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I cherish life

Sleep without Sleeping

Salvador Dali wrote about this technique that he called, “Slumber with a key”. He featured it as one of his 50 secrets of magic craftsmanship. Dali presents this afternoon nap as a means of lucid dreaming (though one could argue it is more along the lines of hynagogia). It lasts less than a minute, in fact, even a second could be too long! Dali recommends that the slumber last even less than a quarter of a second. “Sleep without Sleeping’.

For the quick highlights on how to harness this ultra-nap:

1. Sleep sitting upright (Dali recommends a Spanish-style bony armchair)

2. Hold a key in your hand, between your fingers (for the bohemian, use a skeleton key)

3. Relax and fall asleep (but not for too long…)

4. As you fall asleep, you’ll drop the key. Clang bang clang!

5. Wake up inspired!

Dali claims that he learned this ‘slumber with a key’ method from the Capuchin Monks of Toledo; however I couldn’t find a citation on this. Nevertheless, this napping method has been attributed to Aristotle and Einstein as well.

The idea is that you release your mind as part of a cognitive conditioning that heightens awareness and sensitivity while inducing the deepest dream moments. Wow that sounds intense! Basically, it lets your mind wander just long enough to let your creative juices flow. I realize this sounds absurd, or in the very least, quite silly. But if it’s good enough for Dali, well I figured why not for me?

I’ve been practicing this little napping method for eight weeks now and it’s been relatively successful. In the very least, I can take an ultra-short one-quarter-of-a-second nap anytime anywhere and I almost always wake up feeling refreshed and energetic. Now I’m trying to harness that inspiration! I’ll keep an update if I find more success with it. I’d be happy to hear if anyone else has given this a try, or if you’re up for the challenge of ‘slumber with a key’.


What do you have to lose: one second of wakefulness?

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