As I started practicing meditation of various sorts years ago, my mind flooded me with an arsenal of odd experiences.
While these are not important to the path that I am now on, practicing Vipassana, I do still find it highly fascinating how my mind could have created these experiences for me. And while I can still remember much of what has happened, I have decided to write it down in a new post-series titled Odd Mind Experiences, of which this is the first.
As you read this, just know: I never took any mind-altering substances. And I don’t claim anything about these experiences: I won’t claim that they are “real” or actually happened in “real life”. And I won’t make any interpretations about them. All I am saying, is just all I know: I experienced it.
The Other Side
My odd mind-experiences would most often come to me in half-sleep, as I was waking up in the morning. On this particular morning, I had woken up around 7 to go to the bathroom. As I lay back down in my bed, I still had the perfect amount of tiredness in my body, needed to fall asleep, but at the same time my head was rested enough to remain conscious meanwhile.
As I lay perfectly still I was simply waiting for my body to fall asleep. Not before long it started happening: My body started feeling like it was sinking further into the bed, warmly buzzing its way deeper into the mattress. This morning I didn’t have to fight to stay conscious. In my mind I was right awake, effortlessly.
Then it happened. With a thud of a feeling, I had fallen asleep. Funny enough, it actually did feel like I was falling asleep. Perhaps that’s exactly why that’s what it’s called? Falling asleep…
So I lay there, mind fully awake but unable to move a muscle: I was in full sleep paralysis.
Very soon after having reached this sleeping state of immobility, my body started buzzing. Also, in my head was this screechy ringing tune, that was picking up in volume as the vibrations in my body too gained in strength.
After perhaps a minut or so, the vibrations had gained in strength to the point where it felt like my entire body was buzzing vigorously.
The tune in my ears had been gaining in strength as well, now to a point where the sound was deafening.
Then something seriously odd happened. In front of me, below my feet, and in the ceiling above me a blue vortex of some sort started appearing. It was magnificent. The colors were perfectly vivid: Blue, white and black were spiraling in elegant circles in front of me. It was truly beautiful.
The spiraling colors looked like a vortex of some sort, because all the colors seemed to be moving continuously towards the center. They moved further into the depth of the swirl of colors. The vortex was sucking in the colors.
Soon the vortex was also pulling me it. I felt a rush in my belly as I felt the pull and I felt afraid. It was as if my fear kept me unwilling to take off into the vortex, and for some reason I felt that this feeling was the only thing holding me back.
But then I heard a voice. From the vortex? From my head? I don’t know… But the voice was clear, calm and convincing. “Just let go” it told me. And I did.
I was immediately sucked in. It was as if the blue vortex had been waiting for my acceptance. Now that it had it, off I was.
I remember wanting to scream as I took off. But I couldn’t, as my body was still in paralysis. I felt the acceleration as real as if I was in a wild roller-coaster. It honestly felt as if I was really taking off into a blue vortex.
Once I was in, the colors were everywhere. The vortex had turned to a tunnel. It looked exactly like something from a sci-fi movie. Specifically, it looked like something I later saw in the (awesome) movie, Dr Strange. Watch what I mean right down below. At about the 1 minut mark, he gets sucked into a blue tunnel, very similar to the one I experienced.
After having raced through the blue tunnel for a little while, I reached what seemed like the end of it. On the other side I dumped into a bed, much like the one I had been in a few moment earlier. But this wasn’t my bed.
I was now able to move, fully awake, fully conscious of what I had just gone through. So I looked around. I was in a room very similar to the one I had been sleeping in, lying next to my girlfriend, moments before. But it was different…
The room was somehow bigger and contained different furniture. And the windows were barred, for some reason.
I walked up to the window and looked out. The path that I expected to be right outside, was still there. And people I normally would see walk this path, walked by. But something was different about them, too. There were more of them. Specifically I saw several of one of my friends who lives just a few doors down. It was weird watching him walk by several times, and it was odd watching him walk by himself several times. He didn’t seem to think it was weird, though… Oh well.
My girlfriend seemed to be the same in this odd dream of a kind. We talked and walked out to the kitchen together. Here we spent quite some time. For some reason, what we talked about and what we did, I can’t remember. But I felt like we spent a couple of hours like this.
Walking back to the room where I had initially dropped out of a blue vortex-tunnel, there was all of a sudden an old man. In the dream I knew him, but not from anywhere in “real life”. He reminded me of something, which gave me the weirdest feeling. He said “It’s time for you to leave soon”.
What was he talking about? As I had the feeling of having spent a couple of hours in this dream-world, just talking and going on about my business as if all was normal, I had forgotten that I didn’t belong there. Or more accurately: I had started to feel that I did belong there, leaving this “real life” world a faded memory of sorts.
After the old man had reminded me that it was time to leave soon, I puzzled looked at a digital clock that was standing at a desk in the room. It was almost 8 in the evening.
