By Lucy Gillis © 2015
That was the question posed for the LDE winter edition theme. This rather broad question was further refined by a subset of more specific questions regarding topics like dual awareness, shapeshifting, and multiple simultaneous dreaming, and how these experiences have affected your state of awareness.
Scanning through my dream journals, I searched out some of the more unusual states of awareness and perceptions I’ve experienced over the years. What I found was not so much examples of various states of awareness, but perhaps more accurately, various states of ‘me.’
Sometimes I experienced different versions or forms of ‘me,’ or several me’s at once, or, more strangely, no me at all. In these somewhat odd (but deliciously fun!) adventures I was not simply taking on different guises, or feeling different merely because I had some measure of lucid awareness. Though I was me, I was not always, at the core of my being, ‘the me that I know’ in waking life terms.
Below are a few examples. In the first, I was not human, not even animal, but was a mathematical expression:
I Am a Vector
. . . Lucid, I’m in a black space, flying a lot, doing a lot of gymnastics in this space, trying to create some visuals but it’s not working, all I feel is motion and I experience/become arbitrary numbers; some are vector-like: 50 miles, 0 degrees, 45 miles at 100 degrees, etc. When I become a vector, I’m flying up and down in a sinusoidal pattern. When I turn or focus my attention 90 degrees away from the direction of motion, I stop and become like a point on the wave, yet motionless. In order to move ‘forward’ I have to turn my attention back to the original direction of motion; the previous focus of attention . . .
I Am a Purple Mist
. . . It seems I am lying in bed again. I get up, feeling groggy, and find it difficult to open my eyes. I touch my face and am startled to find it’s swollen. I move my hands and discover that my whole head is swollen. I get a bit panicked, wondering briefly how I am even able to breathe. I stumble into the hallway as fast as I’m able, trying to call for D in the next room, knowing he will get me to a hospital where I can get some help. But I can’t talk, I can’t utter a sound. My ears tingle, and I still can’t open my eyes fully. I can just barely make out light paneled walls in the wide hallway when my eyes crack partly open for a split second. However, I know the walls are not paneled here, and the hall is not wide. Then I slow down, and decide I must still be asleep and these sensations are the result of sleep paralysis.
I know that relaxing will reduce the sensations, and possibly eliminate them. Soon I get the sensation of lying back in bed and I think to myself that this would be a good time to try for a lucid dream or out-of-body. But I feel so tired.
In the next instant I feel as though I am a black/dark purple, thick liquid/mist in the outline of a human body. I feel I am in this body and yet I’m also observing it as though lying beside it. I think about sitting up while leaving my physical body lying down. In a moment, it feels like I’ve done this successfully.
Then, suddenly, I hear the theme music and see a brief scene from the opening of an old TV show from the 70’s. Just as quickly as the music and scene appeared, it is gone and I begin to spontaneously and slowly rotate upwards – as though doing a backward somersault – my (liquid/mist) legs in the air first. With my legs still higher than the rest of me, I twist, like a corkscrew back into my physical body, feeling then like a small dry mist, or smoke (now light purple or mauve) curling inside the head and upper portion of my sleeping body, as I settle/dissolve into the physical body. I don’t maneuver like this intentionally, it is all very automatic. I wake, stretch, and ensure that I’m able to move my jaw and talk, my head feeling normal and not swollen at all.
Dual Awareness – Hip Wiggle
I have several false awakenings; more than once, wondering if I’d really awakened, ‘this time.’ At one point I have to HURL myself out of bed (likely fighting sleep paralysis) and I stagger quickly out to the hallway, again wondering if I‘m really up. Standing there in the dim light, for some odd reason, I wiggle my hip, feeling no contact with anything, while simultaneously, I also feel my hip push up against the body pillow back in the bed. I know then, that I‘m out of body in the hallway. A few seconds later I‘m back in bed, disappointed that it had not occurred to me sooner, while still OBE, to look back into the room at the bed to see if I could see my physical body sleeping there.
