When is a dream a reality, and when is reality a dream?
Are we truly “awake” when we’re going about our lives from day to day, only to be plunged into a world of dreams when we’re “asleep”, or does the dream state exist in a state of perpetuation regardless of the awake-asleep state of mind? Do all of us sleep and dream, or remain in a state of being awake while sleep hallucination guide our every move, every thought?
We know that, to a certain extent, our “conscious state” is the framework for framing out the daily routine of our existence, but where does one state of mind – awake or asleep in a dream state – actually meet and one takes over for the other? Further still, we feel that the dream state allows all that is possible to imagine, yet while we are unlimited to the scenarios our minds create, our physicality is limited to relative immobility while dreaming.
However, there is a crossover between the state of being asleep and awake for those of us who have mastered the dream state and how it interacts with the part of our brain that is fast sleep. The true somnambulist, fortunately, or unfortunately has conquered this ability, or perhaps has refined a natural ability to have a foot in one realm, and the other in the another realm: hence, various behavioral mechanisms fall into place: sleep walking, sleep talking, physical motor coordination while in a dream state. These kinds of activities are by-products of the dream state, where normally we all engage in a dream sequence frequently or infrequently.
When we experience imagined sensations in the transition from the state of being awake and entering the state of sleep; these hypnagogic hallucinations can be powerful triggers in bridging the gap between each state of consciousness whether voluntarily or involuntarily; although we must inquire to learn if there are other ways of engaging in these hallucinations. Hallucinatory drugs? Perhaps, or do our bodies have the capability of producing or denying the proper chemistry for a more natural approach to creating these picture shows?
For example I recall a time where I had been sleep deprived for more than 48 hours, and at some point just past that timeframe, I began to hypnagogic hallucinate. I was sitting at a table, in some all-nite diner, when sleep finally started to take me, although I struggled to remain awake; it was winning the battle as my body required its usual regimen of eliminating toxins and preparing my mind and body for another day. I recall seeing some houseflies buzzing around the table, on the seats, on the windows, and as I drifted on the edge of sleep-awake I noticed a small bowl of sugar cubes, with a few flies sampling them here and there, but my eyelids heavy with sleep saw instead flies gathering around a bowl of dice. The image took hold of my perception and was unshakeable.
Was I really seeing flies and dice, or flies and sugar? Or was it a bowl of dice and the flies not really there? For those few moments the transition from one form to another was undeniable–– at least to my state of mind; not quite awake, yet not quite dreaming. The question remains: what was real and what was an hallucinatory dream?
Richard Misiano-Genovese 8-29-2020