The meaning of Fifty in dream | Dream interpretation
The number fifty represents everything that is virtuous.
Jubilee, the celebration of emancipation and restoration
If you see and talk with your father, some unlucky transaction is about to be made by you. Be careful how you enter into contracts, enemies are around you. Men and women are warned to look to their reputations after this dream.
To see your mother, warns you to control your inclination to cultivate morbidness and ill will towards your fellow creatures.
A brother, or other relatives or friends, denotes that you may be called on for charity or aid within a short time.
To dream of seeing the dead, living and happy, signifies you are letting wrong influences into your life, which will bring material loss if not corrected by the assumption of your own will force.
To dream that you are conversing with a dead relative, and that relative endeavors to extract a promise from you, warns you of coming distress, unless you follow the advice given you. Disastrous consequences could often be averted if minds could grasp the inner workings and sight of the higher or spiritual self.
The voice of relatives is only that higher self taking form to approach more distinctly the mind that lives near the material plane. There is so little congeniality between common or material natures that persons should depend upon their own subjectivity for true contentment and pleasure. Paracelsus says on this subject: ``It may happen that the soul of persons who have died perhaps fifty years ago may appear to us in a dream, and if it speaks to us we should pay special attention to what it says, for such a vision is not an illusion or delusion, and it is possible that a man is as much able to use his reason during the sleep of his body as when the latter is awake; and if in such a case such a soul appears to him and he asks questions, he will then hear that which is true. Through these solicitous souls we may obtain a great deal of knowledge to good or to evil things if we ask them to reveal them to us. Many persons have had such prayers granted to them. Some people that were sick have been informed during their sleep what remedies they should use, and after using the remedies, they became cured, and such things have happened not only to Christians, but also to Jews, Persians, and heathens, to good and to bad persons.’’ The writer does not hold that such knowledge is obtained from external or excarnate spirits, but rather through the personal _Spirit Glimpses_ that is in man.--AUTHOR. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
2- As a symbol of permanence and incorruptibility salt is important in dreams. As in the old days salt was paid as salary; so nowadays to be given salt is to be given one’s correct worth. There are many customs associated with salt. Il is thrown over the shoulder, supposedly in the face of the Devil. In Scotland, along with coal and bread, it is the firsl thing to pass over the threshold to greet the New Year.
3- As a distillation of everything we know, salt represents wisdom.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
To be part of a group.
• Negatively it speaks of the snare of the enemy.
• Positive: Depending on the context of your dream, a net could be positive or negative.
• Negatively speaking a net represents being bound, restricted and being under bondage.
• Positively speaking, it could represent evangelism (in the case of catching fish), prosperity and provision.
One of our students shared once how the Lord kept showing them a vision of a net over their bed. They searched and searched but could not find the interpretation to this vision.
• It did not seem negative, yet still there was no interpretation. Then one day as he browsed the Internet, the Lord led him to AMI Network. All along the Lord was indicating that he was to become part of a network of believers and ministry leaders.
• So in this case the net spoke of linking up with other believers around the world.
• Seeing a net in a fishing picture speaks of evangelism, the Lord bringing provision and blessing.
• Speaking of Provision and Blessing • John 21:11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, a hundred and fifty three: and even though there were so many, yet the net was not broken.
Negative: In vision I have often seen the enemy using a net to snare and to steal.
• Often when we have been trusting the Lord for provision, I have seen the enemy having horded all our provision into his net. I would then speak forth and demand that he let go of that provision! • When giving personal ministry, I have also seen people bound up in nets. Usually the nets speak of negative words and curses spoken over the person.
• It could also be because of personal sin and getting involved in things they should not have. And so they have given Satan license to bind them and bring a curse into their lives.
• Referring to a net laid by those who speak negative words and a curse over someone: • Psalms 35:7 For without cause have they hidden for me their net [in] a pit, [which] without cause they have dug for my soul.
