Hypnagogia - the place between sleep and awake
Sleep is something that should be relatively straight forward. You should be able to hop into bed, close your eyes and sleep. If only it were that simple. I am personally quite a light sleeper. I often feel like I am awake but I am sort of sleeping and still aware of my surroundings. I am in what is called a hypnagogic state. It is the place between sleep and awake. I very honestly get a lot of my blogging inspirations during this time. Thoughts randomly pop into my head. I usually jot them down in my phone's notepad as by morning I have completely forgotten about it. It does make me wonder sometimes why my best ideas always come when I am in this state. When I look into this state a lot further, it is also the time at night that a lot of people report having paranormal experiences. They feel it is a time they are most open to messages from the other side or some even feel or see the presence of people in their room. What is it about this state? Is it a way of us unlocking our true ability unclouded by outside noise and influence? Is it just a form of hallucination as our brain is setting up shop for the night? It is something I feel we should definitely explore more.
What is happening to us during the hypnagogic state?
You are not asleep, but you are also not awake. You are in between. It is a state that is compared to REM sleep where a person is in their deepest sleep. Your mind is going through a lot of thoughts, emotions, ideas and accessing memories. During REM sleep, you are in such a deep sleep that you are not aware of you don't remember this. When you are in a hypnagogic state, you are in between full sleep and being awake so you are aware of these thought processes. This is why I can suddenly access a great idea for a blog. I often don't remember it in the morning, probably because I am not realizing I am half asleep at the time. Sadly it is not something that lasts for very long. While it may feel like you are in this state for hours, it only lasts for a few minutes.
This is not to be confused with lucid dreaming which is different. Lucid dreaming is where you are asleep and dreaming and aware you are dreaming, with the ability to take the driver's seat in your dream. It is thought that a person can enter a lucid dream when you are in the hypnagogic state.
Why do I get so much creative inspiration in this state?
It is in this state that the brain itself is more open to connecting the dots so to speak. As your brain is going through random memories, thoughts and ideas, it is connecting them at the same time. A lot of creative people deliberately put themselves into this state to help them come up with ideas and inspiration. Thomas Edison is one such person who would use this state to help problem solve. He is said to hold a piece of metal in his hand while he entered this state with a specific thought in mind he needed clarity on so that when he fell asleep he would drop the piece of metal which would make a loud noise on the floor to wake him up so he could then work on the idea's and connections he made in his hypnagogic state. Perhaps that is how he came up with the idea of the spirit phone?
Image source: https://www.potiondevie.fr/apprendre-en-dormant/
I am not an overly spiritual person, but I am certainly open to it, I think it would be completely naive for me not to be. The way I write is kind of a bit strange. Usually an idea will literally come to me and I start writing. A lot of times I don't even feel like I am aware of what I am writing. I kind of just go into author mode and I start writing. While I know I am unlocking the creative side of my subconscious there have been some very weird coincidences about some of things that I write about. An idea will come to me and literally the next day someone will contact me about a certain experience they have had or talk to me about the exact topic I am researching or writing about. It was almost like I knew that I had to write about it. It could all be a coincidence but I have had people tell me it could also be a way of my spirit guides guiding me in the right direction. When I go into a hypnagogic state at night, is it the prime opportunity for a spirit guide to give me a bit of a nudge? Perhaps it really is just all random thought processes coming together and it could all be a coincidence, but there does seem to be some sort of weird synchronicity at work at some times though.
Does the hypnagogic state cause us to hallucinate?
The short answer here is yes. It is actually thought to be a close relative of sleep paralysis. In this state, people can receive images they find confronting or scary, they can feel like they are being touched, they can sense a presence in the room. Because they are somewhat awake at the time, it feels very real. Science suggests that this is a neurological disorder and it is simply the brain playing tricks on us. It is what is called a hypnagogic hallucination. Certain medications, stress, over tiredness and alcohol can all be factors which can cause a person to have a hypnagogic hallucination. It is the number one conclusion that a lot of people will jump to when a person claims to have some sort of alien visitation in bed. While there is a scientific explanation here, does this explain all occurrences?
Is the hypnagogic state the perfect state for spirit communication?
A lot of people enter a meditative state which is pretty similar to hypnagogia in order to 'meet' their spirit guides or have some form of communication with the spirit world. They also claim it is the perfect time for spirits to communicate with us because our mind is open and free of outside influence and even our own subjectiveness. You essentially are letting stuff happen without your own judgment clouding things as you are virtually asleep. It isn't until you wake up and start looking at things that your judgment comes back into this. It is of course how you interpret everything you have seen and felt and experienced when you wake up as to if you think you have had an hallucination or if you think it could be something more.
I myself have had many odd experiences lying in bed at night. The weirdest one is hearing a voice. While this is a common example of a hypnagogic hallucination, it is the things that the voice has to say and how it presents itself is what I find puzzling. It has only happened on a couple of occasions. When I hear the voice i hear it as if i am actually hearing it with my ear. I feel my eardrum vibrate. Sometimes I feel I am falling asleep and I hear my name called. This is what is typical of a hypnagogic hallucination. In this sort of case, I believe that yes it was probably just me hallucinating a little bit. The other few times I have had it happen, I had someone tell that they felt it someone trying to give me some sort of message. The only way I would know would be to ask a question when I was in this state. So I mentally thought of a certain question as I was entering this state. Not long after, the voice gave me a very specific answer. Was this some sort of spirit or something else answering my question, or did my brain fill in the gaps for me. Maybe I answered my own question? Regardless of whether it was me answering the question or if it was something else, it was something that I found extremely helpful during that time to help deal with whatever it was I was going through.
While the jury is out as to whether this is just another brain trick or something more, there are definitely some mysteries to this state. Generations before us would use this state in a very spiritual way to talk to their guides or gain a sense of enlightenment. Creative folk would use it for inspiration. Described as a waking dream, it has been an inspiration to many creative minds over time. Perhaps it is also a state for a person to enter to gain some sort of clarity on a situation or even look to for guidance. Whether or not the message is coming from deep within yourself or somewhere or someone else is for you to decide.
Maybe it is something we should study more?
I would actually like to do some work in studying people entering this state - while in an alleged haunted location of course. With all of the above, it would be almost like doing a form of a ganzfeld experiment but instead of blocking one's senses, they would go into a hypnagogic state. I would then have them write down when they wake up what they are experiencing. At the same time, you could either ask questions to them as they are sleeping as you would on a paranormal investigation or even use things like zener cards like they did in the initial ganzfeld tests to try and transmit a message to them. I think it is definitely something worth looking into so we can understand a little better what is going on during this state.
Have you have many experiences or waking dreams that stick with you? Tell me about them below? What are you thoughts on this?
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