Dreams and Hypnosis
To dream: or not to dream, that is the question.
This is a unique moment in history where instant knowledge is at the finger tips. Presto! Long hidden ancient knowledge is available on the internet. This windfall of knowledge is a double edged sword. Too much information causes the “Paradox of Choice” aka confusion. However, having a smorgasbord of knowledge, has advantages, as well.
Dream work exists in many cultures in the world. My experience is with Senoi dreamwork, western style lucid dreaming, Tibetan Dream Yoga, and other Sleep Yoga, upon which this article is based. A Korean mentor also gave me some insights into the meaning of dreams.
There is so much knowledge available on the internet, etc, that it would take a lifetime to research, that is why I am writing this now, otherwise it would never be done. A full analysis is beyond the scope of this article. It is meant to be a helpful guide.
There are two basic schools of lucid dreaming theory. One advocates active participation in lucid dreams, exploring and changing the dream. The other school is passive observation without attempting to change the dream. I generally prefer the passive observation style, but there can be value in purposefully changing of the dream experience.
Active Method: The Senoi dream work method was presented to me in a freshman cultural anthropology class. It suggests that in nightmares remain calm and confident and bravely turn to the nightmare monster (or whatever) and tell it: “You are merely a symbol, without substance, and you cannot harm me”. In doing this the dream monster will vanish like an illusion and the nightmare ends. This action helps in understanding the problem as it exists in the waking world. The vanquished demon in the dream is symbolic of something in the waking world. In this way the psychology can be affected via dream work. This attitude of liberation from fear by remaining calm and brave is also found in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Similarly, the martial arts teaches to keep a calm in the face of fear, so there really must be something to this remaining calm business!
Passive Method: Simply observe the dream and remember it. Write it down upon waking. Review your dream diary before bed and the expectation will lead to dreaming. A Tibetan method is to imagine a softly glowing light in the chest. Stay aware of the light while falling asleep all through the sleep period if possible. If not then try to keep even just a wisp of consciousness on the light while dozing off. Don’t sleep but enter a twilight sleep and experience the clear white light of consciousness, where dreams are observed, as thoughts are during meditation. Just by the act observing, powerful psychological forces are set into motion. The subconscious percolates into the consciousness
In the twilight sleep (clear white light of consciousness) dreams no longer have the tremendous emotional power and this is liberating. It becomes possible to understand that the dream meanings are bodily sensations and memories all being associated by the reticular activating system. The mind looks for patterns by associating ideas. These associations are seen in dreams. Dreams are not mysterious. They are simply the bodily sensations and the brain trying to understand by recognizing patterns in life. Dreams are important messages from the body about it’s state of health and should be considered. Emotional issues z\are intertwined into the dream because the mind affects the body and visa versa the body affects the mind.
Example 1: John has recurring nightmares about horrible angry demons with wild eyes stabbing him in the stomach. John realized that his drinking and eating habits have given him severe heartburn.Heart burn and stomach pain are sensations of burning anger. The burning angry stomach took shape as angry demons stabbing him in the stoomach.
Example 2: Fred dreams that a forlorn little boy is smiling at him pleading “Hey mister…Feed me!” Finally a woman gives the boy some hot roasted turkey and was very happy to eat it and even gave some to his dog. Fred recorded this dream in the morning in his dream diary. He was fascinated by the face of the little boy. In order to remember the dream he drew a sketch of the boy and the woman. Fred recalled that during childhood he was very hungry and always looked forward to the Thanksgiving day feast. The face of the boy in the sketch is his own face as a child. The woman is his mother serving the dinner. The dog is his childhood pet. John realized that his rigorous diet was causing him hunger and nutritional deficiency. Fred reasoned that the message of the dream is that he needs to eat better.
Example 3: Sally dreams of a woman in a car wearing dark glasses giving her a mean look. Sally meditates on the feeling or emotional state she felt in the dream and how it relates to the waking state. She realizes that she is very angry about several issues in her life and that people often vent their anger while driving. Sally realizes that she is the woman in the dream. It is very common that different people in dreams are actually the self combined with mental associations about others. Sally decided find ways to reduce the stress and anger by changing her lifestyle to include better eating habits, exercise, and regular meditation or counseling.
But wait! This dream could have another meaning. It could simply be that cars were making a lot of noise while she was asleep. The person driving the car is Sally! The mind watches while sleeping and sees a person present. That person is the self. The mind associated the sound of the car driving by and the presence of a person (Sally herself) and the dream contained a car and a woman. Always consider the obvious when decoding a dream. Only the dreamer can figure out the true meanings. Sometimes other people appear in dreams but there is always an element of self in those dream images because the mind senses the body of the self lying there asleep.
