Lesson One: Altered States of Consciousness Study Guide Individual Track

Altered States of Consciousness Series

Individual Track Learning Guide

Lesson One: Conscious Breathing

Questions Worth Considering

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Best Practices – (Choose at Least One)

1. Matching one’s breathing with another can facilitate connection with a comatose person.

  • Explore this technique with another person in your life.
  • First, take a moment to focus on yourself, on your own breathing.
  • Then match your breathing to your partner’s rhythm.
  • What changes do you notice?
  • What are your partner’s observations?
  • In what way might this technique facilitate a connection with your partner that differs from your usual manner of being with another?


2. People in a comatose state are very isolated and appreciate loving contact. Amy Mindell suggests the simple practice of placing your head close to someone you are comfortable with.

  • Explore using your senses rather than your eyes to notice what you perceive about another.
  • What do you sense or notice about your partner?
  • Does your partner report noticing a difference when ‘connecting’ in this way?


3. Pacing one’s breath can provide a simple way to enter into “another’s system.” Try placing your hand lightly on the back of your partner’s hand.

  • Pay attention to their breathing and then begin exerting light pressure as they inhale
  • Then, release the pressure of your hand as your partner exhales.
  • Continue this pattern for a few minutes before ending.
  • What, if anything, do you or your partner notice about this experience?

For one week, dedicate 10-15 minutes a day for reflective writing. As described in the quote above “Keep the pen moving; welcome everything; don’t worry about errors; let the subject choose you; write for your eyes only; feelings, feelings, feelings; and details, details, details!”