Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sleep Paralysis – Spiritual Experience or Hallucinations?

 How many of you have at one time or another woken up unable to speak or move? If you have, you are not alone. The classic definition for this phenomenon is called sleep paralysis. It may last a few seconds, several moments, or occasionally longer and usually occurs right before you are about to fall asleep or wake up. Many people report feeling a “presence” that is often described as malevolent, threatening or, evil, and usually experience a tremendous amount of terror.  The presence is usually seen, felt and even heard. People also report unique experiences like the sensation of floating as well as out of body experiences, and believe the phenomenon to be an extremely spiritual one. In the modern medical world, these experiences are defined as hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations (0), which is often the explanation when conventional modern views of spiritual experience is combined with medical ideas that label direct spiritual experiences as psycho-pathological. It is well understood that sleep paralysis coincides with  physiological mechanisms in the brain. What is not well understood are the strange experiences individuals have when experiencing sleep paralysis.  The discussion of spiritual experience as an explanation for a bizarre and complex phenomenon that little is known about has been suppressed thus discouraging discussion of it in modern society.(1)
Beginning in college and graduate school I was particularly interested in the beliefs of ordinary people, especially the ones that were treated as nonsense in the academic world. The academic world treats spiritual belief in general that way. I was interested in alternative medicine at the same time for the same reason. Right from the beginning I was convinced that ordinary people are smarter, are more sensible than they’re given credit for by scholars, and that traditions that are wide spread and deeply held probably have more rational basis, and more observation built into them than the theories that I was taught in graduate school. I couldn’t believe that all the beliefs of ordinary people that are not part of the academic worldview were nonsense. I have the impression that the academic world might be a little to narrow, and that regular people might have something to offer about it (sleep paralysis) through their experience and what they believed about things. There are beliefs that are based on experience that have been dismissed as superstitious beliefs that bear much more investigation, these are experiences that are built into the spiritual traditions all over the world. In the modern western world, for at least the past one hundred years these phenomena have been explained on the basis of psychopathology. So the discovery that those experiences are common and that they occur among ‘normal’ people, that they are not in fact indicative of any type of disease has tremendous importance for medicine. This isn’t a new phenomenon, we erased the knowledge of these experiences from the cultural repertoire – Dr David J Hufford, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus, Penn State Medical School (1)
Right from the get go, almost all scientific approaches to the phenomenon of sleep paralysis assume that the experiences that stem from it are hallucinations. Rather than coming from the standpoint of complete neutrality, most studies completely shut out the idea of any reality behind ‘hallucinations.’ Just because there are measured biological and chemical activity during the sleep paralysis phenomenon does not mean that there is a causal relationship between the two. There are other things we must take into consideration, and as quantum science is showing us, there are definitely worlds within our world that we are not able to perceive. There is definitely a non-physical aspect to science in general that we are just beginning to wake up to.
The day science begins to study non-physical phenomenon, it will make more progress than it made in all the previous centuries of its existence – Nikola Tesla

Spiritual Experience

Modern scholars have found spirit and spirituality hard to define, and as mentioned earlier usually places these topics within the circle of ridicule amongst the scientific community. Many reading this probably have a good idea of the terms that fit under the umbrella of “spirit” or “spiritual.” They involve out of body experiences, visits from entities not of this world, near death experiences, frequency, vibration and more. It’s important to realize that many experiences people have within the “spiritual” realm occur when one is fully conscious, awake and alert and not during what sleep researchers call sleep paralysis. Our level of scientific understanding is not advanced enough to explain certain phenomenon, so sometimes they are grouped into the category of hallucinations when they are really phenomenon we do not understand and cannot yet explain in a scientific manner. At the same time, some of the phenomenon described that arise from sleep paralysis could very well be hallucinations, although I don’t believe this to be the case. I am very open to the idea that what is experienced for some during ‘sleep paralysis’ is indeed intertwined with the true nature of reality we clearly do not yet fully understand. The point is we don’t yet know for sure, and for the scientific community to assume and label them as definite hallucinations and as a figment of the imagination is wrong.


