Given the legality issues of the mushroom thread- I figured I'd start this thread to discuss *other* (legal) methods of altering ones mind- as well as to discuss the reasons *for* altering ones mind in the first place...
There are various methods one can use to achieve an altered state of mind- here are just a few:
* Inhibitory or excitory trance induction
* Pain (from subtle such as a dull thudding from self flagellation to severe- such as being hung from ones flesh by hooks for hours/days on end...)
* Withholding of food/drink
* Sleep deprivation
There are MANY ways to alter ones mind... (Feel free to throw in some of your own favorites or those more obscure practices that you may be familiar with- directly or just having heard about...)
Now comes the question- WHY would one desire to alter their mind? Well- have you ever had a situation where something generated an inappropriate response for the time/occasion? Such as- your child spills juice on the carpet and you *want* to scream- but you know they didn't mean to- so you bite your tongue and put on the "it's ok- let's clean it up together" face? Or perhaps when the office whore is chatting up your husband or significant other at the office Giftmas party and you *want* to rip her throat out, but you know your boss is circulating- so you put on the professional face, put on the big girl panties and deal? Those are two very good mundane reasons. How about some magic ones? Well- ok- first of all, we have meditation. Why do we meditate? For calm/peace/stress relief? Isn't that altering our mind? Yeah- it is ;) How do we work effective magic? Do we just light a candle, say a few words and BAM- there you have your spell? No. For effective magic- we need a trance state to manipulate the energies effectively. Our conscious minds don't "get" magic- so we have to delve under the surface of our consciousness (and keep it occupied) long enough to get the subconscious to do what it needs to do to fire off the magic.
OK- I think that's good for now- I'm gonna go alter my mind with some caffeine now ;)