This is the most important chapter in the book, and the one in which we will solve your sleep problem. This is where we will create the Transition Trek. Why a trek? Several reasons. First, sleep needs to be defined as a place, which it frequently has been in ancient and modern traditions. We also know that we have difficulty getting there. That is what we call insomnia, failure to arrive in Slumberland. Getting there then has to involve travel of our psychic body to an imagined place where sleep will occur. Second, we need sleep-friendly activities that we can remember, and the human mind remembers nothing as well as it remembers locations. Memorization techniques used today by professional rememberers involve something called a Memory Palace to facilitate recalling large amounts of data. The concept of the Memory Palace goes back to Simonides of Ceos, a Greek lyric poet who flourished around 600 BC, and probably is an outgrowth of the thousands of years of oral traditions before the invention of writing. The technique employs connected spacial locations as repositories for remembering items that are otherwise loosely connected and difficult to remember. I developed the Transition Trek based on the Memory Palace and specifically set it in a fictional location that I developed over some months. I tried other configurations, but nothing seemed to work as well as this one, which I have used for over a year now, every night, multiple times.
Signs that You Have Entered Hypnagogia
After you have closed your eyes and started sleep breathing, you will experience some things that indicate you have entered hypnagogia. You have experienced them many times, perhaps even every night, but probably have not realized that they are favorable indications that you are on your way to sleep. The first was mentioned before: you become more aware of body irritants: you notice an itch, can’t find a comfortable position, your nose whistles when you breathe, etc. Second, the images of the Transition Trek will become more vivid. This can be rather startling, although it should be comforting since it is proof the trek is working. Third, you may find that you have become more alert. This feels really strange and you may believe that you have come back out of hypnagogia, but you haven’t. It is your intellect fully recognizing your psychic body instead of your physical body and becoming fully invested in the psychic world. It is also an indication that deafferentation is taking over. Fourth, you start losing control of your thoughts and veer off the Transition Trek. When you realize this is happening, don’t become concerned. Again, it is good news. You are entering the latter stages of hypnagogia. Gently bring yourself back to the Transition Trek and proceed from where you last remember being. Fifth, you may start seeing fleeting images, some very strange, possibly accompanied by voices that have nothing to do with you or your trek. These are hypnagogic content you should not follow. They will rapidly disappear, and you can continue with the trek. Sixth, you may see bits of dreams, which appear as short sequences of images and voices that are associated with you but quickly dissipate. Take note of them but let them fade, as they certainly will. Seventh, by this time you are at the very edge of sleep, at the event horizon so to speak, and you will lose all control and be sucked into Slumberland.
The temptation is to equate this description of the hypnagogia experience with the seven EEG frequency stages of Figure 2-3. I suspect at least a partial correlation, but scientific research in this area is badly needed to confirm any such relationship.
The Psychic Location
To develop the Transition Trek technique, you first need an imaginary location, an area of the world, as a foundation for traversing hypnagogia. You can create your own if you wish, but let me set up one so you will understand exactly how to do it. We create our location using our imagination just as we would if we were creating a scene for a novel or a movie. You will return to this psychic location every time you wish to go to sleep. You imagine some pleasant place and then create a path through it, our Transition Trek, along which you will walk every time. You will convert the words I provide into images and other senses to center your psychic body in that world.
Here is the imaginary beach scene I will use for the start of the Transition Trek: The sun is just about to sink into the ocean to the west. Its rays set a golden glow to the waves as they gently lap the shoreline. The remote beach is at the edge of a forest with rolling hills and a lake farther inland. On the other side of the lake, we have a cliff with a path leading up to a large meadow, and beyond it more forest and a cave into a hillside where we will go to sleep.
Here is how we go about setting up our imaginary Transition Trek through hypnagogia. The trek I will create for you will be totally fictitious and from an earlier historical time with no electronic devices or powered vehicles. That is right; you have to give up your iPhone and Segway in the psychic world to get to sleep. This is not a long journey, and I recommend identifying seven major locations along the way since EEG research has indicated sleep onset has nine stages, the first of which is being fully awake and the last being fully asleep. That leaves seven that are actually a part of hypnagogia, and I’ll create locations in the form of images along the path. We have little information on each psychic experience relative to each EEG stage. The one thing we do know is that at each stage we can experience images and to a lesser extent the other four senses. Occupying your mind with a continuous stream of images with a smattering of the other four senses is the key to getting to sleep.
