By Abby Wood

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Looking at a Salvadore Dali’s art is like being transported to another world. A world where nothing is bound by the facts of existence. A world where time melts and forces of creativity shape reality. How was Dali able to create so many incredible images? In a way, he captured them with a spoon.

Many of Dali’s works were inspired by what he saw when he started to fall asleep. The middle ground between sleep and being awake. This is known as the hypnagogic state. Many people throughout history including Beethoven, Isaac Newton, and Thomas Edison used the hypnagogic state of sleeping to solve problems and find inspiration. This is also the state of sleep that someone may enter a lucid dream or find themselves experiencing sleep paralysis. Some people experience what is called hypnagogic hallucinations. These hallucinations are what Dali experienced and used to drive his creativity.

Capturing Creativity

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Dali and Thomas Edison had unique ways of napping. Edison found sleep to be a waste of time so in the name of innovation found a way to be productive in his sleep. Both men practiced entering the hypnogogic state and before falling asleep entirely would wake up and use what they had experienced. Dali’s favorite way of doing this was with a spoon and a plate. The method goes something like this:

  1. Find a comfortable chair with arms.
  2. Sit in the chair and think of what you’re trying to accomplish, whether it’s solving a problem or just experiencing hypnagogia.
  3. Hold a spoon between the thumb and forefinger.
  4. Place a plate on the floor directly under the spoon.
  5. Relax.
  6. When the spoon slips out of your grasp and hits the plate wake up and reap the rewards.

The theory is that while Dali was falling asleep he would enter the hypnogogic state. Before falling asleep completely, the spoon would slip out of his fingers and crash onto the plate and wake him up. This allowed him to remember what he had experienced. Edison did it in a similar way using steel balls.

So, if you are looking to heighten creativity, solve a problem, or just have a trippy experience try taking a journey into hypnagogia. This is a creative way to shut off your mind and find out of the box solutions. The worst thing that could happen is that you might get a nap out of it.