Swimming Up From the Abyss


I reach Rem sleep probably every night, or maybe I don’t and I never do and that’s why I can remember large portions of my dreams. It’s possible I have no idea what I’m talking about, but my mind has to come back from such a deep down place when I awaken that it feels disorienting, much the way being awakened from REM sleep is described.

In the morning, I wake up to my alarm, which is a peaceful waking melody that starts lightly and gets more intense as it plays. Kind of like one of those dawn simulating light alarms for your ears.

Every morning, it starts playing and then I imagine that I’m hearing a song in my dream and then as my need to discern the song intensifies, the dream begins to dissolve. This is the point where I start the swim back up. It feels like diving down deep from a considerable height and then getting my bearings and swimming as hard as I can back up to the surface. That sound is at the surface. Only when I break the surface do I realize what the song is.

I hate to invoke an Inception comparison, but it feels a lot like when they play songs to awaken themselves out of their sleep. It’s so strange that a movie can be so real to life in this small aspect. The actions and stories of my dreams are playing out in a world under the ocean floor, and when the music plays, it is as if I am hearing it through leagues of water. It echoes. Struggling to swim back up to the top from the place under the ocean floor, where my dream world is playing out, feels like going through a wormhole from one reality to another.

I know this is not my usual type of post, but the main purpose of this blog is to create a capsule for things I want to remember and analyze. This phenomenon is definitely of note.

As long as I can remember, I have been afraid of deep water. And yet… deep water also feels like calm and stillness to me. I guess there is literal deep water, which I am afraid of, and figurative deep water, which I embrace. Sometimes sleep feels like deep water in this way. I long for it, rush into it, it overtakes me.

Other times, I’m down deeper, in a place of complete silence where even the commotion of my dreams cannot penetrate the void. The water is dense and it holds me as a soft blanket would. Sometimes, when I think about what that darkness means, it feels like it has to be death, but not the death we’re all so afraid of. There is no existential dread here. Quite the opposite.

There’s such a peace in this dream state and the silence gives me this feeling of being infinite. Only I’m not in my mind thinking about the comparison between my finite self and the feeling of being infinite that I’m having. It’s just infinity, and I am a part of it. To some that may not sound like a fair trade, life for infinite silence, but I guess that would subjectively depend on how attached you are to sound and whether or not it became noise most of the time.

Before you call some kind of suicide hotline on me, please don’t be concerned. I can’t judge the thoughts, they’re just what they are. That’s just the nature of subconscious imagery. I like to explore it uncritically, merely observing, so that I may learn how this is part of me.

After the crash to the surface, stopping the melody of my alarm, showering, and all the morning busy things, I ran out to my car and left the house where my ocean resides entirely. It stormed monsoon style as I drove to work with the imagery of deepest ocean and the feeling of swimming up from the abyss still fresh in my mind. The rain pouring down over the car helped preserve it so it didn’t disintegrate and get lost in the trivialities of the morning. It was nice to be able to hold on to it for a little while longer so I could analyze it and write this post today.

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