Resolving to remain calm and brave in fearful circumstances has helped me to overcome Night Terrors.
There are may books and methods used to decipher the meaning of dreams, such as dream symbol encyclopedias, etc. My view is that each dream is personal and can only be understood by the dreamer. Dreams are closely connected with the reality. For example, if cold, one may dream of snow or coldness. If the stomach is painful or irritated there many be nightmares associated with the stomach or anger. During sleep the conscious mind recedes and the subconscious expands and there is more awareness of feeling. These feelings are of the physical body, including conflicts of the conscious mind, that affect the body.
To understand the dream ask: What does the dream make me feel? Is my body feeling alright? Are there any needs that may be associated with the dream? Is there anything in the waking world, such as conflicts, that relates to the dream.
As my Korean friend explained: “Dreams are a sign that there is something wrong” and “The best way to sleep is without dreaming”. There is a dreamless twilight sleep state known as Turiya, that is the goal of dream work. Where the body is uncomfortable it will be reflected in dreams. These dreams are unique and can only be truly understood by the individual. Meditation and dream work will help to understand your dreams.
There is great liberation in understanding dream, in facing the fear and understanding it. Once done, those fearsome or confusing dreams are understood to be symbols of discomfort. It helps to understand and heal the self.
For example: a pregnant friend related a dream where she was wading through a stream while holding her baby, when she was stabbed in the leg by a stick, and her husband was saying something like “No…go away”. To determine how this dream is associated with her non-sleeping state, I asked where in the dream the stick stabbed her leg. She pointed to a scar on her leg. In a moment of self realization she related how as a child, she waded across a stream, and was injured by a stick jabbing her leg. She was presently carrying a baby in her womb, and her husband was in reality nearby. The husband saying “No…go away” could have been the traumatic memory. I have found that other people in dreams, usually consist in part or wholly, as a reflection of the self.
The mind works by association of memories and sensations with the imagination. Recall the dream and let the mind free associate to find the personal meaning.
Dream meanings can be extrapolated from life issues that occupy the mind. The message in the dream can be deciphered by recalling the feeling in the dream and during each dream event. Recalling the dream feeling will trigger memories of that feeling in the waking state and it will become obvious why the mind has brought this thought to the fore. Sometimes there will be a reminder or a solution to a problem. Don’t be carried away by the imagination. The dream is just a reflection of life and it seems strange because of the awesome power of the imagination. The brain contains naturally occurring psychoactive compounds and that is why a glimpse into that subconscious realm is confusing and exciting.
Other things that cause dream events are the remants of ancient reflexes such as floating, flying, falling, from the days as mammals swimming in the ocean. There are other physical reflexes such the freezing of the muscles to prevent thrashing around during dreams or perhaps the remants of ancient reflexes to hold the breath under water. Night terrors, where the body is paralyzed and there is difficulty breathing, may be related to these reflexes. In any event I have cured myself of the Night Terrors, Sleep Paralysis, or visits by the Succubus / Incubus.
Night Terrors, Sleep Paralysis, or visits by the Succubus / Incubus
How I cured my Night Terrors: See the above under the Dream Yoga heading.
Basically the way I did it was using bravery. While waking-up from sleep, I could not move or breathe and was afraid of dying. The fear was so profound that I repressed it from my consciousness. The solution came after reading the Tibetan Book of The Dead where it says to remain calm and know that you are immortal and everything will be OK. The important thing is to remain calm and trusting.
The next time that the sleep paralysis occurred I was able to remember the instructions in the Tibetan Book and simply accepted what was happening, remembering that everything is an illusion and stayed calm. (This principle is consistent with the Senoi dream work outlined above). After doing this a couple times the night terrors vanished completely and never returned. I was also able to detect and stop my nocturnal teeth grinding (bruxism) by adjusting the sleeping position by never sleeping on the face and jaw bone. Read about it at this link: http://www.galiffasyndrome.com/
Practicing lucid dreaming and meditation helps to become aware of dreaming. The simple affirmation to remember the dreams before bedtime is enough. Writing a dream diary first thing in the morning and reading it before bedtime is a very powerful action. The goal is to maintain even the slightest shred of consciousness throughout sleep. Doing this one becomes aware of the subconscious.
To Be continued…
How to lucid dream
To dream: or not to dream, that is the question.
Twilight dreamless sleep
more to come…