Edgar Allen Poe wrote of “fancies” he experienced “only when I am on the brink of sleep with the consciousness that I am so.”
He’s not alone. Many have used the tank to plug into that state and use it to explore deeper consciousness.
That transition state between awake and asleep is a magical time and floating allows you often to hang there, suspended, a little longer than usual.
During your time in this state, the theta state, you may experience a wide array of sensory experience. Sight, sound, sensations that range from subtle and barely there to vivid, hallucination-type experiences are fairly common during the float experience. These are called hypnogogic hallucinations.
Hypnogogic hallucinations aren’t exactly dreams. They often lack narrative content. They are fleeting, gone before they start. They are characterized by heightened suggestibility, illogic and a fluid association of ideas.
EEG readings have shown that there is some elevated responsiveness to sound around where you sleep, however, in the tank, without the outside input we imagine your brain reaches deep into your consciousness. Hypnogogia may provide insight to parts of our consciousness we aren’t able to access during our day to day, waking hours.
There are a few common hypnogogia that happens more than others.
During post-float discussion, we hear most often about light shows. These shows are lines, shapes or geometrical patterns that are monochromatic or richly colored floating in and out of your “sight”. From dramatic images resembling lightening to fluid, graceful colored shapes, you’ll find the journals sitting around our space full of beautiful color-scapes recreated from hypnogogic hallucinations.
People who have spent a long time doing repetitive tasks or looking at repetitive images before sleep often find it dominates their imagery as they grow drowsy. This is referred to as the tetris effect.
Vivid scenes, often without context can appear. Flashes of images from the past, the present or a mix of both can appear in a way that is so realistic, you are transported there for a few brief moments. Snatches of a scene you may or may not know are created for a few moments.
It’s not always about sight. Hypnogogic hallucinations can also have an auditory component. You may hear snatches of imagined speech. It may also manifest as your inner voice or the voices of others.
Not so common is the ability to hear music in the theta state. But it does happen! We have a client who spends her tank time hearing piano music, composed on the spot by her mind.
Is it your mind simply working through all the information fed in through the day? Or are we also getting insight into deeper self? Every day people coming out of the float tanks calmer and clearer, being aware of more then before they went into the float tank.
Listen, journal and learn from the very best teacher, your own personal guru, which is simply and beautifully you.