Faces That Pass By in My Mind as I Close My Eyes to Sleep

I see faces pass by in my mind as I close my eyes to sleep … it’s a black and white slide show of people whom I’ve never seen before. Some are hideous and some are beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the same two faces, men and woman and beasts. People who

look modern and people who look ancient and people from the future, people who belong to a different time. I see the very old and the very young and the in-betweens. They don’t haunt me and they don’t frighten me. I see them just as they are and I let them exist. Sometimes the faces change expressions and sometimes they turn into another face. I am awake, not yet asleep. Sometimes I open my eyes and shut them again. They’re only in my head, not in my room. They pass by quickly and morph from one face to the next face to the next. Maybe I will see 20-40 faces before I fall asleep or before my mind wanders on to something else and the faces disappear.

Even though I am just watching and have no attachment to these faces, I do get a slight and brief feeling of sadness when I see a grim face, happy when I see a smile, horror when I see a grotesque face. But these emotions pass by quickly because the faces change quickly … no more than a second or a half a second for each face.  It’s like I’m watching t.v. – I know it isn’t real, they are just the faces that pass by in my mind as I lay my head to sleep.

This started happening a few years ago. I don’t really remember, I can’t say I was paying too much attention. I was just trying to go to sleep. (I’m a bit of an insomniac some nights.) And then I started to think about more about the faces. Why was I seeing them at all?

I wonder sometimes if they are real people living right now somewhere on the planet. If that smile or that look of despair or that terrified face is actually happening somewhere right now and it’s being teleported into my brain. I wonder if they were real people or if I have seen these people before and don’t remember. I wonder sometimes if I was an artist, if this wouldn’t be a great opportunity for to draw inspiration. But I don’t remember the faces for long anyway.

The Moon - Carlsbad, CA

The Moon - Oceanside, CA

Sometimes I don’t see faces at all. I just close my eyes and wait until I fall asleep.

Sometimes I chant myself to sleep.

Rarely, but it does happen, I see landscapes instead of the faces. This is more fun because, unlike the faces, they are usually in color. Sunsets and oceans and trees and mountains. But it only happens for a tenth of a second and then it’s gone. I wonder, too – are these real landscapes in some far away land? I know I haven’t been to any of these landscapes, but maybe I will one day. Or maybe it was in a past life of vagabonding that I did see these picturesque visions.

I don’t know that I believe I had a past life. Maybe. It might explain why this life seems like the wrong one, more like I was placed on a planet that I don’t belong on, in a time I don’t belong. But I know that’s not true because the world is a perfect place just as it is and that includes me being in it and you too and all the rest.

Pacific Ocean

Sunset Over the Pacific

Yet we take it for granted, rarely even looking up at the beautiful painting in the sky, crafted especially for us to enjoy. Every day, different designs are chosen, changing color and form. From the time the sun rises in all its pink and bright yellow glory through the mid day blue skies of pluming clouds rolling past and over each other all the way to the end where any number of colorful events occur – silver, gold, bronze, pinks and purples and blues — they make the sunset sparkle and slowly fade. And then at last of course we get to see the night scene, filled with diamond specs and a looming moon.

And every day it’s different! Everyday it’s something new!

But even in perfection, the world is a terrible lonely place sometimes. And such a work in progress, make no mistake about it. But it has potential, it’s continually progressing, even though it probably doesn’t feel like it to you in this day, in this age.

Our lives are more like ocean waves … beginning with a force of gravity and h2O and some other elements that a scientist named and then slowly forming into a larger, stronger being that usually steps in line with the others. Maybe sometimes something different happens — the wave dies early, takes another direction, goes off on its own. But in the end, all the waves eventually land back at shore and dissolve back into the ocean. Just as we someday will dissolve back into the giant vastness of the universe, the arms of God.

ARISE and AWAKEN, for it is this life that is the dream.

One time I awoke from a dream, a bad dream in which I seemed to be frozen and then I broke free (this is technically called “sleep paralysis, a frightening thing as you can well imagine). I may have still been dreaming, but I thought I was awake. Anyway, what I saw, in my bedroom (after I broke free from my bad dream) was the most brilliant display of stars, bright shining stars and spinning in a way that, well, the way they were spinning just made sense. I believe I was awake, but it’s hard to say for sure. It made me so happy. I remember smiling and thinking I didn’t want this great spectacle to ever end. I remember thinking that I am just a part of those stars and that I was given a glimpse into some very special and small opening to see what it’s like. Unlike the faces and the landscapes I sometimes see before I fall asleep, this lasted for what seemed like five minutes, maybe even ten. But maybe it was only 30 seconds. It was time enough for me to take it all in and remain in awe for quite some time after.

The scientific name for seeing faces and landscapes and stars before you fall asleep is “Hypnagogic Hallucinations”. And before you ask, I don’t do drugs and I rarely drink and I’m not on any type of prescription medication.

I have lots of other weird things that happen in my sleep that have scientific names.

Lucid Dreams

S l e e p    P a r a l y s i s

Night Terrors

(Yes, that’s a thing. Google it.)

It’s all just things going on in my brain and perhaps a scientist can put a label on it and he can hook up a machine to monitor my eye movement or my brain activity or even see what changes are happening in my brain during my hallucinations or dreams or whatever they are. These strange things are not so uncommon.

And a scientist can tell me that it is because this or that is occurring in the brain and give explanations for every turn in my brain. But the scientist can’t explain why I see faces and not cars. Why I see a particular face instead of another. Or even if they are actually real people living on the planet, which is unlikely, but you never know. Because there is so much we don’t know. We don’t know jack shit in reality.

Ah, reality. What is that? The world is simply full of zombies called you and me.

earth and sky upside down

Earth and Sky


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