Adventures in Consciousness

I’m trying to write this down before it fades away.

Every so often—I can’t detect a pattern—I have a day when the contents of my brain release like a shaken snow globe. For no discernable reason, my normally ordered mind dissolves its compartments, and for most of a day, all contents—past, present, future, unconscious, semi-conscious, sub-conscious, and dream life—swirl like I’m swimming through a pool of everything I’ve ever thought or dreamed. It’s as if the gatekeepers have gone on break or fallen asleep, and my mind is a milkshake of fantasy, altered reality, memory, dream memory, illusion and delusion. As I fall through layers of thoughts, images, feelings, and connections, I’m briefly aware of how weird and yet familiar these episodes are, before being swept deeper into whatever you might call this: insight, lucidity, fluidity, or temporary madness.

It’s not unpleasant. But it is disconcerting. For several hours, or most of a day, I’ll float with the sensation, trying sporadically to pin down what’s real and what’s fantasy. But the artful blend is hard to parse. My mind feels smashed apart, wider, broader, interconnected and reconfigured, as if  it’s Inventory Day in a massively overstuffed warehouse,  six decades of contents suddenly  spilled  on the floor.

 As I try to describe the phenomenon, my logical brain wants to chain down the mayhem, while my dream brain wants to let go. And in the act of writing this, my logical (boring) side is winning out, while my untamed brain goes back into hiding.  A galaxy of new connections and unfettered subconsciousness was rising to the surface, only to be cowed by the stern voice of reason.

Is this what it’s like to lose your mind? Or am I simply reconsolidating?

I’ve always been a vivid dreamer. I dream long, detailed dreams that make sense when I recount them. I have a lot of serial dreams, returning over and over to the same dreamscapes and people, and many repeating dreams, some with only mild variations over decades of repeats.  Dreams I’ve dreamt so often, in conflict with the facts of my life, that I have to consciously talk myself back to “reality” when I awake.   I’m a dream maestro, deriving great pleasure from even the strangest dreams. Especially the strangest dreams.

On days like this, when the  boundaries dissolve and my layers of consciousness mingle, I float through the day like swimming through music. It’s only now, as I apply my logical brain to describing these episodes, that the swirling stops and I’m back in sound mind. Yet I want to go back.

I’ve done my share of psychedelics—LSD, mescaline, mushrooms, and MDMA—but the last time was 1979, before I became a Christian. These current mind trips remind me of past psychedelic adventures, but they’re different: I’m not hallucinating. Someone suggested I might be having flashbacks, but after 40 years , this seems an unlikely explanation.

I indulged my floating brain this afternoon, exercising to music and writing about unrelated things. But as soon as I tried fixing the experience to the page with logic,  my altered state melted like a lingering snowflake.

 I have no idea when it might happen again.

Anyway, I just want to know: Can anyone relate?  Or am I the only one with Snow-globe Syndrome?   

7 replies »

  1. Eloquent as ever. It does sound like a flashback but I never had such trips, only the physical kind. I don’t think they restricted by time…
    Thanks for sharing: letting us into your world.


    • You’re welcome. I was kind of reluctant to post this, but I really DO want to know if other people ever experience this. Thanks for commenting!


  2. Thanks for being vulnerable to your readers! That’s what connects us all. Have you ruled out stress? I find it’s so easy to get stressed out these days. Like the frog in a hot pot of water…swims and swims but doesn’t know when to jump out and finally the heat consumes him. It’s the political season, the Covid crisis, and the long cold winter looming ahead. Perhaps we use our brains to exit out into what pleasures we remember, trying to fit the pieces all together. Stress does crazy things! And sometimes I think we just need to rest, climb into the lap of Jesus and let him hold us in the palm of his hands. My thoughts are going upward for you!


    • Thanks, Jane. I really don’t think it’s stress–I’m not feeling stressed these days, and the episodes have been going on in my life much longer than covid has, or the current politics. But it could be a way for my brain to take a little vacay when it feels the need. Anyways, it’s not unpleasant…just makes me wonder whether it’s something that others experience, too. Thanks for your positive thoughts!


  3. I can very much relate. Somehow I was lead to this site via Facebook. A friend of a friend……quite strange how we arrive places. Synchronicity, signposts, interesting these trails God sends us down. In 2020 I experienced this quite a fair amount. But i dove headfirst into many books. C.S. Lewis, Dallas Willard, George Macdonald, Contemplative prayer, Plato, Andrew Murray and some of the other ancient saints. And scripture of course. Slowly I encountered a peace amongst the chaos. But this space we step in that seems Heavenly. But not really of this World to speak. Where time and space kinda stop, slow down or disappear altogether but I am completely aware and conscious. Like a crisp clarity but not a fog per se. I became a Christian in Atlanta in 1998 in campus ministry. I always kid people and tell people I’ve either done too many psychedelics or just the right amount. Lol. Hard to explain to others. Even those of church. But I think this is a creative space where God meets us. It definitely could be frightening to some I suppose if not grounded in Grace and scripture. Sometimes I wonder if this is what Paul speaks of when “caught up to Heaven.” Perhaps we experience heavenly moments here and now. Meditation, living in present moment guide me here. And this is a space where we can let our creative godly imagination work. I think a lot of artists experience this space in their writing, songs, art, etc. IT is a beautiful thing. I find myself seeing God in an ever-encompassing way. Often times in nature guide me here. Thanks for sharing!


    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Preston! I’d never compare my altered states with Paul’s experience of being caught up to heaven, but it’s great to know others can relate. “Either too much psychedelics or not enough”… I love it!


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