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The term "altered states" implies that there is a "normal" state and anything other is to be measured within the context of this stated normality. The reality of the physical body and the surface mind is obvious to everyone, but the realities experienced when awareness has been focused differently are not secondary realities. For example, the "energy flow" which defines the self-experience gained in Yogic and Taoist disciplines is very real too. In fact, an entire medical tradition (acupuncture) is based upon experiencing oneself this way. In fact, self-experience can contain aspects more subtle than Prana, and when these other visions also become part of one's conscious self-experience then awareness has been made more full yet. Yoga calls for a full awareness of selfhood, calls for an awakening to all of what we are. It doesn't negate the obvious, but it also doesn't relegate the more subtle self-visions as secondary or "special cases" or "altered states".  •  Pankaj Seth