Brain Hack

Published 2007-05-09

Reading over some posts from before our move to China I was reminded of how frequently I used to dream of being underwater. I’ve had underwater dreams my whole life, and they leave me feeling euphoric. I always supposed that they were a side effect of unusually happy or effortless periods of life. I certainly haven’t had a water-breathing dream in a while, that’s for sure.

But what if I’ve reversed the causality here? What if the dreams don’t reflect effortless daily life; what if said life flowed from the state of mind that also produces water-breathing dreams? A year ago, Jenny and I were swimming two or three mornings a week at the Gabriel Park pool — a wonderfully amniotic way to start a day, and surely conducive to dreaming about water? I learned to swim almost as soon as I learned to walk and it’s one of my favorite activities. It’s not such a stretch to suppose that water dreams, swimming, and effortless daily life are non-orthogonal dimensions in my subconscious universe.

I’m going to try a little experiment on myself. I’m going to try to make myself have an underwater dream. Xiamen doesn’t have any indoor public pools, so we can’t go swimming every day. But I think if I visualize gliding through sun-spattered undersea gardens several times during the day, I could induce such a dream. I think of this as kind of a brain hack: dream about the ocean, make myself happy.