Dreams can provide a rich source personal insight; they can also provide information of an extrasensory nature or psychic nature. We are most susceptible to influence when our defences (Conscious mind filters) are down. That is, when we are asleep or close to the sleep state. I am sure that you have all had occasions when, just as you are slipping into sleep an idea or concept has come to you, providing the resolution to a problem despite having spent time wrestling with it during your waking hours. At times the subconscious mind can find solutions to what the conscious cannot.
Keep a note of your dreams
Spiritual insight and understanding may also come at these times and if you are interested in exploring this fascinating area, we can only suggest that you keep a note pad and pen beside the bed so that you can note anything down when it comes to you. I know all you want to do is go off to sleep, but don't try to remember things, as this will disturb the thought stream and it will likely be lost to you by morning. Just keep the pad and pen to hand so that an outstretch hand can scrawl something down in the dark. All you need is an 'aide memoir' to help you remember, you don't even have to open your eyes. It is more important to keep the thought stream going than to worry about neat writing.
"What is a dream but a wish,
And wishes to dream is all we have,
Because to dream is to live,
And to live is to Dream...."
In a dream we can either be an observer or participant as in the case of Lucid dreams. Lucid dreaming may be a mechanism that enables us to act out solutions to problems in a number of different ways before trying them in a real word situation. It may also enable us to improve skills and even our health by confronting issues in these lucid dreams. We are able to experience our normal senses during dreaming. Sight, sound, touch, taste and motion can all be experienced during a dream, as anybody who suffers from falling sensations when dreaming will testify.
Richard Bach, the author of 'Jonathan Livingstone Seagull' provides a fictional, but non the less informative, parable about lucid dreaming in his wonderful short novel Out of my Mind. Bach interacts with characters from an alternative and parallel past dimension that enable him to perfect simple and practical solutions to several design problems on his real vintage light aircraft. In the book, Bach tries several methods to bring forward lucid dreaming so that he can continue his quest to solve his physical problems through dreams. He even undertakes a sort pre-sleep ritual by sleeping under the wing of his aircraft on the grass because he believes that this will bring him closer the realm that he desires to dream of. In doing so he over comes and suspends his disbelief in that it is "only his imagination."
In the dream state we should be able to access the same things as we can with clairvoyance, such as knowledge of a missing object or information about a distant location or situation. Some form of control must be in place because we are not overwhelmed by our dreams in much the same way as we are not overwhelmed by psychic information coming to us, both appear filtered. Controls also prevent us from physically acting out our dreams and prevent us from injuring others and ourselves by inhibiting the spinal motor neurons that facilitate movement.
Why do we dream?
It is generally agreed that dreaming is vital part of our well being. Some remember theirs dreams, some do not. Irrespective of this we all dream. One communicator commented that sleep was also the time that our mind "could throw out the garbage."
Is there a way that this sleep, or near sleep state attunement can be used? Yes, it is called 'precognitive dreaming'. To harness this potential, what we need to do is turn an apparently random occurring event into something that we can control.
Things to be avoided
When working with dreams you should avoid the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs that are neurological suppressants. They will block our natural rapid eye movement that takes place during dreaming and do not over indulge in any foods or activities that may affect your normal sleep patterns. It goes without saying that non-prescription drugs should be avoided, no doubt that many people have 'ripped the veil' with psychedelic drugs in the past, but this is abuse not controlled, safe development.
The first thing to achieve is remembering the dreams that normally occur during sleep, some will find this easy, others may not. Conscious effort, discipline and practice will be required to enable this task to be successfully carried out. (We will assumed that you have a comfortable, undisturbed area that you sleep in.) Prepare yourself with your tools, the pad and pen, in a convenient place. It is difficult in the busy, stressful world in which we live, but we should try to retire free from the anxieties, fears and troubles of our daily life, as these will undoubtedly colour the dreams that you have. What ever you do to relieve these stresses, do it at this time, be it relaxing bath, meditation or listening to music.
As you settle down to sleep, make a statement of intent. Say in your mind that you intend to remember the content your dreams and that you ask for the protection and blessing of your guides when doing so. Say that you desire to be given information about so and so (The target or just to remember your dreams initially) and that you expect to be able to remember them. Once again we have Intent, desire and expectation - the dynamic for making things work for you.
Once you have begun to make this work and dreams become remembered affairs, consider there meaning to you and then compare this to references in the many dream books that have been written. Is your interpretation in agreement to that of others for a given dream? Does it give you pause for thought and make you consider other options? Which interpretation are you most happy with?
