Synesthesia is one of the most fascinating phenomena. In its simplest example, one hears a sound and sees a color associated with that sound. Stevie Wonder has stated that, even though he’s blind, his music is specifically filled with colors he sees in his mind depending on the key and rhythm of the sound: Visual Hearing. In its more sophisticated form, Synesthesia changes the colors of words or numbers in a sequence depending on the context of arrangement. For example, an outline of the number 7 might be perceived as being “seven” and trigger the color blue, but when you look closer — and learn that the 7 is actually made up of many tiny number threes — then the color changes from a 7 trigger color to a 3 trigger color like, say, gold. Some synesthetes can actually taste the colors as they view them.
The form of synesthesia I have is a “metaphoric synesthesia” where two different ideas are metaphorically set against each other to form a new concept. ”Cruel wind” and “Juliet is the sun” and “bitter cold” and “magnificent loser” are all general use examples of a textual, metaphoric, synesthesia.
The greatest example I have written here is likely my — Passionate Mind and Intellectual Heart — article where the two expectations are flipped to create a new, and perhaps greater, reality for living a proper life. It is a thrill to take two separate things and place them together to create a new, dynamic relationship.
I have often written about the magical moment as we fall asleep into the sky and the process we use in finding those twilight moments in our determined, active, lucidity. We must learn to clear the mind so we may sharpen our sensations. We can choose to sleep or we can choose to dream of sleep. Have you ever discovered yourself asleep in a dream while you are sleeping?
As we are finding our natural magic hour, many of us experience the myoclonic jerk — I prefer the word “tick” instead of “jerk” or “sleep start” — where our bodies uninstinctively react to our need for sleep by tensing our muscles — a sort of twitch-response synesthesia. I like to think of that process as a synesthetic repulse against the darkness of the night in anticipation of dying — synesthetically, and metaphorically speaking, of course.
When I am on the edge between awake and not, I don’t jerk or tick. I instead see an extremely bright, blinding light — as if headlights or a spotlight are being shone directly in my eyes. Some believe that bright light indicates a night terror. The overwhelming brightness used to scare me so much that I would twitch awake. Now, I prefer to accept that physiological light-response and embrace it so I may take the next, enviable, step.
I have learned to calm down and accept the piercing light — because it is my body’s process and signal into a sleeping lucidity — and if I am able to control my fear of the blinding light and let it pass, a whole new scene appears before me, and the in situ action dreaming begins and the synesthetic metaphor really comes to life. It’s as if I am opening a door and walking into a room that is already in action without me. If it often disturbing to enter that room and find myself sleeping in a chair.
As the blindness from the light passes, and the synesthesia begins, I find myself writing page after page of ideas in my mind. I am dictating my novels and articles to myself while strolling the new world and speaking with people and re-living previous experiences in slightly different circumstances. Later identifying the dreamscape with the real landmark is oftentimes a mesmerizing delight.
Sometimes, I am able to remember every single word I dreamt, while other times the memory quickly fades upon de-awakening. I have learned to accept the “unable to remember everything” moments as part of the reward for the joy when I am lucidly able to dream in real-time and recall every single word and smell and sound and color and taste that was spokewritten for me by me. It is those early moments in the morning when I know I am truly alive and not dreaming before I wake.