Memory Expansion

Lately I've been experimenting with a bit of active imagination before my hypnogogia sessions. There are some dreams (well, nightmares) from my childhood I'm trying to get a deeper perspective on using various visualization techniques. I've been phenomenally unsuccessful.

I'm not a novice at this- I've used active imagination techniques on my dreams long before I had a name for it.  If you can learn to get out of your own way and let your unconscious mind break through it can be an amazing tool for any number of creative or problem-solving activities. (I was thrilled to discover that Jung was a big proponent of active imagination.)

So I've been a bit frustrated that I can't make any headway with these dreams. I can't quite explain why I can't. It's almost as if they're locked files.

You constantly hear all this talk about how malleable memory is and how we embellish it to the point of unrecognizability but I don't believe this at all. I think we tend to boil down our memories to essential bullet points and lose all kinds of interesting data that we need. The farther away we get from an event the more we bulletpoint it and discard the deets.

I've been struck by how I treat the most compelling memories of my childhood- again, my nightmares- as litanies and lock them into place. I know I had a lot of good dreams back when I was young but I seem to have flushed most of them.

The lack of plasticity I've discovered as to these nightmares not only leads me to wonder exactly what they are really about, it also leads me to question the agenda of these psychologists who are always telling us how our subconscious minds love to embroider everything. 

Like the headshrinkers I don't trust fully memory either, but for different reasons. I do believe memory has a bias- it has a normality bias. And I think it's constantly dumping information, much more so than adding it. You really have to work at expanding it. 


It's no surprise to me that the psychologists who are always trying to convince us that nothing bad or unusual ever happens to anyone- especially children- always seem to have intelligence connections or connections to, uh, even shadier characters. 

I think there is an entire cottage industry for wonks to shame us out of our unpleasant or unusual memories or at least to keep our mouths shut about them. And these people are sent out there to make everyone feel like an idiot for considering any memory that doesn't fit state approval. 

Of course, there are those who will bring up the old Satanic panics and the rest, but seriously, that was over three decades and grew out of hysteria whipped up largely thanks to Hollywood. So you'd think they'd stop playing that fiddle by now.


Knowing Mike Clelland has tuned me into the fact that there are still a lot of people who claim to have had what are commonly known as alien abduction experiences, people who talk to each other about them long after the culture has moved onto other topics.

I don't know these people so I can't judge the credibility of their own memories but at the same time I find the sleep paralysis excuse to be weak and the hypnogogia explanation to be absurd. If people are still talking about this without any possibility of notoriety or remuneration you do have to wonder what exactly they did experience. 

If nothing else they should be commended for honoring their memories, wherever they actually come from.

The rationalist will say they are all victims of sleep paralysis but sleep paralysis is a symptom, not a cause, one which I find questionable. I don't doubt sleep paralysis exists, I just don't think it does what its proponents claim.

But could it be a medium for these encounters, implanted into the brain through technology that acts on the temporal lobe? After all, why would an advanced race need to do anything as crude as invade your bedroom when they could invade your mind?


Science is forever promising to unlock the secrets of the brain but maybe because it gave up on unlocking the secrets of the mind. Instead we're all being herded into this semiconscious liminal state by technology and the relentless pressures of today. We're being locked into our reptilian brains in which only the shortest of short-term memory is called for.

I think embracing and expanding memory is a radical act in a culture that is forever trying to erase the past. Embracing the wisdom of the dreaming mind is a radical act in a culture forever trying to annihilate the irrational. 

Oh, you don't think so? See what kind of reaction those words get from your Facebook friends.

And by 'radical' I mean getting down to the root, getting to the heart of the problem. It's just a start, just a baby step. But it's a start down a road in avoiding the mass mental breakdown I feel is coming from being trapped in this hideous now, this dreamless, troubled sleep the Post-Modern is trapped within.

Memory and dream were once the very essence of life, back before we became slaves to our technology. I think we were smarter, stronger and wiser then. I think we need to reclaim that discarded essence of life because it's what makes us human. Otherwise we're just robots. 

And inept robots at that.


  1. Even robots dream today, LOL.
    But really, Jake, follow your path. Let go of any mainstream 'explanation' relating to the inner world. You know there is something there, yet feel a gate holding back the next level. If it was so easy, it wouldn't feel rewarding once you 'break on through'. Cheers.