Scientific evidence for out of body phenomenon isn’t prevalent, but it’s hard when most scientific phenomenon is suppressed. I’m talking about all of the developments within the world that are classified for the sake of national security. This isn’t a secret anymore, recent leaks from the NSA were responsible for the very first public disclosure of a black budget, and the Canadian government was recently outed for the muzzling of scientists(2). This coincides with the remote, viewing experiments that involved the intelligence community and Stanford University, among others. (3)(4)(5)It’s interesting that there is also science and official research behind these types of phenomenon that give further credibility to it. It is even more interesting that it is within the hands of the intelligence community, extremely classified and washed away in secrecy, just like the experiments conducted at Stanford University. Among the varied hallucinations associated with sleep paralysis, out of body experiences and vestibular motor sensations represent a distinct factor.(6) Remote viewing is the ability of individuals to describe a remote geographical location up to several hundred thousand kilometers away, this phenomenon has be proven time and time again, and shortly after its publication the program was instantly shut down by the department of defense.
We have many examples of phenomenon that would fit under the “spiritual” umbrella, and who are we to say that the experiences that occur within sleep paralysis are not indeed real phenomenon. Sometimes, ideas and concepts can be a threat to power, to control and to the overall perception humanity has of reality as a collective. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. If the planet changed the way it looked at this phenomenon, surely it would contribute in one of the biggest paradigm shifts the planet has ever seen, and this is exactly what is continuing to unfold on planet Earth today.
Remote viewing can be defined in multiple ways. It’s the ability of individuals to describe a remote geographical location up to several hundred thousand kilometres away (even more) from their physical location. – See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/08/shocking-discoveries-made-studies-confirm-the-reality-of-remote-viewing/#sthash.L5wdaoUm.dpuf
Remote viewing can be defined in multiple ways. It’s the ability of individuals to describe a remote geographical location up to several hundred thousand kilometres away (even more) from their physical location. – See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/08/shocking-discoveries-made-studies-confirm-the-reality-of-remote-viewing/#sthash.L5wdaoUm.dpuf
Remote viewing can be defined in multiple ways. It’s the ability of individuals to describe a remote geographical location up to several hundred thousand kilometres away (even more) from their physical location. – See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/08/shocking-discoveries-made-studies-confirm-the-reality-of-remote-viewing/#sthash.L5wdaoUm.dpuf
Remote viewing can be defined in multiple ways. It’s the ability of individuals to describe a remote geographical location up to several hundred thousand kilometres away (even more) from their physical location. – See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/08/shocking-discoveries-made-studies-confirm-the-reality-of-remote-viewing/#sthash.L5wdaoUm.dpuf
Remote viewing can be defined in multiple ways. It’s the ability of individuals to describe a remote geographical location up to several hundred thousand kilometres away (even more) from their physical location. – See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/08/shocking-discoveries-made-studies-confirm-the-reality-of-remote-viewing/#sthash.L5wdaoUm.dpuf
The ridicule of these phenomenon is a level of social control. Scholars, academics and elite intellectuals in general constantly describe these things as if not indicative of insanity, them being primitive, and being the product of a lack of education. These concepts in the realm of anthropology and history are taken to be are product of imagination – Dr David J Hufford (1)

