When I was 5 or 6 I discovered what I wouldn't know was the phenomenon of phosphenes until the age of 14.
After I was put to bed, I'd lie awake with the palms of my small hands applying firm pressure to each closed eye. Patterns of deeply saturated color (reminiscent of fireworks or fireflies) would fill what had been my central and peripheral fields of vision. Initially I would watch, critical and entertained, enjoying the novelty of a personal light show. However, over time I began to allow myself to sink into these visions. I would look past that primary layer, towards the receding blackness rather than the dancing light.
I got good at it, and by the time I was 8 or 9, I was able to completely loose awareness of myself as a viewer, as body lying in bed. Using this method I cultivated minor out of body experiences for much of my youth. I always felt very comfortable, being just a mind and eyes.
Then, one day I was unable to achieve this absence. As an adult I tend to think that I lost it as soon as I comprehended the physical nature of the phenomena itself. Though to be honest, I think I lost the skill gradually, as my interest in defining the parameters of reality moved on to other aspects of my life. I miss it, though I still keep the company of the colors.
Images: The 2001 Leonids