We should take a moment to discuss the sources of images that appear in the mind’s eye. First of all, we can resurrect images that have their origin in light entering our eyes from the outside world. These images reside in memory and become the predominate form of remembering, possibly even the foundation for all recollection. See Figure 4-1.
Figure 4-1 Image Sources
Second, we have images that are evoked by the words we hear or read. When someone tells us of a place they have seen, we build our own mental image of it from their descriptive words, whether they come in the form of direct dialogue or from words on a page. We use the imagination as prompted by the words to generate the images. This relies on memory of similar things we have seen but also includes new details generated from imaginative material. They are hybrids. Third, we can generate purely original images from our imagination, inventing them out of whole cloth, as the saying goes. Fourth, images can come to us out of nowhere. They are alien to our consciousness and do not even appear to be sent to us by our own imagination. We experience, or are at least aware of, these images primarily in a hypnagogic state, and they, as mentioned in a previous quote, can be “more vivid than nature.”
Our Transition Trek will be built in your memory by use of the second source, words on the page that evoke images. Of course, it would be better for you to have generated the words describing the Transition Trek since this would push your awareness further into the imaginative mechanism that resides deep within your own psyche. However, for illustration purposes and to get you started with the method, I will generate the Transition Trek for you. Perhaps later you will be able to generate one and then operate purely from your own psychic material as I do.
As already mentioned, you need seven locations for your Trek, all taken from the psychic location created above. At first, you will be leaving a place where you imagine having been for some time. The second will be a location and activity that furthers your psychic fatigue, a hill you must climb. The third, a lake you must swim. The fourth, a path up the cliff at the edge of the lake. The fifth, traversing the meadow at the top of the cliff. The sixth, arrival at your destination and having dinner. The seventh occurs when you get into bed. What I designate as nine individual scenes should bleed into each other and become one continuous action.
After the first Transition Trek, I provide three more for those who find the first does not fit their needs. I have used all of them but have the most experience with the first. They all fit the nine-part format.
What we have done so far, i.e., setting up the seven locations of the Transition Trek, is only the thin storyline you will be using to get into Slumberland. We need to flesh it out to make it as real as possible. To do that, we create a narration that will provide the words to evoke the psychic senses as you walk along. This isn’t a tome the size of a Stephen King novel, but a short story-like narrative readable in five to ten minutes, the normal timespan of hypnagogia. The narration is written in first-person, i.e., you are performing the action. You are the character in your narration of the Transition Trek. Concentrate on the images and other senses this narrative evokes because the residual psychic senses are all you take to bed with you, not the words. You should read through it several times before you actually use it. Your mind will conjure many more details than the literal words describe. Remember that the trek should be pleasant but not exciting. You should become accepting, patient, calm.
In Scene One, you have just closed your eyes. Envision something pleasant that happened to you during the day. Don’t choose the most dramatic event but something personal that had nothing to do with anyone else. This is your last contact with the real world. Remember, the words are not important, just the images and other four senses that help you experience that psychic world of the imagination, along with, of course, the actions you perform. Focus on them religiously. The correct pace for imagining the trek is slow, pausing at times to visualize your surroundings if you think you are going too fast. Stretching it out to gain more time is certainly acceptable.
So here it is. This is what you have been waiting for.
Transition Trek — Coastal
Scene One: (Last fully awake thoughts.) I close my eyes and remember the bowl of strawberries and vanilla ice cream I had after dinner tonight, the firm fruit bursting with flavor with each bite. [At this point, consciously start sleep breathing.]
