Each and every night, sleep paralysis eliminates the physical movements of most of your body - with the exception of your eyes, chest and minor extremities like toes, lips and fingertips.
The mechanism switches on and off around the sleep-wake border. As a result, it is possible to become consciously aware of sleep paralysis happening to you.
For the unprepared sleeper, it can be a frightening experience. What else are you to make of apparently waking up paralyzed, unable to move or scream or even reach the light switch?
A cruel mind trick, this state of panic can further lead to fearsome bedroom-based nightmares: dreamy hallucinations and false awakenings which are extremely vivid and disturbing in content.
Sleep paralysis hallucinations are a cruel trick of the mind.
Throughout history, millions of people from different cultures have experienced sleep paralysis hallucinations - ranging from sexual demons to ghostly visitations to alien abductions.
They often share the common elements of bodily paralysis, a menacing intruder, primal fear, intense chest compression and sexual molestation.
You might have experienced the partial or full extent of sleep paralysis in the past. Or you may experience it in the future. Sleep paralysis can affect anyone, at any time, but is more likely if you have:
On the face of it, sleep paralysis sounds pretty awful. It's something a sane person would be highly motivated to avoid - right?
Not always. Because the prepared dreamer can use their knowledge to transform any sleep paralysis experience into fantastic lucid dreams. Even before anything scary happens.
Very little experience is needed; you just have to remember three important facts:
Read those again. That's your sleep paralysis mantra.
As a lucid dreamer, there is an increased chance that you will encounter the feeling of sleep paralysis. That's because you're heightening your awareness of the act of falling asleep, as well as during dreams.
Please don't let that be a cause for concern. If you're not prone to sleep paralysis before becoming a lucid dreamer, any spontaneous occurrences are limited.
Of course, you can invite sleep paralysis plenty more if you choose, which I'll discuss below.
But if you feel this method violates your personal sense of safety, remember you don't have to use it. Read the lesson, tuck away the knowledge, and move on.
If you're bold - I urge you to push through your fear and explore this bizarre borderland state. You will likely yield many more lucid dreams as a result.
The sleep paralysis gateway creates opportunities to lucid dream.
Spontaneous sleep paralysis - that which happens unexpectedly during sleep - will be instantly recognizable. You'll wake up, unable to move, and perhaps feel a sense of impending danger.
No problem. Immediately remind yourself of your mantra.
Now, although every experience of spontaneous sleep paralysis is unique, here are some general guidelines for freeing your dream body and becoming fully lucid.
The key is to stay positive, thereby steering unconscious thoughts away from fearsome intruders and towards a more desirable lucid dream.
If the experience itself doesn't transform directly to a lucid dream, your goal is to "teleport" your awareness by instantly appearing in a completely different location. Closing your eyes can help.
Keep calm and co-direct events in your sleep paralysis nightmare.
There's another type of sleep paralysis: one we'll induce in a deliberate, calm and controlled manner. We'll use it as a stepping stone to dreamland without loitering in a place of fear and unknowing.
Try it tonight if you like. I used to practice during daylight hours, which helped reduce my apprehension. Of course, due to your body's chemistry, it is much more effective in the wee small hours of the night.
The technique for inducing sleep paralysis is simply one of falling asleep consciously. We've actually already explored it through the means of Wake Induced Lucid Dreams and the OBE state.
When you enter sleep paralysis deliberately, you're focused on your own internal dream world. The paralysis is simply a sign that it's working. It's a phase that can pass in seconds (and often, many people don't feel it at all).
Hypnagogia, on the other hand, is much more prevalent:
Strange entities may appear during the transitional phase.
With sleep paralysis, forewarned is forearmed. You now have the power to override your fears.
These hallucinations arise from our unconscious fears and especially cultural references taken on years prior, even during childhood. They can appear very realistic, like a vampire, or surreal, like a stick figure.
The hallucinations aren't always fearsome. Some people see ghosts, spirit guides and religious icons. They feel blessed to have had a visitation from some other-worldly being.
If you feel uncomfortable with any imagined entities, try to clear your mind and pour as many positive feelings as you can towards them. Pretend they are just a big softie in need of a hug. This lifts your own mood, dispels any fear, and most often transforms the creature into a helpful dream figure.
From here, you can ask them to help you out of your body and go on a journey to someplace fun. They will free you from your paralysis (sometimes by giving you a hand out of bed, pulling your feet or helping you hover out like a traditional out of body experience) and can even become your personal dream guide.
What a way to start a lucid dream!
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