The gentle art of not-being

This is an interesting topic I want to try to capture.

I try my hardest to be fully present to my life, to those I love, to being. It is one of the hardest things but it has a feel of being in the presence of the Divine when it is successfully achieved. I imagine it is what grace is supposed to feel like.

However, there are these occasional, very brief, spots in time where I achieve what I have begun to call “not-being”. It is not the opposite of “being present”, so I am struggling with how to define it.

These moments always happen when I am alone, and there is this sense of… not being. Like the world around me has ceased to include me in it.

The first instant (though this whole thing last only a few seconds) there is a panic, the awareness of a disconnect. When I first became aware of these times, it was not pleasant, but that I think (now) was largely due to  how different a feeling it is, there is no comfort in knowing it is love, or anger, hurt or empathy. It was unique to me. The closest I can come to describe it is like sleep paralysis, but without the horror.

When I was a little girl, I had crawled in to bed with my parents one morning before the sun rose. I fell asleep next to my mother and woke up with a start and an inability to move. To say it was terrifying would be true, I was flat on my back, with my head turned to the side. I was facing a window that had bright light coming through… but I distinctly recall that I became aware of a choice that I had. To allow the terror of not being able to move to dominate or to chose to focus on that which was good, a prayer if you will. So, I made an immediate decision to give in to the inability, to gaze out the window that I was facing and look at the beautiful way the sun hit the flowers growing outside. I saw insects flying around, I was hyper aware. The very second I gave in, I experienced that feeling of non-being and it was the most delightful thing that had ever happened to me. Shortly, I began to feel completely filled with love. Wait, it should be Love, with a capital. It was noun-like. It had an otherness.

That is the only time that happened to me, the sleep paralysis. It was transformative. It felt like a gift. So, when people talk about the horrors of sleep-paralysis, I am still usually stunned.

Because that feeling of being an outsider with a chance to look upon the world was one of the most magical things that has ever happened to me, I often wondered if I would ever get to experience it again.

I have not had an experience of sleep paralysis again, but that feeling I had, the one where I gave in… well, it is something I think I have experienced since. These brief moments where I am overcome by that same feeling of Love with disconnect. It has happened when I drive, in the middle of a panic attack, while I am writing, eating breakfast. Usually when I am alone, though not always.

I wonder about it though. There is a part of me that wants to assign it a meaning or a job, a purpose. Maybe, though, I should just enjoy it.

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One thought on “The gentle art of not-being

  1. I have hypnogogia, that sleep/awake state all of my life. I once changed an hollucination of a demon into the Virgin Mary. They can be beautiful and terrorizing. I didn't know you had them

    Like

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