"Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

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Alex123
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"Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Alex123 »

Hello all,

during longer period in the morning when I sit >3-4hr (usually 1.5-2hr sessions with 1 minute break in between to go to the washroom), toward the end, I get this problem: As I am watching the breath, while sitting upright and all, I get these various very vivid "dreams", much more vivid than normal dreams while asleep, and I haven't had any (remembered) dreams for a long time. My body is upright as usual, I am not falling down to sleep or anything.

As soon as I get these dream, I open my eyes, sometimes I even stare into very bright lamp (10,000 lux) for a short while and resume sitting. Still, I am plagued by them.

Anyone else experiences these? Any good explanations of what this it (Too much relaxation causing me almost falling asleep?)
Any advice how to deal with this (other than walking meditation which I don't like and doesn't work well for me for other reasons)?

Thank you.
:namaste:
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frank k
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by frank k »

Alex123 wrote: Thu Jun 15, 2023 12:49 pm ...
Perfectly normal.
Most people would be slumped over, fallen asleep and snoring.
So if you can keep an upright body posture sitting, it shows pretty good jhānic force and good store of energy charged up in your jhana batteries.
The more you keep celibacy, noble silence, the more your jhana batteries will charge up and the more awake, lucid you can remain while in this state.
People with less charged up jhana batteries, their mind will be more murky, the visions less vivid, or no visions at all and just perceptions of dream like narratives, or they fall into the dream and believe the dream is real just like someone lying down falling asleep.

The more lucid and alert you can develop, the more control you have over whether you want to observe the visions, or make them go away instantly.
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Goofaholix »

In my opinion dreams are just a continuation of the discursive thinking that bothers us during meditation but gets more elaborate during sleep because we have even less control.

Its good that you've noticed this happening but the fact that it feels to you like dreams suggests to me you've lost control to some extent and it feels wrong to you. Typically we only remember dreams that happened close to when we wake up, so if this only happens at the end of your sit possibly you've been semi asleep for a longer portion of the sit but you haven't been aware of it.

When this happens can you feel the body sitting? notice thoughts arising and passing away? see the impersonality of thoughts? notice sounds?

Sometimes with watching the breath we end up watching the rhythm rather than the breath and the rhythm lulls us into a sleepy state. I'd try doing something more complex like body scanning, or counting the breath up to 8 and down to one again, if you struggle with something a little more complex then maybe you need something more complex to keep you fully mindful.
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“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.”
― Ajahn Chah
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Alex123
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Alex123 »

Goofaholix wrote: Thu Jun 15, 2023 11:50 pm Its good that you've noticed this happening but the fact that it feels to you like dreams suggests to me you've lost control to some extent and it feels wrong to you.
Yes, it "feels" wrong to me. Hence, I try to come out of it asap - within few seconds.
Goofaholix wrote: Thu Jun 15, 2023 11:50 pm Typically we only remember dreams that happened close to when we wake up, so if this only happens at the end of your sit possibly you've been semi asleep for a longer portion of the sit but you haven't been aware of it.
It usually happens at the end of my sit because:
a) time.
b) I usually give up (stand up and do something else) when I have many of such episodes happening in short time in rapid succession.

Goofaholix wrote: Thu Jun 15, 2023 11:50 pm When this happens can you feel the body sitting? notice thoughts arising and passing away? see the impersonality of thoughts? notice sounds?
This is something I need to work on. I can't definitively answer if I hear sounds or not, if I feel the body or not. What I do notice is that when I snap out of it I am still sitting. There is no evidence that I've lifted my head from the floor or that I was slouching.


