Call it altering consciousness, call it getting high, or call it mindfulness. Humans are hardwired to seek ways to transcend the limits of everyday awareness, whether it’s the little kid spinning in circles to get dizzy or a runner experiencing the day’s first rush of dopamine. And you don’t need drugs—as Edward Rosenfeld shows, the “high” is inside, and there are literally hundreds of perfectly natural ways that we can use to find it.
An encyclopedic survey of all the ways humans try to achieve altered states of consciousness, The Book of Highs is a complete update of a book published in 1973, after the government outlawed psychedelics. Here are recent developments—Virtual Reality and Brainwave Machines—and positive techniques such as Self-Hypnosis, Alterations of Breathing, Fervent Prayer. And “negative” techniques—Self-Flagellation, Sleep Deprivation. Methods derived from religious and mystic traditions—Transcendental Meditation, Tantric Sex. Techniques that involve devices, whether nonelectric like Mandalas, Metronome Watching, Body Confinement—or electric and electronic—Bio-Feedback, Stroboscopes, the Psychedelic Bathtub, Moire Patterns, Brain Music.
Whether you’re out for a life-changing adventure—Skydiving, Fire-Walking, or Kayak Disease (which occurs when you spend three days in a kayak off the shore of Greenland)—or just want to have a break in your everyday routine with a Zen Morning Laugh or by Jumping Up and Down, this book is guaranteed to blow your mindfulness.