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Sudden shift in perspective

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Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/25/19 6:56 AM
Hi,

I'm posting this primarily as an attempt to share an experience. As a somewhat social person, I prefer to have the feeling of "being in it together", but since I've not heard other people around me relate this kind of experience, I feel more like I'm "in it alone". So if any of the following sounds familiar, do chime in.

The experience I'm referring to is very hard to describe, as it ventures into territory that is unknown to me. It happens in my sleep, usually on occassions where I did some energy practices (such as meditation with increased states of attention, or yoga). What will happen is that I suddenly experience a different reality. Maybe you can compare it to being on a train and watching a movie. You are so absorbed in the movie that you don't notice you are on a train. In fact, you are so absorbed that you fully identify with the main character. Then, suddenly, you experience the train. The movie is still playing, but you realize that you can choose to experience the train or the movie, and that in fact, the train is more real than the movie. However, shifting towards the "train perspective" means destroying the illusion that the movie was providing (it means fully facing that the movie character is fictional), and that's terrifying (it feels like you have to anihilate yourself to go through the shift).

The analogy is the best one I can think of (in fact, I just came up with it), and it falls a little short. The shift in perspective only last for a fraction of a second (though that fraction is loaded with some kind of "potential"), and what I called "the train" is in fact unknown territory, where it seems like familiar concepts such as "me" or "my body" do not really apply (the "unknown territory" feels more abstract, but no less real). Also, I have the impression that my raised energetic state is what causes the shift to reveal itself. During the shift, I have the impression of being able to peek into a new world: it's like visual impressions are forming, but they are not perceived in the normal way through the eyes, but rather, it feels like "a view opening up" internally, like a mental image.

One conclusion I draw from this experience is that I prefer comfort to awakening. The experience is an invitation to undergo a transformation, and not having any clue into what I will transform is part of the reason why it's terrifying. I think I'm aware that I'm mostly interested in meditation because I seek a high. I desire pleasant (blissful) and expansive states of mind, but I want to experience them with the mind that I comfortably familiar with, which I guess is not possible :-p.

In any case, thanks for reading :-).
Maarten

ps I forgot to mention that when this happens, I have a brief moment of doubt (because I realize I have a choice to either jump or not jump) and then my strong fear convinces me choose what feels safe, and I somehow snap out and return to my normal reality.

RE: Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/26/19 12:33 AM as a reply to Maarten.
It sounds like a hypnogogic experience, in which the subconscious presents a photorealistic daydream as you are between wakefulness and sleep.  The fire kasina practice gives more access to this kind of thing, although it is not the main point of the practice.  See firekasina.org if you are interested in more.

Anna L. want to pitch in on this?

Malcolm

RE: Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/26/19 4:18 AM as a reply to curious.
Hi Malcom,

this is different from a hypnogogic experience, in the sense that the alternative reality I'm peeking into seems to be of a radically different nature from my ordinary reality. This is the part that is hardest to explain (which is quite frustrating, because it would be nice to have a sense of sharing this experience with other people).

I tried to describe it with metaphores of "the train" and "the movie". When I wrote that in "the train" the concepts of "me" or "my body" do not apply, I did not mean an otherwise ordinary (e.g. photorealistic) reality with "me" and "my body" left out or somehow dissolved, but rather that it would be impossible to even conceive of "me" or "my body" (that's why I wrote that this alternative reality seems more abstract). What still seemed to be somewhat familiar was a sense of "looking" (visual sensations) and a sense of "existing".

Best regards,
Maarten

ps I guess a sense of "me" was still there, because my fear came from the prospect of having to leave most of "me" behind in case I would decide to fully step into the alternative reality that was presenting itself.

RE: Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/26/19 4:34 AM as a reply to Maarten.
As a follow up, I had an interesting experience in my dream this night. This time, I only experienced rapid movement in my dream, like being kidnapped and shooting off at high speed in some direction. Just like the experience I posted before, it was a sensation of experiencing two different realities (the dream experience being one of them), but this time, both realities were much more familiar (and not radically different from each other). I take the dream experience to be just a dream, and the "travelling" experience to be just a sensation of travelling in my energetic body (of course, this is just an interpretation, but it's one that makes sense to me).

I feel grateful for this, because it allows me to get used to these kinds of experiences without freaking out too much. It still startled me, but also felt kind of liberating, because I do feel a desire to loosen up my tight identification with my physical body, but I easily get scared. So hopefully, I will get used to being in situations where my experience of reality is all weird, and be okay with it. It's just that if the alternative reality is too radically different, I worry about literally blowing my mind by allowing the experience to happen :-).

Best,
Maarten

RE: Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/26/19 10:13 AM as a reply to Maarten.
Hi again Malcom,

actually, I now understand your suggestion a bit better about the hypnogogic experience. I think it's similar in the sense that it's somehow related to my energetic state (and it's appearing in my sleep, not in my waking state), but it's different in the sense that the swirling colourful patterns I've seen so far seem like they are not real. Instead, they seem like interesting animations produced by my own mind. Also, this experience was not accompanied by an altered sense of "me". I actually did read about people somehow "stepping into" this hypnogogic experience, which is something I've never tried (maybe if I do, then it could lead to this more intense experience that I posted about above).

In any case, thanks for your reply, if you feel like discussing it further, please do.
Maarten

RE: Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/26/19 10:35 AM as a reply to Maarten.
Lucid dreaming, perhaps?

I have had a terrifying dream where I dreamt that I was meditating and TV-monitors kept popping up closer and closer, showing subconscious content, as well as other objects in 3D, including a levetating girl with a balloon body and a levitating green cat. It scared the shit out of me. Then I had a similar dream in which I was in control, and I stopped being scared.

RE: Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/26/19 11:00 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Hi Linda,

yes, the experience is lucid, but there is a difference in the sense that I am still experiencing the dream but at the same time I feel a shift that has nothing to do with the dream. It's like waking up from the dream, but not into the ordinary reality but into a different reality (I'm not saying that there are two realities, but rather, that an experience of reality is presenting itself which seems like it's radically different, and in which my familiar notion of "conventional me" doesn't fit anymore).

I must say though that my dreams often use the metaphore of tv-screens and video games for presenting content. It's usually a kind of invitation to engage with something of a disturbing or degraded nature, so I try to ignore them because I did not have good experiences with these (it would turn my dream into something very unpleasant). Fortunately, my dreams are usually of a more positive nature.

RE: Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/26/19 12:34 PM as a reply to Maarten.
I can relate to the fear, but my experience is different.

I´m at this stage that sometimes in my daily life, i get the sense that this is all a big dream, and fear comes up.


emoticon

RE: Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/26/19 3:10 PM as a reply to Maarten.
So ... I am hearing stories of the subconscious wanting to go somewhere that the conscious is resisting.  That resistance or fear would be a very interesting object for meditation. 

RE: Sudden shift in perspective
Answer
3/27/19 2:18 PM as a reply to Maarten.
I came to think of this thread when I saw this video: https://youtu.be/fXaehPD01J4

In the middle of it, there’s an analogy about watching a TV show that might be helpful. You would need to see it from the beginning to get the context, though.