I once had a series of strange/scary experiences at the edges of sleep and waking life, which felt connected to death and, perhaps, DMT. I called them my “tunnel dreams.”
The experience usually happened in sleep, after ordinary dreams were over. I would realize I’m laying in bed, with my eyes closed, and feel my head buzzing with electricity. It was a physical sensation of my brain vibrating as if it was a high-voltage electric device.
At the same time, behind my eyelids, I saw a tunnel—something similar to how they portray hyperspace in sci-fi movies, and sometimes similar to the insides of a thunder cloud—through which I could move by applying a certain kind of effort. It had something to do with attention, intent and letting go. I had to either relax, or focus, or somehow do both. It was tricky, and I didn’t always succeed.
The further I went into the tunnel, the more my head buzzed. One night, I gave up because I feared I would have a stroke. Most nights, I was very set on getting as far into the thing as I could.
One time, the tunnel felt like a thunder cloud inside of a snowstorm. Navigating it wasn’t easy, but I was moving, with some resistance, forward and up. Suddenly, an elderly woman in a ski suit (and on skis) jumped out of the storm, grabbed me, and carried me out of the cloud.
I found myself in an apartment.
It was a relaxed party of some sort, with a cast of distinctive characters. A man with long black hair and a sky map tattooed on his arm asked: “What are you, a man without a Zodiac sign, doing here?”
I didn’t know where I was. I started asking. “Who are you?” “What is this place?”
Nobody answered directly, but I pieced it together after a couple of hints. Somebody said, “It used to be that people came here when they were hundreds of yeas old. Now we mostly get people in their 60s and 70s.”
“Are you saying this is where people go when they die?”
“This is the afterlife.”
They acted as if there’s nothing to be frustrated about. You live a life, then you hang out in a place. And it almost made sense—or rather, it was said so matter-of-factly, and friendly enough—that I was about to accept it as truth.
But then I thought of how I got there, and I felt it didn’t add up. I was going, bravely, into the dark, electric, windy unknown, when that lady—who, by the way, felt German or Scandinavian—decided to “save” me and snatched me away.
I thought for a moment, and asked a few follow-ups. I then said, “I don’t think this is it. I don’t think this is where people go when they die. I think this is where people who are scared to find out where we go when we die go when they die.”
I became angry, appalled, and self-righteous. I made a short speech on how unimpressed I was with their choice—and it was a choice, I maintained—to socialize, endlessly, on these soft couches in an apartment in the sky instead of meeting their destiny. What really angered me was that they tried to present this halfway place as the ultimate place. They claimed there was nothing beyond, but they hadn't bothered to find out for themselves.
I think I woke up shortly after. I don’t have my dream journal with me now to check.
I’m on a train.
I thought of this dream recently after meeting somebody in London. They weren’t a bad person, and they weren’t trying to convince me of anything. We didn’t talk about the afterlife, or the meaning of life, or anything of this sort. They just had a vibe like they’d have a good time in that apartment, and there’s nothing bad about that either. In fact, having a good time is better than being a judgmental prick like I was.
It just gives me this feeling. Like saying something empty, or not trying to say something meaningful, or not caring if what you're trying to say carries meaning, or whether there is meaning to be articulated at all.