In R.D. Lang’s paper he said that we don’t pay attention to our dreams. And if we were to be aware of them, it would help us in waking life. I do believe that he is correct. I think that dreams are windows to deepest thoughts. Being able to understand them would help us become more of who we want to be. But most people are not able to do this. Dreams are treated as something that is not real. Many just continue with their lives just ignoring them. Our society on a whole is one that thinks of anything that does not give concert evidence as unimportant. However, dreams are apart of our realities. Everything that we experience is. Thus it is illogical for anyone to rid himself or herself of a piece of life them don’t like or wish to understand.
Lucid dreaming is an important tool for reaching the sub-conscious. Lucid dreaming is when you becoming aware that you are dreaming as you sleep. When it happens, one can watch how things play out closely or them could even control what takes place. The reason why it is such an important tool is that dreams are said to be extensions of your own thoughts – if you’re able to interact with them then you can gain a new perspective on yourself. “Dreams are the thread that leads us to and from ourselves.”
There are many techniques that can be used to experience lucid dreaming. One popular prerequisite is keeping a dream journal. A journal helps to keep track of dreams and progress. It also helps with your ability to recall dreams. However, my own use of a journal of this sort was short lived. I tried to keep it but I found it difficult to repeatedly go to it. Getting to lucid dreaming itself, my favorite method is the use of something called Wake-initiation of lucid dreams (WILD). It is described as “when the sleeper enters REM sleep with unbroken self-awareness directly from the waking state”(wikipedia). Basically you carry your awareness from when you’re awake to when you’re sleeping. To me it is a bit of a shoot or miss method. By this I mean that it is possible to have a lucid dreaming, but since most of the time I miss that goal and end up in something else. I’ve seen hypnagogic images and felt sleep paralysis and the popular vibrations at a rarer extent. Because of all of the times I’ve messed up and botched the lucid dreams, I have spent a lot of time playing with these things. The hypanagogic images I’ve seen have been fun. I sometimes see patterns of light and it even can seem as if I’m looking around my room through closed eyes. As for the sleep paralysis, this is my far the most interesting occurrence. It is said that the scientific reason behind why it happens is that chemicals are released that causes the body to almost ‘shut down’ so that it does not act out your dreams. But when you regain (or rather keep) your awareness as you fall asleep you can find yourself in that state. You are there, fully alert to what is going around you, yet you can move. Usually when I first get there I’m calm. I take a look around and try to keep relaxed. But at some point I always start to think of things that can end up freighting me. It’s as if my thoughts go on a rampage, running through everything they can. The next thing I know I become alert of something that was not next to me before.
It feels like a presence. Most of the time it is simply there. Possibly just watching me. Yet it is an uneasy presence. I’m not comfortable having it around. There have been times that I’ve tried to talk to it. I wanted to see if it would answer me back somehow. Normally it would just not reply but there was time once I asked if it was god or something of that realm and things went over badly. The presence seemed to become malicious and hypanagogic images flooded my mind. There was so much fear in me that I went mad with trying to regain control over my body and since then I never ever asked that question again. I’ve actually had a friend of mine chastise me for even trying to ask it that.
It would seem that I’m not alone in feeling this presence or whatever it may be. I’ve recently started the book “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James. On page 71 he gives an account from an informant who wrote about his encounter with something like what I’ve felt.
"Quite early in the night I was awakened…I felt as if I had been aroused intentionally, and at first thought some one was breaking into the house… I then turned on my side to go to sleep again, and immediately felt a consciousness of a presence in the room, and singular to state, it was not the consciousness of a live person, but of a spiritual presence. This may provoke a smile, but I can only tell you the fact as they occurred to me. I do not know how to better describe my sensations than by simply stating that I felt a consciousness of a spiritual presence…. I felt also at the same time a strong feeling of superstitious dread, as if something strange and fearful were about to happen."
As I read this passage and those around it, felt as if vindicated in someway. As if I was not crazy, or rather if I am, then at least I am not the only one.
Yet that was not the only time I’ve felt fear during sleep paralysis. When I’m in state, if I’m not dealing with the presence, I’m thinking about random things and trying to experiment with what I can do. I find that generally my ability to visualize becomes very sharpened. I also notice that I can let my mind wonder and sooner or later I fall asleep. But if I try to let go of my grasp on my body, I may start to feel the vibrations. For me at first they are nice and calm. They feel gentle. But I normally have a hard time letting go. I have to force myself to unless I’m really tired. Tiredness seems to bring the vibrations at a quicker pace. But after they’ve come and I let myself drift into them they take over. It really does feel like being engulfed in them. And they don’t really cut through my body. They always enter from my head or feet and travels in almost vertical lines. The vibrations can get so bad that I always get too scared to continue. They really are unsettling, as many times as I’ve felt them.
An interesting question about dreams is whom are they happening to? Are them happening to you or someone else and you are just watching, as if they are movies? It is my firm belief that dreams happen to you, not something, or anyone else. People who say that their dreams happen to something else just don’t wish to talk responsibility or accept that part of their existence.
If I was to say that the experiences that I described earlier never happened to me but to something that is not me, I would be lying to myself. There is no way for me to deny them. I was fully aware of my surroundings as they took place so I can’t say I was not there. Also they have left such a lasting impression upon me that if I were not to accept them, I would only be stoning myself.
Before entering this unit, as you should be already able to tell, I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences with dreams. I’ve always been mindful of them. I collected books and scoured the Internet for information about dreams. I think it is because of my time investment to the subject that lead me to be able to have positive results with lucid dreaming and just remembering the dreams that I’ve had. However, I noticed that I couldn’t force it. When I do, the average amount of dreams I can purposely manipulate drops. I have to let them happen at a near random basis. However the best way of going about things for me would going to sleep with the intention of remembering or anything else that I wish to do.