My Experience With Sleep Paralysis

When I was a child, I remember having a number of lucid dreams. They seemed so real and I felt one hundred percent conscious during the experience. I was able to do whatever I desired whilst dreaming. My first experience with sleep paralysis didn’t occur until I was a little bit older. The very first time it happened I remember suddenly waking up from a loud bang, a bright flash of light (although my eyes were closed) and a loud ringing in my ears. I had the ability to open my eyes, but I couldn’t move my body. It’s almost as if my brain was awake but my body was still sleeping. I was terrified, and the reason I didn’t open my eyes is because I felt the presence of two beings on my left side, and two beings on my right side and I didn’t want to see. Whether they were there or not, I don’t know, whether I was dreaming or not, I don’t know. Keep in mind that experiences like this occur when people are totally conscious, driving down the street, going about their everyday lives away from the time of sleep. Many people have totally consciousness experiences with phenomenon that seem to be beyond our understanding, they are not paralyzed and they are not asleep. I have also had totally conscious bizarre experiences away from sleep, that might contribute to my bias of my experiences within sleep paralysis being more than just hallucinations. This particular experience I had during sleep lasted approximately five minutes I would say, until I totally regained consciousness.
Another time, again I woke up in the middle of the night. I could open my eyes and I was totally aware of my surroundings. I was on the road in a hotel room by myself, I could see the TV, I could see the lamp in the corner of the room as well as the chair. I could not turn my head but I could look around. Although my eyes felt heavy, I could indeed open them. I couldn’t move and was pretty scared, I remember thinking “not again, why is this happening to me.” I saw a dark shadowy figure come through the window, it seemed about 5 feet tall, I was on the left side of the bed and the window was in the right corner of the room. It came across the room, across the foot of my bed to the left side of my head. It put its mouth up to my ear and started to whisper rapidly. I could not understand what it was saying, but it was whispering extremely fast.
I had a few other experiences after that, and after I woke up from these experiences which were pretty scary, I started to desire more because I realized that although I couldn’t move, my consciousness was still there. I was still awake, alert and able to perceive the environment around me. The next time it happened, I assured myself that I would not react in fear, and that I would instead embrace the experience and try to “play” with it, explore and use this state of consciousness for further discovery about a potential world we are not able to experience, but are. The next time it happened, I reminded myself to stay calm, enjoy it and see what happens, this time I actually wanted to communicate with whatever I perceived to be there, or was there. When I did this, nothing presented itself. I still couldn’t move, but didn’t try to jolt myself out of it. I tried to float out of my body and was successful. I fully floated out of my body, but could only go so far, about one meter. I tried to go further but it was as if I was still attached to my body. This was a very cool experience, unfortunately after I decided to not react in fear, and play around the with experience, the experience stopped, and I never had it again.
These type of phenomenon are definitely intriguing, and nobody, including researchers within the scientific world should dismiss the experience one has while experiencing sleep paralysis as completely false. The scientific community should be comfortable in a place of neutrality, instead of characterizing a phenomenon as false without any evidence to suggest that be the case. They don’t have to ridicule it.  I hope I’ve provided enough information within the article, as well as adequate sources for you to further your research if interested.
If you have experienced this phenomenon, I’d love for you to share your experiences within the comments section. Thanks for reading.
Sources:
Originally posted on: Collective Evolution

14 comments:

  1. I used to experience this a lot during my younger teen years, up to once or twice a week for a few months. Before I found out that it was a medical and common thing, I was sure it was demonic presence. Part of me still does believe it was real but it's more comforting to think of it as a result of my mental state at the time. Most times I would see or feel a dark, malevolent energy or figure. The worst experience I can recall began with with a foreboding presence as I laid in bed, like I knew it was going to happen. I didn't notice myself fall asleep but the next thing I remember is hearing extremely loud music, that would have woken everyone in the house. I think the song changed about 3 times but I could never make out the words, it just sounded like radio. Then I remember opening my eyes and there was a demon that took the form of a deformed, rotten boar on my right, next to my face. I think it was trying to get at me but it seemed unable. On my left side, on the bed, was a demon in the form of a boy from my primary school who had cerebral palsy. Curiously this same boy was one my mum always said she believed was an angel trapped in a disabled boys body, and he really was lovely. This demon was writhing his body unnaturally, staring at me, slack jawed and wide eyed with his tongue hanging out. I think one of the main things that shook me about this was the realization that they could take whatever form, even one of something or someone I regarded as positive.

