I have also experienced sleep paralysis, but not nearly as often as you
indicate you do.  I only recall a few instances in my life of 62 years.  One
instance was very intense, and was marked by 'seeing' beings in my room, and
even 'hearing' their voices or at least being aware of their communication.
The experience is, as you say, very scary and extremely disquieting.  There
is a good, albeit brief, write up on sleep paralysis on Wikipedia. I’m sure
there is a lot of other information on the Web.

I do not believe this is any kind of 'demon possession' or 'witchcraft'.  I
think things like that are just tags we put on things we don't understand,
but want to.  Sleep paralysis is a real phenomena, and according to what
I've read, not that uncommon.

According to Buddhist philosophy, all phenomena are 'samsara', or illusions.
I don't completely buy into that position, but in truth don't concern myself
with such explanations, or even the need for them.  You experienced sleep
paralysis.  You experienced loss of motor control.  You experienced fear.
That is all there is to that.  As far as I'm concerned further explanations
are not necessary, or even possible.

I think meditation (zazen) is the right approach for this, but I think zazen
is the right approach...for everything.  Zazen is just the right approach.
I don't think you should think of zazen as remedy or solution for this.  You
should not be doing zazen to achieve anything.  There are no goals for
zazen.  You should just do zazen because that's what you do.  Zazen is who
you are.  It is a pure expression of your Buddha Nature.

If sleep paralysis becomes a real obstacle in your life, then I advize you
to seek professional, perhaps medical, help.  I'd say the same about any
other condition.  If you had an infection, like appendicitis, you could say
"That's just samsara.  It's not real.  And it really doesn't matter if I'm
in pain or die anyway, since THIS is all just an illusion."  That's fine for
hard-core Buddhists or ascetics, but I would advise you to do whatever you
could to ease your suffering.  Be gentle with yourself.  That is the way I
practice zen.

Sweet Dreams!  ...Bill! 

From: pandabananasock [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 7:05 PM
Subject: [Zen] Zen and the art of ... sleep paralysis?? Help!

Okay, this might be a moderately long post, but keep faith that I will
relate it to zen 
practice by the end. That being said:

Sleep paralysis (hereinafter referred to as "SP") is something I experience
Anyone else get this? About five times annually since the teenage years,
within usually 
minutes of falling asleep but sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake
up paralyzed 
but oriented (knowing exactly where I am, who I am, when I am, etc.) with
the most 
intense fear I have experienced in my life so far. All I know when it is
happening is I can't 
because I can definitely tell something or someone is in the room, and it
might just try to 
"get" me. I am absolutely positive that these are not nightmares - I am
awake and lucid, 
even able to feel the bed and hear sounds in the room - and within seconds
of it 
beginning I recognize that it is SP and think "Oh God, not again!" Like most
people, if I 
wake up in the middle of the night I can get up and walk out of the room
without light 
because I know where everything is in the room. SP is no different, except
there is an 
extra entity in the room, and it is apparently malevolent. Inside my mind, I
trying to kick and scream and throw any muscle I can in any direction,
anything I can do to 
just get "unlocked" and run like hell... but on the outside, I can tell that
I am motionless 
and silent, and I feel like a "sitting duck". After about thirty seconds, I
can open my eyes, 
quickly sit up, and whatever I was afraid of is gone. If I go right back to
sleep, I will 
experience the same thing within minutes, so I walk to the kitchen for some
water that I 
am not thirsty for.

The only time this experience was pleasant was when I fell asleep in the
middle of the day 
on a couch with three other people awake in the room. I woke up paralyzed,
but not 
scared. When I tried to jostle myself awake, I realized I could open my
eyes, and upon 
doing so, I found myself weightless, floating a few feet from my body! I can
normally hear 
everything in the room during SP, but this time, I looked around the room
and could see 
everything that was really happening,. I could see and hear the football
game on the TV, 
in sync with the announcer that I could clearly hear. I could see my
step-sister typing on 
the computer in the corner in sync with the clicking of the keyboard that I
normally would 
be able to hear. Within about 30 seconds, I was about ten feet from my body
when I 
regained movement, thereby putting me in corpus again. I immediately
thought, "WOW, 
I'll be dammed if that wasn't a out of body experience!!" This was about six
or seven 
years ago, and ever since I've really wanted it to happen again, but it

In retrospect, knowing that there is no real danger, I always tell myself
that the next time I 
find myself awake and paralyzed I should immediately start meditating. "Just
BE afraid" I 
tell myself. "I am not going to be in any real physical danger, so just
experience that fear for all it's worth and see where it wants to take me."
I want to just lay 
there in meditation, let myself be paralyzed and afraid, but the fear is
just too great. While 
it is happening I can remember thinking about how I wanted to meditate
during it, and 
realizing that this is my chance, but I always immediately think "Screw
that! I'm outta 
here!!" because the fear is overwhelming and I "know" there is an evil being
in the room 
with me - a clear and present threat. I guess the big problem is knowing how
to engage 
in meditation in the face of a fear that takes priority. If anyone reading
this has any 
suggestions about how I can overcome this great fear, any questions or
comments, please 
post them here, and accept my thanks in advance.

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