Caffeine Dream Hack

I discovered this quite accidentally some months ago, yet it has quickly become one of my favourite distractions.

It started when I noticed that Phoenix Nutrition were offering Absolutus’ own meditation formula — 100mg caffeine / 200mg theanine — ready prepared in pill form in a product called Optimum Caffeine. I would wake up around 7am, take a couple of those, then get up and go about my business while waiting for it to kick in, at which point I would meditate.

One morning however I woke up at 5am needing the toilet. Getting back to bed I decided to take the pills anyway and go back to sleep. This was when something brilliant happened. I emerged into a dream surrounded by gold light and filled completely with love, with warmth in my heart. Friends and family I had not seen in years joined me, and we played and went on adventures. My dead cat was alive again and I stroked him. I awoke with a feeling that everything was going to be all right.

The joy did not end there. Getting up to do some chores, I found that even while washing up I felt drunk with bliss. It was the kind of “full” feeling you get after jhana or good energy work; a heavier happiness that comes and goes in waves and persists long into the day, leaving an almost sweet taste in your mouth. I sat to meditate and found I could enter the first jhana very quickly from this energy state. Every now and again I would “remember” this feeling and it would sweep across me, leaving a smile on my face.

I have begun performing this ritual most days, now — waking up at 5am, taking the pills, then dreaming for a few hours. A couple of things you need to know about caffeine are 1) it is highly addictive and 2) it releases large amounts of dopamine into the reward circuit. Dreams in a reward-activated state become pure wish fulfilment. For example, yesterday I dreamed I was floating around the Caribbean on a raft eating curry and keema naan. I remember thinking, “I didn’t know that the Shalimar delivered out here?” or some other absurdity to explain this happenstance. These dreams are hardly ever lucid (thank God). They are just some sort of absurd situation where you get everything you want then you wake up happy.

The result is not always the same and tolerance is an issue. The best dreams occur on the first usage and the days immediately following that. After that, the best dreams occur when you haven’t taken it in a few days. Still, the chances of a great dream on whatever day you take it are ~60%, and the chances of waking up in a great mood are closer to 90%. I recommend meditating as soon as possible while in that state.

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17 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Hi Edd, do you know a reliable source for the same formula as Optimum Caffeine that does not use gelatine capsules? It could be pre-mixed, or the ingredients could be separate. Either way works.

    • Illuminatus says:

      No, sorry. I just tend to type whatever I want into eBay and buy the one that has a reasonable price and a good approval rating.

      The problem with mixing it yourself is that you need a decent microscale to weigh it out.

      Caffeine is readily available in drug stores weighed out in 50mg pills, so that’s easy. You might find pressed theanine too but I doubt it.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Actually, I remember seeing pressed theanine in Holland & Barrett, but it cost an absolute FORTUNE (like most of their stuff).

      • Chris says:

        Cool, thanks. I have found some stuff that looks decent on Amazon. A couple of them have 250mg of l-theanine rather than 200mg (same caffeine tho – 100mg). Do you think this would make a significant difference?

        Link, if you’re interested for yourself:

        • Illuminatus says:

          It’s a bit more theanine than I would like personally.

          Theanine is an interesting drug in that (in my subjective experience) it behaves somewhat like an audio compressor does in music production. So what that does is it takes a soundwave, flattens down the peaks a little, and raises up the troughs. It’s used, for example, on a vocalist, so that when they yell you don’t get a nasty peak that overpowers the other instruments, and when they sing softly it raises that up a bit so the vocal doesn’t get lost in the mix.

          Theanine is a bit like this. It is very subtle and I believe only a meditator would notice that this is how it works. The “peaks” of emotion, whether positive or negative, get rolled off a little, and some of the less obvious emotional undercurrents get raised up a bit. It is useful for a beginner meditator because it rolls off the emotional peaks that cause lots of thoughts. It also raises up the subtlety of the breath a little so that can be felt and absorbed into more easily. However, since I am more advanced now, I don’t actually want the peaks rolling off like that, since I can use them to power the meditation (to either divert them into energy work or bring them into the breath to absorb into for jhana).