See also: Fish, Trap.... The Way of Dreams and Visions
If you are playing a game of cards and demonstrate ability and skill, these will be the qualities that you have in real life. Maybe the dream is telling you to adopt the same courage, strategy, and good timing required in card games. Games such as Twenty-one (or Blackjack) show that we should not let opportunities slip away. Others refer to the need for patience when it comes to making deals. Keep in mind another important detail: the symbolic origin of cards. The deck of fifty-six cards consists of fourteen figures for each of the four suits: coins (circles, discs, wheels), clubs (maces, scepters), swords, and cups. The coin symbolizes material forces; the club, power and control; the cup, love; and the sword action. This symbolism must be taken into account if you remember such details. (See GAME, LOTTERY, BETTING POOL, and ROULETTE)
In a deck of cards, each figure has a meaning. In oneiric terms, diamonds represent wealth; clubs indicate work; hearts predict happiness in love; and spades, finally, portend future problems.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams
In his book Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 1847-1865, Ward Hill Lamon relates a dream Lincoln had shortly before his death. In the dream, Lincoln heard a group of people mournfully weeping downstairs in the White House, but when he went to investigate, he found no mourners, although their desperate weeping continued. Upon entering the East Room he discovered a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Demanding of one of the soldiers stationed there, ‘Who is dead in the White House?,’ he received the reply, ‘The President. He was killed by an assassin.’ A day before the SS Titanic’s demise, a woman on the infamous ship dreamt of the horrible event that was to occur the next day. She told her husband, who scoffed at her worries and ignored her pleas. However, the dream so affected her that she secretly prepared herself the night before and had all her children sleep in their warm clothes in order to be ready at a moment’s notice. During the night, after the ship struck the iceberg, she and her children were rescued and escaped the sinking ship. Her husband, sadly, went down with more than 1,500 people.
In 1914, one hundred and twenty Newfoundland sealers were abandoned on an ice-floe in the North Atlantic during winter. The incompetence of the ship’s captain, and of other crew members, meant that the missing men were not noticed for two days and two nights. By the time they were rescued, more than half were dead. It was the worst disaster to strike the Newfoundland sealing community in many years. However, the disaster did not come without warning. One of the fiftyfive survivors later told of a dream he had two weeks before the disaster. According to Cassie Brown’s report on the disaster: ‘John Howlet had suffered a chilling nightmare weeks before. In his dream he was on a mountain of ice, lost and freezing. He was alone, terribly and frighteningly alone, but everywhere he wandered there were vague, indefinable “things” on the ice around him—things with no particular shape that he could make out. He found himself walking among those things, unable to find his way, wondering what they were and dreading them. In his dream he was counting, counting, counting…He was still counting the white mounds when he awoke, shivering and terribly depressed.’
Unfortunately, even this dream did not make him avoid joining the crew of the ship, Newfoundland, most of whom would be dead in a matter of days. It was only afterwards he realized that the bodies covered with snow were the white mounds from his dream.
In his autobiography, Jung recounts disturbing dreams and visions in 1913. In one vision he witnessed a monstrous flood covering Germany and realized a catastrophe was in progress. ‘I saw the mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands. Then the whole sea turned to blood.’ Jung said he was perplexed and nauseated, assuming this vision was personal. It was not until World War I broke out a year later that he realized its collective nature. This irrational experience led Jung to conclude that each person’s unconscious possesses not only a personal, but also a collective, dimension.
Probably one of the best-established and most reputable cases of premonitions of disaster comes from the grim events that occurred on 21 October 1966 in Aberfan, Wales. On that day, 116 children and twenty-eight adults were killed when a large mountain of coal collapsed and buried a small section of the town of Aberfan, including an elementary school filled with children. The disaster touched nearly every family in the town and effectively extinguished an entire generation of children. After the disaster, the reports of premonitions began to flood in. The mother of one of the deceased students reported that her ten-year-old child (who died in the disaster) had a dream the night before which foretold the disaster. The child told her mother, ‘I dreamed I went to school and there was no school there.
Something black had come down all over it.’
The reports of precognitive dreams literally came from all over Wales and England. One lady had a nightmare that she suffocated in ‘deep blackness’. Another dreamed of a small child being buried by a large landslide. Another clearly saw a schoolhouse be buried by an avalanche of coal, and rescue workers digging frantically for survivors. Another woke up from a nightmare in which she was being buried alive. On the morning of the disaster, Mrs Sybil Brown woke from a dream in which she saw children being overcome by ‘a black, billowing mass’. Probably the clearest of the premonitions was reported by a man in north-west England who claimed that the night before the disaster he had a dream which consisted only of letters being spelled out in dazzling light: A-B-E-R-F-A-N. At the time, the dream had no meaning to him. Hours later, he would realize with horror what it meant.
An interesting phenomenon occurred in the aftermath of the terrorist plane attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon on 11 September 2001: numerous people came forward with reports of vivid dreams they’d had of these disasters in advance. The dreams were filled with images that later took place: planes crashing into buildings, planes crashing on the ground, tall buildings collapsing, flames shooting out of buildings, people running covered in gray ash, and feelings of panic, mass death and war. These nightmarish dreams were so realistic that many people awoke from them in terror and sweat.
