May 18th, 2005


Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Part I

I hit the wall.

I was suddenly flat against it, nowhere to go, pushed beyond my normal awareness by an unseen hand.

Painfully, I felt myself pressed into the wall, my bones pinching my skin, my face distorted, my eyes being forced shut.

Here was the wall of sleep.

And here was my choice.

I could give in, stop my struggles against the wall I had hit. I could let my eyes shut, feel my body go limp against the wall. I could drop all resistance.

Or I could look to the place beyond it.

There is no backing away from the wall when you finally hit it. It bears you down, smothers you and holds you.

But you can use its strength, as well. You can propell yourself through to the other side. Beyond the wall.

And I made that choice.

I pushed through.

The wall fell away, breaking into pieces of brick and mortar. As the sleep exhaustion fell away, I stepped through into a new level of consciousness. I found a sudden sharpness of mind that was new and yet familiar.

The world beyond this wall is sharp and clear, never lacking in perception. It feels like a dream, and yet it has an amazing reality about it.

Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Part II

I've found that the Wall of Sleep is a definite point in my consciousness, one that moves further away on either side. It's as if I have three Walls:

One is at the beginning, where there is no exhaustion and no sleep. That Wall is where we start, the Wall of Birth, and most of us spend the majority of our lives between this Wall and the Wall of Sleep. You can approach it through exercise and newness of experience, but I doubt we can ever actually reach it. Approaching this Wall brings you into contact with feelings of childlike wonder, giddiness, and joy. Hovering near this Wall are characters like Peter Pan and sacred fools.

Approaching this Wall holds some fascination for us. We know what is near this Wall: A less complicated time, a place where wonder and life were new and interesting. Longings for childhood or "the best years of your life" are symptoms of looking at this wall. We look at people who are closer to this Wall than we are, and they seem full of life and love and happiness. Little do we know that they look at others who are closer to the Wall of Birth with just as much envy as we do them.

Initiatory experiences can bring one into contact with this Wall, but they're more likely to push you against the second or third Walls.

At this time, I'm not sure what would happen if you broke through this Wall.

Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Part III

The second Wall is in the middle, the Wall of Sleep. When we reach this Wall, we either break through or crash into it. If we run at it at our full speed, we're most likely to crash and burn by falling into a deep sleep of exhaustion. The effects of hitting this Wall occasionally aren't permanent: everyone reaches it at some point, and people often push through it without really being able to articulate what they have just done. Hitting the Wall constantly, though, is generally unhealthy. As you pound yourself against it over and over again, you find yourself never quite backing away, and when you do, you realize that you've simply given your approach more time to accellerate. People who have seen the other side, where vision is clear, choices seem easy, and reality is remarkably uncomplicated, often seek to get to the other side of the Wall. It's an attractive place, but humans aren't meant to live there. The longer you are there, the closer you get to the third Wall. Mystics and prophets spend much of their lives beyond this wall.

The third wall is at the end. This is the wall that no one is meant to touch. This wall is the Wall of Death, and to be crushed against it brings hopelessness, fear, loss, and anger. One can reach it without dying, but one cannot pass it and live. Those who have gone beyond and returned are not living the same life they were. Think Christ, whose ressurection transcended this wall, or Mohammed, who's ascention into heaven is not a death, but a movement beyond life. Those who go beyond the Wall of Death are no longer recognizable as human, but are seen as divine.

The time you spend between the Walls of Sleep and Death is inverse to the distance between them. The longer you are beyond Sleep, the closer Death looms. Spending time between Birth and Sleep will pull Death back, but at a slower rate than you draw it to you. I'm tempted to believe that the longer you spend close to Birth, the further the Walls of Sleep and Death get, but I imgaine that all these Walls march closer, with only Birth remaining forever where it began.