The states of consciousness

Dr Bernard Auriol

translated by B. Auriol and M.C. Nguyen

We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep [1]




The conscience constitutes the "locus" of the relations of a subject to his world. This conscience is not immutable, one knows various "states", in particular  wakefulness, dream and sleep. The physiologists divide this last into "slow sleep" and "paradoxical sleep". Methods of relaxation allow to describe a "fourth state  [2]", a special state of conscience to which we can give a special value. This state comprises peace, serenity, "absorption", even "presence", ineffability, etc. On the metabolic level, rest which can become deeper than the deepest sleep. This state of wakeful super-rest is called "fourth state" by some of neurophysiologists who were interested in, others, especially in linguistic english area call it : "hypnagogic state". The term "fourth state" is derived from the fact that we knew so far only three states of normal  consciousnesses: wakefulness, sleep and dream. But this fourth state was described in every culture. The knowledge of it,  is generally related to a theological or philosophical construction belonging to each of that cultures. The state of consciousnesses can be defined by means of physiological and psychological criteria, phenomenological subjective insight. They produce also a certain number of observable consequences, either in laboratory or in the wild life.



Let us summarize some historical data on this subject :


Prehistory of states of Consciousness



He already urged, as old tradition, a purification of soul which consisted in "gather one’s thoughts, to concentrate from all parts of the body, to live, as much as possible, insulated, as untied of the body". With great relevance, he put closely this loosening of the untiedness of the death and saw it like a training to face it, while being put "under conditions which bring us closer to death status, as much as possible "... This idea is quite close to the yogis one,  when they name "shavasana", i.e. "asana of death" the relaxation posture. The topic is to be perfectly flexible in the hand of the relaxologist, obeying his movements "perinde ac cadaver".


Turyia and Vedanta


Vedanta distinguishes, as we do, three standard states of consciousness :

  1. Wakefulness
  2. Deep sleep
  3. Dream


They add a fourth state of consciousness whichh consists of living simultaneously deep sleep and awareness: being wakefull but perfectly in rest, without moving or thinking. For the yogis this state makes us  in touch with the pure absolute being, in other words with the fundamental reality. This state, called “Samadhi” is, after Mircea Eliade, an “enstatic” more than an “extatic” state.



During Zazen,  id est seated meditation, a japanese buddhist trie to be situated in a just balance between “contention” (too rigid posture), and sluggishness (too lax posture), between excitement and drowsiness. Varied transformations of consciousness and body feeling are observed without struggling against them neither complying to them. Even so they are painfull or blissfull. Thinking without thoughts, beyond terrestrial borders on earth, thinking beyond life or death, in the between of two deaths, empty spirit open, facing vacuity.


Monotheisms, Orison, and Ecstasy

Christian mystiques


Teresa from Avila depicts the “supernatural orison state” as an inner contemplation which is felt by the soul; during it it seems want to dissociate oneself from the trouble of the external senses; sometimes even, it involves them after it. Soul feels the need to close the eyes of the body, nothing to hear, nothing to see, be occupied only with what occupies it then very whole: "to only discuss with only God"... It is appropriate, "without null violence, without noise, it tries to prevent thinking from discoursing, without trying to suspend it, either that imagination". The heart can be inserted in a suave and more or less "fruitive" quietude . This pleasure [ 3 ] does not go without sporadic divagations of thinking and imagination which is advisable to let go without attaching importance to it. In the full union, there is total suspension of all the powers: will, intelligence, imagination. The duration of this rapture is generally short, and appears be more still than it is it really...


Jewish mystiques


Hassidism in its research of perfection uses traditional means of mysticism, in particular asceticism [ 4 ] and meditation. Isaac Luria (1534-1572) asserts  meditation is the best way to reach enlightenment. Cabalist meditation open us to én-sof, the unbounded being, impossible to name and to know ("who ?”) . For us it can seem to be nothingness ("ayin").


muslim mystiques


“fana”  [5] ("to die, to cease existing"), (complete abandonment of oneself and realization of God) is one of the stages of the sufi mystic to obtain unity with God. “Fana” can be reached by a constant meditation and contemplation of the attributes of God, coupled with condemnation of the human attributes. When the sufi succeeds in entirely purifying terrestrial world and being lost in the love of God, it is said that he destroyed his individual will and that he died to his own existence to live only in God and with God.


Many soufis supports that fana as itself alone is a negative state, because even if to get rid of the terrestrial desires, to recognize and condemn the human imperfections are things necessary for any excessively pious person, such virtues are insufficient for those which embrace the way sufi. However by "fana of fana" ("destruction of the destruction"), the sufi manages to destroy human attributes and loses any conscience of its terrestrial existence; it is then revivified by the grace of God and the secrecy of the divine attributes is revealed to him. Then it will be able to reach the more sublime state of "baqa’ "(subsistence) and will be thus ready with the direct vision of God  [6].

Le testimony of the sufis – without regarding to theological references -  do not seem different in its feeling from what say to us the Jewish, Christian, hindouist and buddhist mystics.


The four States of Consciousness

The trivial [7] sleep or slow sleep


The pressing appearance of sleep could be compared with an instinct [8]. One regards it as a defence against exhaustion of organic and psychic functions. It is described like a "small death", a kind of intermezzo, whether it is lived as salutary or is qualified as “wasted time”. That sleep should be nearest what death is, is attested by mythology as well as etymology [9]. According to Western thought, it would exclude any explicit self – consciousness…


However, the sleeper can wake up when meaning sounds arise: the tears of the baby awake his mom immediately; however she does not notice the noise of planes’; the stop of TV-shows awakes the televiewer whom they had put to sleep ! The persistence of these possibilities during the sleep differentiates it from the coma or chemical narcosis and attests of a partial consciousness that yoga would possibly reinforce in the form of a "conscious sleep"!


Very different is the nightmare [10] which constitutes a pathological form of sleep in which the subject faces an intense hallucinatory experiment, shows a certain degree of sleepwalking and sleeps very deeply, even though he opened large eyes!


During the sleep, the various functions and regulations of the body are preserved. On the other hand, apart from the signals of alarm which keep an access road, perceptions and actions on the environment are removed; probably, it is not possible to learn while sleeping [11]. Behavior during the sleep of animals is recognized easily thanks to their posture. Some muscular tonus persists during the sleep (for cat, for example, muscles of the nape).


After Jouvet, “Slow sleep, manifests itself in the presence of a synchronized cortical activity of spindles (16 c/s) and/or of high-voltage slow waves (“delta” : 2 or 3 c/s)”.


Drowsiness is characterized by muscular immobility and modification of the cerebral electric activity with appearance of "spindles" of waves, followed waves delta, slow waves of high voltage. The slower the waves are and the more difficult it is to wake up the sleeper  [12] ! It is because of this slow rate/rhythm that we give the name of slow sleep to sleep itself (or trivial sleep). The spindles of sleep are produced in a thalamic nucleus  [13] whose rhythmic activity prevents the thalamo-cortical fast activities, necessary to the mental activities that one observes during the wakefulness or the dream. When this mechanism is put out of order, one speaks about insomnia. The body which suffers the most deprivation of slow sleep is the prefrontal cortex; one deduces from it that the essential function of sleeping is to regenerate it. This cerebral area give us our adaptability, flexibility of imagination and of reflexion  [14], attention, concentration, behaviour planning.


