. Preparation before the plant medicine retreat and support with integration afterwards is essential. Great books to start with are Psychedelics (David Nutt), Psychedelic Integration (Marc Aixala) and How to Change Your Mind (Michael Pollan).

Building on the original research on psychedelics from the 1950s/1960s, modern research is uncovering the potential of these substances when offered alongside psychotherapy and coaching to help alleviate mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The research is fascinating and promising. In the forthcoming years MDMA and Psilocybin assisted therapy will be available in licensed settings by suitably trained and credentialed facilitators in Canada and certain states within the USA. If you want to learn more I recommend visiting MAPS (USA), ATMA (Canada) and Onaya (UK).

plant meds-mushrooms



An Integral Approach to Superconsciousness

This was a brief tour of the terrain and journey that is available to many human beings. The question is, given what you just read, what will you choose to do next? How will you choose to live your precious and unique life? Aside from exploring the resources I recommended, and reviewing my blog on happiness and brain health, this article entitled The Six Levels of Consciousness by Mary O'Malley, a non-dual teacher and colleague, is a great place to start. Don’t forget about No Bad Parts by Richard Schwartz.

I also recommend purchasing and intentionally harnessing the full potential of Sens.ai. Sens.ai is the at-home brain training system I mentioned before. It combines neurofeedback training with heart coherence training and many of the meditation techniques that have been found to be supportive of the journey to enhanced wellbeing and superconsciousness. Neurofeedback has been integrated into programs that include breathwork, meditation and in some cases the ingestion of psychedelics. When designed consciously and skilfully they can be synergistic and deeply transformational, especially if the person going through the program receives support, during and afterwards.

At Sens.ai our vision is a community of superconscious people thriving and doing good in the world. I hope this article serves as a source of inspiration and guidance for you. Our goal is ultimately for you to thrive in the world from the Self. I wish you well.



DISCLAIMER
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Mark Atkinson or sens.ai the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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