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Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. Trance states may occur involuntarily and unbidden. This definition is now obsolete. With this definition, meditation, hypnosis, addictions and charisma are seen as being trance states. All activities which engage a human involve the filtering of information coming into sense modalities, and this influences brain functioning and consciousness. Therefore, trance may be understood as a way for the mind to change the way it filters information in order to provide more efficient use of the mind’s resources.
There is an extensive documented history of trance as evidenced by the case-studies of anthropologists and ethnologists and associated and derivative disciplines. Principles of trance are being explored and documented as are methods of trance induction. Benefits of trance states are being explored by medical and scientific inquiry. Many traditions and rituals employ trance. Trance also has a function in religion and mystical experience. Trance phenomena result from the behavior of intense focusing of attention, which is the key psychological mechanism of trance induction.
Adaptive responses, including institutionalized forms of trance, are ‘tuned’ into neural networks in the brain and depend to a large extent on the characteristics of culture. Culture-specific organizations exist in the structure of individual neurons and in the organizational formation of neural networks. This had the effect of making the soldiers become automated, an effect which was widely evident in the 16th, 17th and 18th century due to the increasing prevalence of firearms employed in warcraft. This would assist the morale and solidarity of soldiers as they marched to battle. It is said to have given the warriors superhuman strength and made them impervious to pain during battle. God, or Christ, or the Spirit, or spirits. It may also happen without any known reason.
As a result, an ecstatic experience is usually interpreted within the context of a particular individual’s religious and cultural traditions. It is the induction of trance through the sense of hearing. Said simply, entrainment is the synchronization of different rhythmic cycles. Breathing and heart rate have been shown to be affected by auditory stimulus, along with brainwave activity. Nowack and Feltman have recently published an article entitled “Eliciting the Photic Driving Response” which states that the EEG photic driving response is a sensitive neurophysiological measure which has been employed to assess chemical and drug effects, forms of epilepsy, neurological status of Alzheimer’s patients, and physiological arousal.
Photic driving also impacts upon the psychological climate of a person by producing increased visual imagery and decreased physiological and subjective arousal. In this research by Nowack and Feltman, all participants reported increased visual imagery during photic driving, as measured by their responses to an imagery questionnaire. Wier also asserts that it was discovered in the late 1920s that when light was shined on closed eyelids it resulted in an echoing production of brainwave frequencies. Grey discovered that this stimulated similar brainwave activity. No longer conscious of my movement, I discovered a new unity with nature.
I had found a new source of power and beauty, a source I never dreamt existed. The word literally translates as “raving ones”. They were known as wild, insane women who could not be reasoned with. They were also characterized as entranced women, wandering through the forests and hills. This fanaticism was so powerful that they were known to continue fighting even after having lost limbs or being otherwise deeply wounded. Saints in these traditions exhibit different trance states or ecstasy. Although the experience is usually brief in physical time, there are records of such experiences lasting several days or even more, and of recurring experiences of ecstasy during one’s lifetime.
The social-psychological approach currently measures gross subjective and social effects of thoughts and some critique it for lack of precision. There are four principal brainwave states that range from high-amplitude, low-frequency delta to low-amplitude, high-frequency beta. These states range from deep dreamless sleep to a state of high arousal. These four brainwave states are common throughout humans. All levels of brainwaves exist in everyone at all times, even though one is foregrounded depending on the activity level.
When a person is in an aroused state and exhibiting a beta brainwave pattern, their brain also exhibits a component of alpha, theta and delta, even though only a trace may be present. Buddhist monks in meditation and Franciscan nuns in prayer exhibited increased activity in the frontal lobe, and subsequently their behaviors, very much under voluntary control. The supernormal, super sensory powers of Aboriginal wise woman and men of high degree, by their own accounts, comes directly from initiations administered by the ancestral sky heroes themselves and by the totemic spirits. Those who have gone through these initiations alone, in a deep trance that makes them lose their personal identities and confront manifestations of the ancestral powers, are held in the highest regard. One such animal dance ceremony was observed and photographed by Gillen and Spencer. More than 30 naked men gathered in a large circle. One by one, each man performed the dance of the animal to be hunted while the others sang and slapped their buttocks to create a percussive beat for the dancer.