The tip of the iceberg…

Image: mweweringPixabay

It was just nine o’clock… I had potentially nine hours of healing sleep ahead of me and, as I’d been struggling to stay awake all day, I fully intended to use them. I was shivering, so I had, very sensibly, warmed the bed before getting in. I snuggled down in silent darkness and in absolute comfort…

…then couldn’t find a cool patch for my overheating frame.

Eons passed in a blur of tossing, turning and increasing desperation. I finally gave up, picked the discarded bedding back up from the floor and wandered off in search of coffee.

The dog raised her head from the sofa and stared at me accusingly. I had left her curled up on her bed in the hall, but the sofa is always a better place to sleep. Evidently, my inconsiderate appearance had disturbed her rest. But she would condescend to go out anyway, check the foggy night air and let the cold in… for which I was, for once, grateful.

I glanced at the clock. I should probably have done so sooner. Quarter past eleven. I’m seldom even in bed by that time, let alone back out of it…and here I was up, wide awake, shivering and cursing on the doorstep. Again. So much for a good night’s sleep. And so much for the alleged protection of the ‘flu vaccination and the efficacy of migraine pills.

My mind had not stopped all the time I had been in bed. Fair enough, I thought. Let it work… get whatever it is out of its system. I often work best in the silent hours, when my corner of the world is sleeping and the ether is not bristling with the thoughts of others, like static interference on a radio. I would work until the first wave of tiredness brushed the shores of consciousness, then go straight back to bed.

It didn’t work. I gave up and tried reading instead. I gave that up too, my brain capable of nothing useful except making observations on the scenes playing out in there without my volition.

It was weird. The only other time I have felt this disconnected from my own mind is when I have been dosed up on morphine post-surgery. I was no more than a dispassionate observer and it is a strange feeling.

In dreams, for instance, ‘you’ are simply there, within the story. It happens to you. In imagination, lucid dreams or daydreams, you can either be in the story or observe it, but your conscious mind remains in control, directing what happens. In this state, though, I had no control, nor was I ‘in’ it, although ‘I’ was an observable part of the action. The conscious and active mind was in abeyance, yet certain of where it was…and that was not in the scenes that unfolded, although they contained a simulacrum of ‘me’.

I found it a curious experience. The body I usually refer to as me was doing nothing, curled up on the sofa, wide awake, with the dog. The mind I think of as mine was doing its own thing, watching some kind of internal movie. Yet I… some part of me that is neither body nor mind, was watching both… and at a yet deeper level, ‘I’ was watching myself observing myself and marvelling as the layers of consciousness separated out for me to see… and beyond that some part of ‘me’ was nodding as if to say, ‘well, finally…’.

Which was unfair in a way. I had been here before, but I had not really followed the train of thought to a practical conclusion. It is something we explore in the teachings of the Silent Eye and yet, even so, I had not fully realised the implications. If nothing else, it was subjective proof that the unseen exists… even within our own beings.

What I was seeing was a graphic illustration of infinite regress, and of how complex we are as beings… and of how often we seem to live in such a small part of our being. Focus seems to shift to the most immediate level and stay there. If we are cold or hungry, we focus on the consciousness of the body. If we have a problem to solve, the logical mind. Creativity calls upon imagination, while emotion focuses on the heart.

There are so many layers to our being, without even considering going beyond those that science would recognise. How much more could we bring to life, how much more deeply could we experience life, by consciously combining those layers…bringing them to a conjoined and balanced focus?

In the system with which we work, we speak of three centres…emotional, intellectual and physical. That all of these should be brought to a place where they can work together makes perfect sense. Intellect without a heart is cold, emotion without a mind can degenerate into sentimentality. But those are three centres that pertain to a perceivable ‘you’. How much more is buried beneath, or beyond, the surface… and what could we become if we can learn to engage them?

It left me thinking… and still sleepless, but I cannot say it was a wasted night.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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38 Responses to The tip of the iceberg…

  1. The Militant Negro says:

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.


  2. buffalopound says:

    Interesting take on sleeping, or should I say not sleeping. As a watcher I appreciated this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jenanita01 says:

    I hate it when ‘things’ disturb my sleep… it’s the only true peace I get!


  4. willowdot21 says:

    I can really relate to this on too levels, I have been in hospital dosed up for weeks on morphine… Everything was so strange, I often found myself floating above the bed watching myself being treated and even interacting with the nurses. I try to push all that to the back of my mind. I also find myself awake at night being two beings watching layers of my mind unfold..
    Though until reading this post Sue I could not put a reason to it. Thanks to you Sue it is s little clearer now. 🌹💜


  5. ksbeth says:

    that is so interesting –

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds like a highly productive night to me! I’ve been trying to do this in meditation for years, without success. Not that I want to catch flu, of course. I hope you feel better soon!


  7. I hate that half sleep consciousness, though these days it’s taking me ages to drop off, then when I do, the slightest thing has me alert again. I seem to sleep my heaviest, and best, between 6 and 8 am, and Hubby lets me as he knows I have a lot on my mind just now.


  8. So … this isn’t how everyone sleeps? I feel like I’m always sleeping and watching me sleeping while listening for anything unusual with one piece of me up, up on the ceiling … watching everything. I don’t know what it is with the overheated body thing lately, either. Sometime in the middle of these dreams, it’s like I become something of an inferno. Not sweaty or anything. Just HOT. Maybe it is part of the dream sequence.


  9. Eliza Waters says:

    I hear the flu has been finding its way around these days. Hope you’ve recovered, Sue. Nothing worse than needing sleep and not getting it.


  10. Jennie says:

    Yes, how much more is buried within us? I am in the midst of writing children’s observations for school. Besides emotional, physical, intellectual (we call it cognitive), we assess social, and also approaches to learning. And as a teacher, I strive to help children connect all those dots. Because, there is so much buried within.


  11. Widdershins says:

    Sorry to hear the Dreaded Lurgy got you again.

    I like writing in the we small hours for the same reasons, the world is much quieter then.

    When I had my motorcycle accident waaaay back in 1983, I spent a goodly portion of two weeks in a morphine induced state of altered reality. I remember being able to think clearly as to the why’s and wherefore’s (from a spiritual perspective) of the accident. It was as though the drug had shut down all pathways (and distractions) through my brain except one.


  12. I don’t know how you do it, Sue. I am terrible if I don’t get at least 7 hours of sleep. If I can get 8 I will do so.


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