Oliver Sacks - Bedtime patterns
Type of Spiritual Experience
BackgroundMaybe a vision, maybe synaesthesia - touch/sensation to vision
A description of the experience
Oliver Sacks – Hallucinations
In 1992 I received a letter from Robert Utter, an Australian man who had heard me speak …on television. He wrote
“you described how some migraine sufferers see elaborate patterns before their eyes ..and speculated that they might be a manifestation of some deep pattern-generating function in the brain…. This reminds me of the experience I routinely have upon going to bed.
This usually occurs at the moment when my head hits the pillow at night; my eyes close and ….I see imagery. I do not mean pictures; more usually they are patterns or textures, such as repeated shapes, or shadows of shapes, or an item from an image, such as grass from a landscape or wood grain, wavelets or raindrops . . . transformed in the most extraordinary ways at a great speed.
Shapes are replicated, multiplied, reversed in negative, etc. Colour is added, tinted, subtracted. Textures are the most fascinating; grass becomes fur becomes hair follicles becomes waving, dancing lines of light, and a hundred other variations and all the subtle gradients between them that my words are too coarse to describe.
These images and their subsequent changes appear and fade without my control. The experience is fugitive, sometimes lasting a few seconds, sometimes minutes. I cannot predict their appearance. They appear to take place not in my eye, but in some dimension of space before me. The strength of the imagery varies from barely perceptible to vivid, like a dream image. But unlike dreams, there are absolutely no emotional overtones.
Though they are fascinating, I do not feel moved by them. . . . The whole experience seems to be devoid of meaning.