The wakefulness causes its own inhibition in the following way:


it exists a quantitative relation between the duration of wakefulness and the intensity of slow waves of the sleep: the longer the animal remains awaked, the more the slow waves slow down and develop when it falls asleep! During wakefulness, certain neurons, located very high in the system, present regular discharges every second, like a clock. They seem to measure the duration of the wakefulness. This involves (by mediation of serotonin) the setting of a system which will inhibit the wakefulness executive network and release the thalamic system as we saw before.It exists also another system responsible for falling asleep. Located in the bulb at the level of the nucleus of the solitary tract, it receives the signals of tiredness coming from the parasympathetic system; among these signs :  the irritation of eyes which become red, yawning, the decrease of muscular tonus ", etc.

The trivial wakefulness


During the state of wakefulness, the brain perceives informations of external or internal environment. It decodes them, evaluates them, integrates them and compares them with information received before. Thus it will be able to answer them in an optimal way. Certain diseases can be deceitful, so that the ego fails to be aware of its acts which however have all the attributes of vigilance: one quotes the case of an individual who drove his car on hundreds of kilometers, took a hotel room and awoke there completely perplexed! Its recording electroencephalographic testified that it indeed sometimes happened to him to act, the open eyes and in a way adapted enough in a true state of deep sleep. In other pathological states, it is rather called "trance", "possession" or "multiple personality". The person shows several ways of being, several identities, sometimes extremely contrasted, whereas it is in all these cases conscious of his ego – be it provisional or coexisting with others versions of oneself - and in a cerebral state of wakefulness! One is maybe there in one of the possible forms of paradoxical wakefulness. From the point of view of the cerebral electric waves the state of trivial wakefulness is accompanied by a fast, low voltage, electric activity ( 40 hertz) [15].


"It was shown that the systems of wakefulness were laid out in networks, id est that the pharmacological excitation of one is followed by the activation of all. There exists however, at some "nodes " of these networks, strategic places of which inactivation can inhibit the whole network. Executive network of the wakefulness includes various structures  [16] exciting cortex. They use various transmitter substances, such as histamine  [17], glutamate  [18], serotonin, noradrenalin, Gaba and acetylcholine. One knows the exciting role of amphetamine which gives place to drug-addiction (ecstasy). Contrary to amphetamines, a rather recent product, the modafinil, would give neither tolerance (which obliges to increase the amounts), nor dependence. Wakefulness may also be modulated by factors of hormonal type (for example the "corticotrophin releasing Factor  [19] and the vasopressin arginine system). Stimulations coming from the body itself and the external world contribute to the powering of these systems and thus support the state of wakefulness. Some slow, weak and repetitive stimulations, can act in the opposite direction.

The paradoxical sleep (dream)


Philosophers insist on the lived reality which the dreamer experiences. The emotions, themselves, are deep and sharp, sometimes more than those of the awake state! Descartes  [20], to illustrate the difficulty in deciding if the feeling of reality is enough to distinguish reality from the dream, quotes the case of a slave "who enjoyed an imaginary freedom when being asleep" but soon "he starts to suspect that his freedom is just a dream, fears to awake and conspires with these pleasant illusions to be longer deceived by them  [21] “. Pascal echoes it "if a craftsman were sure to dream every night, during twelve hours , that he was a king, I believe that it would be almost as happy as a king who would dream every night, during twelve hours , which he would be a craftsman".


 To be out of illusion, we claim to use a reciprocal control of the senses : "pinch me, I believe that I dream! ". It is clear that such a process has no effectiveness, no more than the agreement of other human beings : if I dream of them they speak to me and agree with me or fight me to mistake there! Otherwise, the nonsense of the dream is perceived by the dreamer after the dream, just when he does not dream any more ! According to Schopenhauer  [22], " life and dreams are the layers of a single book; the successive reading of these pages is what one calls the real life; but when the accustomed time of the reading (the day) passed and that the hour for rest is coming, we continue idly to divide the book into sheets, randomly opening it at any page and falling sometimes on a page already read, sometimes on one which we do not know; but we read always in the same book "


Thus, isolated dreams are distinguished from real life in what they do not get in the continuity of the experience (…) and it is the alarm clock which clarifies this difference".


The assimilation of the paradoxical sleep to the oniric activity is due to the work of the Chicago school [23]. The awakening of subjects during paradoxical sleep involves very precise memories of dream in more than 80 % of cases, while subjects who are awake during paradoxical sleep seldom remember to have dreamed



Paradoxical sleep is recognizable thanks to cardinal signs:




After Jouvet “This sleep mode reveals itself by a low-voltage fast cortical activity similar to arousal activity [activated sleep (122) or paradoxical or rhombencephalic sleep (254)]”.


Although there is a fast electric activity, similar to that of wakefulness, the paradoxical sleep is a very deep sleep, so much that it is more difficult to wake up the sleeper than during the major stage of the "slow" sleep. This oddity results in naming "paradoxical" this state! If, however, one awakes the subject, he generally can tell a dream.


We do not know if these two electric aspects of sleep are the manifestation of a single hypnogenic mechanism or the manifestation of two fundamentally different states.


The paradoxical wakefulness (sophronic state)


Mélinan  [24] discovers the difference between the experience of dream and wakefulness as "we never awake of what we call wakefulness. We never pass in another state, of where we could, in its turn, judge reality by far and top, as reality judges the dream "


He observes that under the normal conditions of human life, there is not a fourth state which would be to reality what reality is to dream.However he wonders if the passage of life to demise could not constitute a kind of awakening of the wakefulness! He continues: "it seems that there is for certain men, already in ordinary life, at least a half-arousal; some men approach this new state, even if they do not reach, a state in which the sensitive world seems a dream  [25] ". It is this idea which was developed by researchers such as Desoille, Wallace, Benson or Caycedo. I proposed the term "of paradoxical wakefulness [ 26 ]" rather than of "fourth state of consciousness" in order to mark the symmetry of this state of consciousness in its function of cleaning memory, restoring, purifying, in opposition to imaginary enrichment and to the setting in memory related to the state of paradoxical sleep. Horne (1988, 2000) ensures that the body, at the cellular level, recovers better in this state that during the sleep! The study of relaxation techniques and their effects, allows us to bring them close, on the physiological level, of the states of consciousness modified by various methods of meditation or orison.


During the paradoxical wakefulness, the various functions and regulations of the body are preserved. If the alarm signals remain effective, perceptions consist of notable distortions, such as a tiny rustle can start a strong reaction whereas an intense noise passes unperceived! The function of alarm is revived whereas distractive perception disappears.


Out of an alarm, the action on the environment is removed as well as all worry: thus the paradoxical wakefulness is characterized by a decrease in the muscular tonus which will be limited to the maintenance of the posture. One observes a deceleration of the electric activity of the brain with increases in "coherence" between his various parts (front / back, right / left). This slow activity would make possible to name this state "slow wakefulness" in opposition to the “trivial wakefulness” with its rapid rhythms.


Breathing, also, become slower and very regular, in a spontaneous way. However, the pranayama of yoga makes this consequence a cause: the respiratory deceleration is used [ 27 ] to deepen further this state of awoke rest [ 28 ]. One observes even phases of respiratory stop with (or by) reduction in the requirements out of oxygen. These moments are accompanied by feelings of "bliss", occasionally diverted in favor of the Master who transmits the technique [ 29 ] .


It is advisable to distinguish these apnea, limited to a few minutes, of the apparent respiratory stop of the yogis who are locked up in a restricted space and survive several hours with an amount of very reduced available oxygen. In this last case, breathing continues; but the state of rest obtained "being very succeeded", the oxygen uptake is extremely weak, the diaphragmatic movements are almost unperceivable.


Other physiological manifestations will insist on the generalized rest which accompanies every relaxation response:


·        deceleration and stabilization of the pulse

·        rather decreased tonicity of peripheral vessels 

·        normalization of Blood Pressure when the disorder is of "neurotic" origin.

·        Decreased metabolism

·        Psychological process of unification and simplification.

·        distance, increased tolerance of frustration


These phenomena, as a whole, can be compared to radically various anti-stress phenomena such as dormancy (hibernation) or even swoon, faint, blackout, lipothymies in the event of aggression, ecstasy, mystical rapture and certain forms of lethargy.


Paradoxical wakefulness and dormancy

There are very few environments in which the organisms are not prone to any kind of stress  [33]! The evolution set up a way of avoiding a repetitive steady stressing environment: the state of dormancy. In this state, the organism saves to the maximum the quantity of available energy and ask its environment the minimum!

Dormancy: state of reduced metabolic activity adopted by many organisms under conditions of environmental stress or often, as in winter, when such stressful conditions are likely to appear. It is more specifically called also hibernation, estivation, etc.

Another definition is “dormancy - a state of non activity during which sleep brain waves cannot be detected.” !


Value of dormancy

In terms of evolution, dormancy seems to have evolved independently among a wide variety of living things, and the mechanisms for dormancy vary with the morphological and physiological makeup of each ...


For a number of organisms, dormancy is becoming an essential part of the vital cycle  [35] ,making it possible for an organism to bypass difficult phases with a minimal impact on the organism itself! This state of dormancy can be determined by many variables, in particular:


·         lack of food or drink,

·         lack of oxygen or carbon dioxide.

·         changes of temperature (in more or less)

·         exposure time to the light,




The timing in the annual rhythm of activity and dormancy is very important: the Arctic squirrel, kept in a warm laboratory, however puts itself, when winter comes, in a state of torpor and extreme idleness! In the same way, when hibernating animals are subjected to a cold temperature out of the normal season, they react like every animals by increasing their thyroid activity and their metabolic level to maintain the normal temperature of their organism. On the other hand, when autumn comes, the cold causes them to lower their thyroid secretions and their metabolism; for certain species, a reduction in food must be added.


However, the state of hibernation is not continuous: with interval of a few weeks, they wake up by themselves and make some movements, especially at the beginning and the end of winter.


Many data could seem purely anecdotic; they suggest us a very significant idea, namely that dormancy is rather largely available according to numerous adaptive methods. It is perhaps an extreme development of a very general aptitude for living a particular neurophysiological state quite as significant as sleep, dream or wakefulness.

Types of dormancy


The term “hibernation” is often used for any state of dormancy, torpor, or inactivity  [37]. Beside "true hibernating beings”  [38]  one describes "the light hibernating ones" which can remain inactive and lethargic as far as we consider behaviour, with a discrete reduction in their temperature, by periods of a few weeks  [39]. The light hibernation is a compromise between the minimal requirements in energy for one deep hibernating and the great expenditure of the animals which remain active during all winter. In the arid regions some animals who become torpid during the very hot and dry summer, one speaks then about  "estivation".

physiological Changes during Dormancy


Typically, dormancy is practised in a protected den  [40]. The internal organs (digestive tract, endocrine glands) are almost completely inactive! The body adapts to maintain its metabolism at the minimum level necessary for survival. The organism stands in between life making possible the exit of hibernation and reduction of the metabolism close to death. The peripheral nervous system and the spinal cord get an increased sensitivity for certain stimuli whereas the brain massively reduces its electric activity  [41] but remains able, even in its deeper torpor  [42], to record the relevant variations of the environment! A cerebral particular zone remains vigilant : the hypothalamus which manages hunger, temperature as well as cardiorespiratory and endocrinal functions. During dormancy, the body temperature is more or less considerably lowered. The heartbeat and respiratory rates slow down becoming unperceivable. The blood pressure decreases without breaking down completely (thanks to the quasi-closing of the vessels which feed the non-vital bodies  [43] ).


The fast, solid and liquid, involves a slimming which can reach 40 %. The urine secretion is negligible. The oxygen uptake and the carbon dioxide production are surprisingly low. The endocrine glands activity ,metabolism accelerating, is very reduced  [44].  The thyroid activity largely decreases at the time of dormancy. On the other hand, "the parathyroid ones are very active, as inter scapular brown grease which is, at the same time, a reserve of grease and a gland with internal secretion playing an essential role in the temperature control  [45] ". One generally observes a reduction of the activity of sexual glands.


Sleep and dormancy

 The preceding considerations enable us to criticize the relevance of the term of "dormancy". We can check that this state, in spite of certain analogies, is quite different from the sleep. Wouldn't it be better comparable with the paradoxical wakefulness ?






paradoxical  wakefulness


Stress disadvantages sleep


stress starts dormancy which mitigates its effects


Stress is cleaned by paradoxical wakefulness which mitigates its consequences


Cortico - visceral Communications increased

Weak and slowed down activity

cortico-cortical lateral and antero-posterior Synchronization


Dominating Delta

sporadic Delta

Dominating Alpha (sporadic Theta)



Keeping on be active




Extremely decreased

Very decreased

oxygen consumption


Extremely decreased

Very decreased

Carbon dioxide production


Extremely decreased

Very decreased

Central temperature

Slightly decreased

Extremely decreased

Slightly decreased

Spinal cord and peripheral nervous system

decreased sensitivity as a whole

increased sensitivity for some stimuli, decreased sensitivity for other ones

increased sensitivity for some stimuli, decreased sensitivity for other ones

heartbeat rate


Extremely slowed

slowed and  stabilized

Respiration rate


Extremely slowed

Slowed, sometimes extremely  [46]

Blood pressure




Tonicity of peripheral vessels

Relaxation of peripheral vessels

(warm limbs)

Vessels of less important organs nearly closed (peripheral coldness)

Relaxation of peripheral vessels

(warm limbs)  [47]

Endocrin Glands

decreased activity as a whole

very decreased activity as a whole

very decreased activity as a whole







Very decreased





paradoxical  wakefulness



Very active


inter scapular brown grease



Very active


adrenal glands


very decreased activity

very decreased activity  [48]

Secretions of the gonades

(testicules and ovaries)


generally decreased




“He who sleeps, dines."

Extremely slowed

(slimming +++)

 « Sublimated »

favorable fasting.

Digestive organs



Not very active

Diuresis [49]





global hypotony

global hypotony

limited to the conservation of the posture





psychological effect

Procrastination, postponement


Distance, simplification, unification, increased tolerance to frustration



« between » Sleep and wakefulness

« between » Sleep and wakefulness




For a long time it was admitted that there was a tight relationship between sleep and dormancy: dormancy and sleep are similar because, in both of these states,  essential organic processes continue on a lower level: - During sleep, the animal immobilizes itself, its cerebral activity impoverishes, its heartbeat and its breathing slow down. The body produces less heat. - During dormancy, any activity ceases if it is not immediately necessary to maintain life on its lowest possible metabolic level, the animal is also immobilized, its heart and breathing slow down, one sometimes observes discharges which evoke the slow waves of sleep. But with the "awake" from dormancy, one observes a deepening of the sleep with slow waves, exactly as after a sleep deprivation for several hours: dormancy is not an equivalent of sleep, but an intermediate state of vigilance between sleep and wakefulness  [50] !