Scene Two: (First hypnagogic thoughts and images.) I’m in a small boat rowing ashore with the sun heading toward the horizon. Its rays set a golden glow to the waves as they gently lap the shoreline. Off in the distance, I see the sailing ship I just left behind moving out to sea. My arms are tired from rowing as the bow of my little boat slides over the sand and onto shore. I get out and pull the boat farther onto the sand, hear the lapping waves, and feeling the cool breeze on my face. I get splashed by a wave and taste salt water on my lips. I walk away from shore into soft sand that quickly becomes firm soil as I enter the forest and smell pine needles. I have thoughts of finally coming home and look forward to a tasty dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Scene Three: The terrain quickly becomes difficult to traverse as I start up the rocky mountainside. I hear an owl off in the distance and the fluttering sparrows in the trees as they bed down. When I round the top of the mountain, off in the distance I see the sun as it slices into the horizon. I see two deer, a doe with a faun, as they disappear into the brush. At the foot of the hill, a long, narrow lake spreads out before me. I descend the mountain using the switchback trail to slow my downward pace.
Scene Four: At the shore of the lake, I strip off my clothes, slide them into a waterproof pack and wade out into the cool water. I’ve swum this lake practically every day since I was a child. I remember the endless hours of fishing its waters. The swim is effortless, and I feel cleansed as I reach the far bank. I retrieve my clothes, dry myself and put them on, feeling cool and refreshed.
Scene Five: Just up from the bank, a dark cliff looms over the shore. A narrow ledge used for generations provides a path from the bottom to the top. I use my left hand against the rough rocks to steady myself as I climb up and feel my legs gradually tire. I see the lake descending below and hear fish flopping against its surface.
Scene Six: At the top of the cliff, I see a meadow spread out before me in the failing light. Overhead the stars of constellations become visible one by one. The tall grass swishes against my pant legs as I step through it. I smell wildflowers and honeysuckle blossoms. Two cottontail rabbits scurry across my path, and a nighthawk skims the grass tops as it soars past. I hear the bark of a dog as I reenter the forest and see the light of a campfire through trees. Home.
Scene Seven: I enter a quiet cave using the light from the coals of the campfire. Two dogs come to sniff me and be petted before they return to their resting places. I smell roast meat, gravy and yeasty bread in the covered pots beside the fire. I sit down on a warm stone and eat my dinner and enjoy a cup of red wine.
Scene Eight: I take one last look out the front of the cave at the stars sparkling in the heavens. I walk off from the heat of the fire to my bed. I pull off my clothes and slide between soft animal hides. I realize how really tired I am as I feel wispy dreams overcome me and I drift off.
Scene Nine: Sleep — oblivion.
You should use this scenario — locations and narrative — as your own at least initially since it has been developed specifically for this task. It is already imbedded in your memory. Just read the description a few more times to fix it even more firmly. You can even paraphrase my narrative. Not only that, you don’t have to get the narrative right. This is not an audition for your next big movie, not even if you are Brad Pitt or Jennifer Lawrence. If any part of it is disturbing, replace it with something else.
The first few times you use the Transition Trek, you may have to read it each night before you go to sleep. Also, when you first start using it, the first few nights you may come to the end and still be awake. I recommend just going back to the beginning of the trek and running though it again. Most people should see an immediate impact on their ability to get to sleep, depending on how clearly you can envision the images. Some may need a few nights for it to take effect. Focusing on images for some is a learned skill. But shortly you should be falling asleep before you get to the end and never finish. I have been using this trek for over a year, and now I rarely get off the beach. I use it three, sometimes four times a night after I wake. I find it especially helpful in the morning when I have woken up after a normal night’s sleep but would like to get a little more anyway. Generally, I would not have a choice, but the Transition Trek can get me back to sleep when I feel indulgent.
Once again, don’t get upset if you get sidetracked, veer off the trek and become engaged in some emotional subject. This may be a good sign. The closer you get to sleep, the more you tend to lose track of what you are doing and find yourself involved in thinking of something else. You may actually be seeing hypnagogic images. Gently guide yourself back to where you left off the trek and resume. Hopefully, the next thing you know, you will be waking up after a full night’s sleep.