This isn‘t a personal dream, so much as an idea that occurred to me several years ago and appeared in Dr. Jorge Conesa-Sevilla‘s book, ‘Wrestling With Ghosts: A Personal and Scientific Account of Sleep Paralysis.’1
I wondered – regarding the nightmarish descriptions of sleep paralysis experiences (like the classical incubus on a sleeper‘s chest), and the fact that some people have reported having difficulty either waking up, or getting back into their bodies from an OBE – what if the strange and sometimes frightening sensations are the result of the sleeper himself experiencing difficulty in trying to get back into his body? For example, if the sleeper is jumping on his own chest in an attempt to wake, or get back into, his body, could it translate to the dreaming mind as something terrifying pressing on his chest?
We all know that time does not behave in dreams in the linear manner that we‘re used to in waking reality. So, what if there is a time delay between a sleeper‘s OBE activity, and the sensing of this activity by the sleeper‘s body? If the sleeper doesn’t recall being out-of-body, but only experiences the sensations, his mind (perhaps in a still dream-like state) may try to conjure up imagery to translate the event as best it can. However, the sleeper‘s fear may distort the attempt, and produce nightmarish images and sensations instead.
In other words, could the generation of sensations and the feeling of sensations be experienced out of synch, or out-of-phase?
Could this be a kind of dual awareness, but not a strictly simultaneous one? Could sensations being produced during an OBE be physically felt not as they are initiated, but perhaps moments after they are produced?
Flowing Between Two Aspects of Me
About a year after the death of (Y), shortly after becoming lucid in a dream, looking through various rooms in a house: . . . I check several rooms, turning on lights as I go. I’m a little nervous because it’s such a gloomy, spooky place. I don’t want to be startled out of lucidity.
. . . Then I see a door to a living room. I go in but find it’s the ‘porch door.’ I back out, but now there is a living room door where it ‘should be.’ I see a figure lying under a crumpled quilt on a couch. I go to the person under the quilt, intending to pull the covers back, hoping I’ll find XX there. For some reason, I’m a little afraid of what I’ll find. I sit on the edge of the couch beside the figure. Then, just before I pull the quilt back I know it is not XX under there, it is (Y). I try my best not to be alarmed when I see how she looks. She doesn’t look well at all. Her arms look to be a bit deformed. Their proportions are all wrong.
I become a little upset (lucidity wavering). I ask her how she is. She mumbles something like, “Not good.” She stares at me, with intense, dark eyes. I’m getting emotional. I ask her if she is dead. She says she doesn’t know. I tell her I am out of my body and I need to know if she is OK. I begin to cry, as I caress her arm. I tell her, “I need to know that when you died, there was no pain and you were free.” I sob as I watch her arms continue to deform, and her face becomes a pattern of shadows and light grey areas. Though I am sobbing and upset, I still maintain a glimmer of lucidity.
I then feel another ‘me,’ just behind me, embracing both me and (Y). This ‘me’ is much larger, and somehow I know that if I turned around to look at her, she would appear to be transparent. Suddenly, but gently, I feel myself drawn back and slightly upwards, flowing into this ‘me.’ Now I am the larger ‘me’ who is embracing the other me and (Y). I’m (as the larger ‘me’) not emotional, yet I care for the other (upset) me. I’m calm, patient, allowing the other me to experience her heart breaking emotions, yet I feel no emotion at all. I’m almost completely detached from emotion.
Momentarily I ‘flow’ back into the other me who is upset, and I feel smaller, my body ‘more dense,’ and the emotion feels like a heavy burden. I flow back to (and become) the larger ‘me’ again, aware of losing the visual picture soon; that the scene is changing. I wonder if I will go on dreaming (whether lucid or not), then I open my eyes; I’m awake. (But which ‘I’ wondered if I’d go on dreaming?!)
Simultaneous Dreaming – Four I’s
I can’t remember any specific dream details, but do I remember seeing three separate colourful scenes, on the other side of what looks like three open doorways hanging in outer space. The doorways/scenes recede into the inky distance and I as a point of consciousness (no body, no movement) watch as ‘I in three me’s – as three other points of consciousness – speed toward me, each just having emerged from their own doorway/ portal until ‘we’ all converge above what I now suddenly perceive to be my sleeping body below.
