Mindscapes and mindtravel
Think of our minds as vast landscapes. There are beautiful places and ugly ones.
Let’s call it a mindscape.
At any moment we are somewhere in our mindscapes. Call that our viewpoint.
Most often we hold a single viewpoint, but we can sometimes have more than one.
Once we’ve taken a viewpoint, we can hold on to it and travel.
Or we can move from viewpoint to viewpoint, and we move through our mindscapes.
Exploring our mindscapes
Most of our mindscape exploration is in the area near where we find ourselves. We move from viewpoint to nearby viewpoint.
We spend most of our lives moving between familiar places in our mindscape following familiar paths.
Sometimes we travel to new places, but most places we visit are like the places we’ve been to before. Most of the paths we travel are like ones we’ve traveled before.
Sometimes we climb to places with beautiful vistas spread out before us.
Sometimes we’ll descend into dark, uncomfortable places.
Sometimes we move across our mindscape on our own.
Sometimes it’s as though we’re being pushed or pulled to change our viewpoint.
We spend most of our lives in familiar parts of our mindscape.
Sometimes we find ourselves teleported. One second we’re in one place, the next, someplace completely different. I’ll call that “mindtravel.”
We can mindtravel instantly across both space and time. Sometimes we mindtravel to familiar places and other times to unfamiliar.
Trauma mind-travels us from somewhere familiar and safe to someplace strange and terrible. Once trauma has mindtraveled us to some awful place we have to find a way back.
In a terrible place, we look for a route to safety or at least something we can rely on. If we find nothing at first, we keep looking—because what else can we do?
Eventually, we find something. It might be a bit of wisdom that we’ve used in the past. It might be a friend—or the memory of a friend. We can use that to find our way back to the surface.
Once I found myself in the darkest and most desolate part of my mindscape that I had ever experienced. I searched for something I could rely on and found only this: “I can kill myself and make this end.” Oddly, the thought comforted me. It sustained me as I slowly found my way back.
I’ve also mindtravelled to places that I found spectacular.
Mindtravel while sleeping
I go to sleep. And when I wake up, I almost always find I’ve moved somewhere else in my mindscape.
I usually wake up near where I went to sleep. But not always.
If I go to sleep tired and the rest has been refreshing I often wake up somewhere that’s brighter, warmer, and at a higher elevation than where I went to sleep.
If I’m anxious when I go to sleep, I might wake up somewhere darker and colder. I might wake up in a small depression or a deep ditch. What follows then is a long slow journey to a better place.
Frequently mindtravelling to cold, dark places has driven me to learn ways to return to normalcy faster than by the usual slow, painful climb.
I’ve learned how to intentionally mindtravel.
I found that I had a few landmark locations—times and places in my mindscape that were calm and safe. I found that that I could travel to them if I needed to.
I had a few, but writing this post, I’ve added to the list.
I was about twelve and walking our family dog and looking up at the stars on a cold clear night. I can go there in an instant.
There’s a place in the darkness of space that I unexpectedly traveled to when my Scientology auditor asked me a particular question. I can jump there.
There’s a moment in Chilling Street Cottage in England just after Bobbi arrived; I’m looking down at her and thinking how beautiful she is. Blink. I’m there.
I can go to Cairo very early the first morning after we had arrived there; to a moment when I was walking through the dark lit by sodium lamps, hearing the sounds of the muezzins reflected off the mist-shrouded great pyramid.
I can go to the promenade of the Quantum of the Seas when I realized that self was an illusion.
Practice makes perfect
When you start to intentionally mindtravel, you might not be able to go very far.
You might find you snap back to where you came from.
But it’s a learnable skill.
Make your list of destinations and practice mindtravelling when you don’t have to.
You’ll be good at doing it when you need to.