I have added the following Transition Trek because many people like to say a prayer before sleep. Some simply recite The Lord’s Prayer, but it is short and isn’t useful as a Transition Trek because it probably won’t take us all the way to sleep. Besides, it is high on content and low on images. It seems logical to integrate the prayer with the Transition Trek. The trek I present here solves the problem by imagining a secluded holy place that we enter, address the Devine Being, and continue on to our place of rest. I have offered a couple of prayers, although I expect most people will wish to author their own in one or perhaps both instances. I was raised in the Christian tradition, and this Transition Trek reflects that. If you were raised in a different tradition, you will want to substitute freely to integrate your own.
I hope this trek will provide that extra measure of emotional comfort and spiritual wellbeing to relieve the trials and tribulations of the real world while providing images to get you to sleep. I put you in the hands of those you trust. Even though you may have physically showered before going to bed, you also have to cleans your psychic body. This is the spiritual ritual to get you ready for sleep, which is a psychic act. In the ancient Greek, “psyche” means “soul.” So we are cleansing the soul.
Again, this trek is written in first-person/present-tense, so you will be in the driver’s seat and in command of getting yourself to sleep in the here-and-now. The location for the trek is viewed as sacred. I’ve called it the City of God, and you get inside through a formidable gate. The City is walled, as were many large cities in ancient times. What I designate as nine individual scenes should bleed into each other and become one continuous action.
I have read recently that non-believers can also find it comforting to say a prayer. If you are among them, perhaps this will also suit your needs.
Transition Trek — City of God
Scene One: (Last fully awake thoughts of the real world.) I remember recently meeting two friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. What a pleasant surprise. [At this point, consciously start sleep breathing.]
Scene Two: (First hypnagogic thoughts and images.) I walk a pebbled trail up a green hillside to a tall stone fence and come to a shiny but formidable gate guarded by a curious female with golden hair and dressed in a flowing white chiton gathered and girdled at the waist.
“May I enter?” I ask.
“A safe place to sleep.”
“State your name, and if the gate opens, enter.”
I wait for something to happen, but it doesn’t open immediately and I wonder if it will. Perhaps I’m not wanted in such a sacred place. But then the right side of the gate slowly and noiselessly moves inward. I walk through and it closes behind me. I hear a “click” as it locks.
Scene Three: A paved walkway through a field of golden poppies, their fragrance enveloping me, gently curves to the left, then forks. The left branch goes on into the distance, and the right branch, edged with a strip of purple posies leads to a small church. I take the right branch. The sun has set, leaving the soft glow of twilight; brilliant pinpoints of light dot the heavens. The church reminds me of one you might see in the countryside: white exterior with a sloped red-tile roof and topped by a steeple surmounted by a silver spire. The church has no door, just an entry archway. I step inside.
Scene Four: Just to the right I see lit candles on two tall pedestals, one of rosewood with a flat gold circular surface for the candle holder, the other entirely of silver. To the left is a table with both unlit and lit candles, signifying others have come before me. I take an unlit candle and lite it by putting the wick in another’s flame while stating the symbolism of a burning candle: “Body, soul, divinity, enlightenment. World peace.” I smell the feint fragrance of bee’s wax and hold my palm over the open flame to feel the divine heat. I move on through the foyer into the chapel listening to the echo of my footsteps on the stone floor.
Scene Five: I walk down the isle through the center of the nave and cross the transept to the apse containing the large but modestly configured wood cross. A red and gold carpet covers the kneeling platform. I drop to my knees, bow my head and pray: “Dear Father, please grant me the blessing of a speedy descent into a full night’s sleep. Provide only such dreams as will illuminate your divine gifts and help me absorb your wisdom. Forever your faithful servant. Amen.” As I rise, a priest enters from the left end of the transept and approaches. He is dressed in a white clerical collar and black cassock with a gold pectoral cross on a chain. “Follow me, and I will take you to the cleansing area to prepare you for a night’s rest.” We exit together.