          For this reason I mainly only use caffeine pills for the dream tech in this post, and the dose is either 150mg or 200mg (usually 150mg).

          I do recommend the theanine–caffeine combo mentioned in the post for beginner meditators, that’s the main reason I brought it up.

          While 250mg per pill is too much theanine for me, if you suffer from anxiety or other kinds of emotional spikes then one or two pills of that per morning could be very useful for you. Some people feel theanine is a miracle cure for this; others don’t get much from it. Try it and see.

  2. Buddha says:

    I just had a realization. Thier are 2 worlds. The physical world and the mind made world. Here is an example a hairless ape kills another hairless ape. Thats all it is in reality. But in ur mind good,evil,father,killer revenge an entire story gets formed…..a world. In this world is u. The ego isnt just the concept of u its the entire framework. The world and everything in it. Nomore u to ask qurstions once thats gone. All concepts are lies and u live in the concepts. As a concept.

    Its weird i know thiers no point i know all im gunna realize is this is all thier is literally. But i cant stop its not even my journey im jus fallin fallin fallin into the truth. Nomatter where i go it rears its ugly face. I thought i only had to give up bad things but my entire concept of beauty of love of life has to go.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Well what you’re doing there is basic philosophy. What SHOULD happen, if you are practising being an insightful human who learns from experience and introspection, is that you arrive at these models, have an “A-ha!” moment, then later on refine them or morph them or toss them out completely based on new experience. Meditation just happens to be a very, very good way of supporting or creating this process.

      To reconcile the two worlds (physical and mind, in your model above), I recommend that instead you view BOTH those things in terms of RELATIONSHIPS.

      So, as a perspective within this universe, all you have is the relationships between people and things and your perspective. You only ever know the relationship you have with something, never the thing itself. If you pursue this line of thought you will arrive at the idea that all you can ever know is relationships, and that the universe is fundamentally “made” of relationships as a result.

      So, if you decide something is “physical”, that’s a certain relationship you have with it, and if you decide something is “mind” then that is a different relationship you have with it. The common theme is that all of experience arises from the relationships you have with things.

  3. Axel says:

    I don`t agree with Taylor Swift…what a surprise XD.

    You guys are missing the whole point here.

    I came to know about dream programming by a channeled being called Seth and it was shared with the “inner circle” of the channeller only (the people dropping the money probably). So it’s kind of a “far east” secret. Healing dreams have been known since forever.

    I think the point is that taking some mood-altering pill while awake is not as effective as taking it for dream modification. I bet the success of depression treatments would increase dramatically if they included something like this.

    So what Illuminatus has called a “dream hack” may become, only if humanity doesn’t keep fuking up like always, “dream pharmacology™”. The guy unlocks a new science and you guys talking about shit.

    You know, if we get him obssesed with this as with posture work we may get a guide for making our life awesome or reaching enlightenment by having “level-up” dreams through a specific stack progression :P.

    It definitely makes me want to experiment with mood-altering drugs in this way (the dream hack way), and see where it takes me :P.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Well, you can certainly have some amazing experiences in dreams and I believe these are mainly a result of being unencumbered by the body.

      But once you wake up you boot straight back into the body’s survival circuit, and its heavy, cumbersome movements. (Interestingly, one symptom of kundalini awakening is becoming very “fed up” with being embodied, and finding the body to be an obstacle to one’s enjoyment of existence.) The good mood from the dream pharmacology can last several hours, or it may not. Ultimately the body’s circumstances and filtering of reality through the survival circuit is what comes to establish mood in waking life.

      In order to achieve lasting happiness you therefore need to acquire authentic insight into the nature of experience which then filters down into the survival brains, too. Otherwise all you are getting is a temporary mood fix (and the better thinking that comes with that).