The question most often raised about precognitive disaster dreams is, if so many people dreamed in advance of these disasters, why could nothing have been done to prevent them? The answer is that most people who have precognitive dreams only realize that they have had them after the events the dreams foretold have taken place, and they see how their dreams matched the events. Other dreamers, especially those who have periodic or frequent precognitive dreams, usually do not dream enough specific details to know exactly what is going to happen, where, and when. Some may only have a sense of dread that ‘something terrible’ is going to happen, usually soon. For example, a dream that a tall building is collapsing would not have sparked the immediate connection that terrorists were going to fly planes into the World Trade Center on the morning of 11 September 2001. A dream analyst would more likely interpret the image dream within the context of the dreamer’s life, suggesting that the dream reflected emotional turmoil within the dreamer’s life.... The Element Encyclopedia
POWs from World War II and concentration camp survivors have been known to suffer post-traumatic stress nightmares for up to fifty years after the event. Unlike ‘normal’ nightmares, these dreamers can experience significant physical symptoms during REM sleep and non-REM sleep, such as an increase in respiration and heart rate, muscle twitches and more than one arousal. Adults might experience other traumatic events in their lives, such as the loss of a loved one or bankruptcy, and these events can also continue to play out in dreams over the years in the form of nightmares. The more standard anxiety nightmare dreamers, however, have nightmares that relate to work, school or relationship stresses. The threat here isn’t to your life but to your self-confidence and sense of self.... The Element Encyclopedia
Eleven is also traditionally a symbol of transgression, as it goes beyond the law, represented by ten. St Augustine called eleven ‘the coat of arms of sin’. Eleven can also suggest anxieties about a deadline, as in ‘the eleventh hour’.
Twelve has a spiritual significance because of the Jesus’ twelve disciples and in dreams it may represent a revelation of truth. There are also twelve months in a year, so the number twelve in a dream may be urging you to enjoy your success and prepare for the future. Twelve is the number of the Hangman, a Tarot card symbolizing the sacrifice of ego, or new outlooks and perspectives.
Thirteen is traditionally an unlucky number and it may cause anxiety if you are superstitious. But it is also a symbol of optimism, completeness and new hope. For Mexicans, thirteen is a lucky number since their Pre-Colombian ancestors worshipped thirteen gods and thirteen heavenly bodies. Thirteen is the number of the Death card in a Tarot reading and it represents transition and rebirth. In dreams, thirteen is a paradoxical number meaning death and birth, end and beginning, and change and transition. It is symbolic of obstacles standing in your way that you must overcome to achieve your goals.
Fourteen is associated with the Tarot card Temperance, representing balance, harmony and equilibrium; it signifies the unexpected and your need to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. It is also symbolic of over-indulgence and giving in to your desires. Fifteen is the number of the Devil, a Tarot card symbolizing the need to resist temptation or break free from restrictions. The number sixteen is linked to the Tower, a Tarot card that suggests a struggle for freedom; it also symbolizes innocence, vulnerability, tenderness, destruction of the old and the birth of the new. Seventeen represents the Star, or renewed hope, in a Tarot deck; eighteen is the number of the Moon in the Tarot deck, which warns against illusion and confusion; it also warns against treachery, deception and lies; nineteen denotes the Sun, a symbol of success and happiness in the Tarot deck; it indicates independence and the overcoming of personal struggles. You will find that you often have to stand up for yourself.
Twenty is associated with Judgment; a Tarot card of assessment and new beginnings and twenty-one represents the World, in a Tarot deck, a symbol of unity. According to numerologists the number Twenty-one represents a turning point in your life. It is also associated with the responsibilities to which you need to own up. Twenty-two denotes mental powers and knowledge. It also indicates that you are goal-oriented and practical. The number twenty-four symbolizes rewards, happiness, love, money, success and creativity. Twenty-six symbolizes the earth, and the law of cause and effect. Thirty-three is a symbol of personal and spiritual growth. The number thirty-nine symbolizes understanding and thoughtfulness. Forty denotes a period of cleansing, preparation and growth.
Forty-four refers to a sacred union or divine marriage. Fifty stands for all that is sacred in your life. Sixty is associated with time. It may refer to time running out or longevity.
Generally, rather than sending an archetypal or symbolic message, double digits in your dreams may also have been referring to your age, or the passing of time or times in your life from which you can draw inspiration or from which you are reluctant to depart.... The Element Encyclopedia
Once upon a time not so long ago, an inventor was struggling with a major problem. His name was Elias Howe, and for years he had been trying to solve this problem, so that he could complete a machine he was building—a machine that would in time change the world. He was missing a small but vital detail, and, try as he would, he just couldn’t figure it out. Needless to say, Howe was a very frustrated man. One night, after another long day of fruitless work on his project, he dreamed he had been captured by fierce savages. These warriors were attacking him with spears. Although in the dream he was terrified he would be killed, he noticed that the spears were unusual looking: each one had an eye- shaped hole at the pointed end. When Howe woke up, it hit him like a brick: he had actually dreamed the answer to his problem. His nightmare was a blessing in disguise. He immediately saw that the eye of the spear could be an eye in a sewing needle, near its point. Elated with the discovery, he rushed to his laboratory and finished the design of his invention: the sewing machine. The rest, as they say, is history.
