10 interesting facts about dreams

 

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1) Surprisingly, your body is virtually paralyzed during your sleep – most likely to prevent your body from acting out aspects of your dreams. According to a Wikipedia article on dreaming, “Glands begin to secrete a hormone that helps induce sleep and neurons send signals to the spinal cord which cause the body to relax and later become essentially paralyzed.” This fact often accounts for those dreams when we actually feel paralyzed. This is especially true when we first wake, but are not yet fully conscious.

2) If you are awakened out of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, you are more likely to remember your dream in a more vivid way than you would if you woke from a full night sleep. Studies have shown that our brain waves are more active when we are dreaming than when we are awake. Women tend to have more frequent dream recall than men.

3) When you are snoring, you are not dreaming. This may be partially true in that people with sleep apnea don’t usually get the deep sleep that is often characterized by dreams. However, we also experience dreams when in the lighter, Alpha, stage of dreaming that may not be affected by sleep apnea.

4) When you dream about some particular subject or even a person you know, it is not necessarily what the dream is about. Dreams speak in a deeply symbolic language. The unconscious mind tries to compare your dream to something else that has similar aspects or characteristics. Whatever symbol your dream picks on it is most unlikely to be a symbol for itself.

5) A full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white. That means about 88% of us dream in full color. We also tend to have common themes in our dreams, e.g. situations relating to school, being chased, running slowly, or in place, sexual experiences, falling, arriving too late, a person now alive being dead, teeth falling out, flying, failing an examination, or a car accident.

6) In an average lifetime, humans spend a total of about six years of it dreaming. That is more than 2,100 days spent in a different realm! On average, we dream anywhere from one to two hours every night. Moreover, we can have four to seven different dreams in one night.

7) In a recent sleep study, students who were awakened at the beginning of each dream, but still allowed their 8 hours of sleep, all experienced difficulty in concentration, irritability, hallucinations, and signs of psychosis after only 3 days. When finally allowed their REM sleep the student’s brains made up for lost time by greatly increasing the percentage of sleep spent in the REM stage.

8) People who become blind after birth can see images in their dreams. Those who are born blind do not see any images, but have dreams equally vivid involving other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion.

9) Nightmares are common in children, typically beginning at around age 3 and occurring up to age 7-8. In adults between 2 and 8% are plagued with nightmares. Occasional adult nightmares experienced by many are usually the result of extreme stresses experienced in their waking life and is the mind’s way of dealing with them.

10) Dreams have been here as long as mankind.  In the Roman Era, profound and significant dreams were submitted to the Senate for analysis and interpretation. This was true of most tribal groups and continues as a practice within some small communities throughout the world.

What’s in a dream?

What’s in a dream? They are the alchemist’s crucible for rendering the common into the divine.

In our waking life we are used to objects retaining Flammarion_Woodcut_1888_Color_2.jpgtheir identity through time and space. This is not so at the subatomic level or within our dreams. Particles can change into other particles or into two particles or morph into something altogether different or merge their identities. At this level there seem to be any number of realities and the different realities seem to interfere with each other on occasion.

What is this that keeps one reality following one set of physical rules while another allows for anything to happen? What is it that exists in one realm of reality and not the other? I posit that it is something called ego-body consciousness. In the waking world this consciousness creates a particular point-of-view but in the sleeping world where the ego-body consciousness has been turned off there is what I call dream-body consciousness that is unrestricted and allows for all points-of-view not unlike the superpositionality of all particles at the subatomic level that don’t become fixed until focused upon.

Is it possible that it is our conscious individual and collective ego-self that determines reality while the unconscious self allows for any reality? There doesn’t seem to be any restrictions of time or space or form in the unconscious mind. Basically it’s ‘anything goes’ i.e. anything and everything is possible because the restrictions on possibility are lifted thus allowing us the freedom to explore what in the waking world are “impossible” possibilities.

