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Comparative Study of Trance-States

    In drumming circles and other discussions often the shamanic trance is being compared with other trance-states which are being encountered in one way or another. Roger N. Walsh developed a table of comparation of different trance-states to the shamanic trance.

    The following table reveals that shamanism is having an own kind of trance-state in comparation to other traditions like buddhism. The tables Walsh showed in his chapter seventeen and eighteen are melted to one, which I am presenting you.

Parameter

Shamanic State of Consciousness

Shizophrenia

Buddhistic Vipassana-Meditation

Yoga (Patanjali)

Control - The ability of switching between normal and altered state of consciousness

yes: good control

extremely reduced. Disability to stop the process or to take control of the experience

yes

yes

Control - The ability to control the experience in its contents

partially

no

partially

some masters possess extreme control

Perception of the Outer World

weakened

weakened, most of it distorted

strengthened

extremely reduced sensual and bodily perception

Communication with Surrrounding World

sometimes

weakened, distorted

yes, most of the time

not available

Concentration

flowing, intensified

extremely reduced

flowing, intensified

fixed, very intensified

Mental Energy, Agitation

intensified

intensified - sometimes intense agitation

often reduced

heavily reduced

Quietness of Mind

reduced

reduced

mostly increased

extremely increases; deep inner peace

Affectivity, Emotion

positive or negative

often very negative, rarely positive, most of the time distorted and unsuitable

positive or negative (with more experience a positive tendency)

highly positive, supreme bliss

Identity, Ego

raised self-consciousness, could be the non-physical "soul"

disintegration, boundaries of the ego are fading. Inability of setting boundaries between self and outer world

self-consciousness is dissected and becomes something flowing: The "Non-Self"

transzendental, not changing self (purusha)

Out of Body Experiences

yes, controlled ecstasy

rare, not controllable

no

no; loss of the bodily consciousness: enstasis

Contents of the Experiences

organized and coherent pictures, determined by the shamanic cosmology and the intention of the journey

often fragmented and chaotic

dissection of complex experiences in its constitutive stimuli. The stimuli are dissected further into a continual stream

single object ("samadhi with support") or pure consciousness ("samadhi without support")




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