Now as one point of consciousness, (instead of four separate points) ‘I’ descend into my sleeping body, through the third eye area of the forehead. I feel myself expand from the point source and ‘fill out’ the body. I open my eyes, fully awake. I know I’ve I witnessed myself (my selves?) ‘coming back’ from experiencing three simultaneous dreams.
(The following two examples are described in more detail in the summer 2014 edition of LDE.2 )
From No Identity to Identity Cube
All is whiteness.
Motion above, outside the whiteness, offside.
Invisible cube glides into whiteness, moves directly above.
Invisible cube descends slowly.
Awareness changes as cube approaches.
Density of environment increases, bringing a sense of heaviness, and as a sense of self dawns, the cube changes shape, like it pours itself into me, becomes me, as it disappears (though it was never visible) and the whiteness resolves into ceiling tiles.
As the realization of who I am grows, so does disappointment as I feel tremendous limitation in awareness and thought, the more I become me.
A sad knowing that here, in physical reality, I must for a time remain essentially closed off from something much, much greater, and much lighter than ego-me.
This was the first time that I could remember having awakened without knowing who or what I was; without even a concept of self, body, or thought. It wasn’t until the large, ‘block of knowledge’ (as I first called it upon waking) or ‘Identity Cube’ had appeared, did awareness of self slowly begin to emerge. And though the block was invisible, somehow there was awareness of its shape and size: a cube, of about 2 cubic metres. ‘I’ did not exist until later in the experience.
From No Identity to Personal Time Construction
Emerging from an evening nap . . . There was awareness, but without a sense of identity, or concept of self in usual terms. It’s very difficult to describe. To give the experience context, I was in bed, on my right side, a wall at my head. There was no, ‘I’ or ‘my’ but these words are needed to convey the experience.
There was no sense of ‘I,’ only a vague, unformed awareness of something called Time, but no concept of what time was. Without conscious direction or input, awareness that Time or perhaps some ‘time-related sensory structure’ was being constructed.
There was feeling, sensation, motion of energy reaching from the back of my head to ‘form’ or ‘construct’ a past, my past, seemingly very far away from me, perhaps several kilometres away. The energy extending from my head formed an extremely long ‘triangle-like’ structure which later felt more obelisk-shaped as it ‘filled out.’ . . . accompanied by a sense of high speed motion, awareness of construction; something – objects and events; something called ‘the past’ – manifesting rapidly at the apex, and moving away into the far distance.
Slowly, as the flurry of activity receded away from awareness, (or did awareness turn away from the ‘timeactivity’?) something akin to awareness of self was dawning, though before there was concept of self, there was knowing to look at the figure (7:00) on the object (my clock) within sight. At first it was completely meaningless, there was no comprehension of what was being observed.
Then the thought, ‘7.’ But no concept as to what ‘7’ was. In a moment though, comprehension was dawning, and the image shaped like ‘7,’ was then known to be ‘seven.’ But still, seven what? And then in a rush: 7:00 O’clock. A pause. Something was not complete; then, the thought, ‘morning or night?’ until I finally got that it was 7:00 in the evening. And when that clicked, so did the idea of ‘I’… I was the one who was looking at a clock, I was the one who just had a weird energy experience, I was the one who felt that my past was being created at the apex of the energy-obelisk, and so on . . .
From mathematical expressions, to twisting as colourful liquid/mist, to flowing between seemingly ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ selves, to the effortless feeling of experiencing self in several different ways simultaneously, to awareness before a sense of ‘I’ emerges from sleep, these are only a few examples of the kinds of experiences we are all capable of having.
We are each multidimensional, ever evolving, adventurous selves, so much more than the self we identify with in waking life. Lucid dreaming, conscious awareness in dreams, offers us many avenues through which we can explore the multidimensional Self, the ‘kaleidoscopic3 I.’
So, ‘When you lucid dream, who is dreaming?’
- Wrestling With Ghosts: A Personal and Scientific Account Of Sleep Paralysis, Jorge Conesa-Sevilla, 2004
- Outside of Time, Space, and Consciousness, Lucid Dreaming Experience, Vol 3 No 1, 2014
- Dictionary Definition: Kaleidoscopic: (adjective) changing forms, patterns, colours, in a manner suggesting a kaleidoscope; continually shifting from one set of relations to another, rapidly changing