Inside a packed, bass-thumping Las Vegas nightclub, a DJ loses himself to the music as he blends one song to the next. In the lush foothills of the Himalayas, a Buddhist monk meditates, entering a state of satori, suddenly feeling a divine connection to the cosmos. It’s 1:00 AM at a university laboratory, a scientist stares at her whiteboard and has a Eureka moment, finally cracking the code of a technical problem she’d been wrestling with for months.
On the surface, these scenarios are vastly different. Yet when the layers of content are peeled away, we realize each individual underwent a similar shift in consciousness. For a brief moment, a profound spark occurred where they experienced:
- A loss of self
- Transcendence of time
- Feelings of flow
- Enhancement of senses
- Positive emotions
In their book Stealing Fire, Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal reference this state from a Greek word called ecstasis – the act of “stepping beyond oneself.” These brief moments of ecstasis are what many describe as what makes life worth living.
People often walk away from these events confused, unable to articulate the experience. Our culture offers little support to those wanting to learn and further explore these shifts in consciousness. Academics brush it off as nonsense, corporates label it as a waste of time, friends may think you’ve gone crazy.
Yet breakthroughs in neurobiology, psychopharmacology, and technology are beginning to discover the science behind these altered states. fMRI scanners are locating which areas of the brain light up during mystical experiences. EEG headsets are revealing the type of brain waves flowing within seasoned meditators. Researchers are learning that these non-ordinary states can lead to greater:
- Emotional balance
- Cognitive performance
- Health and immunity
- Trauma healing
With this map of ecstasis at hand, a growing community of biohackers, mind explorers, and agents of change are using little-known tools to reverse engineer and accelerate this process. From plant medicines giving 7 years worth of therapy in a single night, brainwave technology entraining the mind to zen-like states, and ancient breathing methods that induce flashes of creativity.
Warrior.do explores these emerging, consciousness-hacking tools, which we divide into three broad categories: