Citation: nowhereman. "Meta-Hypnagogic Reflection: An Experience with Hypnagogic State (exp43718)". Erowid.org. Feb 5, 2007. erowid.org/exp/43718
The hypnagogic state can be loosely defined as a hallucinary period between wakefulness and sleep. I have had an experience that suggests it may be a medium through which we can communicate with our own subconscious minds. However, this is not the classical version of the subconscious, I have no interest in communicating with my inner ravenous, seething pervert. The content of the vision actually suggests intelligence to our sub-consciousnesses beyond what we are consciously aware of in ourselves. Even further it suggests a degree of autonomy and self-awareness to the subconscious mind, it affords the subconscious its own sphere of awareness on the order of our “own” even as “we” consciously experience something else (“subconscious” will from here on refer to this description and no other formulations). And yes, drugs are involved, if only indirectly.
In the recent past I had had a short series of vivid dreams (briefly discussed later) that took the subconscious as their object. One morning I awoke to the fading memory of a dream as I often do. The dream was degrading fast, but the fact that it was funny was still in my mind. I couldn’t remember… what was it, frogs, a staircase, Sally from the fucking Peanuts, none of these fugacious images belonged to the dream. I thought I’d take a cue from psychology courses and recreate the environment in which the memory was first formed in order to jog my memory, this meant going back towards sleep. Within seconds of closing my eyes I have the hypnagogic vision.
I am inside a submarine, as I descend further towards sleep I approach nearer a porthole. I peer into the immense blue abyss and then my vision refocuses on the foreground; there is something on the porthole glass, a pair of infant footprints. I take a quick breath inward and flinch; I’m awake, what was that, baby footprints? Oh shit, there it is, the baby-kicking dream. That is funny… “Southparkesque”. I had had a dream where I was reclining on a long couch that served as a row of seats in a theater next to some guy who I guess was my friend. I pushed him hard and his leg swung up and came down on a baby and I a… burst out laughing (my reactions to events in dreams suggest I’m partially aware of the unreality of the events… I hope).
What is most interesting about this is that I had my question answered. Immediately. Beyond that simple fact is the wholly appropriate symbolic logic to be found in the vision (I’ll do my best to resist allusions to The Beatles). In the submarine I am submerging but not swimming, dreaming but not sleeping, I fall through the shapeless depths of somnolence as I approach the window to the sea. The glass is a partition that allows me a peek but stops my advance, exactly mirroring my intention to flirt with the sleep state without entering into it. The implication of the footprints is that the answer’s messenger came up from the blind abyss of the unconscious sea at my call and then returned with a kicked off the glass; not merely a symbol I can associate with what I thought funny about the earlier dream (a kid getting kicked) and an answer to my question (what was the dream about?), but perhaps a communication about the nature of the subconscious mind itself.
For those of you reading to find out what the hell “meta-hypnagogic reflection” is (would’ve worked on me), its name comes from the fact that the content of the vision references the process of having the hypnagogic vision itself. In my case, the vision elicited a memory in response to my efforts to recall that memory while simultaneously displaying the symbolic architecture of the introspective process in real time as well as connoting multiple things about the messenger (the subconscious) of that memory. My dreams are sometimes extremely pithy and self-reflexive, however I’ve never experienced a vision like this. Of interest next to me is the sheer rapidity of the vision’s assemblage. To for example write a scene for a film that used similarly esoteric subject matter while maintaining a comparable level of innovation and complexity as in the vision even allowing that one could pick their own subjects of interest would be a fairly impressive accomplishment that I personally would expect to take hours or days to nuance if I could write it at all. This however took a few seemingly effortless seconds.
My mind was reeling all through breakfast; I kept shoveling cereal into my nose. For all the profundity of the event the mood was certainly lightened when I realized the “messenger” probably shares my occasionally ribald sense of humor. I guess, how could it not?