The list of what dreams can do for you seems endless. We’ve touched on a few of these benefits of dreaming in the preface and introduction. Now let’s go into a bit more detail. I want you to get really excited about your own dream potential. And, once you realize the possibilities, I think you will.
The history of dreams is filled with stories of famous people who have called on their dreams for help, or who have received help unexpectedly from their dreams. Here are a few more interesting stories to illustrate the point:
The physicist Niels Bohr, who developed the theory of the movements of electrons, had a dream in which he saw the planets attached to the sun by strings. This image inspired him to finalize his theory.
The great Albert Einstein reported that the famous theory of relativity came to him while he was napping—a good reason for taking frequent naps!
Author Richard Bach, who wrote the bestseller Jonathan Livingston Seagull, was stuck in a writer’s block after writing the first half of his now-famous novel. It was eight years later that he literally dreamed the second half and was able to complete his book.
Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman told reporters that his classic film Cries and Whispers had been inspired by a dream.
Another writer, the well-loved British author Robert Louis Stevenson, was quite dependent on his dreams for ideas that he could turn into sellable stories. Stevenson has related in his memoirs that after a childhood tortured by nightmares, and his successful efforts to overcome them, he was able to put his dreams to work for profit.
A born storyteller (though he started out as a medical student), he was accustomed to lull himself to sleep by making up stories to amuse himself. Eventually, he turned this personal hobby into a profession, becoming a writer of tales like Treasure Island. He identified his dream-helpers as “little people,” or “Brownies.” Once he was in constant contact with this inner source, his nightmares vanished, never to return. Instead, whenever he was in need of income he turned to his dreams:
At once the little people begin to bestir themselves in the same quest, and labour all night long, and all night long set before him truncheons of tales upon their lighted theatre. No fear of his being frightened now; the flying heart and the frozen scalp are things bygone; applause, growing applause, growing interest, growing exultation in his own cleverness . . . and at last a jubilant leap to wakefulness, with the cry, “I have it, that’ll do!”
Stevenson wrote his autobiography in the third person, not revealing that he was the subject until the end.
Stevenson further states that sometimes when he examined the story his Brownies had provided, he was disappointed, finding it unmarketable. However, he also reported that the Brownies “did him honest service and gave him better tales than he could fashion for himself,” that “they can tell him a story piece by piece, like a serial, and keep him all the while in ignorance of where they aim.”
Stevenson’s Brownies are a perfect example of dream helpers just waiting to be called upon. A particularly famous example of the work of Stevenson’s Brownies is the tale The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As he explains:
I had long been trying to write a story on this subject, to find a body, a vehicle, for that strong sense of man’s double being, which must at times come in upon and overwhelm the mind of every thinking creature. [After he destroyed an earlier version of the manuscript . . .] For two days I went about racking my brains for a plot of any sort; and on the second night I dreamed the scene at the window, and a scene afterwards split in two, in which Hyde, pursued for some crime, took the powder and underwent the change in the presence of his pursuers. All the rest was made awake, and consciously, although I think I can trace in much of it the manner of my Brownies.
Although Stevenson did the “mechanical work, which is about the worst of it,” writing out the tales with pen and paper, mailing off the stories to publishers, paying the postage, and not incidentally collecting the fees, he gave his Brownies almost total credit for his productions.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a British poet, was accustomed to taking a sedative derived from opium (legal in those days). One afternoon after taking a dose he was reading and fell asleep over his book. The last words he read had been, “Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be built.” When Coleridge awoke some three hours later he had dreamed hundreds of lines of poetry, which he immediately set to writing down. The opening lines of this poem—one of the most famous of all time—are:
Unfortunately for posterity, after writing only fifty-four lines of the two to three hundred he had dreamed, Coleridge was interrupted by a caller, whom he entertained for an hour. When he returned to complete the poem, he had lost all the rest of what he had dreamed! In his diary he noted that it had disappeared “like images on the surface of a stream.” Even so, he had written a masterpiece. This true story, however, emphasizes the need to record dreams upon awakening, a subject we will take up in chapters 5 and 6.
Not only artists and writers give their dreams credit for their ideas and inspirations, but many scientists as well (as we saw in the examples of Bohr and Einstein). Psychologist Eliot D. Hutchinson reports numerous cases of scientists receiving information through dreams and says of dreams that “by them we can see more clearly the specific mechanism of intuitive thought,” and that “a large number of thinkers with whom I have had direct contact admit that they dream more or less constantly about their work, especially if it is exceptionally baffling . . . they often extract useful conceptions.”
