What do we "see" during sleep paralysis?
My question is what exactly we see while we're in that state, and I have three possible theories about it:
a) we see the real world; this means our eyes are open
b) we see the projection of the real world through our astral body; our real life eyes are probably closed
c) we see a dreamworld, a mental model based on our expectations
Thing is, I've been getting this more and more, and it's always the same pattern. I go to sleep, my mind wanders (I don't make an effort to keep aware), I regain conscious awareness somewhere in the middle of sleep paralysis, I feel paralyzed for a while, I get electric shivers, and then I'm in a dreamworld.
As of late, the sleep paralysis period has become increasingly longer, and various questions have been arising in my mind. I've had an experience earlier today where I was paralyzed for about a minute before it finally moved on.
One thing I've realized as I woke up today was the very fact that I had visuals during sleep paralysis, and I started wondering just how it was possible. Were my real life eyes open during this time? It didn't feel like they were. I didn't feel them become open, and I didn't feel them blink. If they were open, surely they should've felt tired, but there was no such thing.
But if they were closed, then what and how was I seeing? Could it be that I was seeing with my astral body, and that what I was seeing was the projection of reality in the astral realm?
As I look back over all of my previous sleep paralysis experiences, short as they were, I realize they always had vision, and that vision was always consistent with what was true in real life.
Hmm, the next time I try inducing this consciously, I think I'll try taping myself and see whether my eyes open up or not. I hope I don't catch any ghosts on tape. :)
I guess my question is, how would you now it's one of those and not the others or something else entirely? You're making subjective observations about a wholly interior experience. If the same thing happens to me and I come up with a different answer, how do we reconcile that we both are equally sure of conflicting explanations?
Here's a different way of looking at it: You and only you experienced something, and it occurred in a totally subjective frame, so tell your own story about it. Realize that it's only a story, and it can never be the actuality of the experience, just like a map cannot be the actual territory, even if it were blown up to size and contained every detail. Like a map, the story will help you find meaning and direction in the experience; and also like a map it can be hard to fold it up and put it away when you're done.
Just tell the most honest story you can without forcing it to fit with other stories, then set it aside to make room for the next story. Then, as stories come and go, pay attention and see if a deeper story isn't emerging from behind them. By doing this, you open yourself to learning -- to bringing knowledge to questioning -- rather than finding answers to put an end to questioning.
I've never 'seen' anything that wasn't there during any of my sleep paralysis episodes (though I almost always feel as if there's another presence in the room), and as with you, when I end the episode the room looks exactly as it did during.
I must admit I haven't thought about this before because I've always felt that I was awake while paralysed, and therefore assumed my eyes were open. I'm never completely paralysed, and indeed the episode ends when I force myself to roll off my back.
I don't know that the reality is for me, but I'd me more inclined to say it's a) the real world. c) is a possibility since we'd have a very good image of our bedroom stored in our subconscious. I don't believe in astral bodies so me me that option is out.
My own experiences and other reports often have the condition of light being different - if I'm sleeping in a dark room, the room is fully lit, always.
So I'm inclined to think it's a dream state, at least in part.
Wow, glad someone brought this up. I used to get sleep paralysis all of the time and had no idea what it was. Then I saw a show on Discovery channel or something about it. It used to terrify me when it first started happening; but now it isn't so bad since I know what it is. I think you bring up a good point. I'm not sure whether I'm awake or asleep at that point. I also have friends who get it all the time, but one of them said he was actually thrown around his room or that he sees black figures. From what I remember from that show I saw, it's supposed to be a state between being asleep and being awake. It's interesting to think though that it may be astral or in some way connected to a seperate reality or something. Let me know if you find any evidence towards this.
Here's what I figured out. I had to train myself to do this, but it worked over time. When I would get to the point of "paralysis" I would look around the room at the DETAILS of the room. What seemed to be my actual surroundings, was in fact just my mind's idea of what the room looked like. I started noticing small differences to which I could finally conclude that the visuals were indeed "a mental model based on expectations".
This wasn't just an overnight whim of an idea, I've had these experiences for almost 10 years now, usually 5-10 times a month. It took months to train myself to start taking control of these experiences.
Or were your months of training enough to bring greater conscious awareness to the experience, without altering it?
a little detail
One particular occasion, while lying in the paralysis state and struggling to wake up, i began(with what little movement I could) tugging at my sheets with my hands, I noticed that I was lying on top of most of my blanket as I was squirming, trying to "wake up". Upon waking, I was comletely covered and my blanket wasn't disheveled in the least. Moreover, I've read this account of one person's experience with SP.
