Have you ever found yourself floating in infinite space?
This experience of black space (or grey space, or countless dots of light) when you’re asleep is often known as the ‘void’. I call it ‘the gap between dreams’ because this is dream space, there’s just no imagery.
Although some people might initially experience the void as a scary space, if you relax and give it a chance, the void is actually full of creative and meditative potential.
Back in the days when the void was not a common experience for me, I once found myself floating in infinite black space. I hung there for a while wondering if this was an OBE or just a very boring lucid dream, before amusing myself by building up an invisible orchestra, instrument by instrument, to thunderous and realistic effect, despite the fact that the height of my waking-life musical ability amounted to playing ‘Three Blind Mice’ on the recorder when I was seven. The crescendo was so loud that I woke up… to a silent bedroom.
Because in the void, we have nothing familiar to cling to in terms of imagery and spatial sense.
It’s like floating bodiless in nothingness, so at first it feels nothing like regular lucid dreaming. People struggle to wake up and if they can’t, they panic.
Also, a trip to the void can involve disorienting sensations of rocketing along, being tossed around or falling steeply, as in this example of my own from twenty years ago:
I’m dreaming, I realize, and immediately the dreamscape bucks and swirls, tipping me over into a shooting flight, down and down at an incredible speed into a rainbow-colored vortex which seems to be made up of an infinite number of dots. I’m not frightened but it’s all I can do to hold onto my lucidity as I am sucked along into spirals of this color and light… I am propelled out of the bottom of it into a motionless space. I am suspended in space – dream space, I think. There is nothing here, just millions of greyish dots and I am one of the dots… A feeling of great peace comes over me and a sense of gentle, infinite expansion…
However bumpy the ride, once we arrive, we are lucid in this vast space – effortlessly lucid. This is itself a wonderful thing. It can be the most restful, beautiful experience just to hang out in the lucid void, free from physical aches and pains, free from sensory distractions. In the void we are able to just ‘be’ in a way that is almost impossible in the crazy multi-sensory fiesta of dreams and waking life.
Tips for navigating the void
- Relax! Go with the flow. You will wake up safely after this experience, so just see what it brings. Adapting an attitude of alert curiosity is best, and breathing deeply from the belly (if you have a belly, that is – you may feel you are simply disembodied conscious awareness).
- Look around. The blackness is not only black. Look for patches of light, swirling forms, geometric shapes. Explore the fabric of your personal lucid void.
- Experiment with thought. Try thinking hard of something (an apple, a cloud) and see if it materialises. Or try visualising a scene and see if this turns into a lucid dream. But don’t get too attached to outcomes – just play!