I personally can attest to this statement, as it mirrors my own experience writing books. For example, when I began work on this book about dreams, I noticed that my dream production immediately doubled; and I have had Stevenson’s experience of “little people,” whom I call my “elves,” and whom I write about extensively in my book for teens called Teen Astrology, telling about how they came to my rescue when I was quite stuck (see chapter 9, pages 249– 252 in that book).
One of the most astonishing as well as fascinating stories is that of Hermann V. Hilprecht, a professor of Assyrian at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. It seems to be a characteristic of those who receive dream help that they have recently been working long and hard and are frustrated. In Hilprecht’s case, he was working late one evening in 1893, attempting to decipher the cuneiform characters on drawings of two small fragments of agate. He thought they belonged to Babylonian finger rings, and he had tentatively assigned one fragment to the so-called Cassite period of 1700 B.C.E. However, he couldn’t classify the second fragment. And he wasn’t at all sure about the first either. He finally gave up his efforts at about midnight and went straight to bed—and had the following dream, which was his “astounding discovery.”
Hilprecht dreamed of a priest of pre-Christian Nippur, several thousand years ago, who led the professor into the treasure chamber of the temple and showed him the originals, telling him just how the fragments fitted in, all in great detail. Although the dream was long and involved, Hilprecht remembered it all and in the morning told it to his wife. In his words: “Next morning . . . I examined the fragments once more in the light of these disclosures, and to my astonishment found all the details of the dream precisely verified in so far as the means of verification were in my hands.”
Up until then, Hilprecht had been working only with drawings. Now he traveled to the museum in Constantinople where the actual agate fragments were kept and discovered that they fitted together perfectly, unlocking the secret of a three-thousand-year-old mystery by means of a dream!
How did this happen? Clairvoyance? Magic? Who was the priest? How was it that Hilprecht seemed to make contact in a dream with someone who had lived so long before him? We will never know the answers to these questions; but we do know from the professor’s own words that this is exactly what happened to him. (It makes you wonder whether Professor Hilprecht was in the habit of paying attention to his dreams!)
No doubt one of the most famous dream sources of scientific discovery was experienced by the German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé, when he was attempting to understand and model the molecular structure of benzene. Like Professor Hilprecht, Kekulé had been searching for the answer for many years and was totally immersed in the problem. He told of a dream he had while he napped in front of his fireplace one frigid night in 1865:
Again the atoms were juggling before my eyes:
My mind’s eye, sharpened by repeated sights of a similar kind, could not distinguish larger structures of different forms and in long chains, many of them close together; everything was moving in a snake-like and twisting manner. Suddenly, what was this? One of the snakes got hold of its own tail and the whole structure was mockingly twisting in front of my eyes. As if struck by lightning, I awoke.
This dream led Kekulé directly to the discovery of the structure of benzene, which is a closed carbon ring. A dream had presented a realization that served to revolutionize modern chemistry. Later, reporting his discovery to his colleagues at a scientific convention in 1890, he remarked, “Let us learn to dream, gentlemen, and then we may perhaps find the truth.” Not the sort of comment one generally expects from a scientist!
Here is the story of another scientist. Otto Loewi, who won the 1936 Nobel
Prize in Psychology and Medicine for his discovery of how the human nervous system works, credited this discovery to a dream. Prior to Loewi, scientists had assumed that the body’s nervous impulses were the result of electrical waves. However, in 1903 Loewi had the intuition that a chemical transmission was actually responsible. But he had no way to prove his theory, so he set the idea aside for many years. Then, in 1920, he had the following dream:
The night before Easter Sunday of that year I awoke, turned on the light, and jotted down a few notes on a tiny slip of thin paper. Then I fell asleep again. It occurred to me at six o’clock in the morning that during the night I had written down something most important, but I was unable to decipher the scrawl. The next night, at three o’clock, the idea returned. It was the design of an experiment to determine whether or not the hypothesis of chemical transmission that I had uttered seventeen years ago was correct. I got up immediately, went to the laboratory and performed a simple experiment on a frog’s heart according to the nocturnal design:
Its results became the foundation of the theory of chemical transmission of the nervous impulse.
Interestingly, Loewi had previously performed a similar experiment, which combined in his dreaming mind with the new idea, creating the successful result. This is an excellent example of the ability of dreams to combine with previous dreams, or with actual events, to produce fertile new ground.
These are some of the stories of famous people who have used dreams to solve problems, enhance creativity, and even make money and win important prizes. They are all evidence of the vast human ability to make use of dreams. As you draw upon your own dream life and develop skills in both dreaming and interpreting your dreams, you will become an advanced teen dreamer. Think of your dreams as a school where you are continually learning new skills and developing new aptitudes, reaching ever higher levels of achievement.
As you pay conscious attention to your dreams, and then use your dream symbols in your waking life, you will be integrating yourself, creating the greatest artwork of your life: your whole and unique Self.... Dreampedia
What happens when we sleep?
