a practical guide to self-induced {trance?, hypnogogia?, daydreaming?} for fun and vibes

A strategy so simple that a friend described it to me in a few sentences, off hand, not intending to provide me instruction. and I went and did it, and it worked anyway.

We were hanging out. She says to me offhand:

yeah I heard some people induce psychedelic states by just laying still at a bit of an angle and not moving for awhile. your body just slowly forgets it exists because it’s not getting any change in sensory input.

She was closer to correct that maybe she knew. i’m not sure i’d directly compare my experiences to drugs, but it’s nice in its own way. And I found it led me quite easily into mental states I’d only incidentally found myself stumbling into before. At any rate, I think it’s fun, so here’s some writing:

Here’s what you do: lay somewhere comfortable. As to the “angle” thing, I like to do this sitting on a couch, in an armchair, anywhere else I can set myself down for awhile without moving. You can also do this just lying flat, you’ll just be more prone to falling asleep.

Put on some music, if you want. Sometimes I like music that has enough going on that I can use it as a mental focal point that is more in my mind than the rest of my body. But that also has little enough going on that it doesn’t dominate my thoughts, that it can fade into the background and become the skybox of the world. Other times I like to just sit with an album, let it become my world, immerse myself in it.

If you’d like, set some sort of indicator for being “done”. For me it’s usually just the end of the album I’m listening to. It could also be a gentle alarm. Nothing startling, nothing loud- just a signifier to remind you of the outside world.

And then you really do just, lay there. And don’t move. If you feel the urge to move anything, don’t do it. This is perhaps the trickiest part.

If you’re particularly physically uncomfortable though, you can move a little bit to do something about it. It’ll bring you out of things a bit, but it’s not a hard-reset. Going in is gradual, falling out is too.

You can close your eyes, if you want. Or you can leave them open. You’ll find quite the lovely patterns on the world around you if you leave them open. You may find a more vivid experience of the inner if you keep them closed. The experience is different depending. Experiment.

If you do need a focal point in your body, focus on your breath.

As you lay there, you’ll feel proprioception begin to dissipate. Your body doesn’t feel as though it’s going numb, you simply, stop perceiving it at all. It’s gradual for me, beginning at my extremities and working towards my core, until I’m nothing but a bit of an orb, not entirely even in a world anymore.

You may also think this sounds a bit dissociative. As someone(s) intimately familiar with many forms of dissociation, the state we find ourselves in from this does not taste distinctly dissociative, in the same fashion that finding we’ve tuned out the sound of a fan doesn’t feel dissociative. But it can be used as a liminal stepping-stone to certain dissociative states, if one so chooses, among many other things one can do with it.

And what you do with this state is up to you. It can be nice to simply exist in it, let your consciousness float off- a strange resting state that isn’t quite sleep but isn’t quite awakeness, a mist of hypnogogia. Nothing wrong with getting a bit dreamy.

It can also be nice to use this as a way to get more in touch with your imagination. Your inner world, if you have one- or if you want to have one but don’t, this is certainly one of myriad ways to begin.

While writing it occurs to me you could perhaps in this state build for yourself a new proprioception, if you want. Let me know how that goes, if you try it.

If you’ve kept your eyes open- we find our latent apophenia makes itself known, patterns tracing themselves along the walls, holographic colors shifting and swirling this way and that, shapes coming forth. You can practice influencing them, practice quite literally changing how you see the world, bit by bit.

And you can even get up and walk around if you’d like. You may snap out of it, or, with a bit of practice and mental trickery, you may not. It can be fun to travel the world, with the veil semi-pierced, the world of fantasy leaking in a bit.

So many options, or do nothing at all. It doesn’t matter really.

. . . . . . . . .

And, to further contextualize a concern you may have: the feeling of trance can feel a bit like sleep to one unfamiliar with it. but it is different. Personally, afterwards, I don’t feel that I’ve slept. Neither do I ever feel my mental state simply cease, the way I do when I doze off. True though, the most liminal of moments I find myself in feels somewhat connected to sleep, in a way I don’t fully understand. Though if you do end up accidentally taking a nap: perhaps you needed it! But! That is what I use the music and other focii for- I can actively focus in on them to keep myself waking, if I feel the call of sleep pulling at me a bit too hard.

Anyways, that’s all I have for you. Nothing complicated, nothing too odd. Just a fun little thing you can try.