Scene Six: The priest walks before me along a dimly lit hall to a steamy, laurel fragranced room with a perpetually flowing shower. He provides a towel and bathrobe, and says, “Your room is being made ready. Someone will come to take you there when you are finished here.” He exits. I drop my clothes on the stone floor and enter the warm water. I lower my head and let the spray splash over me. I take the soap from the tray. At first touch, the suds tingle my skin then flow inward to cleans my soul of arguments, anger and uncertainty. I am left with a sense of calm and relief. I dry off with a fluffy towel that, as it passes over my body, feels as if it leaves a healing lotion.
Scene Seven: As soon as I’m dressed, a woman with dark flowing shoulder-length hair crowned with a diadem enters. “I’ll escort you to your bedchamber,” she says. She is dressed in the blue and gold raiment of an ancient priestess. I follow her up a winding stone staircase to an arched entryway with a lavishly decorated wood door. She opens it and stands aside for me to enter. The room feels much like a chapel with an unassuming cross above the bed. A single large window to the left spans the wall and looks out into the open sky, now shrouded in celestial darkness but punctuated with sparkling stars. The wall to the right is all of stone with a depressed shelf built into in it and within which is a small mattress, bed covers and a pillow. She retrieves some pajamas from a shelf, places them on the bed, and says, “I wish you a good light’s sleep.” She closes the door behind her as she leaves.
Scene Eight: Once she is gone, the room is still and quiet. I remove the robe and don the pajamas. But it is more than quiet. I sense an anticipation, an expectation. I drop to my knees, rest my arms on the bed and say a prayer. “ Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
I then rise, slip between the silk sheets and rest my weary head on the soft pillow.
Scene Nine: Sleep — oblivion.
This isn’t actually a trek, at least not in the sense of the Coastal Transition Trek. But you are still moving from place to place, and that should provide a scenario of sufficient length to enable you to successfully negotiate hypnagogia.
Here is a third Transition Trek. The environment is filled with people, although you will only interact with them initially. Again, what I designate as nine individual scenes should bleed into each other and become one continuous action.
Transition Trek — Castle
Scene One: (Last fully awake thoughts of the real world.) I close my eyes and remember a cream-cheese pastry I had for breakfast this morning. It was still warm from the oven, and I chased it down with a gulp of fresh-brewed coffee as the last remnants of sleep faded, and I become fully awake. [At this point, consciously start sleep breathing.]
Scene Two: (First hypnagogic thoughts and images.) It is sunset, shadows of trees and the adjacent hillsides growing long and then fading into dusk. I am hiking in a foreign country, very tired and seeking a place to sleep when I come upon a large stone structure resembling a castle. I see a sign on the door that says, “Rooftop Sleeping, Spaces Available.” This sounds like me. The large double doors have ancient carvings of local deities along with lightning bolts and animals with human heads. I trip the latch on the door on the right, and it swings inward. I enter.
Scene Three: I am hungry, and this seems to be the place to solve that problem. Before me, I see a room filled with tables and chairs, filled with people, all of them travelers like me. Along the left wall an ordering bar with several waiters taking orders runs the width of the room. Beyond the counter, I see a bustling kitchen from where exotic aromas emanate. I make my way through the tables to the counter and order a sandwich and a bowl of soup. I walk into the crowd with my dinner, not expecting to find a space in a crowded room, but at one table, two chairs scoot apart and a chorus of voices beckons me to join them. I eat my sandwich, enjoying the taste of cheese and salami, and revel in the chowder while engaging in light conversation about where I am from and where I have been on my journey. Once finished with my meal, I thank them for their hospitality, deposit my dishes in the rack, and head for the stairs, before which a sign says, “To Roof.”
Scene Four: I climb the dark stairs and, through an open archway, enter another room, two rooms actually. To the right through a window, I see the faint glow of the sky following sunset and stars starting to pop out of the darkness. To the left is a living room separated from me by a glass wall with two people seated, one on a sofa, the other in an easy chair, and two people walking about in animated discussion. When one looks toward me, I wave, but she doesn’t respond. And then I realize that the glass wall is a one-way mirror. I can see them, but they cannot see me. This appears to be the actual quarters of the people who live here. At least in this one room, we get to see them as they go about their lives. This seems a little creepy, and I move on toward the stairs that leads up to the next level.
