I dreamt about a different world yesterday. With a different physics. And biology. To move from one point to another, for example, the space in my dream world would explode into a billion splinters and reassemble to put you at your destination.
None of this is particularly important or new. But what is is the fact that even if I tried, my imagination would never create something like this consciously. And I have a very active imagination.
The conscious brain forever copies and steals and gets inspired by the world around me - by the stuff I consume. My subconscious brain though, sometimes reaches a realm of self computation where it starts building unimaginable realities. I wonder if this is the same experience that some hallucinogens induce.
My experience with meditation
I am not an expert meditator. In fact I rarely meditate. When I do, I practice mindfulness meditation which asks one to “observe” the present moment or the passing thought without judgement. And so, I sit down and close my eyes and start watching the thoughts go by. One, after another, after another….
Once in a while though, a strange phenomenon happens. I become aware of myself observing the stream of thoughts - somewhat like a doppelgänger.
As I continue meditating, these “personalities” keep multiplying till infinity and I reach the following state.
Each “me” is observing another “me” observing another “me” observing another till infinity. The sensation is akin to how one might feel when standing between mirrors.
Inception by Christopher Nolan
What’s even more wonderful and mind-boggling is that throughout this state, there is also an “outsider me” who is “observing” all the others from a distance.
All of this happens in a matter of a split second. I can hold this state for a maximum of a few seconds before I freak out and break the meditation. The outsider me, I think, is the real me. It is the one writing this post, for example.
This is not trance. Perhaps the exact opposite of it. I like to think of it as an elevated state of consciousness. See also this paper for a more scientific discourse on Altered states of consciousness (ASC).
The point of all this is to say that the brain has a mind of its own.
Relativity by M.C. Escher