My last article was about taking life too seriously, and also about how laughter is an important part of our make-up and psyche, in both reality and in our dreams. This time round I’m going to discuss the different kinds of real that our dream experiences can create. Not to mention how there is an intermingling of both conscious and subconscious realities amongst the different phases of sleep.
So what kinds of real am I talking about?
One kind of real, is that feeling where you are aware within the dream, that you are in fact dreaming - otherwise known as lucidity. Also, another kind of real can be having a dream, and its’ happenings appear in reality a few days later – a dream come true. Or, another alternative is having a certain something within the dream dually concur at the waking moment. If some of this sounds unfamiliar to you, don’t worry. I’ll explain all this in a little more detail. Before I go into lucidity and other juicy stuff like outer body experiences, I’ll first explain the different phases of sleep, as each part of your sleep produces many different nocturnal experiences!
Where are you in your sleep?
There are a few phases that occur during our sleep. The deepest part of your sleep is REM sleep, or Rapid Eye Movement. The cycles of REM start off short in duration and get increasingly longer towards awakening. You have about 4-6 REM sleep phases on the average night.
What happens before and after the REM state is collectively coined hypnagogia, with the first part being called the hypnagogic state. The hypnogogic state is the transition between wakefulness and sleep, or falling asleep. On some occasions you may feel the sensation of falling. Or sometimes you’ll get that deep twitch that awakens you suddenly, also called a hypnagogic jerk. Sometimes this can be accompanied by short a dream or vision of being attacked, or being pushed, or having a fall. Mostly it happens without any visions or dream plot. It’s the other part of this phase where more interesting stuff happens, during the hypnapompic state.
The hypnapompic state happens after you come out of your REM. This is the phase where you are more likely to have longer and more memorable dreams. It’s the stage where you can have more confronting experiences like your sleep paralysis, and continual dreams. It’s also where you’re more likely to have your most real, lucid and exciting dream experiences.
Lucidity is when you become aware that you are dreaming within the dream - often called a lucid dream.
These kinds of dreams are particularly exciting. It is often when people can report being able to control their dream, and do exciting things such as flying. Everyone experiences this state differently, and some not at all. There is a technique you can try if you want to become aware you are dreaming, and then with a bit of practice, you can take control! The method is where you give yourself a dream key as I call it, to help you become aware within the dream.
I tried this method by looking at my hands as a sign to become awake, and that night I had a dream where I was waving my hands profusely in front of my face, before waking up!
Sometimes you have the occurrence of something in your dream almost coming into your reality as soon as you awaken…
It can be as blatant as the alarm clock going off in your dream and then you wake up to your actual alarm going off. Although sometimes it’s just the external stimulation working it’s way into your dream before you are aware of what is really going. Even better, this has happened to me in a few ways but a little more cryptically. I had a friend I was in deep conversation with on the phone in a dream, talking about dreams. Only to have this friend call me, which woke me up! As I was still in dream mode I didn’t answer. However I got a text only a minute later going, ‘interesting dreams last night?’ – Yes, you could say so!
When something you dream at night comes true in waking life…
I personally love this kind of dream! Although, as long as you’re dreaming something good, who wouldn’t like a dream come true? So many people around me are finding that they are dreaming about a person and they bump into them. Or they dream of reading the papers for a job and sure enough it’s in there a few days later. How do we do it?
When you witness something before it’s time, it’s called pre-cognition, which means before the mind or before thought. For me, in one dream I was given a letter from a friend with some hand drawn words and a picture on it. Two days later, as a joke this same friend picked up a pen and drew the same picture and words on me. There is no way I could have logically or cognitively predicted that!
If you want more of that to happen though, just ask yourself a question before you go to sleep. Sometimes I’ve found by doing so, you get a very strange dream happen, followed by part of it appearing in reality! You may have got a direct translation of events, or instead you may just get a very specific answer back. If not you will at least have a message that is potently symbolic.
In essence, precognition is a very interesting experience, but it can be hard to know what to take from it. Its’ contents and feeling are very much real, but not so easily assimilated. Rather than feeling like maybe you need to consider a career change and becoming a clairvoyant, I can suggest a few things.
First, it means your subconscious is trying to give you a clear picture of your desires, obvious or hidden.
Second, it means that you are more in tune with yourself than you think, that’s always a plus!
Third, any time you have precognition or a premonition, it also means you’re better aligned with what you should be doing, and have the power to manifest much more than you realize.
Lastly, as if your thirst for more dream adventures and life advice wouldn’t be heightened already, it also means that you are in a position to find out more!
How about when you feel like you’ve left your body, or are in fact trapped in your body upon awakening?
Sometimes we get trapped in these powerful dream states, when our sensory apparatus is not working properly, so you get stuck between asleep and awake, like you are in fact trapped in your own body; can be quite startling being in that panic! My advice here is relax so your senses can realize that you’ve stopped dreaming – being in a panic doesn’t help your body wake up, it makes it feel as though you’re still running about like a space cowboy with laser guns!
For me, my most real and lucid experience for me is when I awaken to my room as if it is right now, having an outer body experience. These are very powerful states, as usually about eighty percent of our thoughts are unconscious – being awake in this state, makes everything seem almost too real. It’s often here we project amazing things; such as relatives that have passed over, and other details that are seemingly impossible in waking life. I can tell when I have arrived to this state just by seeing everything in black and white, usually I dream in full colour. In this state we are able to see beyond our conscious conditioning and can tap into much more, before we really wake up to our more evolved prefrontal cortex taking the reigns on our experiences.
Whatever you experience whilst dreaming, its message is there for you to make sense of when you are awake. Your mind is such a powerful tool, and it shows you your fears, hopes and desires in abstract ways. Not only so you can tell the difference between dreams and reality, but also to deliver a message most potent and informative – pretty neat huh?
Now you know a little bit more about how you sleep and how you bring your dreams to life, maybe it’s time to get real by paying attention to all the hidden details your dreams are revealing to you about your life.
Sweet dreams and awakenings!
© Lauren Neko 2012