Scene Five: The stairs have become narrower and steeper. The walls are cold and damp to the touch. The air seems to get heavier with every breath, and I smell mold. A sliding glass door opens automatically, and I see a sign to the right, “Museum Closes at 10 PM. Use north stairwell during off hours.” The museum is a maze of glass-covered display cases containing artifacts from an excavation. The walls are completely covered with standing displays of ancient sculptures of men and women, with an occasional ferocious beast in the midst of a kill. Several couples mill about taking it all in. After a few minutes of viewing displays, I take another look out a window at the dark sky and lights of homes in the distance. I decide to go on up and find a spot to sleep. I take the stairs.
Scene Six: A sign at the top of the flight of stairs says simply, “Library.” Once inside, I see the walls covered with bookcases, all full of books, and several tables for reading. The most interesting tables are the two in the center of the floor, both overflowing with books. One has a sign that says, “Free Books” and the other, “Recently Donated Books.” Between these two tables on a pedestal is a sign that reads, “To take a book, you must donate a book.” I select a volume of Kafka short stories and donate one I finished weeks ago, Under a Sickle Moon: A Journey Through Afghanistan. I would like to spend some time in the library, but sleep calls. I take the stairs to the next level.
Scene Seven: At the top of the stairs, I pull open the door not knowing what to expect. I’m met by a gust of warm air and the smell of soap and conditioners. It is a laundry room with showers for both men and women, and toilet facilities as well. This is unexpected but certainly a welcome surprise. I pull off my dirty clothes and, after showering, shove them into a washing machine. I read my Kafka while they are in the dryer. Refreshed and certainly ready for bed, I take the next flight of stairs up to another door that I open and step out onto the dark roof of the castle.
Scene Eight: The roof has a 360-degree view of the countryside with a light breeze that buffets the national flag on a pole high above. In the distance, city lights and the glow of windows in homes try to crowd out the darkness, and the hum of vehicles on their way to far off destinations meld into the voice of a civilization. The buzz of voices in the dark confuses me at first, but my eyes gradually adjust, and I find a place with a foam-rubber mattress to park my pack. I unroll my sleeping bag and lie down on the mattress. The heavens are covered in sparkling stars grouped into constellations. I place my pack under my head and gaze up into the points of light. My breathing becomes heavier and I drop off.
Scene Nine: Sleep — oblivion.
Now that we have visited the sacred realm and climbed up a Castle, I will present a trek that simulates what we describe as “falling asleep” by coming down a mountain. When you cannot sustain the boring Coastal Transition Trek because of overriding real-life issues, you might need a trek that can peak your interest to keep you away from hypnagogic distractions. To do that, we have to take a chance by making it a little more exciting. You might get lost in it instead of going to asleep, but if the others cannot drag you away from your concerns, they are not any good to you anyway. This one is for the adventurous. If you are afraid of heights, it might not be for you. If you are a skydiver or flyer, you won’t want to use it either because it is a part of your real world activities, just as was the baseball pitcher in the example of bad technique back at the beginning of Chapter 3. I designate nine individual scenes that should bleed into each other and become one continuous action.
Transition Trek — Mountain Descent
Scene One: (Last fully awake thoughts of the real world.) I close my eyes and remember the breakfast I had this morning — eggs over-easy, hash browns, with sausage and gravy. A mug of burnt-brown steaming coffee. [At this point, consciously start sleep breathing.]
Scene Two: (First hypnagogic thoughts and images.) I am standing in deep snow on a mountaintop, and far below I see the sprawl of towns with pockets of forests and rolling hills interspersed with a smattering of lakes and rivers, all being enveloped in shadows. I see the red glow of a setting sun off in the distance. The thinning clouds signify that the snowfall should stop for a while. My toes are frozen, and my cheeks and ears are numb.
Scene Three: This mountaintop is high above timberline. I look down the steep snow-covered mountainside and drop off an almost vertical incline into soft powder and start my sliding descent. I am not on skis. I’m just sliding down the mountain. The wind in my face is freezing. Thick gloves protect my hands, but my fingers are still stiff from cold. The snow is soft and my feet dig grooves as I pick up speed. I have an ice axe to slow me and help change direction when I see a boulder looming in my path. I lie down in the snow to brake as I approach a grove of trees I can’t steer around. I walk past the grove and again start sliding down the mountainside in deep snow.