We suggest to categorize this state as paradoxical wakefulness of which it constitutes an adaptive use to extreme variations of temperature or dryness !

The problem of Trance

“Trance” is a modified state of consciousness. It has been known for ages. It is related to a large variety of cultural and religious contexts. It consist in crossing a limit, in going to the country of dead, in returning from there, in exceeding the borders of time and place. Trance goes towards an extreme. During this trip the identity of oneself is lost more or less. One becomes the mounting of a divinity. This divinity becomes our guide or one makes oneself the main part of it. This state is generally integrated by the company within the framework of permissive or prescribed moments: process of initiation, institutional sibyls, mystical brotherhoods, religious festivals, crowned dances, carnival and charivari , body expression and therapy, etc...


The psychophysiological characteristics of trance are still poorly known; there are more anecdotes than scientific data. You can however notice the relationship of trance with the dream: a scenario is created. At the time when the subject saw it, it takes all the characters of reality. The subject is registered in a new identity and is confronted with psychic dimensions of himself which he did not forsee and which he will be able to even forget at the end of the course.


What makes trance different from the state of dream is that, during trance, the action is not inhibited! The communication with the social group, or one of its representatives, remains available. The frequently ritual, institutionalized and didactic character of these communications suggests that they could have a functional value for the group: appeasing the tensions, balancing of excesses, elicitation of creative openings, etc... Once again, its role can be compared to that of the dream, but its effectiveness could be related more to the collective than the individual level...




States of consciousness


Non-activity (rest)














Paradoxical  Wakefulness
(or rest wakefulness)

Very decreased  metabolism

Decreased oxygen consumption

Very low respiration rate (temporary apnea by reduction carbon dioxide production and requirements out of oxygen)

Slowed and stabilized heartbeat rate

Decreasing peripheral vessels tonicity, balanced between different parts of the body


Decreased blood pressure

Muscular tonus limited to the conservation of the posture

Stillness (seldom jolts)

EEG : Dominating Alpha (sporadic Theta)

synchronizing intero-internal interactions (mental vacuity)

Hormonal stabilization

Psychological unification and simplification through abandonment of information. Intuition, global integration, distanciation, increased tolerance to frustration.

State in which fruition, jouissance dominates.

Trivial Wakefulness
(or ortho wakefulness)

Very active  metabolism

Increased oxygen consumption

Short, fast and very varied breathing




Acceleration and variations of the pulse

Increasing peripheral vessels tonicity, varied along with parts of the body at work

Increased blood pressure

Global muscular tonus


Movements directed towards a goal

EEG : Dominating beta (sporadic alpha)

unsynchronizing intero-internal interactions (perceptiveness, activity)

Hormonal variation

Varied processes focused by the action in Progress, complexification by actual informations. Effort, combat, struggle for life.

State in which satisfaction, pleasure dominates.





States of consciousness


Non-activity (rest)







Trivial Sleep
(or slow sleep or  synchronized sleep or telencephalic sleep or ortho sleep )
  1. weak metabolism
  2. decreased oxygen consumption
  3. typical slow and regular breathing
  4. deceleration and stabilization of the pulse
  5. tonicity of the peripheral vessels rather decreased, tonicity of the vessels balanced for the various zones
  6. reduction in the Blood Pressure
  7. decreasing of  neck EMG activity
  8. global immobility
  9. EEG : sychronized cortical activity of spindles and/or of high-voltage slow waves
  10. synchronizing cortico-visceral  interactions, process of   organic harmonization
  11. hormonal stabilization
  12. logico-practical thought and postponed action,
  13. state where the need dominates
Paradoxical Sleep
(or activated sleep or rhombencephalic sleep)
  1. active metabolism
  2. increased oxygen consumption
  3. variable breathing
  4. variable pulse
  5. vascular tonicity ?
  6. blood pressure ?
  7. abolition of neck EMG activity
  8. Rapid Eye Movements
  9. EEG : low-voltage fast cortical activity similar to arousal activity [) (254)]”.
  10. unsynchronizing cortico-cortical communications. Focalised endogenous process.
  11. sexual sympathicotony
  12. reinforcement of motivations, enrichment of prospects, sequences of representations
  13. state where desire dominates




image002.jpg (9809 bytes)


The four states of consciousness


The cycle of the states of consciousness


After encyclopedia universalis: "a strict hygiene of life, creating regular practices, in which the physical activity and relaxation are practised with perseverance are useful to treat insomnia" Thus, the trivial sleep does require, more or less, a form of paradoxical wakefulness to be established. In the same way, the paradoxical sleep occurs only after a sufficient time of trivial sleep. Finally, an effective activity during trivial wakefulness requires certainly as a preparation, a good night of sleep, id est,  a sufficient provision of dreams which provides it the fuel of desire. The paradoxical wakefulness itself requires deepening further a preliminary conscious activity with interaction between the subject and its environment. The states of consciousness are organized in cycles of approximately 24 hours for alternation wakefulness / sleep and in cycles of approximately 90 minutes for alternation between trivial and paradoxical modalities.


First, trivial modality is dominating, then paradoxical modality strengthens; thus, the sleeper dreams more at the end of the night and feel more, at the end of the day, the need to reach vacuity. Roughly speaking, it appears desirable to sleep at least seven hours (with more than one hour of paradoxical sleep) and to profit during the day of more than one hour of "relaxation  [61] " Going from wakefulness to sleep  [62] implies to give up the physiological organization suitable for wakefulness to go towards the type of organization characterizing the sleep. Between the two states one time of "organisational neutrality [ 63 ]" takes place. It should logically also occur when one passes from the trivial to the paradoxical sleep or from the paradoxical sleep to the wakefulness.





The discovery of the fourth state of consciousness (sophroliminal state, paradoxical wakefulness) constitutes a major progress because it enables us to build a balance of life of great value by becoming aware of the need for giving a sufficient daily time to the paradoxical wakeful state.



Psychosonique Yogathérapie Psychanalyse & Psychothérapie Dynamique des groupes Eléments Personnels

© Copyright Bernard AURIOL (email : )

dernière mise à jour le

January 25, 2004
























1.     Nous avons fait de larges emprunts à divers articles de le encyclopædia Universalis (éd.1995)

2.     Ainsi que à la Britannica (version CD-Rom - 1997 et version Web - 2000)

3.     Hennevin-Dubois E., Comment dormir vient aux bébés, La Recherche, HS N°3, Avril 2000, pp.14-17.

4.     Horne Jim, Why We S – The Functions of sleep in Humans and other Mammals, Oxford University Press, 1988.

5.     Horne Jim, Variations sur la fonction du sommeil, La Recherche, HS N°3, Avril 2000, pp.8-11.

6.     Jouvet M., Neurophysiology of the States of Sleep, Physiological Review 47, (2) pp. 117-177 (1967).

7.     Tobler Irène, Le sommeil a-t-il besoin du système nerveux central ?, La Recherche, HS N°3, Avril 2000, pp.12-13.

La transe hypnotique


Elle pose des problèmes quant à le état de conscience que elle met en jeu.