Why do we sleep? The answer is not as simple as it seems. We sleep so that our body can rest, we think at first. However, science has not been able to prove concretely that sleep is necessary for physical recuperation of the body. Experiments performed on rats have proven that when deprived of sleep, these animals die.
But human nature is not as simple as that of rats. Everyone knows people who barely sleep. The most extreme case, published in some scientific magazines, is that of a man who claims not to have slept since contracting a serious illness. In a similar vein, some individuals with a highly developed spirituality are able to remain conscious all night. We’re not referring to a student during exam time drinking coffee or taking stimulants to stay awake more than twenty-four hours straight. We’re talking about people who can achieve advanced levels of relaxation through deep meditation.
It is known that anxiety and lack of concentration increase considerably after a night or two without sleep. One theory related to sleep affirms that we sleep to conserve energy. However, another suggests that we rest to conserve our food stores, since when we lose consciousness, we repress the hunger mechanism.
How much do we sleep?
Sleep at different ages
In the course of his life, a person has, on average, 300,000 dreams. As we age, both the time we spend sleeping and the time we spend dreaming decrease gradually.
Newborns sleep almost all day, alternating hours of sleep with short spells of wakefulness. By one year of age, they sleep fewer sessions but for longer in total: they have cycles of 90 minutes of sleep followed by another 90 minutes of waking time. Gradually, the child will sleep more at night and less during the day. By 9 years of age, most need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep a day.
The average for an adult is between 7 and 8.5 hours. But after age 70, we return to the sleep phases of childhood and sleep fewer hours continuously.
There are arguments that even claim we have slept since ancient times in order to appear a less tasty snack for nocturnal predators (when we sleep, our body looks like a corpse).
There are theories to suit everyone, but we shouldn’t forget the fundamental: for almost all of us, sleeping is a relaxing and pleasant experience that lasts between six and eight hours each night, an experience that is utterly necessary to “recharge the batteries” of our bodies.
It’s no coincidence that we choose nighttime to sleep. In the darkness our vision is reduced, the world becomes strange, and as a result, our imagination runs wild. Our minds remain occupied with images (that is, dreams). At night, our eyes don’t work, but we have a need to create images. If for some reason we are deprived of sleep, the following nights our dream production increases, since we spend more time in the REM phase (the period of sleep when oneiric thoughts are most active). Therefore it seems evident that we need dreams to live.
Some ancient civilizations believed that dreaming served, more than anything, to be able to dream. They were convinced that oneiric activity wasn’t the result of sleeping, but rather the reason for it. Some scientists, however, don’t share the theories of our ancestors when it comes to the reason behind our dreams.
There is a scientific school of thought that asserts that oneiric thoughts are simply a neurophysiological activity that comes with sleep. According to this theory, when we sleep we generate spontaneous signals that stimulate the sensory channels in the mind. The brain transforms these signals into visual images and induces the dreamer to believe that he is living real experiences.
Up to that point, perfect. But, why do dreams have such an interesting narrative? Why do they so often express metaphoric language? Why do they narrate stories that directly affect us? There is no concrete or scientific answer to these questions.
Percentages of REM sleep
Cold-blooded animals never dream; the cold temperatures at night cause them to hibernate and all their vital functions, including the brain, slow down. Only when the sun comes out or the temperature rises to an acceptable level do they recuperate all vital functions. The only cold-blooded animal that has shown signs of dreaming is the chameleon.
On the other hand, we know all warm-blooded animals dream, since REM-phase activity has been detected in all of them. Birds dream only about 0.5% of the time they spend asleep, while humans dream up to 20% of the time. There are exceptional cases, such as that of the Australian platypus, that never dream.
Other theories suggest that dreams serve to eliminate unnecessary facts from memory, since we can’t store everything that happens every day. According to this thesis, at night we erase the “archives” we don’t need, just like a computer. The sleeping mind tests the process of erasing in the form of dreams, which would explain why they’re so difficult to remember. There are obvious limitations to this theory if you keep in mind that, occasionally, oneiric thoughts work creatively (they go beyond the information that we give them). These don’t have much to do with the merely “hygienic” function that the aforementioned scientific community claims. Often, dreams don’t eliminate the useless leftovers of daily experiences. Quite the opposite: they give them a surprising new shape, so when we wake up, we can reflect more deeply on their meaning.
The phases of sleep
Even though we don’t realize it, when we sleep at night we pass through four different phases of sleep. Each phase is distinguished by the deepness of sleep. That is, when we are in phase 1, it is a fairly light sleep; during phase 4, we reach maximum intensity.
When we go to sleep, we enter a period in which we gradually pull away from the exterior world. Little by little, our sleep deepens until finally (phase 4) our breathing slows and becomes regular, our cardiac rhythm slows down, and our body temperature decreases. Therefore the body’s metabolism also reduces its activity.