As soon as I saw this, the blue vortex appeared out of nowhere and I was pulled in instantly. This time there was no questions asked, no guiding voice telling me to let go: Just a violent pull and an acceleration into the blue tunnel once again. The screechy sound was back all the same, just like earlier.
After having traveled in the blue tunnel for a while, I was again back in my real bed. I was still in paralysis, unable to move a muscle.
Lying there I could all of a sudden clearly remember how this was my real home: That this is where my journey had started out; That I belonged here. Having been on the other side of the blue vortex, I had felt differently. I had felt that that was my real home. How odd that this feeling of belonging had changed so suddenly, only depending on which side of the vortex I was on.
I felt a chilly strangeness come over me. The other side had felt 100 % real. As real as this world, on this side of the blue vortex. It frightened me. What if it was real? What if the vortex hadn’t opened up, dragging me back here? Would I have stayed there forever, my life as I know it but a faded memory? Well, that’s what it felt like. It felt scary as hell.
Then the screechy sound came back along with the blue vortex once again. This time I was not gonna let it drag me in. I didn’t want to stay in this odd world, on the other side of the vortex. I didn’t want to go to a place where it apparently was necessary to have bars on our windows… It just felt very wrong.
So I tried to scream again, this time with success. But only in my head, of course, as I was still paralyzed fully. The blue vortex didn’t give up too easily, and really tried to drag me along. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my room fade and turn into the room from the other side. It was as if my sense of reality couldn’t decide which place I was in. The bars of the window were there, and then they were not. And back and forth like this, a few times.
At last, I won. I had managed to force myself to move my body just slightly, and the paralysis loosened its hold of me, waking my body up. The screechy sound died out and the blue vortex dissolved into nothing.
I was now lying back in my bed, slightly out of breath, slightly sweaty. As if I had really just been fighting with all of my limbs. But it was over.
I looked over at my girlfriend, who was sleeping sound. Oh she’s just lying there while I’m fighting big, bad, blue vorteces on my own…damn!
The experience left me totally awestruck for the rest of the day. I felt kind of like I had a mind-hangover of some sort. And now, years later I am still completely flabbergasted as I go through my memories of it. I mean..What the hell happened?! I still don’t know. But I have an idea…
So just to make it absolutely clear: I don’t believe that I actually went some place else, to “the other side”. That’s by no means what I am trying to say. But the experience of what I described above, was more real to me than anything else that I do consider “real”. Like this waking moment.
Normally when we dream, there’s a kind of dreamy feel to it, letting us know that we are actually dreaming. Perhaps we can only run in slow motion. Or the scenery changes every second in some odd way. But this was different.
For one thing, I was never asleep here. Only my body had gone into paralysis, and I was lying mind wide awake in my bed as it happened. In that way, it was more like a wakeful hallucination than a dream. And I was lying there with open eyes. I could still see my “real” bedroom, and the “real” window. Whatever happened, was something which didn’t require me to be in a normal REM (dream) sleep.
Also, the scenery of my dream didn’t have any dream-like appearance to it. The place I spent time in, on the other side of the vortex, was fixed throughout my dream. It seemed as real as the room I am sitting in right now, and it did so for the couple of hours I felt that I was in there…
The only possible thing I can think of, which to some extend would explain this crazy experience, was something I came across in Dr Strassman’s book: DMT; The Spirit Molecule. (DiMethylTriptamine is the most hallucinogenic drug on the planet).
In the book Strassman tells about the hundreds of experiences of 60 or so voluntary patients he dosed with DMT in a scientific study that took place over several years.
Story short, some of these experiences might be similar to what I experienced.
And why should that explain anything?
Well, DMT is found in our brain! Right in the center of it, in the pineal gland, there apparently has been found dosages of DMT in amounts that could send an elephant to the seventh dimension, encounter a flock of aliens and be back in time for tea!
Strassman proposes that there might be excreted DMT into our blood stream in some extreme cases. This, he argues, might explain why some people report of having had near death experiences; out of body experiences; encounters with aliens; and other mystical experiences. Like for instance the one I had.
I don’t know if this was what happened or not. How could I. I can say one thing though: That the experience definitely screwed a bit with my sense of reality a bit. This, and other experiences have done this. What it means, is that my definition of what is “real” it today a lot different than what it was before any of it.
My sense of what was “real” used to be very much related to this “real” world that we find ourselves in. I would think that waking life was “real” and dreams and experiences like this one, were not.
But now, I have to admit that I can’t tell the difference between any world my mind wants me to believe is real. I know by experience, that if my mind wanted to, it could have “faked” this world, as far as I know.
It brings me to say that what I believe is real now, is what I experience. Not real in an ultimate sense, but a real experience. This is true for waking life, as well as dream life and the life of odd experiences of all kinds. They are all real experiences.
What these experiences mean, and how to live in any of them, now that’s a different story altogether. Clearly this, waking life reality that I share with you, is the one I take the most seriously. But from my experience I know, that our minds can fool us. “The other side” of the vortex felt as real to me when I was there, as here does now.
Have you ever had an odd experience like this? Let me know below.