Is it any wonder that dreams have opened us to any number of new discoveries and new ways of looking at things? Our dreams have connected us with the divine and the unimaginable; from the common to the sublime they problem solve and restructure perspective, and help us to see who and what we really are. Our dreams not only help us to heal and discover the inner workings of ourselves but the mechanisms of reality itself. Dreams are a way of pulling back the veil to see what lies behind.

“This is not real reality. The real reality is behind the curtain. In truth, we are not here. This is our shadow.”

–Rumi

There are people who want you to believe that there is nothing beyond the veil, in fact they argue that there is no veil. They are like the Wizard of Oz who said to Dorothy “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Most folks don’t know that there is an unconscious mind or that this unconscious world modifies their experience of the conscious world. Most folks can only imagine that the world they see is the only real world. Most don’t know that the world they see is but an illusion, a projection of their biases, their conditioning, and the archetypal material of their subconscious.

So what’s in a dream? The sleeping mind pulls aside the curtain and reveals the hidden world behind– the machinery behind the machinery if you will.

A doorway into the universal soul

I had a dream recently where I seemed to be everywhere at once. The dream was very disconcerting I’d no sooner noticed where I was than I’d be somewhere else, then nowhere and yet everywhere.

This reminded me of the quantum physics concept of “nonlocality”. In the dream it was only when I noticed myself as being somewhere that the location would change. In the theory of nonlocality everything is potential and it’s only when we make an observation that the field of everywhere and everywhen collapses into a single place. It’s as though reality is what we make of it. It’s only when our ego-selves intervene that everything solidifies into a something.

Some self-awareness gurus like Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and James Redfield suggest that at a fundamental level reality is a non defined soup or eternal soul that exists at the level of potential and only taking form through the personal soul, the soul of all our experiences. As Chopra once said “the soul is the observer in the midst of the observation.” Essentially there is an object that is observed, then there’s the process of observing that happens in the brain, and lastly there’s an observer. The brain is interpreting what is seen based on prior information, observations, relationships, and biases. This is all happening while the “observer” is observing.

In dreams this nonlocal essence is often imaged as an ocean or great sea while the waves represent the local or personal point-of-view. Carl Jung, the early to mid-century Swiss Psychiatrist thought of this vast sea as the unconscious mind where the universal archetypes of the psyche reside– that there is a shared information that crosses all cultures and across all time. Everyone and everything is part of a nonlocal intelligence i.e. an unbounded potential from which we can draw if we learn how. Dreams are but the waves of this vast ocean and present us with information that the conscious mind normally has no access to. They are an access-point or doorway into the universal soul.

Something New

Dracos84.jpgWell here we go again! The site is an extension of two previous blogs entitled The Dream Dragon and its darker cousin The Somnium Meum Libro. The Dream Dragon blog provided interpreting techniques, information on human behavior, meditation, psychology and general dream meanings. The Somnium Meum blog looked at our darker aspects including the usefulness of our nightmares. The aspects of both blogs will be morphed into this new presentation, The Book of Dreams. There is also a means of sending your dreams to me through the Contact page. Dreams will be interpreted as they come into the queue.

Please have fun with this. My writings are meant to inform regarding current research, philosophy, and practical application of dream meanings. I will also be sharing personal insights.

If you are working with a therapist, my interpretations or insights should not be used as part of any therapeutic program without your consulting with the therapist and sharing them. They also should not be used in lieu of any therapy that your physician or counselor might recommend. Because of the limits on email interactions my interpretations can only be superficial in nature and should only be used as a guide towards further exploration.

Please note that the interpretation(s), and concepts that I provide are not the ultimate meaning of the dream or the varied aspects of the human psyche. Every interpretation or insight is but a hypothesis and an attempt to read what is often an enigmatic narrative. You the dreamer will know what meaning(s) would be your own truth by what you feel in your heart. If it resonates as true, then go with it; otherwise discard it in part, or in its entirety. I can only offer what the dream would mean for me if it were mine.