More or less an hour after falling asleep, your body has already gone through the four phases. At this point you begin to go back through the levels until you return to phase 1. This brings along an increase in respiratory and cardiac rhythm. Parallel to this, brain waves once again start to register an activity close to that of consciousness. You are therefore in a moment of transition, demonstrated by the fact that at this point the body tends to change position.
All signs indicate that any noise might wake us. But that’s not the case: since your muscle tone has been reduced, this is actually the moment when it’s most difficult to regain consciousness. At the same time, your eyes begin to move behind your eyelids (up and down and side to side). This ocular phenomenon, which anyone can observe easily, is known as the REM phases, which stands for “rapid eye movement.”
Certain areas of the brain are associated with different functions and human skills, translating external sensory stimuli into a well-organized picture of the world. In dreams, those same stimuli produce different reactions. If a sleeping person hears a sound or touches something repulsive, those stimuli will probably be integrated into their dream before they wake up.
The REM phase
The REM phase is particularly important for those interested in dreams. All studies indicate that during this brief spell (from five to ten minutes) we typically experience the most intense oneiric activity. Some of these studies, done in a sleep laboratory, have observed that eight out of ten individuals relate very vivid dreams when woken up right at the end of the REM phase. These periods alternate at night with what we could call non-REM phases, that is, periods when no ocular movement is registered.
How many times do we reach a REM stage at night? It is estimated that each cycle is repeated four to seven times. As the hours pass, each phase gets longer. This way, the final REM stage might last twenty to forty minutes. On average, an adult enjoys an hour and a half of REM sleep each night, although for older individuals it may be less than an hour and a quarter. Babies, on the other hand, remain in the REM phase for 60 percent of the time they spend asleep.
In any case, let’s make this clear: not all dreams are produced during this period. It has also been demonstrated that humans generate images in other stages. However, these are dreams of a different quality, since during the non-REM phases, our oneiric activity tends to generate only undefined thoughts, vague sensations, etc. Nothing close to the emotional content that characterizes dreams produced in the REM phase.
The oneiric images produced in the most intense phase (REM) are more difficult to remember. One method to remember them consists of waking up just after each REM phase.
As we’ve commented already, those who wish to read their dreams have to first do the work of remembering them. If we want this work to be 100 percent effective, we can use a method that, although uncomfortable, almost never fails: wake up just after every REM phase. If you want to try this method, set your alarm (without music or radio) to go off four, five, six, or seven and a half hours after falling asleep. You can be sure that if you wake up just after one of the REM phases you go through each night, you will enjoy vivid memories.
This is the process used in sleep laboratories, where oneiric activity is studied through encephalographic registry of electrical brain activity.
The people in the study—who are volunteers—sleep connected to machines that register their physiological reactions (brain waves, cardiac rhythm, blood pressure, muscle activity, eye movement, etc).
At certain points during the night, these reactions indicate that, if you wake them, they will be able to tell you what they dreamed. This is because the phase that produces the most intense dreams (REM) is characterized by a physical reaction easily observed: the rapid movement of the eyes of the dreamer.
With this method, sleep laboratories can collect proof of precisely
when subjects are dreaming. And given that oneiric images are difficult to remember, the lab techniques have been a great advance in dream research. Some experts assert that thanks to the scientific advances of the second half of the twentieth century, we have learned more about sleep processes in the last fifty years than in all the history of humanity.
What do we dream?
A wide study done in France on the subject of dreams produced these results:
Hypnagogic images: between waking and sleep
As we’ve seen, throughout the night our sleep is divided into four distinct phases. But what happens just before we sink into the first phase? Are we still awake? Not exactly. In the moments when our mind decides between wakefulness and sleep, we begin to lose contact with the world around us, without the characteristic physiological changes of sleep.
This intermediate point has been called the “hypnagogic state” by psychologists. This is a period when, despite the fact that we’re not asleep, our brains generate images that can sometimes be very beautiful. In some ways, these images rival those found in our dreams.
Hypnagogic images of great visual beauty evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and are barely remembered.
However, the hypnagogic state cannot be considered a truly oneiric state. Among other reasons, the scenes produced in this phase are unrelated to the episodes with a more or less coherent plot that characterize dreams.
In the hypnagogic state we produce unrelated images that hardly connect to each other and that, unlike dreams, are not linked to our daily experiences. This phenomenon occurs not only before sleeping but also in the moments before waking up, when we are not yet conscious enough to be aware of them.