Selon le association médicale britannique (1955) : « Le hypnose est un état passager de attention modifiée, état qui peut être produit par une autre personne et dans lequel divers phénomènes peuvent apparaître spontanément ou en réponse à des stimuli verbaux ou autres. Ces phénomènes comprennent un changement dans la conscience et la mémoire, une sensibilité accrue à la suggestion et le apparition chez le sujet de réponses et de idées qui ne lui sont pas familières dans son état de esprit habituel. En outre, des phénomènes comme le anesthésie, la paralysie, la rigidité musculaire et des modifications vasomotrices peuvent être, dans le état hypnotique, produits et supprimés. »

La relation entre le hypnotiseur et le hypnotisé


Le hypnose représente la forme la plus ancienne de la relation psychothérapique moderne. En 1784, un élève de Mesmer, le marquis de Puységur, décrivit le somnambulisme artificiel sans crise convulsive, qui permet une communication verbale avec le sujet. Il inaugura ainsi la thérapie par le langage. La psychanalyse se est édifiée en bonne partie sur le étude et la critique de cette relation ; elle le a, à son tour, rendue plus intelligible en permettant de entrevoir les lois qui la régissent.

La suggestibilité ne doit pas être confondue avec le hypnose que elle accompagne selon des doses variables. Il existe une forme de suggestion, qui est, selon Freud, « un fait fondamental de la vie psychique de le homme ». Cette suggestion indirecte, non délibérée, émane du patient : « Un facteur dépendant de la disposition psychique du malade influence, sans aucune intention de notre part, le résultat de tout processus thérapeutique introduit par le médecin. » « Cette attente croyante », comme dit encore Freud, n’est « ni dosable, ni contrôlable, ni intensifiable ». La relation comporte alors un élément archaïque non accessible à la verbalisation.

Ainsi doit-on doit mettre le accent sur la relation mère-nourrisson, saisie au stade pré-langagier. Mais on connaît la possibilité de obtenir le hypnose par une action sans transfert (auto-hypnose par exemple) ce qui met en valeur la réalité physiologique de le état hypnotique [60].


La transe hypnotique


It poses problems as for the state of consciousness that it brings into play.



According to British medical association (1955): "hypnosis is a momentary state of modified attention, state which can be produced by another person and in which various phenomena can appear spontaneously or in response to verbal or different stimuli. These phenomena include/understand a change in the conscience and the memory, a sensitivity increased to the suggestion and the appearance at the subject of answers and ideas which are not familiar for him in its usual state of mind. Moreover, of the phenomena like the anaesthesia, the paralysis, the muscular rigidity and of the modifications vasomotrices can, in the hypnotic state, produced and be removed "





La relation entre le hypnotiseur et le hypnotisé




Hypnosis represents the oldest form of the modern psychotherapy relation. In 1784, a pupil of Mesmer, the marquis de Puységur, described the artificial sleepwalking without convulsive crisis, which allows a verbal communication with the subject. He thus inaugurated the therapy by the language. The psychoanalysis was built in good part on the study and criticism of this relation; it, in its turn, made it more understandable while making it possible to foresee the laws which it régissent.La suggestibility should not be confused with hypnosis than it accompanies according to variable amounts'. There is a form of suggestion, which is, according to Freud, "a fundamental fact of the psychic life of the man". This indirect suggestion, not deliberated, emanates from the patient: "a factor depend on the psychic provision of the patient influences, without any intention of our share, the result of any therapeutic process introduced by the doctor" "This believing waiting", like known as still Freud, n?est "neither measurable, neither controllable, nor intensifiable". The relation then comprises an antiquated element nonaccessible to the verbalisation.Ainsi must one must stress the relation mother-mère-nourrisson, seized at the pre-linguistic stage. But one knows the possibility of obtaining hypnosis by an action without transfer (car-hypnosis for example) what puts in valeur the physiological reality of the hypnotic state [ 60 ].


Physiologie de le hypnose


Certaines conditions sont généralement requises pour obtenir le hypnose :

        « rapport » de confiance entre le médecin et le malade.

        stimulations auditives par le opérateur qui répète des suggestions de une voix monotone « terpnos logos »;

        fixation de le attention, soit par un objet visuel ou sonore, soit par un groupe de idées

A titre subsidiaire, on peut ajouter :

        diminution ou exclusion des stimulations extérieures ou au contraire débordement sensoriel (châteaux sonores)

        position assise ou allongée (utile mais non indispensable)

Les théories physiologiques sont centrées sur les rapports entre le sommeil et le hypnose mais le assimilation de le hypnose au sommeil n’a pu être confirmée par des tracés électroencéphalographiques. Elle est qualifiée par les pavloviens de sommeil partiel. Il se crée artificiellement des « points vigiles » qui rendent possible la communication entre le sujet et le opérateur. Cet état de sommeil partiel, intermédiaire entre le sommeil et la veille, comporte des phases hypnoïdes, ou phases de suggestion, pendant lesquelles diverses modifications physiologiques, impossibles dans le état de veille, peuvent se produire. Cette description invite à ranger cet état, comme le fait François Roustang dans le cadre de le éveil paradoxal…


Physiologie de le hypnose



Certain conditions are generally necessary to obtain hypnosis:? "report/ratio" of confidence between the doctor and the patient? auditive stimulations by the operator who repeats suggestions of a monotonous voice "terpnos logos"; can fixing of the attention, either by a visual or sound object, or by a subsidiary group of idéesA title, one add:? reduction or exclusion of external stimulations or on the contrary sensory overflow (sound castles)? sitting position or lengthened (useful but not indispensable)Les physiological theories is centered on the relationship between the sleep and hypnosis but the assimilation of hypnosis to the sleep n?a which been able to be confirmed by layouts electroencephalographic. It is qualified by Pavlovian partial sleep. It artificially creates for itself "points watchmen" which make possible the communication between the subject and the operator. This state of partial sleep, intermediary between the sleep and the day before, comprises hypnoid phases, or phases of suggestion, during which various physiological, impossible modifications in the waking state, can occur. Does this description invite to arrange this state, like does it François Roustang within the framework of the paradoxical wakefulness?

Syncope et pâmoison



Ce terme désigne une perte de connaissance de survenue rapide. La personne en état de syncope perd de sa réactivité aux stimuli de le environnement ; ses perceptions sont perturbées dès le début [51] du phénomène avec sensation de faiblesse, voile visuel, modifications sonores, vertiges, impression de vide de la pensée et parfois nausées ou transpiration.

