STRETCHING OUT THE PLACE BETWEEN WAKING AND SLEEP
There is another reality that exists (amongst many different realities) and that is the world of the dream; a place which is real and tangible and if we are able to remain conscious whilst we dream, we are able to meet guides, friends, enemies and animals, learn incredible things and affect great change in our everyday waking lives. Techniques for learning how to be completely aware within our dreams (called lucid dreaming or shifting), although not complex, can often be challenging to initiate and may take many, many nights and days of practice before results become repeatable and predictable. There is a liminal ‘in between’ place that can be much easier to access and work with however, that takes less training to reach and can be just as creative and interactive. This is the space between waking and sleeping which normally lasts for a few minutes every night but can be stretched out to last much longer. When the body is asleep but the mind stays active, we are able to ponder on, find answers for and work through our issues and challenges with a deeper level of intuition and creativity than in waking life. This activity is called hypnagogia.
I use the hypnagogic state to do a lot of my work; this is where I can be more readily open to visits from animals who need help, I can contact my guides and work through situations that I feel need deep solutions. Many people who practice shifting will understand how the hypnogogic state can be used to initiate entry into their desired realities and people who practice lucid dreaming will know this as the start of the WILD technique. Extended use of the hypnagogic state will eventually, over time, lead naturally into these shifting and lucid dreaming techniques.
RELAX YOUR BODY
Even if you have already had glimpses of this state in the past, there are a few things you can do to consciously prolong it so that you can begin to work with it in an intentional way: going to bed early (especially if you have had a nap during the afternoon), listening to music that relaxes the body yet is intricate enough to keep the mind awake, repeating affirmations and visualisation. These will all help to calm and relax the body completely but keep the mind active. The main thing to remember is that you should stay completely still; resist the urge to twitch, turn over or swallow, this will fool your body into thinking that it is asleep. Start by relaxing every part of you, sink down into the bed and then forget that you have a body at all. Next, the key is to help your mind stay awake by giving it a simple task to do: keep saying an affirmation like, “I am moving into the dream state and I am awake”, play music that you can concentrate on or visualise a place that you would like to be in – this can be a known or imaginary place or for shifters, your dr.
THE HYPNIC JERK AND SLEEP PARALYSIS
You may experience a hypnic jerk sometime during the journey into hypnagogia, which is not some kind of spaced-out idiot come to spoil the fun but is actually a sudden involuntary jolt of your body, coupled with the feeling of tripping over an object, falling off a curb or wall. You may wake back up momentarily but normally, you will find that you can go straight back to where you left off without much trouble. You may also experience sleep paralysis, which can sometimes be a scary thing and cause you to panic. I have found that key to coping with this paralysis is to know that it is a natural thing and it is there to stop us hurting ourselves when we are asleep; it is the body’s natural intelligence at work. If you are able to watch yourself as if from afar, know that you are free of your body, float away and do not try to fight against it, you will be fine. Another thing to do if you feel unable to cope with the paralysis, is to move a tiny part of your body – your lips or eyelids for example and you will automatically wake up. Paralysis does not affect the small muscles in the same way as it affects the larger ones, so this method will invariably work to get you out of a liminal state.
Once you have moved into true hypnagogia, you will find yourself automatically ready to receive impressions from other beings who are waiting to contact you. You will be far more open to their feelings and emotions than normal and because of this, they will be able to give you impressions and messages. If you start your journey with a question in mind, these beings will be waiting to step forward with suggestions. It is not always possible for newbies to discern what kind of form these beings appear as but after a while and with continued practice, you will be able to make out their shape and understand who and what they are. You will also find that your guides turning up repeatedly until you can start to have a relationship with them night after night. Here is where great work can be done.
WHEN LOKI COMES TO CALL
Sometimes malevolent beings will move into your hypnagogic space with you. It is always wise to understand that this can happen; there are not just unicorns and angels filling these spaces, so the best thing you can do is to be prepared for ‘undesirables’. Make sure you are regularly performing rituals to keep your protection, cloak and shield robust and imagine yourself behind these layers of protection if you ever encounter a being that is appearing to create a little mischief or trickery. Even though they may seem to be devilish at first, remember that they could be there to offer you guidance Loki-style and know that the hypnagogic state is never deep enough into the dreamworld for them to do much damage. You will find with all of these beings that they are just passing through; only there to leave you impressions and messages, which you can act upon or ignore. Discontinue prolonging hypnogogia if you are at all freaked out by anything and seek some advice on how to proceed.
I will be writing more on the hypnagogic state in further posts so pleased make sure to stay tuned.