After a while try to focus the dream imagery onto something that you want to know about, such as what the headline is going to be in your newspaper the next morning or what is on the page of an unopened magazine that you have randomly placed a bookmark in the previous evening. Alternatively, you could ask a willing helper to select the target for you; this could be anything from a person, place or an object. There is no need for them to go to or even know anything about their selection, the only criteria is that the chosen target should be able to be verified and the veracity of your dream impression checked for accuracy.
If you awake during the night with nothing to show for your efforts, just reaffirm your intent and desire to dream of such and such, then try to slip back into sleep. Persistence is required, so keep trying until results are achieved. However, do not try to hard, as this always seems to have the reverse effect on psychic functioning to that which is required, plus you will have lost the benefit of a good nights sleep!
What does Science tell us about the brain during sleep?
Stages of sleep and Brain Waves
(Very low amplitude, high frequency; 13 to 30 waves/sec) A person is awakened and active (in a state of alertness). They are the fastest [EEG] waves and signal an active cortex and an intense state of attention. Irregular register (unsynchronised).
(Low amplitude, 8 to 13 waves/sec) A person is awaken and relaxed, with closed eyes. Neurons are firing at different times. Regular register (synchronised).
(Low-medium amplitude, spike-like waves; 3-7 waves/sec) A person is sleepy, already sleeping, or in a sleep transition. It can be observed in from the hippocampus. Theta rhythm is also observed in REM sleep. Because the hippocampus is involved in memory processing, the presence of theta rhythm during REM sleep in that region of the brain might be related to that [memory] activity.
(high amplitude, low frequency; 3 waves/sec) A person is deep asleep. Neurons, which are not engaged in the processing of information, are firing all at the same time. Therefore, the activity is synchronised. Waves are large and slow.
60 to 70 waves/sec Maximal retraction of the pupil and nictating membrane follow the volleys of ocular movements
Ponto geniculo-occipital waves
(PGO) are also observed in deep sleep. Spontaneous, intermittent, high voltage peaks that appear simultaneously in the pontine structures, the lateral geniculate and occipital cortex. Both electrophysiological and neurochemical studies have exploited this phenomenon in an effort to identify the pontine structures involved in this phasic response and also to map their central pathways.
Stages of sleep through one night divided in cycles
A typical night of sleep consists of the repetition of a 90 to 110-minute cycle of REM and NREM (non-REM) sleep. The first REM period is usually short (5-10 min), but tends to lengthen in successive cycles. Conversely, stages 3 and 4, which together are often referred to as "delta sleep", dominate the slow-wave sleep periods in the first third of the night, but are often completely absent during the later, early morning cycles. The amount of stage 2 slow-wave sleep increases progressively until it completely occupies the slow waves period toward the end of the night.
The electroencephalograph (EEG) shows patterns of electrical activity during different stages of sleep. Brain waves of an awaken person and of those of a person in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (when dreaming occurs) are similar in frequency and amplitude. In non-REM (NREM) sleep (stages 1, 2, 3, 4) brain waves have a higher amplitude and a lower frequency, indicating that neurons in the brain are firing more slowly and in a synchronised fashion.
The Dreaming Process
This is the first stage of sleep. It is a very light sleep. Stage one usually last just a few minutes. If the sleeper is not disturbed, they will quickly move on to stage 2 sleep.
This is much deep than stage 1. Dreams begin to form, although there are no clear images. Vague thoughts and ideas drift through the sleepers mind. If undisturbed the sleeper will drift into stage 3.
deeper than stage 2. The sleeper's muscles are relaxed by now and the heart rate has slowed down. The sleeper's blood pressure is also falling. Breathing is steady and even. The sleeper is very difficult to wake now and only two things will wake them, loud noise or repetitious calling of the sleeper's name. Before long the sleeper will venture into stage 4.
The deepest sleep of all. This is the times when dreams occur. The sleeper is almost impossible to wake now. If there is a loud noise or if the sleeper is shaken it will take them a few seconds to wake up. Both the sleeper's blood pressure and heart rate fluctuate and the brain heats up. Then comes REM (better known as rapid eye movement). If the sleeper is woken during this time, he or she will be able to remember a recently dreamt dream. The first REM period will last only about ten minutes. After that the sleeper goes back into a deep stage 4 sleep. Again the sleeper goes into a REM stage after a short period and cycles through REM and stage 4 until the sleeper is woken up.
www.lucidity.com The Lucidity Institure.
Bach - Out of my Mind, Pan.
Stewart-Garfield, F & R. - Dreams, Lansdowne.
Graff, D - Tracks in the Psychic Wilderness.
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