La médecine a mis en évidence plusieurs causes possibles :

  1. La diminution de la circulation cérébrale par ralentissement ou accélération extrêmes du cœur (maladie cardiaque, effet secondaire de certains médicaments) ou par hypotension artérielle (avec notamment une dilatation exagérée des vaisseaux [52]).
  2. Exposition à trop de chaleur : déshydratation, fièvre très dangereuse.
  3. Le hypoglycémie et le anémie diminuent les ressources énergétiques du cerveau…
  4. DE autres syncopes dites « vaso-vagales » sont souvent dues à un stress physique ou émotionnel : compression de la carotide, vue du sang, agression sans recours, douleur extrême, etc. et sont précédées souvent de signes parasympathiques.
  5. Le hyperventilation entraîne un manque de gaz carbonique dans le sang, de où une contraction des vaisseaux cérébraux ce qui, paradoxalement, prive le cortex de ses ressources en oxygène [53].
  6. Le expiration forcée et volontairement bloquée connue en médecine sous le nom de « manœuvre de Antonio Valsalva (1666-1723 » peut produire une perte de connaissance si elle est réalisée de manière excessive. Il se agit de une contraction forcée des muscles abdominaux comme pour expulser de le air, mais en empêchant cette expiration par contraction de la glotte [54] (serrage des cordes vocales). Utilisée avec souplesse, cette contraction nous permet de réaliser une évacuation : la toux en est une forme brève avec évacuation de déchets bronchiques vers le haut, la défécation utilise un mécanisme similaire pour évacuer les selles par relâchement de le anus. Le cri, et à un moindre degré la voix chantée ou même parlée, gèrent ce mécanisme avec subtilité pour produire des sons à fonction de appel par exemple. Lors de le effort, un usage complet de cette manœuvre, donne aux muscles actifs un appui [55] qui est indispensable pour des actes violents, ou intenses.


Syncope et pâmoison



This term indicates a loss of consciousness of which has occurred fast. The person in a state of syncope loses her reactivity with the stimuli of the environment; its perceptions are disturbed from the very start  [51] of the phenomenon with feeling of weakness, veils visual, sound modifications, giddinesses, impression of vacuum of the thought and sometimes nauseas or transpiration.La medicine highlighted several possible causes:

  1. Reduction in cerebral circulation by deceleration or acceleration extremes of the heart (cardiac disease, side effect of certain drugs) or by arterial hypotension (with in particular an exaggerated dilation of the vessels  [52]).

2.       Exposure to too much chaleur: dehydration, fever very dangerous.

3.       Hypoglycemia and it anaemia decrease the energy resources of the brain

  1. Other syncopes known as "vaso-vagales" are often due to a physical or emotional stress: compression of the carotid, sight of blood, aggression without recourse, douleur extreme, etc and are often preceded by signs parasympathiques.
  2. Hyperventilation involves a lack of carbon dioxide in blood, of where a contraction of the cerebral vessels what, paradoxically, deprives the cortex of its oxygen resources  [53].
  3. The expiry forced and voluntarily blocked known in medicine under the name of "man?uvre of Antonio Valsalva (1666-1723" can produce a loss of consciousness if it is carried out in an excessive way. It is about a forced contraction of the abdominal muscles like expelling of the air, but by preventing this expiry by contraction of the glottis  [54] (tightening of the vocal cords). Used with flexibility, this contraction enables us to carry out an evacuation: cough is a short form with evacuation of bronchial waste to the top, the defecation uses a similar mechanism to evacuate the saddles by relaxation of the anus. The cry, and with a less degree the sung or even spoken voice, manages this mechanism with subtlety to produce sounds with function of call for example. At the time of the effort, a complete use of this maneuver, gives to the active muscles a support  [55] which is essential for acts violent one, or intense.


Point de vue plus spécifiquement sophrologique

La sophrologie étudie la conscience humaine en partant de ses propres conceptions, définies par Caycedo. Il propose de distinguer les niveaux de conscience de une part, les états de conscience de autre part :

·        les niveaux de conscience représentent des modifications quantitatives dans le sens de hyper clarté ou de obscurcissement ; on pourrait les rapprocher du niveau de vigilance.

·        les états de conscience représentent des modifications qualitatives.

Dans cette perspective, le être humain évolue :

·         soit dans un état de conscience ordinaire, soi-disant  « normale »

·         ou bien, il renforce les éléments positifs de sa personnalité et accède progressivement à la cons­cience sophronique

·         soit provi­soirement ou définitivement dans un état de conscience pathologi­que (de la névrose à la psychose, sans oublier toutes les possibili­tés psychiatriques connues).

Les états de conscience pathologiques

Les états de transe, de délire, les excès quant au niveau de vigilance (léthargie ou au contraire excitation ), les dysfonctionnements qui échangent la réalité de la veille pour le Réel du Délire et des Hallucinations propres au sommeil paradoxal, alors que en rêve le sujet retrouve la platitude du quotidien rationneln sont des exemples de conscience pathologique. Cependant, selon la valorisation spirituelle, artistique ou philosophique que le sujet et son environnement social promeut, on avoir à classer différemment certaines expériences phénoménologiquement identiques ! Par exemple une « hallucination » peut se reconvertir en « Vision inspirée », une léthargie en extase. Il est difficile de se prononcer sur de tels cas et personnellement, je trouve inaccessible à la raison et à la science le classement des Prophètes et des Messies (faux ou vrai) …


Point de vue plus spécifiquement sophrologique


The sophrology studies the human conscience on the basis of its own designs, defined by Caycedo. It proposes to distinguish the levels from conscience of a share, the state of consciousnesses of another share: · the levels of conscience represent quantitative modifications in the direction of hyper clearness or obscuration; one could bring them closer the level of vigilance.· the state of consciousnesses represent qualitative modifications. From this point of view, the human being evolves/moves: · either in an ordinary, so-called state of consciousness "normal" · or, it reinforces the positive elements of its personality and reaches gradually the conscience sophronique· or temporarily or definitively in a pathological state of consciousness (of the neurosis to the psychosis, without forgetting all the known psychiatric possibilities).




Les états de conscience pathologiques



The states of trance, of is delirious, excesses as for the level of vigilance (lethargy or on the contrary excitation), the dysfunctions which exchange the reality of the day before for the Reality of Is delirious and the Hallucinations suitable for the paradoxical sleep, whereas the subject dreams some finds the flatness of the daily newspaper rationneln are examples of pathological conscience. However, according to spiritual, artistic or philosophical valorization that the subject and its social environment promote, one to have to classify differently certain experiments phénoménologiquement identical! For example a "hallucination" can be reconverted in "Vision inspired", a lethargy in extase. It is difficult to come to a conclusion about such cases and personally, I find inaccessible to the reason and science the classification of the Prophets and the Messiahs (false or true)?


[1] « Nous sommes faits de l’étoffe dont sont tissés les songes, et notre vie si courte a pour frontière un sommeil »

[2] Durand de Bousingen a tendance, comme Benson, à considérer que les états autogènes  profonds peuvent rejoindre certains des états obtenus par la Méditation Transcendantale (comm. pers.. janv. 1978). Beaucoup d'auteurs, comme le remarque en le déplorant Y. Ikémi lors du colloque de Tsukuba. préfèrent parler d' « états altérés de la conscience »  ou A.S.C. (Altered States of Consciousness ). Ce terme (proposé par Charles Tart) a l’avantage et l’inconvénient de regrouper avec le Quatrième Etat (que nous croyons agréable. naturel et même nécessaire) certains états, toxiques ou pathologiques (qui sont dangereux ou pénibles). Caycedo a eu le mérite de distinguer nettement les états de la conscience perturbée des états normaux ou optimisés. C’est pourquoi nous préfèrerons parler « d’état d’éveil paradoxal » pour désigner la conscience particulière qui apparaît lorsque nous nous détendons, faisons le vide, oublions nos ennuis…

[3] Jacques Lacan a insisté sur cette jouissance, Encore !

