Somewhere during the pandemic, social media caused an interesting phenomenon to take over the minds of many TikTokers across the globe: reality shifting.

The ins and outs of reality shifting essentially sum up to this: reality shifting is the practice of meditative techniques to “transfer” one’s consciousness to another universe (or DR, signifying “Desired Reality”), which is usually “scripted” beforehand. These universes usually take place within popular fandoms, such as Harry Potter. You prepare for this in your CR (“Current Reality”), using methods of sleeping and scripting to manifest a shift. 

Scripting is a simple process, where you write down your desired appearance, personality, relationships, and what that universe may play out as. 

At this point, if you were me, you’d probably ask what happens to the other “reality you’s” consciousness, if you could eat while shifting, if you’re taking over their body – this has not been answered for me yet. 


Reality shifting is one of those phenomena that seem to cater specifically to one type of person: in this case, younger audiences, aged 15 through 25. This aligns almost perfectly with the TikTok demographic, although straying on the younger side.

Popularized in 2021, reality shifting is a method of transferring one’s consciousness to another universe (as is stated with the Multiverse Theory, although some shifters subscribe to a different train of thought) while sleeping. The Multiverse Theory argues that there is a vast multiverse and any reality a user can think of exists somewhere in the ‘verse – the trouble is finding the universe itself. The majority of shifters transport their consciousness to fictional universes, such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson or various anime worlds. They aren’t spectators, but active participants, with carefully pre-meditated schedules as (usually) powerful self-insert characters. 

The allure of reality shifting is very simple, and its main catch is that it seems to be completely harmless. Prospective shifters can only shift while going to sleep, typically meditating and reviewing their script before manifesting (such as repeating “I will shift tonight” or something along those lines). Shifts can allegedly last anywhere from seconds to years, all in the span of a night or less. A practiced shifter may be a regular in more than one reality, bouncing back and forth with ease. 

Reality shifters market this as a safe, fun way to live out a life in which you can do magic, fly or be in a relationship with one of your favorite characters. Methods to help with shifting are sleeping in specific positions (ex: the starfish method, which is exactly as it sounds, splaying your limbs out across your bed to maximize surface area), affirmations and meditation beforehand. Many people also regularly try to “manifest” a shift, by repeating phrases before bed or throughout the day. 

Reality shifting isn’t inherently dangerous, that we know of. It is sold as a way to live your dream life, in reality, without any consequence. I, however, have some skepticism about the science of shifting itself. The human brain is incredibly complex, undoubtedly with abilities scientists have not yet been able to discover. However, while reality shifting isn’t necessarily harmful, it isn’t particularly harmless either. 

Many regular shifters entertain the idea of “permashifting,” the idea that you can permanently transfer your consciousness to another universe. In doing so, you will leave a clone of yourself behind, who will be a replica of you in every way but originality. The moral implications of this theory are very disturbing, if this is true. Would that clone then be considered to be a real person if they are just a replica of someone’s mind? Are they capable of rational thought, emotion, or love? If you decided to move back, would they be displaced from the body they had been forced into? 

This route of thinking leads me to another question: what happens to the consciousness of the character in the desired reality? For example, if you were to shift to a Harry Potter world in which you were Draco Malfoy—assuming that they are real people, and that their world is as legitimate as ours—would his subconscious be thrown out into the vastness of nothingness? Would Draco simply be killed? Would you be an imposter in his body, shifting in whenever you wanted? Would he be confused about his spells of amnesia, or worse yet—would he be aware of it, trapped as a prisoner within his own body, unable to move or speak freely? 

Worst of all: if you knew any of this was happening, would you consider it a drawback, rather than murder? Would you consider it to be a right to live in your desired reality, because you put the effort into trying to shift? Would you consider Draco’s consciousness to be lesser than your own?

On a different note, what about things that don’t exist in that universe? Would it be immoral to pen stories that don’t exist in your desired reality as your own, to write songs that were never sung, or to recreate art that was never drawn? Could they be argued to be yours anyways? For this question, I’m reminded of the 2019 movie “Yesterday,” in which a man gets thrown into a universe where the band “The Beatles” never existed. He recreates their famous songs, and becomes a rich musician, ultimately feeling unfulfilled in his wealth and glory. After all, if you’re taking credit for someone else’s work, how much praise and fame can you get before it feels like you’re just a thief?

Now, many shifters are adamant that shifting is a practice that takes time to develop the skills. Some prospective shifters try for months, if not years, to shift. Is this unethical to encourage those who just can’t seem to shift? Bribing them with a dream life, only to watch them suffer for years, likely bringing their own outlook on life down? After all, if you’re so prompted as to shift into another reality, you most likely don’t particularly enjoy all the aspects of your current one. 

Even though reality shifting may not have physical implications, it’s impossible to ignore the mental and emotional stressors shifting might lead to if it is real. The ethical dilemmas surrounding reality shifting mean that it will never be a completely safe practice, no matter how many different sleeping positions TikTokers swear worked for them. A downward spiral of mental health reflecting that “grass is always greener on the other side” mentality could prevent someone from finding the joys in the mundanity of normal life. 


An interesting theory that many anti-shifters bring up is that “reality shifting” could just be lucid dreaming. It certainly seems to check the majority of the boxes—a realistic environment, complete control over your actions and the actions of other people, and the fact that it only happens during sleep or a meditative state.

Although lucid dreaming is not a catch-all when it comes to the theory of reality-shifting, it does seem more realistic than someone willing their consciousness into a world in which Harry Potter really does exist, and the shifter is a perfect being without any flaws. (This is just a generalization, most shifters do tend to make their personas more realistic.)

I myself have never tried to shift, and I don’t plan to. If another person from another universe infiltrates my mind and permashifts to this reality, I wish them luck. In my mentality, shifting is just another form of escapism, and for the most part, doesn’t seem to be that harmful. 

What is harmful, however, is the unrelenting advocacy for and the adamantly false science behind shifting, as we have not yet proved its existence. If or when the time comes when shifting is declared medically safe and ethical, rest assured that I will still be staying in this reality. I believe that in whatever case, I was born into this universe for a reason, and I will take reality as it comes, not as I write it.