Thank you for your reply! Interesting points!
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confusedlayman
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by confusedlayman »

they are counter sign of image.. i get image of ceiling .. if u get absorbed in to image and get jhanic pleasure, it is not real jhana. real jhana comes with body is locked (paralysed) but mind is awake.. u can dream of jhana like expereicnce if u get abosrbed into image... so avoid it as dream like jhana may not make ur mind move faster...

also if u emerge from jhana u need to come to access concentration which is still body paralysed but mind awake state, not normal waking state
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Goofaholix »

Alex123 wrote: Fri Jun 16, 2023 3:05 pm It usually happens at the end of my sit because:
a) time.
b) I usually give up (stand up and do something else) when I have many of such episodes happening in short time in rapid succession.
I wouldn't recommend finishing your sit early if you can keep going, its probably a good learning opportunity. When it happens try to increase the sensitivity of your awareness and try to let go of your reactivity, and see what happens.
Pronouns (no self / not self)
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.”
― Ajahn Chah
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confusedlayman
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by confusedlayman »

how long it takes for imaginary stuff to happen? 1 hour?
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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Alex123
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Alex123 »

confusedlayman wrote: Sat Jun 17, 2023 11:58 am how long it takes for imaginary stuff to happen? 1 hour?
Yes or sometimes even more 2+ hours of cumulative time.
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by DarkMind »

Decades ago, due to more intense practice, I have experienced something similar.
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Neo »

Alex123 wrote: Thu Jun 15, 2023 12:49 pm Hello all,
..
As soon as I get these dream, I open my eyes, sometimes I even stare into very bright lamp (10,000 lux) for a short while and resume sitting. Still, I am plagued by them.
..
:hello:
Do you still see these dreams? What are they? Any example/memory?

This lamp, why do you stare this? Any specific reason? Would staring at a lamp not give mind the tendency to be hypnotized or blind (mind blindness refers to lack of quick instincts)?
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Rambutan »

Alex123 wrote: Thu Jun 15, 2023 12:49 pm sometimes I even stare into very bright lamp (10,000 lux) for a short while and resume sitting.

Anyone else experiences these? Any good explanations of what this it (Too much relaxation causing
Staring into a bright lamp can damage your eyes.

Your senses are like a huge entertainment system for the whole “me” experience (ego). When you meditate. It’s like turning off the TV, the stereo, the computer, and just sitting, watching your stupid, boring, breathing (that’s how the mind sees it).

So, now there isn’t a whole lot to distract the mind, so all this other stuff, memories, fantasies, etc, comes bubbling up to the surface, because your mind is desperate for some entertainment. Mind (consciousness) arises with objects of consciousness. That’s what we experience as “me”. That’s what (clinging to) causes becoming in samsara.

When you limit the objects (when you meditate) down to one thing (breath) you cut through that. But your habitual mind patterns are resisting, so all these thoughts come up.

Just let them go, return to watching the breath.
Eventually the mind will calm down by itself.

Very often, people have difficulty meditating and they say “I tried this and this and that thing and nothing works” but the point is to stop trying things. Stop trying to make things work. That’s just throwing gas onto the fire.

Don’t try to do anything. Just sit.
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Alex123
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Alex123 »

Rambutan wrote: Thu Feb 01, 2024 4:30 pm Staring into a bright lamp can damage your eyes.
Maybe, though optometrist I've talked to doesn't think it is the case.

I sometimes look at bright lamp to counteract hypnogogic imagery (that might be due to sleepiness). I meditate mostly when it is dark which might be contributing to sleepiness. I've heard this instruction (to look at the bright moon at night) somewhere in the suttas as one of the ways to counteract sleepiness.
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Alex123
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Alex123 »

Neo wrote: Thu Feb 01, 2024 4:27 pm Do you still see these dreams? What are they? Any example/memory?
Not recently. An example: I see a piece of paper with something written on it. Sometimes I could even read a bit, but mostly not.
Or I see something random, and as usual I try to snap out of it ASAP because I am getting away from meditation.

Maybe I should try to experiment the next time I get these awake "dreams".
This lamp, why do you stare this? Any specific reason?
To try to be more "awake" if slight drowsiness occurs. You know meditating in the dark can sometimes amplify the desire to sleep.
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by Neo »

Alex123 wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 7:21 pm
Neo wrote: Thu Feb 01, 2024 4:27 pm Do you still see these dreams? What are they? Any example/memory?
Not recently. An example: I see a piece of paper with something written on it. Sometimes I could even read a bit, but mostly not.
Or I see something random, and as usual I try to snap out of it ASAP because I am getting away from meditation.

