Hypnagogia, The State Between Sleep And Wakefulness, Is Key To Creativity

Untitled-21by Carolyn Gregoire

We all experience the borderlands between sleep and wakefulness. Here’s how to make the most of it….

We’re all familiar with the two basic states of consciousness: sleep and wakefulness. But what about what happens in between those states?

In the borderlands between wakefulness and rest is a strange and fascinating state of consciousness characterized by dream-like visions and strange sensory occurrences. Psychologists call this stage “hypnagogia,” but centuries before they created a term for it, artists were using the hypnagogic state to tap into some of their best ideas.

Surrealist artist Salvador Dali called hypnagogia “the slumber with a key,” and he used it as creative inspiration for many of his imaginative paintings.

“You must resolve the problem of ‘sleeping without sleeping,’ which is the essence of the dialectics of the dream, since it is a repose which walks in equilibrium on the taut and invisible wire which separates sleeping from waking,” Dali wrote in the book 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship.

Mary Shelley, too, said she got the inspiration for Frankenstein from a “waking dream” in the wee hours of the morning, writing, “I saw with eyes shut, but acute mental vision,” according to The Guardian.

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