  2. I've been blogging lately about OBE's / astral projection, and my main focus on that right now is what Robert Bruce referred to as "shadow memory recall." When we wake up in the morning, our nonphysical bodies download their memories into our waking consciousness, but since a majority of their experiences are completely incompatible with the conscious mind's interpretation of reality, the memories get highly edited and altered so that what little we can manage to recall is just a second-hand translation; The majority of it gets partitioned and compartmentalized from our normal daily awareness… But the works of Seth / Jane Roberts had talked a bit about how exploring the OBE state can expand our ego's capabilities a bit, allowing us to bring back more accurate interpretations of what goes on at these other levels of consciousness. And I've all but proven that the nonphysical realms we enter during projections of consciousness do have some degree of objective validity - I even managed to influence an ex-girlfriend's dreams one morning by intending to insert my own dream images into hers… But arguing with skeptics about this stuff is completely futile; They won't buy into another person's anecdotal account no matter how amazing it is, and they typically refuse to go to the trouble of even attempting to do any experiments themselves. Seeing beyond the illusions that other men live by can leave one in a rather lonely place...

  3. Wonderful post, Chris. It led me to (how, I'm not sure) look up Eric Ouellet's blog which is entitled "Parasociology." I'd hearted him interviewed about his book and research on Tim Binnal's podcast. He has links to very interesting websites as well. Worth a look in my estimation.

    Mostly I just wanted to say that Robert Moss suggests the subconscious is pretty stubborn when it comes to processing our conscious requests for rememberance or activity we desire to come forth, at least in dreaming. I would think that holds true, maybe more so, within actively imagining. Moss suggests repeated intention until the subconscious gets the message. I usually give up within a week or two of failure, but have had some few, great successes.

    I appreciate so much your understanding of our need for active participation in engaging the "subtle realities" which give meaning to existence as well as creativity when it seems lacking. I do wonder if we are just not aware of those who choose to remain silent. Find myself surprised and delighted by people all the time, but I'm no spring chicken and now I'm finding old friends willing to talk. Why did we have to get old to open up?

  4. I appreciate your understanding for who we are and what we are capable of as opposed to the mechanistic reality we now suffer. Far as I'm concerned we are all shaman of sorts should we choose to embrace the idea.

    Robert Moss suggests the subconscious is so busy throwing away data not needed for survival that it stubbornly resists attempts to reroute to requests for data. He insists one continue to intend for data to be produced, but he too admits that it doesn't always work. I personally give it a try for three weeks before letting go my intentions. In hindsight, what I want isn't always of the greatest importance to my life since I seem to have only had a few great successes when I actually needed help. I'm sure that's of little help as well, however.

  5. I'll return to your comments in a bit but I should mention that I dreamed I was some kind of gathering in a stadium with aluminum stands. I don't know what the occasion was but there were a lot of pale Goths around with dyed black hair. I told my wife I was going back to the car to change my clothes but was accosted by a man with a talking alpaca. He told me that the alpaca knew all about the secrets of creation and I ended up running along beside the alpaca reciting some strange of verse with the refrain "Aye, Aye", which the alpaca and I chanted in unison. I believe I was reciting something about his knowledge of the secret history of the world which alpaca somehow had special insight on. As we ran day turned into night and there was the most breathtaking expanse of starry sky above our heads, with nebulae and supernovas and the whole nine yards. What does it mean? I haven't the slightest clue.

    1. I absolutely swear that I made nearly all of these comments in your post to my psychiatrist this afternoon and before ever reading this! I consider myself fairly normal except for a few situation-al issues -life, debt, etc. It was my usual 2-3 month visit, update meds, etc. Then he asked how I was feeling, but instead of answering, I asked him about the mind! I asked why it was creating such unspeakable horrors, painful thoughts images of water, deluge and just so much pain.
      You wrote: "most compelling memories of my childhood- again, my nightmares- as litanies and lock them into place."
      "Science is forever promising to unlock the secrets of the brain but maybe because it gave up on unlocking the secrets of the mind. Instead we're all being herded into this semiconscious liminal state"
      "It's no surprise to me that the psychologists who are always trying to convince us that nothing bad or unusual ever happens to anyone- especially children-"
      As my doctor was typing in med refills, he honestly answered that he had no response for my question except to say that the mind is part of us, not separate, AND it can be controlled. What a let down answer from a Board certified psychiatrist with a list of letters behind his name! I honestly think he didn't know and the current protocol is to simply medicate?
      Something odd is happening in our thinking. I told my doctor that it seemed to be something new breaking through, something different from than my childhood! -almost exactly as you stated!
      Thank you for this post, if only to know that I'm not the only one recognizing science and medicine's default answers that do not answer.

    2. Chris, I think I know why you dreamt of the alpaca. This is going to sound massively crazy, but yes, they are indeed related to the biggest mystery of this earth.

      "It was believed that alpacas were loaned to humans, to be left on earth for only as long as they were properly cared for and respected.
      According to this legend, alpacas were given as a gift at the mountain Ausangate in Peru. "

      "Ausangate is the home of the Apu, the spirit of the sacred mountain, the most powerful of all nature spirits.

      An Apu is also known as a light being that exists between special mountains. These Apu spirits live in both the middle and upper worlds, and can intercede with the Gods on behalf of humanity."

      Apu Wamani, the Lords of the Mountains
      "Their residences are the highest mountains and puna lakes, which villagers never approach alone.
      The wamanis transform themselves into condors as well as into tall, white, bearded males who dress elaborately in western dress.
      Their palaces, located inside the mountains and lakes, are sumptuously furnished in gold and silver."

      In other words, the alpacas were probably made (or brought to earth?) by our "elusive companions" to help the people of Peru.

      I think genetic engineering may be involved, as it's basically a constant from the Book of Giants to Bacon's New Atlantis.

      Anyway, these elusive people have helped humanity through time. Remember all those stories of tall bearded gods/teachers, from Okinawa to Mexico?

      They appeared from inside this earth (mountains, lakes & seas), but this doesn't necessarily mean they lived there. Maybe it was just a passageway. Who knows.
      I'm using the past tense because I'm quite pessimistic. I think Richard Shaver was onto something, and now only the deros are left.
      (Or maybe some of the good teros are still here, and the reason why Putin is making so many trips underwater is because he's friends with them :P)

      Also, remember what Jacques Vallé said:

      "Suppose you're walking through the desert and you see a stone that looks as though it was painted white. A thousand yards later you see another stone of similar appearance. You stop and consider the matter. Either you can forget it or - if you're like me - you can pick up the stone and move it a few feet. If suddenly a BEARDED character steps out from behind a rock and demands to know why you moved his marker, then you know you've found a control system."

      It makes you wonder who exactly Jacques met with, doesn't it?

      A reader near Venice/Phoenicia,

  6. I'm sorry about the double post. Thought I'd lost the first.

  7. I’ve suffered from sleep paralysis for over 20 years on and off. (Mostly off the last few years, thankfully.) I recall trying to tell a friend about it back in the late 90s before I knew the term "sleep paralysis". She was a psychologist and just kept saying it was a dream. It was quite frustrating trying to articulate the nuances. I felt legitimated when the “sleep paralysis” discourse took off – at least I had a label.

    My SP experiences are quite humdrum compared to some: Literally just the experience of “waking” and paralysis – no visual/auditory “hallucinations”. Still terrifying. I imagine it’s like having a stroke. Sometimes there is a presence trying to overwhelm me.

    One experience stands out from the others. It was my typical SP and I broke it & woke-up. So I was lying in the post SP phase, which is quite distinct. I was awake and I felt a presence flee – like an energy field being sucked out of the room – out of me. My eyes followed the fleeing force – which had the sense of an entity – and rested at the corner of my bedroom where there was a pulsating triangle shape. Seconds later it blinked out and all was normal. I had the sense that I had startled it. That I wasn’t meant to wake-up.

    Was I still dreaming? I didn’t think so. I just put it away in my X-File...

    Your post got me thinking about it. Perhaps I was too quick to embrace the SP label but for me, compared to where I started - total denial of my experience - it was a step forward.

  8. I was thinking just the other day after reading about Jung that it seems that modern psychiatric models like NLP (John C. Lilly's metaprogramming without the sexy powerful bits) seem to relegate the subconscious to being unimportant.

    This, I suppose, is part of a search for scientific legitimacy on the part of the psychology community. "It doesn't fit the model - throw it out" should be some sort of internet meme.

    The trouble, as you've found, is not that the subconscious doesn't exist, but that it seems elusive and difficult to talk to. It seems to talk entirely in riddles and hidden meanings. It's a mystical beast for sure.

    But it also, I suspect, has the key to the next stage in human development hidden within it. You're certainly not wrong in the assumption that working on active imagination techniques is a fuck-you to the left brain oriented models in use today.

  9. Very rich territory here. Of course.
    Not long ago, I read an article about the potentially unreliable aspects of memory, and how an episodic memory is re-written each & every time it's recalled. I was fascinated by it then.
    Upon reading your post, however, I wonder: If anything should be able to recover the overwritten past, I'd think it'd be the brain-mind.

    Then there are dreams and the role they play in memory: The case of what's-his-name who remembered the face of his watch in a dream subsequent to when he couldn't during questioning. Yeah, remembering a dream. I really should keep a journal; I've proven too lazy until now.

    I wonder if intruders in our bedrooms are simply the way many experience the invasion of our minds.

    It seems each technilogical leap has outsourced memory: the written language; catalogues/encyclopedias, calculators/computers, the Internet. Indeed, the transhumanists will not acheive AI in computers but robotic humans.

  10. Hey Chris,

    More excellent work, my friend. I think you're bang on about memory being dumped quite often and it having a normality bias. I've experienced this in my own life countless times. I think synch journals and dream journals are good personal evidence for what you posit in this post. When I look back at my own notes and journals I'm continuously struck by how I've normalised my experiences in my memory. I've dumped tons of oblique strangeness, taken the rough and weird edges off certain experiences and disregarded lots of strange interconnectivity.

    And I'm not a 'normal' person by any stretch. I'm near obsessed with these things. I feel pretty comfortable these days thinking of myself as a Psychic and Intuitive (t'was not always so) - and yet I'm continually underplaying all the weirdness that happens to me and around me. I'm forever 'mainstreaming' my own bizarre experiences. It's only when I look back at actual evidence or records of those events that I realise how powerful this normality bias is, even in someone like me. Part of this is my own inherent humility, I guess. Or maybe insecurity is a better word, if I'm honest. Part of me doesn't want to confuse narcissism with gnosis, and so I distance myself somehow from the more spectacular strangeness that occurs in my life - as if paying too much attention to the money-shots is a distraction. But this isn't always the case. As with anything, its all about nuance and context. But perhaps part of it is social programming or even simple neurochemistry. I don't know. But even when trying to convey spectacular synchs and signs to those close to me I inevitably downplay them, probably for fear or ridicule or not being believed. But I'm not always cognisant of the fact that I'm often doing this very same thing within my own memory and recall and narrative-making. Which is a weird and interesting insight, I think. Anyways, grist for your mill I hope. :)


  11. Update to my prior comment: talked with a friend whose very up to date on current research (in psychology not medicine -psychiatry) she acknowledged my questions about the mind and why it creates such terror. She said that the current research DOES definitely indicate that the MIND TENDS TOWARD NEGATIVITY! (constant struggle between wise mind and emotional mind in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy model)
    Validates our thinking! Also makes me think about the primitiveness that still rises into our modern thinking. She's compiling some resources and I will share here.
    Thanks again. Great article here.

  12. I was somewhat surprised to see the denouncement of the Satanic Abuse / False Memory Syndrome as a thing of the past. Headshinkers like Valerie Sinason regularly pedal their nonsense in the media and continue to ruin lives. We have to face the reality that in 'theraputic' environments the "recovered memory" narratives do not have the veracity of material evidence or expert witness testimony. If anything classifying these narratives as "memory" at all is incorrect. They are, by and large, narratives told by the therapist through the patient. When these surface in the media they are often politically motivated, both as a misdirection technique from real abuse, but also in the medias attempts to create a self-sustaining mythology of distrust of ones own sanity (and ultimate trust in the the media itself as arbiter of reality, rather than democracy, scientific enquiry or non-mediated personal experience).

    Similarly with sleep paralysis - the experience is quite dramatic, strange and intimate. The mythologising around the experience (succubus/alien abduction) is about explaining it through cultural apparatus (magic/technology) rather than one of the mind. The narration of the experience is not the memory itself.

    Nonetheless, I agree about normalcy bias. Most instances of psychic phenomenon are in small every day things and without paying attention to them our memory will override them with the every-day hum-drum. And that's without consciously dismissing it all as coincidence or statistically insignificant.

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  14. I've been crazy busy but I want to respond to your always excellent feedback here. Please watch this space- when I get the chance I will reply to your comments. I'm really pleased this topic- which is kind of hard to codify- touched such a nerve.