Scene Four: I come to a stop at the edge of the steep hillside where the soft snow has abruptly ended and become hard-packed ice. Here the mountainside has been in shadow for weeks and is frozen solid. The deep-orange sun still isn’t quite to the horizon. I slowly approach the steep incline and sit down on the ice to strap on my crampons over my hiking boots. Using my ice axe for stability, I negotiate the icy slope along a switchback path. And then I come to the edge of another steep incline. This one much steeper.
Scene Five: I am starving, For quick energy, I snack on hard candy: strawberry, lemon and lime drops. I remove my crampons. The side of the mountain has a cable running down it that I have to clasp with my gloved hands and rappel backwards down the rocky face using gravity to pull me along. In places I’m suspended in air with my arms in contact with the cable and me high above the ground. The wind rips and tears at my clothing as the darkness deepens. I reach the end of the cable as the slope levels out.
Scene Six: The Sun has finally set, but the air is considerably warmer down here, and I start shedding layers of clothing and stuff them into my pack as I slowly zigzag between boulders and tree trunks. I approach a small building used as a storage hut. I am still a long ways from the bottom of the mountain, and the next section is a 2000-foot cliff. I unlock the hut, pull open the wood door and place my pack along with my discarded clothing inside. I retrieve another pack with my wingsuit. I’m going to fly down to basecamp.
Scene Seven: I notice the deepening darkness descending on the landscape as I slip my left leg into the wingsuit, inserting my foot into the booty and then work the right foot into its booty. I stand, then insert my hand with the straps at the end that fit between thumb and first finger that open up and stretch my batwings. My parachute, which I will need to land, is in a pack on my back. I then walk to the edge of the cliff and peer over and down to the ground far below. Complete darkness is coming quickly and my heart pounds as I put on my helmet and adjust the chinstrap. Then I pull the goggles down over my eyes, move to the edge of the cliff and jump off. The air whistles around me as I pickup speed just inches from the cliff face. I feel the arms and legs of my wingsuit inflate, and I perform a pull-up maneuver and glide out from the cliff just as some large boulders entered my path. I fly out into the ravine, still falling rapidly, and then negotiate a flightpath out over the creek that runs close to basecamp. As the ground comes rapidly up to meet me, I deploy my parachute and guide my descent to a grassy area next to the cave where I will spend the night. I hit the ground with a thud but manage to remain standing.
Scene Eight: It is completely dark now. I fold my wingsuit and chute and stuff them into their packs and start the short hike to basecamp using my small flashlight. I enter a cave, and build a fire to heat my dinner of freeze-dried stroganoff and a cinnamon apple crisp. I make some coffee and sit by the fire staring into the flames until they become glowing coals. I retrieve my sleeping bag, place it a ways from the coals and go to sleep staring into the red glow.
Scene Nine: Sleep — oblivion.
The Mountain Descent Transition Trek has the advantage of providing the sensation of falling while going to sleep. It should only be used when you are having difficulty getting one of the other treks to work. The others are purposefully boring so that their emotional content doesn’t interfere with going to sleep. But when you have thoughts raging in your head, they can be too boring to push them into the background. Hopefully the Mountain Descent Trek will be interesting enough that it will lead you away from your worries and everyday problems and into Slumberland.
If one of these four Transition Treks works for you, this is as far as you need to read. You should give it a week or two to see how it goes. If you decide to generate your own Transition Trek, make sure you stay with the guidelines provided for the first trek. The treks should help immediately the first night and become more effective thereafter. If you are having difficulty after a couple of weeks, you should return here and read the remaining chapters. Also, once you become accomplished using the treks, you just might find your mind wandering even while you are viewing the scenery as you move along the Trek. This may not seem like a problem, and if it isn’t, you don’t have to do anything about it. If it does become a problem, with your psychic voice engaging in an argument or starting to worry while negotiating the trek, I have some further suggestions.