I have always sleep-walked, from youth, I remember the first incidence of it occuring, I dreamt that two eastern europeans were passing my belongings out of my bedroom window whilst I lay beneath them. Evidently my body engaged and I leapt up. Over the years it has manifested itself in various scenarios, usually easily laughed off by me, often confusing or disconcerting for others. From awakening to find fire-pokers or screw-drivers alongside me in bed, to harassing flat mates on their return from nights out, it seems the random nightmares persist. Some of the mishaps are just hilarious, like smashing bodily out through the side wall of my hut at 3am, and having to pick myself up out of the dirt. Some people are affected by sleep-paralysis – it would appear I have the opposite affliction.
The first truly heavy psychedelic experience I ever had was with a form of Mescaline found in Peyote cactus, and curtailed the incidence of these episodes for several months, due I believe to the fact that in the midst of this particular trip I was exposed to and able to confront and unmask the same sensations of fear and panic of whatever unnamed and inescapable terror had been approaching as during these sleep episodes. Perhaps it is the realisation of Death, or perhaps something less sinister like Time, but by being conscious enough during the process to realise the irrationality of these feelings, I went some way to disregarding them.
“The realisation that this shit is my cross to bear.”
On one occasion I arose and dressed and went to check on food in the oven, as my grandmother looked on in silence, only to actually reawaken in bed the moment the oven door came open, as if teleported back there, and my grandmother not even in the house. Like some kind of lunchtime out of body experience. Often I simply come-to outdoors, having scrambled out there in some form of disoriented escape from whichever rotating, levitating, hallucinatory octopus is inhabiting my room that particular evening. If I’m unlucky there are people around to witness the undignified scene of a confused man in pants knocking tables over and generally trying to escape through a wall or window frame. Speak of demons.
Often there is the accompanying sensation of impending doom, something similar to what a hit of Salvia feels like. Sleeping with a machete by my headboard relieves much of this stress, but of course a life dedicated to violence does nothing for one’s intimate relationships, much less emotional stability. Being on the hair trigger of violence and aggression continuously, for decades, as recourse to survival, affects one’s attitude and outlook. The threshold for what becomes acceptable and even threatening behaviour begins to rise with one’s own resilience, and abuse can begin to creep into one’s relationships if left unchecked, especially when provoked. After being ejected from home at 17 to pursue whatever the fuck it was I had in mind, thankfully the way chose me. Violence and discipline were two things which were instilled in me from a young age, thus something like the effects of soldiering had already developed, like the desensitisation of returning from a warzone starkly unable to readapt to a peacetime existence.
Last night was the first time in my life however, that I have clearly and distinctly heard a voice in my dreams. One which rang clear as a bell, telling me I was going to die. Obvious, perhaps, but disconcerting nonetheless. A dear friend told me that in Greek mythology hearing that you will die in a dream can signify being on the verge of some new revelation… Hopefully that revelation leads me to becoming a better man. Coming to in the midst of this I felt the familiar combination of fear and disgust; relief that it was over, and exasperation that I’d gone outside again. However, despite the voices and demons and random dreamings, still I find solace in the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected golden in trees and silver from seas, I find solace in the flights of birds in the morning and the songs of insects in the clear night, the beauty of life is most visceral in these parts. But most of all I find solace in the embrace of a friend’s handshake and kind words.
“I who have nothing but the comfort of my sins, I who have nothing but the comfort of my friends.”