The sequence went like this. It’s around 2:30am. I’ve been awake reading a book – which I’ve just put down. Lying quietly in the dark staring at the ceiling, I start to see gently swirling blobs of plasma colours with my eyes open. I know these well. Either they mark a shift in brainwave frequency in the direction of dreaming, or they are a telltale sign that whatever chemical is released that relates to dream visuals – DMT? – has just manifested in the brain. They move in a slow, rhythmic liquid swirl. I close my eyes and the colours are still there. Then open them again and very, very gently continue to gaze at them.

Out of the colours, a scene begins to form. Completely of its own accord. It is outside. A green, open, lightly wooded area. Still a little pixellated and rather vague. As I gently interpret the scene, its focus increases. Interestingly, a tree in my right field of vision is flip-flopping – constantly inverting along its vertical axis – as though it were a bug in an OpenGL scene.

I (again) gently, and here’s where the meditation part comes in, focus on slowing down the axis flip – of slowing down everything in the scene. Slowing the scene, slowing the mind. Once more the reality of the images before me intensifies and the next moment I am sitting quietly in meditation before a vast lake in the wilderness. Perfect clarity. As real as your most real experience. It is night and filtered light through the thinning clouds gently warps off the lake’s still surface. It is peaceful, quiet, and sublimely beautiful. Into this stillness, my soul sense soars out into that ever-cascading bliss that marks this type of experience as “spiritual”.

I give myself up to the bliss and my consciousness disappears into it.

These experiences are precisely why I give such import to our sleeping selves. Sleeping isn’t the simply gap between waking moments. It is a mind-space that offers up a tremendous diversity of experiences and one of the few times in which we can witness our true creativity at work – unbounded and effortless.