      Dream meditation already exists in certain meditation traditions. Charlie Morley practises it in, I believe, one of the Tibetan schools.

      I meditated using dreams before knowing anything about that. Most of my profound realizations have come directly from, or been associated with, dreaming. For example, I found a “star field” in infinite space which exists for a moment between falling asleep and entering a lucid dream. Initially I just passed straight through this star field into the lucid dream. However, then I found I could pause and stay in this formless realm for a while.

      During my kundalini awakening, most of my experience took place within that very realm, as I found concentration meditation took me straight to it. So, I had a good look at it for a couple of days. It was a black space that had “volume” (stretching unto infinity) and had uniform white dots. These would then coalesce to form a new reality, whether it be a vision or a dream or just returning me back to waking consciousness. I believe these white dots were Patanjali’s “gunas”, the fundamental building blocks of reality as described in the Yoga Sutras. The star field reminded me of Star Trek’s holodeck, with its yellow grid before a simulation is loaded into it, except with white dots instead of yellow lines. Staying with a single white dot for a long time would cause it to explode and become a Fruition/Cessation in Theravada (a momentary blinking out of all reality, with NOTHING in the gap before reality reappears). Since those experiences, after a few days’ massive disorientation, reality now permanently looks like it is nothing but sense phenomena filling a volume. So, objects just kind of “hang”, as though suspended within an infinitely fine mist. Based on this description, people on the Dharma Overground estimated me at between Second and Third Path (for what that’s worth). For the record, I have not experienced that star field since. It may be one of the many “one-offs” that occur when advancing in meditation.

      Regarding the realization that the universe is fundamentally “made” of relationships, and that objects do not exist at all but are merely IMPLIED by the relationships between them (meaning self, and objects, are entirely empty), that also came from a dream which used the above caffeine hack. However, that dream was too personal to share in a comment, though I may write it up in a post at some point.

      So, there is a lot that can be done via dreams, but you need a philosophical framework in which to interpret events in order to get trickle-down awakening into the survival brains. Same goes for sensory events experienced during meditation. My point is that, fundamentally, dreams and waking life are the same “stuff” and you need to know how to perceive and interpret it to get permanent mental shifts.

      • Arpan says:

        Swami Vivekanand used to see such a star field every night while going to sleep. Then his mind would settle on ome of the “stars” . The chosen star would expand continuously till it burst and bathen him in white light leading to a blissful sleep.

        If I remember correctly, his guru Ramkrishna said that these stars were access points to various lokas(dimensions/worlds) of existence, highest being brahmlok. SV could always see a bright star on closing his eyes though, which he initially thought to be a universal phenomenon with humans, but his guru said it showed a great spiritual past(before this birth) and an inborn habit of meditation. This light used to get dim by too much extroversion though.

        • Illuminatus says:

          Jesus. Got a source? That sounds like what I experienced, especially this part:

          “his guru Ramkrishna said that these stars were access points to various lokas(dimensions/worlds) of existence, highest being brahmlok.”

          Each star I landed on would enter a different world. Some were like cityscapes where I could walk around and have my own adventures, more like a lucid dream. Others were plain space where objects would form, like a giant spaceship the size of a city. Others landed in what seemed more like past lives, with things like stampedes of humans running from some cataclysm.

          Also, the star field would often start out in a tunnel shape which I was travelling through. The stars passing by at the edges would often look like galaxies. This scene reminded me of the Hubble Deep Field Scan. I assumed I was in “Universal Mind” and that this is the true nature of existence: ability to experienced an infinitude of different realities or existencies as various vantage points or embodied lifeforms.

          My concentration was so high during the kundalini awakening that this star field would form and I would become disembodied just gazing at any object for more than a few seconds. I remember watching Star Trek and watching the opening credits where the ship is against a space backdrop. Suddenly the ship faded out and I was back in the star field — just concentrating on the television screen for a few seconds had taken me to that formless realm. I have NEVER been able to concentrate like that since this event — in fact, my concentration took a serious hit (as I reported on this site) and I haven’t had the level of jhana I used to have since then.

