Your Ego's End is an Honest Start
The ensuing daze of a dream can make the experience hard to recall, just as you wake to regain your ground.
Usually, over time, some of those details emerge. Or at least in a way that you can understand the experience. I believe this process has a functional use. And everyone agrees good sleep and pleasant dreams are a good habit of reaching.
You have probably heard of the term "k-hole". I first heard of it from a NOFX song. Then later came up again by a few different indie bands I was listening to in college. I didn't pay much attention to it—I knew it had something to do with Ketamine. I thought maybe a "k-hole" was just something people were using to disconnect from reality (or avoid it). Maybe like a whip-it. I supposed it depends on how you use it.
I was right
Even though I couldn't have been more wrong about it.
If you're unsure of (or even uncomfortable with) the term, maybe "Ego-death" is an attractive way to look at it instead—though I don't think the two experiences are inclusive to each other.
I think it's a good habit to keep yourself grounded; occasionally it's helpful to let go. Allowing yourself to disassociate, you can see thoughts & themes for what they are—separate from your defenses. Without your bias or beliefs, you can become satisfyingly absent from your anxiety or fears. Away from the uncertainty that keeps you away.
A place where you can see through the dark and see details of your life in a new field of view. A perspective where you can try on new thoughts or ideas or desires—or even see people and relationships for the connections by which they’re made—all the complex paths you've established over your life weave and unfold into space where you can meet them on the bridge that binds two concepts.
Just how abstract those thoughts can be is entirely subjective to your experiences—but it seems to leave you with the awareness there is still a physicality to your thoughts. Almost as though your attention can suddenly exist between the contacts of consciousness and energy that drive their relationship. A tangible connection you can break or tighten.
Especially the case for pain and neglect—it's helpful to see those wounds for what they are—to dig into them and see where they go or where you can follow. By allowing yourself to look at the characters, bodies, and ideas that your subconscious uses to cover these paths, you can pursue beliefs in new ways to see yourself for who you are, and ultimately see yourself in a place where your experiences can guide you. To a place where you can finally rationalize them without relying on the fear or anxiety that you're exhausted from using.
Enough to let them go
Thankfully, sometimes confronting those patterns is enough.
On this day, during my second round of ketamine IV treatment, I had belatedly gotten my intentions to a place where I felt like I could let myself go and finally unground myself.
With my eyes closed, the familiar darkness of the back of my eyelids suddenly appeared much lighter. Suddenly, in that new light, I noticed there was a dimension to it. As I found myself drawn to that depth, I realized that there was a pair of legs in there!
So just like you can look down and kick your legs, I did that to this pair. I was suddenly walking in a busy street I didn't recognize, using a body I wasn't ready to be using—in an atmosphere—and a state where I couldn't perceive as my emotions as my own overwhelmed me. I imagined myself in a foreign country.
I felt let like leaving—but I just wasn't sure how to get out of those legs. I realized I needed to get out of the street. I was near an exit.
There was a door
As quickly as I recognized each form, the experience would change. I was no longer moving at this point—wasn’t going through doors—but I felt unmistakably centered in different rooms or chambers. It progressed like this for a period that I could never wholly recall—despite how lucid and vivid it all felt at that moment.
There were some perceptions about death and my father that I felt comforted by, although didn’t feel like applying to the rest of this experience. But I could understand why someone unaware of the concept of a "k-hole" might feel like they were dying at that moment. I just was just glad that maybe my father got to experience something like this before he let himself go in that hospital bed.
I walked into another room, one I could remember this time. And almost immediately, as the experience kept changing, I felt an uncomfortable, anxious feeling. The familiar and uneasy feeling you got being out of your bed past your bedtime, I thought.
Suddenly, I sensed a presence sitting around a corner. As I approached, I noticed the figures waved outline that I hoped for it to be my wife.
I realized it was a figure of my oldest sister (one who helped care for me when my parents weren’t able), which I suddenly became reluctant to approach. As the picture emerged, I saw the face of my mother. The discomfort escalated until I let out a heavy sigh.
Immediately the walls of the original room disappeared, and the music I was hearing started pulling me further into the ketamine hole.
How long has this been? I felt relief as it released my being. The music was the last thing to go. I could still hear the music my friend had picked out for me. The lyrics were coming through more clearly than the arrangements:
I put the radio on. Hold you tight in my mind / Isn't strange that you're not here with me? / But I'm putting all the lights on in the television / Trying to transmit, can you hear me? / Ground control to Major Tom / Can you hear me all night long? / Ground control to Major Tom
With the remaining fiber left of me, I could reconstruct my voice and said to the RN –
As to let the universe know I was OK as I let go of one last out-breath...
The music no longer made sense.
I separated myself away from the things I'd been anchoring myself. I was no longer visualizing rooms or physical places—or painful feelings—I was somewhere abstract and dark. And comforting.
I couldn't say I lost track of time because there was no time to track.
I saw that darkness morph into a distinctive shape of an animal I recognized as a cat. Similar to the experience earlier, I was hoping to see my new kitten. As the form grew, it turned into a remarkably clear appearance of a black cat. When this cat looked at me, it was simultaneously staring back at me as it was growing larger.
Quickly yet again
I realized that it wasn't a cat at all, but my mind just wanted me to see something!
At I gravitated toward the cat (or it to me) and could see the pupil in its eye stretch from a narrow slit into a full oval—I could see now just the reflection of myself in the lens of his eye. What surprised me the most, however, I could look through that too—where he was looking at what I could recognize as my daughter. Sitting in a dress on the floor in that original room where I last saw my mother. By this time, it didn't surprise me as she too quickly disappeared.
So like before, I felt the rest of the sense of my identity go, and the only thing I was aware of was the lack of time itself.
I no longer felt the discomfort. I just felt the connection to my current state. I let it resonate. For how long, I couldn't say. As it needed to ring.
I started noticing the music again. Just as I saw the music, I felt the pain of my mother's rejection replaced by the love I felt for a child I'm not ready to have.
Again, I felt comfort as the feelings replaced by the love for my 2-year-old son.
An ego gained
As I came back to reality and interacted with my wife and the RN in the room. My passion for Arthur overwhelmed me as I realized the experiences over the last two years were shaping him into the anxiety we're trying to avoid. I didn't mourn for him the way I've lamented my childhood. It satisfied me with the knowledge my present experiences grant me.
Even as I write this, I feel the same vibrations from this hole resonating still with me—I'm capable of correcting my thoughts and patterns and will have a lasting impact on my children. It hurts me that Arthur is living through this volatile period with me, but I think he's a lucky boy. I came out of that experience believing he's going to have an even more fortunate sister. Maybe a Lisa to my Bart.
I suppose I'm making connections now that will bring me to a place where that will all resonate again, and I can't help but feel I will have healed.
I came out of that experience self-intact, and a stronger bond to my present state and future potential than ever. I came out with a few less irrational beliefs.
I came out of that experience with a fantasy I can fulfill. Hope for a good night sleep and pleasant dreams. A good habit for everyone involved.