Fogginess & Spacing Out

We get a lot of questions about the arising of sleepiness and fogginess in practice. Yes, you can try antidotes in some cases. But….

Often, these states come as avenues of exploration, rather than as superficial hindrances.

To borrow Steve Hoskinson’s phrase, dissociated states are best viewed as “unintegrated resources.” Almost all deep states of stillness and presence recruit the dorsal vagal system – the same part of the nervous system that dominates in states of deep physical immobility and death.

The difference between a spiritual state and a dissociative state is that we are awake/conscious/oriented in the spiritual state. In other words, a spiritual state is produced by entering into an immobility state with full awareness. This is one of the most blissful things human beings can do (if you doubt that, we suggest reading up on near-death experiences).

This is why “spacing out” is so addictive! We can feel the “residue” of the profound well- being contained in that state, but because we were basically unconscious while in it, it can’t really be integrated. It remains compartmentalized, split off.

So our practice, rather than trying to “get rid of” spaciness or fogginess, is to incline toward “waking up in the midst of it.” Slowly, with gentle interest and persistence, we find ourselves awake as the witness in the midst of states that were previously completely unconscious and unintegrated.

This is the great unification of mind! This is the way all the orphaned parts of ourselves are brought home.