          I’m going to google Brahmlok now.

          • Arpan says:

            I had read it years ago, will hunt out and post the material when I get it.
            He was one of the first yogis to come to West (Parliament of Religions Chicago 1893, and later UK) hence was very circumspect about saying much about his experiences, as West was not a particularly friendly place for such revelations in those days. So most of his material online , documented by western audience and media might not contain the whole range of experience.

            Regarding star studded tunnel ending in light/lights,, this is something my dad reports from his meditations during college days. It usually resulted in various deja vus later and often flashes of people, places and conversations in widely distant parts of India. In those days he was particularly troubled with family matters, thus many of those initial flashes usually turned out to be related to family(confirmed on phone calls to home later on), until he decided to shed these concerns while entering meditation.

            Star field is one of the most commonly documented experiences indicating opening of 3rd eye in yoga. Yogis usually advice continence in order to be able to exploit it fully.

            I dont think you will find much about brahmlok in English, that too online, though do post if you do. His guru considered him to be a soul native to brahmlok.

          • Arpan says:

            From descriptions of Cosmic/universal consciousness I encountered(if that is what you meant by “Universal Mind”) , it has an aspect of “Immanence” to it eg. this text by a yogi:

            “[…] Even our bodies are not really separate entities and therefore our very physical consciousness is capable of oneness with the physical consciousness of others and of the cosmos. The Yogin is able to feel his body one with all bodies, to be aware of and even to participate in their affections; he can feel constantly the unity of all Matter and be aware of his physical being as only a movement in its movement.3 Still more is it possible for him to feel constantly and normally the whole sea of the infinite life as his true vital existence and his own life as only a wave of that boundless surge. And more easily yet is it possible for him to unite himself in mind and heart with all existences, be aware of their desires, struggles, joys, sorrows, thoughts, impulses, in a sense as if they were his own, at least as occurring in his larger self hardly less intimately or quite as intimately as the movements of his own heart and mind. This too is a realisation of cosmic consciousness.[…]”
            Synthesis of Yoga( Chapter XV)

  4. James says:

    After a bit of googlin’ Brahmaloka is the home of celestial beings/gods

    “Star field is one of the most commonly documented experiences indicating opening of 3rd eye in yoga. Yogis usually advice continence in order to be able to exploit it fully.”

    Mhm, I’ve opened my third eye conciously one time, wen through the star field tunnle of infinite space thingy, felt a real creepy feeling of something watching me, opened my eyes and saw a giant shadow person standing the corner of my room, and noped out.

    • Arpan says:

      Manyyy lokas are higher than ours. Gods/celestial beings is a catch-all phrase in English for a multitude of powerful/non malevolent entities. That is the problem with material translated into English.
      Brahmlok is the subtlest plane of existence, somewhat akin to Causal Plane in Autobiography of a Yogi:

      ” Whatever a human being can do in fancy, a causal being can do in reality. The most colossal imaginative human intelligence is able, in mind only, to range from one extreme of thought to another, to skip mentally from planet to planet, or tumble endlessly down a pit of eternity, or soar rocketlike into the galaxied canopy, or scintillate like a searchlight over milky ways and the starry spaces. But beings in the causal world have a much greater freedom, and can effortlessly manifest their thoughts into instant objectivity, without any material or astral obstruction or karmic limitation. ”

      “Both death and rebirth in the causal world are in thought. Causal- bodied beings feast only on the ambrosia of eternally new knowledge. They drink from the springs of peace, roam on the trackless soil of perceptions, swim in the ocean-endlessness of bliss. Lo! see their bright thoughtbodies zoom past trillions of Spirit-created planets, fresh bubbles of universes, wisdom-stars, spectral dreams of golden nebulae, all over the skiey blue bosom of Infinity! “

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