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  2. my experience was fairly brief and only occurred a couple times in my life. The main thing that seemed weird to me about it, was the fact I was trying to wake myself up because I was fully aware that I was sleeping. However, the "conscience me" was certain somebody was in the house that wasnt supposed to be, which is why i was in a panic to alert the "sleeping me" When I did wake up, i was gasping in fear and had a overwhelming sensation sweep my entire body from crown to bottom of my feet. It was as though my whole body had "fallen asleep" pins and needles everywhere. I felt, emotionally, as though i had just escaped certain death. It was weird!

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  3. This happens to me several times a year. I cannot breathe properly and I sense very real danger and evil in the room with me. I try to run away but my legs are paraylsed. Its very dark, I cannot see properly and there is always this evil dark being after me.Sometimes I can run and then take off but only seem to be able to hover and just as this evil being goes to grab me, I wake up but still only feel semi-awake, as if my eyes are too heavy to open.

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  5. I have that since over 20 years now, usually once or twice a year. It feels very different from a dream. I did not know that others have it too. I havent had it for over a year now and hope that I dont have to experience it again.
    When you get it, my advice is to pray to whatever you believe in. As long as its a good positive thought you will be fine.

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  6. I have had quite a few of these, they use to terrify me but like you, I began to try and use them and figure out what they were and let go of the fear. Now when they do happen it's almost an instant "switch" in the pineal area and immediately, the pins and needles everywhere ^. Usually with this comes an OBE type situation where lots of visions "floating" and noises occur. Thank you for sharing this I always wonder if it's a "normal" thing for others as well

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  7. This have happened to me atleast 4 times. Worst time i woke up with a undescrible fear, and i knew something really bad was going to happen, and something was coming. I was sleeping at my mums couch, and sudenly i woke up, coudnt move and coudnt breathe. And the presence i was feeling sudenly showed itself on the floor crawling towards me, reminded me of the nasty ass girl from The Grudge movie. when she was half on top of me i felt like i was seconds away from dying, from fear or the fact that i couldnt breathe. Then i "woke up".
    Thats the only time i have actually seen anything "living", the other times i have just felt it coming.
    I still believe this is something else then just projections of my feelings or hallicunations.

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  8. I experience SP a couple times a week and have since I was a young child. I also lucid dream almost every night. I can't think of a time where I felt and "evil" when in SP, but it is an unpleasant feeling being conscious and not being able to move. I usually have to pull and jerk my way out of it. I really enjoy lucid dreaming as I can control many aspect of the dream itself but I am not a huge fan of SP. I seem to be always taken by surprise when it hits and I panic to quick to really relax in this state and jolt myself out of it. Perhaps next time this happens, I will try and keep myself calm and see what happens!

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  9. I have this happen to me from time to time. Usually it is the same type of deal. I think the devil is there to take me, even though I dont beleive in god or the devil. It isnt as scary as it used to be as I know what it is know. The worst one happened when I was on the couch. I am not sure if I awoke, or was just about to fall alseep. The first thing I remembered was some one holding a knife to my throat while another person I never saw but could feel was there was going through everything in my house. It was crazy cause I couldn't budge, or make a noise, and could feel the knife on my neck. It felt like this went on forever. I was finally able to move my leg, and snapped out of it. I had no clue what happened and ran around with a bat looking for anything or anyone in the house. I told my friend about a week later, and she told me about sleep paralysis. Since I have only had the devil ones, and it really doesn't freak me out anymore, but damn if it doesn't feel real.

