Beyond Perception

Áron Antal

I went to the bath at 7:40 pm. The warm water filled one third of the tub. I submerged my body in the warmth and washed my body. It was time to wash my hair. I applied shampoo, washed it down, but felt a warm sensation and an urge to remain submerged. The only thing I could hear was the changing of the rhythm of my heartbeat according to my breathing. Inhaling; heart beats faster. Exhaling; heart beats slower. My head was about at the middle of the tub, hands folded behind my head, my feet up on the wall. I was lying in that position as my head sank in the water that was just high enough to keep only my nose above it. Then I lost my perception of my body. It felt like I was in the womb of my mother. Then I lost my perception of time. It felt like a make-believe concept, and I existed in a realm of timelessness. I was aware of what was happening, but I couldn’t do anything. Then thoughts rushed through my mind, many nonsensical thoughts, disjoint and unintelligible. This happens every time before I fall asleep. Yet I didn’t fall asleep. I existed between two concepts; I wasn’t quite sleeping, but I wasn’t quite awake. Then I encountered myself.

– Hello! – I said with doubtful confidence.

– Hi there! – I replied.

– Are you my subconscious? – I asked.

– I am.

I noticed that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t think or even say a word in Hungarian, my native language, no matter how hard I tried. I have been learning English for twelve years, and had many dreams where I spoke it, but I never sensed that Hungarian could feel so remote from me.

I wanted to see if I was having some deep thought process, or if I was really “face to face” with my subconscious.

– Prove it! – I said. – Show me a memory that only I can know, a memory that is so important that my consciousness couldn’t recall it.

I saw my perspective when we moved to our newly built house in 2007, with me sitting in the kitchen gazing out the window. I was two years old at that time, and from around this age I only had two memories of our old house; all the memories I could recall were after the birth of my sister.

– Show me my desire!

I saw an image of a primary school classmate of mine, who I have been talking to on the bus for a month now only on Mondays, but I have came to the conclusion that I like her and probably she likes me too although we weren’t close before, and now we have had about six twenty- to thirty-minute conversations since our coming together. I couldn’t admit to myself that I liked her, but deep down I knew I did.

Then I saw an image of my grandpa’s motorcycle in the garage, a four-year project I couldn’t finish because of school and other activities of mine.

– Can I access my full brain capacity?

My subconscious stood in silence, or so I recall. This response could be interpreted in two ways: that my subconscious didn’t know the answer to this question, or that it refused to answer me.

Then I had some conversation with my subconscious, conversation that I cannot recall, but I felt that my subconscious was superior to me.

I have since then come to the logical conclusion that I was talking to myself in a matter that one would talk to themself if they had a perfect copy standing right in front of them. I “stood” in silence.

I noticed a strong sensation in my body, as if my blood were flowing through my veins and arteries like a rushing river. It felt good. I had zero perception of the outside world, and my body felt alien. I felt that I could perceive my surroundings from a higher position relative to the theoretical position of my physical body. I felt that I was floating above me.

– Can my soul leave my body? – I asked my subconscious.

– No, not yet.

I could feel my soul “reemerge” with my body. Now the only thing I could feel was a strong sensation right in the middle of my forehead, in a spot that was approximately equidistant from my eyes, forming a triangle.

I was in a realm where the absence of thoughts enabled thoughts to be formed. It was thinking without thoughts. The only conversation I can remember was some existential questions I proposed to my subconscious, questions that I cannot recall. It was comfortable. The whole experience was. I heard heavy footsteps approaching, but that was the only thing I perceived from the outside world. Then as the footsteps became louder and louder, I could feel my heartbeat again, the rushing rivers in my veins were reduced to mere springs, and the sensation on my forehead was gone, my subconscious faded away as, triggered by an external stimulus, my consciousness began taking control over my body.

My father grabbed my shoulders and asked:

– Are you alright? It’s been 40 minutes since you entered the tub!

– I am alright, I guess.

I told my parents what I had experienced, and they could barely believe it. Still as I’m writing down these words two hours after this self induced ultra-meditative state I was in for about thirty minutes, I can barely explain and comprehend what went on in my mind. I have never felt so mentally relaxed and calmed before, and I can still barely believe what had just happened and understand how it happened.

I have always had a special way of thinking, perceiving, experiencing and recollecting, but this event was beyond anything that happened to me. It was bizarre, but felt calming.