Maybe I should try to experiment the next time I get these awake "dreams".
This lamp, why do you stare this? Any specific reason?
To try to be more "awake" if slight drowsiness occurs. You know meditating in the dark can sometimes amplify the desire to sleep.
As per analysis and observations/understandings till now, both the darkness and brightness affect us.

4 phases sunrise, post sunrise, sunset and post sunset.

In all these 4 phases I feel different amount and varying type of relaxations. In which if I try to not do anything then it usually leads to sleep.

During sunrise, if I do anything then it activates the tendency to sleep later and wake now. But it also let me remain stumbled upon a daily schedule without any further discovery/inventive instinct. Eg. Results of analysis done on previous day.

During sunset it's same but the opposite i.e. discovery/inventive instincts arise but can't do much. Eg. Let's just take some rest or hear something related to what was done the whole day(if too much obsessed) otherwise hear something not related to them.

During post rise and post set, discovery and inventive instincts arise within what has already been learnt and somewhat nearby those areas/domains.
Eg. Practicing anapana via nostrils, what would happen if I try to take a breath from one or the other..


If further observations are done then we can see that it is mostly depending upon the amount of awareness and the direction of intents/work.
Eg. After establishing into 4th dhyan, one can bend his mind to get a knowledge of something like previous births, self rebirths, others rebirths, 4 noble truths, eradication of defilements.

:thinking:
It also seems that mild temperature changes around head and body affects the thinking pattern which may be the indication of laziness and unawareness.

All of this also leads to images.
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Re: "Hypnogogic" imagery during long meditation sits.

Post by zerotime »

Alex123 wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 7:21 pm Maybe I should try to experiment the next time I get these awake "dreams".
IMHO what you are doing with lamps could be an atrocity for the health, and also this is quite opposed to the Buddha teaching and the explorer spirit for this Path. If you are able to enter in dreams with awareness, you should explore that door.

Note the Buddha teaching advised to enter in dreams in a lucid way. Because there can be many benefits:
"And how, O monks, is a monk clearly comprehending? He applies clear comprehension in going forward and going back; in looking straight on and in looking elsewhere; in bending and in stretching (his limbs); in wearing the robes and carrying the alms bowl; in eating, drinking, chewing and savoring; in obeying the calls of nature; in walking, standing sitting, falling asleep, waking, speaking and being silent — in all that he applies clear comprehension. So, monks, is a monk clearly comprehending."

SN 36.7


There are, bhikkhus, these five advantages of falling asleep with set up mindfulness and thorough understanding. Which five? One sleeps in comfort, wakes up in comfort, does not see evil dreams, the devas protect one, and what is unclean does not get emitted. These, bhikkhus, are the five advantages of falling asleep with set up mindfulness and thorough understanding.

AN 5.210
If you feel able to enter in dreams in a conscious way you should follow the Buddha advice in that regard. This can become an ambit quite productive to understand better the Reality, and a powerful tool to speed your progress. It is very recommendable doing metta before, and also keeping present the non-self teaching in front whatever appearance.

In all the world there are religious traps under forms of people and false advises, ending in a restriction of the individual potential. And Buddhism is not an exception. One should take refuge in the ariya's Sangha instead in the Buddhist appearances.
First of all, you should remember the Buddha advised to keep awareness while falling sleep to enter in dreams in a lucid way. Second, one should go to explore the field of consciousness as the same Buddha did. Because this sense of autonomy in the exploration is necessary for the true progress.

Sources are not explicit in these issues becuase worldly reasons. And unfortunately there are not many ariyas teachers these days. If you don't know any real good teacher for this issue, you can get the book "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming", Stephan LaBerge. This is a good book to understand some basics of the subject in itself, and later you can add your own Dhamma understanding and to build your own perspective.

Hope it helps :namaste:
Nibbana and Parinibbana are the same
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