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  10. I have had this happen many times in my life. Early on when I was 4 years old it used to be a nightly occurrence. I would wake up completely frozen but I could stare around the room. There was always a dark presence behind me. (I usually slept on my side) I would be terrified out of my mind, but usually the fear would subside and the evil presence would leave. One time though it finally attacked me clawing at my back and strangling me. I remember the trouble I had breathing more then the clawing now. In my mind I do vividly remember getting clawed across my right cheek just below my ear. I've got no scars on my back but the one on my cheek is still easily visible. I got over it after I had an intervention or exorcism at the church my family attended. Long story short it ended up being a cult and I left that church when I was 25, never been back to a church and probably never will, but after all those years I had about 5 events in quick order. I would wake up terrified and paralyzed with that same dark presence behind me. I reached a point where I promised myself I would fight next time. The next time it happened I fought as hard as I could. I felt like I was buried under a ton of sand, I'm not even positive I moved except for my eyelids, but I flailed away and scream up a storm in my mind. This happened twice. The last time I practically felt no fear. I haven't had an episode since and it has been about a year.

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  11. This happens to me every so often and more often when I was in my early teen years. I initially thought that I was possessed or something because I had no idea what was happening! - why I could open my eyes yet feel paralyzed, but envision that I was in fact trying to move and would successfully do so in my "dream-state" - i.e. I would try to wake up my body and would sit or stand up (perhaps this is the out of body scenario others speak of) but kept heavily falling around on the ground, grabbing the door handle and other things to try and stand up or I would try to lift my hands up towards my face/eyes, which I could open and see the room around me, to see if I could also see them/move around my face (which I couldn't). I never had any feelings of any legitimate evil presence or figure, although there was always this dark, immense heavy feeling which scared me tremendously. After talking to a few friends about it to see if anyone had any similar experiences, one friend suggested I may be lucid dreaming and said that if/when it ever happened again to just go with it instead of trying to wake myself up. Again I would have an immense heavy feeling all over my body, aware that my body was asleep and my subconscious was dreaming but my conscience knew I felt 'stuck', I would try and let it be and continue in this half awake/half dreaming state but I started to see blasts of lights and hear very loud noises which seemed so realistic and again quite scary so I would force myself to wake up (which took a lot of effort) and eventually come to with my heart beating crazy fast. I always wondered what I looked like to others sleeping next to me, since this has certainly happened while staying the night at boyfriends' places.. like if my eyelids were actually open or if I was flailing around as I had felt like I was doing in my dream trying while trying to wake up. haha, but luckily no one has seen me in this interesting sleep state. SP is certainly an odd phenomenon that I think should be studied more for I am curious as to what the brain activity shows while in this state and if in fact that has anything to do with any sort of spiritual or some other dimensional realm..

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  12. I also had similar SP experiences and the funny thing is, I told a very close friend about it yesterday to ask if she has the same or if she knows of others with the same situation or of she knows of this but it was not familiar so today I accidentally read this article even if I have no intention of searching or googling for it...so I think there are no coincidences! The last time I had this experience was a week ago. I can feel that I have woken up, can see my bedroom and the alarm clock by the bed side table to the left (I usually sleep in the left side) and then I saw a dark, shaddowy figure to the bedroom door to the right. It felt like the figure was just standing there and I waited for it to come in the room but it didn't. As with the other commentators, I was gripped in fear and I cannot move, cannot breathe but I can see everything clearly and can see myself sleeping. The "shadowy dark figure" was a first for me. Previous SP experiences are just me, being awoken and feeling helpless that I cannot move my body while I stare at it and panicking the whole time to be awake and control my body.

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  13. Wow.
    Just... wow.
    I had something like this when I was a child. I thought I was the only one, since I never heard anything about this.
    As far as I recall I didn't feel any presence, good or evil, only the panic of being paralysed. Most of the times this happened I couldn't even breathe - i was fully awake, eyes open, but my body didn't move, not even to breathe. I remember the panic vividly (even now I am taking deep breaths just to make sure I can do it). At the time I thought that I was about to die, I thought that it was the body shutting down. I had to make a huge effort to fight it - I concentrated on a limb or even a finger... I just had to move something! And as soon as I did, I was free again.
    I think I haven't experienced this in something like 20 or 25 years.
    Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  14. Hey,
    Thanks for sharing such an amazing and informative post. Really enjoyed reading it. :)

    Apu

    Can you have sleep apnea without snoring

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