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Hypnagogia in Meditation

AmidaAmida Explorer Explorer
edited May 2011 in Meditation
Everynight when falling asleep I fall into the hypnagogic state, where I see all sorts of images, scenes, and hear talking, music, etc.. It's the state between consciousness and sleep. You're not asleep but not fully conscious. You can easily pull yourself back to full alertness from this state, but you're lingering on the border crossing over into sleep. I see countless images, scenes, and hear voices, music, etc., all marvelous and terrible; things I've never seen or heard.

There's something called "Daytime Para-hypnagogia", where one experiences the faint voices in the head, or sees the faint images while awake and relaxed. I find when I meditate, I'm often clouded with Daytime Parahypnagogia, which can be quite strong. I'll see images of people pop up I've never seen, landscapes, and phantom voices speaking things I've never heard.

Sometimes this can be disturbing while trying to meditate. I experience this A LOT. Anyone else experience this?


  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2011
    Negatively, this is one of the five hindrances, namely, sloth & torpor

    Positively, it is a sign of some samadhi/tranquility development

    The images are the same as when the mind dreams in sleep. The mind is venting or purging its 'busy-ness'. It is part of the purification process.

    If this occurs when sitting, just make the consciousness effort to keep the body upright & broaden your awareness to the sitting posture (but also maintain the tranquility, somehow - find the balance).

    Kind regards

  • AmidaAmida Explorer Explorer
    edited May 2011
    Dhamma, I experience this in quietness, even when the mind is very concentrated, so I can't say it's sloth. Also, I experience this all day everday when it's quiet. The mind seems to always be in a low level of dream activity. I think it has more to do with brain chemistry than anything that can be overly controlled.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    Remember its all just the mind, so try not to get too caught up in it.
  • elenagreeneelenagreene Explorer Explorer
    I'm not sure this is the same thing, but I have had similar experiences when in meditation class. It doesn't happen with my daily meditation, which I do in the morning when I'm well rested. It used to happen at meditation class, which was in the evening when I was already tired. I'd get into a state where I saw strange things. The most vivid example was seeing everyone in the class look as if they were coated in jewels the color of their clothing. Glittery orange robes on the teacher, a fellow classmate wearing a red sweater looked like she was encrusted with rubies. I felt quite peaceful as it was happening and when I came back to normal, I thought perhaps it was my mind thinking how precious everyone there was?

    One question, Amida. Are you getting enough good quality sleep?
  • zen_worldzen_world Veteran Veteran
    Hi Amida,

    This happens to me too sometimes. I see all vision, voices, planets, ceremonies etc.
    And there is always some sort of bliss, a sensation of extreme pleasure/extacy comes with it. I never ever wanna get out of that feeling. But unfortunately it is impermanent just like everythingelse...
  • AmidaAmida Explorer Explorer
    @elenagreene, I get plenty of good sleep.

    I wouldn't say it's anything anyone mentioned here so far. It's all within the mind, like a bunch of mind chatter, like flipping through TV stations quickly, but the TV is in your head and you don't have the remote.
  • zen_worldzen_world Veteran Veteran
    @elenagreene, I get plenty of good sleep.

    I wouldn't say it's anything anyone mentioned here so far. It's all within the mind, like a bunch of mind chatter, like flipping through TV stations quickly, but the TV is in your head and you don't have the remote.
    I had the same experience before. Visions, short visions, switch quickly from one scene to another - like you said it felt like I was watching A tv. I saw different planets, different people, different places and I was fully awake. But I also felt exctasy- great joy during the experience- I mentioned this to my Lama and she remained in silence and smiled at me for a while but provided no explanation. All she said was everyone should see "dreams" like that. Its a sort of lucid dreaming I guess.
  • Bodha8Bodha8 Veteran Veteran
    Monkey Mind!! It will pass.
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    Monkey Mind!! It will pass.
    this ^

    i think this happens to me every once and a while when i'm falling asleep. right when i'm hovering on the edge between awareness and a dream. it's quite odd when you take a moment to pay attention to it. it is just like flipping through channels. frequently, i will "wake up" from this with a fierce sensation of falling. not sure why. i think it's just a symptom of a restless mind. i've never had it happen during meditation though.
  • AmidaAmida Explorer Explorer
    edited June 2011
    Daytime Parahypnagogia: A newly identified state of consciousness that interferes with attentiveness

    Author: Dr. Gurstelle Emile

    Location: William Paterson University, USA

    The author reports on a newly identified and previously undescribed state of consciousness, Daytime Parahypnagogia (DPH). A DPH episode consists of a flash image, dream, thought and/or creative insight. The content of the experience is often quickly forgotten. The dissociative state is momentary, spontaneous and unnerving, to some extent akin to almost falling asleep. Of 164 clinical psychologists and 247 college students surveyed, 46 to 54 percent reported experiencing signs consistent with DPH; of those, approximately half reported that such events interfere with tasks requiring attentiveness. The paper details the experiential nature of DPH and its impact on daytime functioning.


    Maybe it is the "Monkey Mind". Subtle concentration does seem to help to some degree.


    Yes, it's very common on the edge of sleep.

    There is a large article on hypnagogia here, called: The "Sleepless Sleep" Hypnagogia – the Shamanic Trance-State

  • RojehoRojeho Explorer CT Explorer
    edited September 2018

    I was doing a search for this topic, found this discussion, and I said, hey I'm a member! In my practice this sometimes occurs, but I do not attach, and proceed. This morning it was a little more intense, with images in light and in dark bakgrounds. It also made me feel like I was moving forward, tunnel like. My state was very serene, upright, relaxed. I barely noticed breathing. I did not @zen_world engage, rather noted, observed and concluded. It was different, and natural.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Rojeho First of all, this thread is 7 years old, and while interest is encouraged, it's probably better to start a new thread of your own, after 7 years (!) secondly, the member you mention was banned and won't be reading your response any time soon.... ;)

This discussion has been closed.