[4] notamment par la pratique aussi rigoureuse que possible des moindres commandements de la Thora. Cet aspect a parfois pris le pas sur la démarche proprement mystique.

[5] ce terme n’est pas à l’origine du mot « fanatique » lequel dérive du latin « fanum » (= temple) et signifiait « inspiré, en transe, en délire » (culte de Cybèle).

[6] Le fana’ est entièrement fondé sur les enseignements du Coran (55, 26-27) : « tout ce qui est sur terre passera. La face seule de Dieu restera environnée de ma??????????A?jesté et de gloire ».

[7] J’emploie ici le mot trivial dans son sens de « courant, banal, commun » et non dans l’acception péjorative de « vulgaire »… Il s’oppose ainsi à « paradoxal ».

[8] E. Claparède

[9] sanskrit « svap » dormir, être mort

[10] à ne pas confondre avec un « mauvais rêve » qui, lui, survient au cours du « sommeil paradoxal » (Cf. plus loin).

[11] Il n’existe aucune preuve d’apprentissage ??????????A?au cours du sommeil (hypnopédie) réalisé dans des conditions expérimentales rigoureuses (contrôle électroencéphalographique).

[12] Chez l’homme on distingue quatre stades au cours du sommeil :

1.        Le stade I (descending stage one ) correspond à l’endormissement ; il ne dure que quelques minutes et se traduit par la disparition du rythme alpha de l’éveil et par une certaine accélération de l’activité électrique.

2.        Le stade II associe quelques fuseaux à un rythme thêta.

3.        Le stade III est représenté par l’association de fuseaux et d’ondes delta à 2-3 c/s.

4.        Le stade ??????????A?IV s’objective par la succession d’ondes lentes delta de haut voltage.

[13] Le noyau réticulaire et ses neurones qui utilisent comme médiateur chimique l’Acide Gamma Amino Butyrique (GABA).

[14] Horne (2000)

[15] sauf l’hippocampe où l’on recueille une activité plus lente : rythme thêta à 5 à 8 c/s (cycles par seconde). L’hippocampe a un rôle capital pour la mise en mémoire.

[16] La voie réticulo-hypothalamo-corticale (agissant sur la formation réticulée mésencéphalique, le système diffus de l’hypothalamus postérieur et les groupes cholinergiques mésopontins et télencéphalique basal), la voie réticulo-thalamo-corticale (formation réticulée mésencéphalique, neurones cholinergiques mésopontins et noyaux thalamique), les neurones noradrénergi??????????A?ques du locus coeruleus (qui agissent directement sur le cortex, le thalamus et l’hippocampe), le raphé antérieur qui produit de la sérotonine et agit sur l’hypothalamus et le cortex

[17] le système à histamine  est considéré comme l’un des systèmes les plus importants de l’éveil. Les corps cellulaires à histamine sont tous situés dans l’hypothalamus postérieur (H.P.), et ils se projettent dans tout le cerveau (en particulier au niveau des autres systèmes d’éveil).

[18]  [neurones Asp/Glu]

[19] (C.R.F.)

[20] Descartes, Méditation Première, « des choses qu’on peut révoquer en doute », Œuvres Complète??????????A?s, Joseph Gibert éd. 1950, T.II, pp.106-107.

[21] Ce recours compensatoire au rêve par rapport aux dures réalité peut s’exprimer, chez certains sujets, par la narcolepsie : « crises de sommeil paradoxal survenant selon un rythme variable, indépendamment de l’alternance normale veille-sommeil. Les accès de narcolepsie durent quelques minutes ou plusieurs heures et sont parfois déclenchés par les émotions. »

[22] Schopenhauer, « Le monde comme volonté et comme représentation », traduction De A.Burdeau, revue par R. Roos, PUF, 1966-1984 p.43 sq.

[23] Cf. E. Aserinski, N. Kleitman et W. C. Dement (1954-1957).

[24] In « Mélinan, Notions de Psych??????????A?ologie appliquée à l’éducation. »

[25] Mélinan op.cit. p.210 et il énumère de tels hommes : le scientifique, le métaphysicien platonicien.

[26] L'existence d'un état particulier de la conscience lié à l'exercice d'une spiritualité et cultivant un état intermédiaire entre veille et sommeil a permis d'employer le terme de « qua­trième état de conscience ». Le Yoga emploie également cette expression à propos de « Turyia », état de conscience distinct, plus vaste et qui, supérieur aux trois autres, les englobe.  J’ai proposé d’utiliser plutôt le terme « d’éveil paradoxal » qui a le mérite de lever cette ambiguïté. Ce terme a été repris, de manière indépendante semble-t-il, par François Roustang dans son ouvrage sur l’hypnose.

[27] la respiration jouit d’une place particulière dans l’économie psycho-biologique : elle est peut être la seule fonction qui soit à la fois spontanée et gérable par une décision consciente. Certains évènements l’accélèrent ou la ralentissent ; je peux aussi décider de l’accélérer ou de la ralentir selon mon bon plaisir !

[28] Ceci m’est l’occasion de souligner un fait très général : la paix intérieure entraîne une diminution des tensions musculaires et la diminution des tensions musculaires peut diminuer les conflits internes, l’émotion accélère les rythmes respiratoire et cardi??????????A?aque et le ralentissement de ces rythmes tend à atténuer l’émotion, etc.

[29] Ce type d’effet est l’occasion d’un grand nombre de dérives ; Cf. Michel Monroy  : La Dérive Sectaire ( PUF, 1995). On lira aussi, dans les Cahiers du Grep (  les réactions du public à son intervention.

[30] on est là dans un état de « dormance » tout à fait comparable à l’hibernation (Cf. plus loin)…

[31] évoqué plus haut.

[32] Jean de La Fontaine, Le lèvre et les grenouilles

[33]Certains animaux migrent sur de grandes distances pour éviter des situations défavorables ; d’autres réduisent les stresses environnementaux en modifiant leur comportement et les habitats qu’ils occupent. Par exemple, certains rongeurs arctiques, lors des hivers rigoureux, s’enfouissent sous la neige où ils poursuivent leurs activités !

[34] Le terme d’hibernation est communément appliqué à tous les types de dormance chez les vertébrés. Il s’agit d’un état d’activité très réduite avec température du corps abaissée que certains animaux adoptent pour faire face aux difficultés de l’hiver ou à la sécheresse du désert l’été. Quand les lacs, les étangs ou les rivières sont à sec, par exemple, les organismes aquatiques peuvent se mettre en état de dormance pour survivre, alors que d’autres périssent. Certains animaux, grâce à ce processus peuvent coloniser des régions froides où les autres espèces ne s’adapteront pas.

[35] La période de dormance varie quant à sa durée et quant au degré de réduction métabolique : cela va d’une légère réduction métabolique pendant un profond sommeil périodique et de courte durée aux plus extrêmes réductions pour des périodes très étendues…


[36]             La longévité è

Les primates sont, en général, le groupe dont la vie est relativement la plus longue.

Trois facteurs ont des corrélations indépendantes avec l’espérance de vie :

·         le poids du cerveau,

·         le poids du corps et

·         le niveau du métabolisme au repos, selon l’équation :


DV = 5.5 E0.54  S-0.34  M-0.42


DV = Durée de vie (en mois)

E = Poids de l’encéphale en grammes[36]

S = Poids du corps en grammes[36]

M = Métabolisme en calories par gramme et par heure.

