Stop Sleep Paralysis With Meditation?
Over the past several years I have had a pretty annoying problem. If I take a nap during the day I pretty much always end up with sleep paralysis. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, it is essentially like being awake in a nightmare and unable to move. When you’re asleep, your brain releases a paralytic to prevent you from acting out your dreams. In sleep paralysis, you wake up but are still paralyzed. It is often associated with hallucinations about things like demon possession and alien abduction.
The other day, I found myself struggling to break myself free from one of these episodes. It’s quite terrifying really, being a prisoner in your own body, trying to scream out but unable to so much as control your blinking. I struggled with this for at least half an hour, trying to scratch, claw, and scream my way out of it, but to no avail.
I then realized that this was similar to a dream state. If that were the case, I should be able to control it like a dream. The problem was that fighting against it seemed to make it worse so I decided to go a different route. Instead of fighting, I gave in.
I’ve used this technique before to stop nightmares. In one poignant example I was being attacked by zombies and my normal dream abilities were not working. So what did I do? I sat down, closed my eyes and cleared my mind. I could still feel the undead tearing at my flesh, ripping off my limbs and disemboweling me. However, I did not make any value judgment about my sensations, I merely let them be. After a few minutes the pain subsided, as did the howls of the undead. When I opened my eyes, there were no zombies and i was not only completely whole but completely uninjured.
So there is was, paralyzed on the couch. Instead of trying to fight my way out, I closed my eyes and cleared my mind. I saw a few strange lights, like the blobs of green and purple that many see when they close their eyes. The light took on the shape of a branching vine which ended in maple leaves. One by one and with a pop each leaf burst so that now there was only black. I then opened my eyes and found myself fully awake.
I must admit, I have no clue what the hypnagogic vines were about. However, it does seem as if meditation may be useful for getting out of sleep paralysis. I intend to attempt to induce sleep paralysis many times in the coming weeks to test and see if this is a repeatable phenomenon.
If you are a sufferer of sleep paralysis and want to give this a try (it couldn’t hurt), feel free to let us know how it goes in the comments below.