Violent Ghost Attack in Dream - Real Ghost Stories - Your Ghost Stories
It further strengthens my beliefs on this experience, at least for what "I" deal with. I've never experienced quite the visualizations of this account, but the general idea is in tact. Who knows, all cases may be different, there may be some that do see the real, but for me, I'm convinced of this being a dream state that just seems real.
Well I just signed up today :) Searching the www I did not find any explanation to my question of how or why does this SP happen to me. Sure there are explanations of the SP but the type I experiance did not come up.
Usually it happens when i nap and its about ten min. into when i lay down. i hear a very loud vibrational sound fallowed be someone familiar right next to me or walking around in the same room i am at. Its not a warm feeling. And i see the whole thing even though i beleive my eyes are closed. It was today that was really weied. i'm laying there and see my little brother standing right next to me. I thougnt 'this is strange - why is he here' then it became very scary and i had to tell my mind to wake up so my body could move. Yet sometimes I can completly control what is happening in my dream/SP state. I don't know, i'm probably doing this whole thread thing wrong :-) I just am curious what is happening and how do I get beyond that scary feeling to a state of control :-)
I think it's a middle ground..sort of like you're see'ing the real world but you're almost going into your mind. Usually I attempt to shake my head while in the SP and it usually brings me back to reality where time hasn't really moved that much but it felt like 3 hours. Sometimes I'll just hear things but I've been getting better at keeping my composure
Hope that helps.
Here's my personal experience if it is helpful:
I've had both astral attacks during sleep that result in my prematurely "waking up" from the dream hence I'm not completely in my body. At times I am above my body so I see a few feet above & have that point of view. Not pleasant. In everyday life I can only "see" beings if I am focusing on that part of my sight..something I don't try to do nowadays as it tends to freak me out.
I also had a visit from what I think was an angel one time & it was standing on my windowsill & this was the closest thing to a lucid dream I've ever had because it was crystal clear, I was conscious & aware it wasn't my real life & anyways.. I digress. I could see my room but it was warped because the window was much bigger & my closet had shrunk (right behind the window). So... well, if all the mystics are right & this reality isn't as real as we think it is.. maybe it can be warped if there is a purpose so maybe what we see when we're paralyzed is just a different view of what exists?
However most of the time when I am sleep paralyzed I see what is exactly as it is around me. Sometimes I will see shapes of my blanket or stuffed animals..whatnot that are around me.
I've had countless episodes of this sleep paralysis over the years but only recently discovered an 'explanation' for what had been happening to me.
What's been interesting me the most is,
Why do sufferers 'see' the same things?
From the many accounts by other sufferers that Iíve read many people 'see' the same apparitions.
Personally, my experiences tend to begin with an auditory hallucination, a buzzing sound similar to static, this in turn makes me feel like I wake up, but only my eyes can open, the rest of my body is paralysed. This is what initially gives me a feeling a fear, the fact that I can't move. But then I tend to look around the room and notice Iím not alone. I've never been physically attacked by these visions like some sufferers seem to be, but the fact they're there is what scares me. Usually there are several dark, looming creatures, monster like in appearance. They just tend to loom about me and stare, usually anyway.
One night I felt I awoke due to an unknown reason and saw a little boy in a traditional sailor boy outfit stood next to my bed, I blinked and he started to climb on top of me, it wasn't a fluid movement, more like sequenced snapshots, he wasn't really solid either, but see through. I at this point was terrified and didn't want to acknowledge what was happening so forced myself to sleep again. Several weeks later I felt I awoke unexplained, looked at the end of my bed and saw the same boy sitting in my chair, he raised his hand and waved, I grew scared and forced myself to sleep again.
The most recent sleep paralysis experienced happened the other month in my mumís house. I'd just discovered the explanations behind sleep paralysis. I awoke due to the sound of something walking past my bed, as if something was shuffling in long robes. I wanted to open my eyes and wake up but I couldn't, the suddenly my eyes shot open, and I could see several black monster things at the end of the room and one sort of floating over me. I fought with the desire to wake up for what felt like a long time, I knew if I woke up and turned the television on the images would disappear. Finally I got control of my body, threw myself out of bed, my heart was beating fast I was concentrating purely on picking up the remote control, I was aware that these things were still there, right next to me, watching, I got back into bed and franticly battled with the buttons (I always push the wrong one) and finally television was on, and normality restored. The next morning the remote control was in bed with me, so I had definitely got out of bed, I hadn't dreamt that part. As for everything else, I can't be incredibly sure.
Cherub, this thread is more than 2 years old. Some of the people in this thread are long gone. Best to start a new thread so interested parties can join in the conversation.
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