Greetings esteemed instructors,
I have been working on meditation for some time now with varying results. I am primarily doing it when I plan to go sleep so that I can experience what it entails. I do not use a meditation object but rather simply observe what is going on inside, without being involved in it. I have observed that for most of the times it is possible for me to let the body and the mind sleep with my consciousness awake, which according to my studies suggests me that I at least had found the door for possibly knowing myself but I am having difficulties going through that door.
Generally, the dreams I have had for some time now got more vivid, semi-lucid and I am more or less aware of what is going inside the dreams with varying degrees of control, so I assume that I am somehow able to enter my dreams with a bit of my consciousness engaged. In my humble observations, recognizing that I am there (in Tower of Babel i. e. my subjective experience if I recall correctly) is not a big problem for me now after experiencing it in a fully lucid manner once, with total control over myself and generally I am able to contain and control my excitement or fear once I realize I am there.
The problem I am having is that, before actually sleeping and experiencing dreams consciously, I panic a lot when I realize my body is starting to sleep and I am naturally unable to move it. I panic when I realize that my breath function differs from how it behaves during day time. I panic when I experience how everything generally feels different from what I am used to while having a physical body that is not moving etc. What I know from my little experiences is that this fear is not logical to pay any extra attention to because I automatically experience this "transition-to-dream state" process every time I had slept in my life, whether or not I choose to observe it or not. As stated before, this panic occurs when I am just about to embark into whatever awaits me when my body and mind is starting to sleep. When I panic, I forcefully wake up from the verge of the experience which I potentially could have and I have to start over again, for the same problem to occur. I become disheartened to try again because I anticipate the panic, which inevitably happens again.
Another problem is that, this "meditate, panic, forceful wakeup, try again" loop had become a common occurence for me because I cannot sleep "unawarely" anymore (sorry, could not find a better word, I meant the sleep I had in my life before having some small degree of awareness). I am having less rest because of this and my physical sleep is disturbed as a result. I feel alone in that experience, completely isolated from rest of the world. My body is going away while I am observing. This must be death that I have to face with courage, which I lack as of now. I just know that, if only I could patiently wait with courage, there shall be no more problems anymore!
What can be done regarding this fear that occurs when I try to traverse to the unknown territories?
Thanks for your time, honorable people who shall read this and attempt to answer it. I appreciate any guidance in any shape, way or form. I wish for peace and joy for every beings!