I’ve written this report because this vision constitutes, at least to my knowledge and I assume to most reader’s, a novel mental phenomenon. It shares traits with visions (especially of the hynagogic variety of course), dreams, memory, and meditation, yet is distinct from each. It is dissimilar to other visions that I have had because of the specificity of the response and the brevity of the latency period prior to the response. The visions I’ve experienced on hallucinogens are related only vaguely to the subject of my thoughts and usually reveal something I’ve missed entirely all while occurring without warning, however this was a direct response to a specific question I consciously intended to answer. The specific nature of the answer given in this vision is similar to the answers that can come from meditation, still no strong focus was applied nor any real mental discipline utilized. The vision served to dredge up a memory through the visual language of dreams though I was not technically asleep; in fact I was quite lucid.
Additionally the processes of memory retrieval usually don’t involve symbolic interpretation (the “interpretation” was hardly an analytic process, rather the vision was almost actively “read”, as though I was familiar with its symbolic grammar). Add in the vision’s self-reflexive nature and just maybe it deserves its fancy distinguishing title.
Preceding the vision were a short series of dreams I had in the weeks prior that served to communicate the nature of my subconscious. These dreams also possessed a firm internal logic to their symbology. They occurred in a succession that first seemed to relay the nature of the subconscious itself followed by the method by which it operates on the conscious mind (speaking here in generalities of course). The hypnagogic vision seems now to have demonstrated the breadth of that subconscious’ faculties in addition to communicating its potential use to and relationship with the conscious mind. These experiences and their implications (both singularly and collectively) leveled me, but I was simultaneously struck by the hilarity of it all, that this occurred in part to remind me of a baby being comically booted in the head. Did my subconscious apply bathos to my conscious experience? Did this happen in the context it did to mitigate the impact of the experience, to comfort me as well as communicate something additional about itself… I mean me? These ideas seem equal parts profound, comic, and crazy. In any case, the vision that is the subject of this report seems to be the last link of this coiled chain, things have been continuing as normal for months now.
In all of this I cannot discount the possible role of DMT in the experiences as I used small doses of ayahuasca during the 3-4 months prior as well as DPT (twice together); however I should note that use did not directly precede any of these experiences. Moreover, ayahuasca had been used with salvia 10X (my most powerful drug experience) in the same period as one other dream that involved information about the subconscious mind (and another baby as a symbol for myself for that matter). My most powerful 5-meo-dmt experience (which I intended to compound the already formidable dissociation of the DXM… it worked) was relived a week later as part of the only other dream not yet mentioned I have had involving information about the subconscious. These earlier two dreams occurred about a year apart yet have many haunting interrelations among each other and include semantically speaking the most deeply layered thoughts I have ever experienced by far (far too convoluted to expect anyone to be patient enough to read just to understand a stranger’s dream). Questions of their internal logic and symbolic coherence have recently been revisited (I took detailed notes at the time) and I have confirmed that my interpretations have not changed despite gaining a different perspective due to aging as well as lifestyle changes.
Of course from the beginning I tried to be sensitive to the possibility of an innate pathology or damage resulting from these weird drugs (I tripped on average every 1 ½ months and smoked pot once a week which is not too bad) but other than the utter bizarreness of it all I have no symptoms relevant to any common pathological mental problems. Though it is not uncommon for chronic drug users to experience psuedo-synchronicities, teleological delusions and the like, these experiences, though interpretively vaguely similar to my own, are the result of nonsensical leaps and grasps within the dark vertiginous world of addiction and developing dementia, it would be categorically inaccurate to label this series of events as such, both due to reasons discussed prior and to who I am as a person. I’m pretty normal, I’ve led a successful academic career that I plan to continue, I workout, and have a fairly typical social life.
I’ve maintained the latter of these by knowing not to speak a word of this to anyone. Sharing interesting or important things that haven’t been homogenized and rewrapped for safe consumption by some form of mainstream media often invites alienation. However, I would like to discuss this and similar things and so I posted this report on a popular forum.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.