When I was a kid I couldn’t ever just go to sleep when I was supposed to…an over-active mind, I suppose. But a tendency to think too much and a mandatory bed time was a great opportunity to let my imagination run wild. In my youngest days these thoughts took the form of fantasy, but the habit stuck with me through adulthood and, even now, I rarely fall asleep without a protracted period of imagination-time.
This isn’t just a quirk of a playful, youthful mind. It’s a naturally formed habit that laid the foundation for a powerful autosuggestion practice I’ve maintained either accidentally, or deliberately, for decades.
Imagination is play, and play is how living beings model their world semiotically (in symbols) to prepare for similar encounters in the “real” world. Play is a boundless, unrestricted form of practice, lashed to neural pathways with dopamine-releasing chemical processes that reinforce what we’re learning -nature’s way of gamifying our learning processes.
Dopamine seems to have important roles in the consolidation of memory in various structures — structures that are linked to different kinds of learning or to the learning of different things.Source: Nature.com
While not a requirement for learning, dopamine, the chemical compound which most directly impacts motivation, is an important influence on the subjects and styles of learning which are most effective.
That which is fun to learn is learned best.
To underestimate the importance of play is to miss out on one of our most amazing mental faculties, the ability to model events unfolding in our lives before they occur, giving us time to react in advance and, potentially, optimize our reactions to get the best possible results.
Imagination is simulation.
It’s a pre-creative force that allows us to design, optimize, and experiment with potential futures in the imaginal before committing to their physical realities.
As children grow up in the West, we’re largely encouraged to stop using our imaginations. To stop pretending…tragically cursing ourselves to travel limited mental pathways, to always think in-between the lines. The result is self-censorship. That guilty feeling you get when you catch yourself daydreaming is not unlike the trauma of guilt over masturbation.
Giving up the imaginal means only being able to conceive of what already exists. If you can’t imagine a better future, you can’t create one.
It’s devastating to our potential for a variety of mundane, and magical, reasons. Without a vivid and active imagination, it’s impossible to predict future outcomes, which is tactically useful. More critically though, without the ability to imagine possible futures, we just passively wait for them to happen TO us rather than co-creating the one we want.
Thank goodness there’s a hack…
Dreaming is the equivalent of sailing into the west with the elves (a reference to The Lord Of The Rings that you should most definitely appreciate). It’s a magical journey of which we do not know the way, and cannot return to, without the aid of ancient allies.
We’re free in our dreams, when our psychic defenses are at rest, and anything we can imagine becomes possible once more.
But there is a state just prior to sleep that is, in many ways, similar to dreaming -but with the radical difference that we retain full agency, mental powers, and the ability to focus our awareness wherever we choose.
Like lucid dreaming, this is a state of liminality where our minds can’t tell the difference between real and not-yet-real.
Hypnagogic: Concerning the drowsiness one commonly feels before sleep, the transitional state preceding sleep, and also the hallucinations that may occur at that time.Source: MedicineNet
The original French word “hypnagogique” was derived from Greek roots “hypno-“, sleep + “agogos”, leading = leading to sleep. In the 19th century “hypnagogique” came across the English Channel and became “hypnagogic.”
Hypnagogia is the state preceding sleep in which your brain transitions from the waking state to the sleeping-but-not-yet-dreaming state. It is a doorway to the unconscious, with all the mystical possibilities that implies.
New thought pioneer Napoleon Hill, of Think & Grow Rich fame, instructs,
Read [your Chief Definite Aim] aloud when you wake up and as you go to sleep daily and as you do SEE, FEEL, AND BELIEVE YOURSELF TO ALREADY HAVE RECEIVED IT.Source: Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich
In Hill’s system, you first identify what it is that you most want to accomplish in life, and document this as a statement of intent (stating your desired outcome as a goal that has already been achieved), so that you can apply other techniques to reinforce this essential act of intentionality.
Hill specifically directs readers to “SEE, FEEL, AND BELIEVE YOURSELF TO ALREADY HAVE RECEIVED IT.” This requires an act of imagination…
Practice using your imagination; specifically in the liminal state of hypnagogia directly preceding sleep (and the mirror state of hypnopompia, transitioning from sleep to awake).