L’exposant négatif de M (-0.42) signifie que la durée de vie risque d’être d’autant plus courte que le sujet dépense davantage d??????????A?6;énergie à chaque instant ! Le « refroidissement » de l’organisme serait ainsi facteur de longévité. La pratique de l’éveil paradoxal expliquerait la longue vie observée chez les orants et contemplatifs à quelque religion qu’ils appartiennent !

[37] A proprement parler, cependant, l’emploi de ce terme devrait être limité aux homéothermes à sang chaud : oiseaux et mammifères ! Leur plumage ou leur fourrure réduit leur rayonnement calorique et d’autres mécanismes de déperdition thermique. Cela les aide à maintenir une température de l’organisme à peu près constante. Leur homéostasie les rend ainsi moins dépendants de l’environnement, spécialement quant aux limites qu’imposerait autrement la température ambiante.

[38] Le vrai hibernant passe la plus grande partie de l’hiver dans un état proche de la mort; l’animal, de fait, parait être mort ! L’hibernant est sur le fil du rasoir entre le maintien de la vie à un niveau qui rende possible la sortie de l’hibernation et une réduction du métabolisme à un niveau qui conduirait à la mort. Il s’agit d’une méthode de survie précaire au mieux, dont beaucoup d’individus ne se réveillent pas ! Pour la survie de l’espèce, c’est valable ; pour la survie de l’??????????A?individu, c’est incertain et risqué.  Seuls mammifères hibernants réels : les chauve souris, les hérissons ou autres insectivores et les rongeurs. Pour survivre à l’hiver, l’hibernant peut compter sur la combinaison de ses réserves corporelles de graisse et/ou de nourritures engrangées (rongeurs). Après que la température du corps a chuté jusqu’au niveau de la température ambiante, sa respiration se fait imperceptible (moins de trois mouvements respiratoires par minute) ; il ne réagit pas si on le déplie de sa position « en boule ». Cependant cela déclenche le « réveil ».

[39] L’écureuil « tamia » (ou chipmunk ou « suisse ») en est un exemple. De même, l’ours n’est pas un vrai hibernant ! Pour hiberner, sa température passe seulement de 38° à 34° ! Il s’agit d’un repos hivernal plutôt que d’une véritable hibernation ! Au cours de cette léthargie, il reste capable d’activité si on le stimule.

[40] Une forme de dormance chez les protozoaires et nombre d’invertébrés, soumis à des conditions défavorables est l’enkystement sous différentes formes.

[41] Chez l’écureuil arctique, par exemple, on peut observer une réduction de 90% de l’activité électrique du cerveau (t° =6°C).

[42] à des températures où le Système Nerveux des autres mammifères cesse de fonctionner !

[43] Chez les vrais hibernants, le sang circule plus à l’avant qu’à l’arrière du corps ; ceci permet au peu d’énergie disponible de garder au cerveau une température constante en dépit des variations de la température extérieure et du refroidissement complet de la peau.

[44] Hypophyse :L’hibernation (freinée par la plupart des sécrétions endocrines) peut survenir, paradoxalement, pendant un accroissement d’activité de l’hypophyse. Cela pourrait suggérer qu’il y a dissociation entre croissance cellulaire et synthèse hormonale par rapport aux organes cibles normalement contrôlées par la sécrétion de STH. Il y a diminution du magnésium sanguin et des sécrétions surrénaliennes

[45] © 1995 Encyclopædia Universalis France S.A.Tous droits de propriété intellectuelle et industrielle réservés.

[46] phases d’apnée avec (ou par) diminution de la production de gaz carbonique et des besoins en oxygène 

[47] Cependant, d’après la littérature du yoga, lorsque le quatrième état s’approfondit, on peut observer un refroidissement de l’ensemble de la périphérie, tout à fait similaire à l’état d’hibernation. La chaleur quitte le « corps » en commençant par le bas et en ne laissant de point chaud perceptible qu’au niveau de la tête.

[48] On a montré que les cellules granulaires hippocampiques, utilisées par la mémoire se multiplient d’autant plus que le taux de cortisone est abaissé. Ceci nous aide ??????????A? peut-être à oublier les moments les plus stressants ! (Cf. Heather Cameron, « Naissance des neurones et mort d’un dogme », La Recherche, 329, Mars 2000 pp.29-35.

[49] Quantité d’urine produite.

[50] D’après Irène Tobler, spécialiste Zurichoise qui étudie la phylogenèse du sommeil (La Recherche HS N°3, Avril 2000, p.13). On voit qu’elle rejoint notre propre conception d’un état distinct de la veille, du sommeil et du rêve que nous appelons « éveil paradoxal ». L’hibernation étant une forme particulière de cet état neuroconscienciel.

[51] Si les choses s’en arrêtent là on parle de « lipothymie » plutôt que de syncope ou d’évanouissement…

[52] La vasodilatation permet aux muscles d’être prêts à agir avec rapidité ce qui est favora??????????A?ble en cas d’agression pour se battre et surtout pour fuir. L’excès de ce mécanisme aboutit à la syncope : lêtre paraît mort et l’agresseur s’en désintéresse…

[53] Ce mécanisme est en jeu dans la technique du rebirth.

[54] On en connaît une autre forme, utilisée par les ORL, où l’effort d’expiration est bloqué, non au niveau de la glotte mais en serrant les lèvres et en pinçant le nez, dans le but de faire pénétrer, en force, de l’air dans la caisse du tympan via la trompe d’Eustache.

[55] C’est une fonction harmonieuse avec celle du côté gauche du corps, dont une contraction de posture sert d’appui aux gestes fins…

[56] « état modifié de la conscience » plutôt que « ASC ??????????A?» (« altered State of consciousness ») qui pourrait faire croire qu’il s’agit d’états pathologiques ou défectueux, alors que nous visons des états particuliers mais de nature le plus souvent « saine », « normale »…

[57] qu’elles soient anciennes comme dans la culture africaine ou juive ou récentes comme dans le Buto japonais ou les essais de danse religieuse tentée par telle moniale catholique…

[58] On pense évidemment à la transe-terpsichore-thérapie de Jacques et Alain Donnars…

[59] ce terme est particulièrement adapté, dans la mesure où nombre de sujets, racontant leur rêve parlent du « film » (pour dire « rêve »)… Tout film est un rêve préfabriqué !

[60] Nous nous référons pour l’essentiel de ce passage à l??????????A?’excellent article de l’Encyclopædia Universalis, dont nous recommandons la lecture intégrale !

[61] détente aussi proche que possible de l’éveil paradoxal ! exercices physiques « doux » mais aussi sophronisation, relaxation, méditation, etc…

[62] Cf. P. Etevenon, Du rêve à 1'éveil. Bases Physiologiques du sommeil, Albin Michel, 1987.

[63] Cultiver l'état d'éveil para­doxal peut conduire à « Turyia », état recherché par les mystiques indiens. Le sujet se place en position de neutralité et de témoignage permanent à l’égard de sa conscience. Cela a suggéré à certains la notion « d’attention constante » d’une façon qui peut se révéler extrêmement nuisible à l’équ??????????A?ilibre mental.