You close your eyes at night and see… what?

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And now… for that moment you’ve all been waiting for.  An “off the wall” post.

I have been blessed with the ability to fall asleep quickly at night. An environment with as little light as possible, a fan for both noise and a slight breeze, and a cool room are optimal, I’ve found. But, it hasn’t always been that way.

Many years ago, no doubt with my mind racing about something, I decided to forego counting sheep (which I suppose I could, but first, I’d have to imagine sheep, and why would I want to do that?) and instead focus on all five senses at once. It’s quite easy to focus on two senses – for example, what we see and hear, but pulling in what you feel, what you smell, and what you taste, all at the same instance, is a challenge. And one that reliably puts me to sleep when I have difficulty otherwise. Let’s take these one by one.

Smell: At it’s best, I’m smelling a pillowcase freshly scented of Odeur de Bounce. At worst, eh, nothing special.

Taste: Colgate… which is made in Mexico which reminds me I ought to try Crest, made in the USA.

Hearing: There’s the soothing noise from the fan, and, at times, the less soothing sound of our elder dog chasing sheep in dreamland.  Oh, plus the ringing chimes of tinnitus.

Feel: This is an interesting one, again while fixating on the other senses, but to be aware of each part of the body. Invariably, I find a wrinkle in the sheet or a joint that is not in a relaxing position and make the adjustment. It helps.

Vision: Blackness, right? Well, no.

At times, there are these light shows, sometimes even extraordinary light shows. Lava Lamp Glowing Green Clip ArtIt’s sort of a lava lamp movement of colors and shapes, usually beginning with purples but including other colors also, separately or all at once. Sometimes they all move together, sometimes they move independently… sometimes, I can even control how they move or, weirder, desire a certain color change or shape, and it happens. It’s just neat. This usually don’t last too long because… I fall asleep. I’m not complaining, because that’s the whole point of the exercise.

There is some similarity to seeing stars when I stand up too quickly, but without the disorienting “whoa” factor. Likewise, if I squeeze my eyes, I can certainly force some “action” into my closed eyes. But it quickly fades.

“Seeing colors when my eyes are closed.” Help me, Sir Google.

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!

Chakras? Hmm. Really? Click on link. Read. Back. Click another. Read. Hmm. How about purple light? Associated with the crown chakra?

“The fact that the purple chakra color is so high in the frequency manifests as the closest to the Divine. To God if you like. This is the chakra that helps you to connect with the Godhead, Be that Yahweh, Buddha, Shiva...whomever, it is a connection with the creator and the energies of the universe, with the divine.”

Oh, my! Indeed. I was just trying to connect with Mr. Sandman.

Green. Sure, I like green. “… is a healing color aura.” Elsewhere, “represents healing of the mystic masters.” When I think of green, I think of the color of money, and as I’m not desperate for a physical manifestation of “the spiritual” or “the mystic” in my life, I can’t help but think that underlying these sentiments are people either in great need or some savvy folks who appreciate my more worldly association of green.


Lucid dreaming. Cool term. It makes me think of “Silent Lucidity,” the best song that Pink Floyd never wrote (Queensryche). But… no. I’m not actually dreaming.


Hynagogic imagery. Hmm. “… the state between wakefulness and sleep.” To include hallucinations. That’s comforting. Other related terms: “dreamlets”, the “borderland state,” “half-dream state,” “pre-dream condition,” and, my favorite, “phantasmata.” Creepy cool. But, no. Really, I just see some cool spots, blobs, and/or shapes of color. Sometimes.


Closed eye hallucinations or closed eye visualizations. Sounds close. But wait, they’re a subclass of hallucinations. Sounds like I’m a bit “out there.” As I tread along the path of delirium tremens, sleep deprivation, psychosis(!) and neurological disorders, they throw some terms together and come up with “hypnagogic hallucinations.” Sigh. At least they’re considered normal phenomena.


Phospenes. Like the gas? No, that’s “Phosgene.” Phosphenes are visual effects “characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye.” I can live with that. They’re introduced by mechanical (pushing against the eye), electrical (continual stimulation after the fact), or magnetic stimulation of the retina or visual cortex.

Well, I don’t rub my eyes before bed, but I have to give some consideration to electrical causes. I’m certain I can blow a fuse or two, and random firing of the cells sounds a bit like me. Magnetic? Well, the season of the electric blanket is almost upon me. I’ll have to give that consideration if the inward lights start to shine more frequently.

Meditation is also listed as a source. I’ve always wondered what people “meditate” about. If this is it, I’m kind of disappointed.

What’s the point of all this? They’re really cool to watch. Obviously, I have too much time on my hands, but I wonder how much more I would know if I had Google when I was a kid. I mean, in this short journey I adventured on further links about the demise of the French frigate Méduse and about Mauritania, a West Africa country that boasts the largest city in the Sahara.


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