Don’t sleep on this dear reader… 😉
Prolific new thought author and champion of hypnagogia, Neville Goddard, muses about hypnogogia in his work Out Of This World (originally published in 1942).
Tactically, he shares,
Drowsiness facilitates change because it favors attention without effort, but it must not be pushed to this stage of sleep, and which will no longer be able to control the movements of our attention, but rather a moderate degree of drowsiness and which are still able to direct our thoughts. And most effective way to embody desire is to assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled and then, and relaxing sleepy, repeat over and over again like a lullaby, any short phrase which implies fulfillment of our desire, such as “Thank you” as though we addressed a higher power for having done it for us.”Source: Neville Goddard, Out Of This World
And then, prosaically,
Feed the man with premises stash that is, assertion presumed to be true, because of substance, the unreal to the senses, if persisted in, until they have the feeling of reality, will harden into facts.Source: Neville Goddard, Out Of This World
In translation; tell yourself your dreams are real –make them real in your mind– until their potentiality hardens into reality.
Sleepy praxis: Telling yourself a bedtime story
Here’s a simple, but effective, way to integrate this powerful manifestation technique into your daily life in a way that you won’t forget, can’t screw up, and will quickly yield positive results.
Hill was right, focus is a powerful ally. Reducing our many aims in life to a single, simple statement of intent, the Definite Chief Aim, filters out all the many whims that compete for our attention, and thereby, greatly increases our efficiency.
Our personal Power (with a capital P) comes from the truly magical ability to direct our consciousness and our creative potential wherever we choose to focus.
Focus is the difference between errant daydreams and potent visions that spur us to action with the compelling pull of universal, supernatural, all-consuming -Desire.
Thus is the occult (meaning hidden) truth of dreams. The stuff of dreams is the stuff from which the future springs, already loaded with hidden meaning, weight, and purpose. Dreams allow us space to feel awe and be inspired and then take this back with us into the waking world.
And hypnagogia is a key to unlocking this potential while we’re fully conscious and able to direct our focus.
The formula is simple:
- Reduce your heart’s desire to a short, rhythmic statement of intent (Chief Definite Aim). For example, “I AM A BEST SELLING FICTION AUTHOR”. Think big, but don’t sweat the details, you can refine or replace it later.
- Go to bed tired. Get some exercise earlier in the day. Drink some chamomile tea. Smoke a little weed…whatever.
- When you lay your head on the pillow, immediately repeat your Chief Definite Aim to yourself out loud at least 3 times.
- Picture a scene in your mind, a vignette, that plays on repeat in your imagination which represents the outcome you desire. Return to the same visualization night after night. Over time as your outcome becomes more clear in your mind you can add detail or additional scenes.
For example, each night I visualize images from my future tropical permaculture garden farm, the gorgeous Atlantic vista from the Zona Arqueológica de Tulum, and sunset cocktails at the Aloha Paddle Club in Playa del Carmen.
- Fall asleep and let your dreams guide you when you wake.
To boost the efficacy of this method you can do the reverse (as often as you can remember) in the morning as you wake. Let your last thought of the night and your first thought of the dawning day be of your chief desire.
What’s the point of all of this?
Our dreams affect reality. I’d go so far as to say they pattern our realities. And dreams don’t just occur while we sleep. Daydreaming is equally powerful. Active imagination, perhaps the most powerful of all…
Our dreams inspire our actions which take place in the world, the real world. This means that dreams are real things. Things that affect the real world cannot be unreal themselves. Taking action on an idea makes it real.
Manifesting the future you want implies literally living your dreams. Think of a hypnagogic meditation practice as programming your dreams so that Desire (pronoun) can come through you, percolating in the potential of your unfettered imaginal state.
Magic is free and it works.
Dream big, dream often, and be deliberate about it.
Sansha’s Dream by Artem Chebokha
Dream by TopMystic
Dreams by whisperfall
Dreaming Galaxies by Sea Zlatokryletz
Dreaming by Wooni Y
Reborn of Venus by Tomasz Alen Kopera
Used without permission – contact me with complaints.