Sometimes, before falling asleep we also experience a curious sensation of floating or flying, or we may see very sharp scenes, with a clarity comparable to that of real visual experiences. These types of images, like dreams, evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and we barely remember them, which is a shame because their beauty slips from our minds. In any case, unlike oneiric thoughts, the hypnagogic state is little use for understanding the messages our subconscious wants to send us, and we should value it more for its beauty than its transcendental content.
Salvador Dali, painter of dreams.
To remember them you must not lose consciousness during the apparition. That is, you must observe the process of the hypnagogic state without falling asleep. It seems simple but it is not, because you must submerge yourself in sleep while the mind remains aware of the events happening in its interior. With a little luck, we can see some of the marvelous “paintings” of our private museum.
The surrealist artists of the 20s and 30s knew all about this. This is how Salvador Dali, fervent lover of hypnagogic scenes, turned to what is known as “the monk’s sleep.” He went to bed with a large iron key in his hand. With the first dream, the key would fall to the floor and he would wake up suddenly. In his mind he recorded the hypnagogic images he would later transfer to the canvas in his masterful style.
The seven “chakras,” or centers of subtle energy in the ayurvedic hindu medicine (1).
The nadis according to Tibetan tradition (2).
The meridians of traditional Chinese medicine (3).
If you have difficulty retaining the hypnagogic state, try centering your attention on a concrete point. For example the “third eye” of the yogis (that is, between your eyes), in the area of the heart, or in the top of the head. These three positions are, according to the philosophy of yoga, the centers of subtle rather than physical energy in the human body. You need a place to direct the mind. Another trick to hold attention without effort is to think abstractly about the name of the object you wish to see. This doesn’t mean you have to “create” the images; you just have to induce its appearance during the hypnagogic state. Entering through meditation is also very useful and beneficial.
Sometimes, the hypnagogic scenes are not as pleasant as we would like, but we must confront them in order to strengthen our ability for self-control. If they persist, try following the previous advice. Think abstractly about the name of what you want to see, resisting the temptation to construct it in a certain way from the conscious mind.
The main advantage of the hypnagogic state is that it brings us progressively closer to our deep Self . . . and all that helps to understand and better benefit from dreams.
The same subject can have very different meanings depending on the circumstances and personal situation of the dreamer.... Dreampedia
The technique of “lucid dreaming”
Broadly speaking, this type of dream permits the dreamer to consciously participate. That is, realize suddenly that they are dreaming and that they can use the elements of the oneiric scene to their advantage or whim. In this aspect, lucid dreams have a greater potential for creativity; it is the ideal occasion to invent, conceive, and formulate without any type of limit or restriction. The main course of these dreams are the curative properties they offer. The life of any individual can be improved by sleeping, since making direct contact with unconscious material makes it easier to discover oneself and progress interiorly.
But what is a lucid dream? You may have experienced it before. You are sleeping and your mind enters into a dream in which a stranger, for example, yells at you to go home. The inverosimile of the situation makes you suddenly say to yourself: “This is a dream.”
Lucid dreams are very stimulating, above all because they allow the dreamer to control their reactions within the oneiric episode, even if it is a nightmare.
Experts define this phenomenon as “prelucid oneiric activity.” But this situation can manifest in a much more evident form. In this case, you not only know you are dreaming, but you can also use your conscious to change the dream as you wish. In the example given, you could ask the stranger who he is, or why he is throwing you out of your own house.
It must be said, however, that oneiric lucidity is not common, even though surveys have reported that 70 percent of people claim to have had this type of dream at some point. It is possible that many are confusing lucid images with prelucid ones, in which they only had the vague sensation of dreaming.
Keeping the conscious awake for a long time as you navigate your oneiric oceans is complicated. When one has lucid dreams, normally you either wake up shortly after, or quickly fall back into an unconscious state. Lucidity is only intermittent. And once you’ve had a dream of this type, it could be years before you experience another one. This exceptional character is why many people consider lucid dreams to be the most stimulating, above all because they allow the dreamer to control their reactions within the oneiric episode, even if it is a nightmare.
Unfortunately, not much is yet known about this type of oneiric process, although it is believed to occur more frequently in the early morning hours, since this time period makes it easier for the individual to realize that the mind is conceiving something improbable or outright impossible (for example, seeing yourself lift an airplane with one hand).
Are lucid dreams beneficial? Of course, since the individual who experiences them, upon realizing their mind is conscious, has the satisfaction of the sensation of freedom increasing as their self-control does. In this sense, some experts go beyond and claim that when one has learned to control oneiric events, it is much easier to solve daily problems and face anxiety. Lucid dreams, therefore, can contribute to our spiritual growth.
In another way, their potential can help us to treat the most terrifying nightmares. Lucidity allows you to face the threatening images in order to understand them, not obliterate them. According to some psychologists, such as the reputable American analyst Gayle Delaney, the best way to deal with a nightmare is not to turn it into a pleasant dream. Quite the contrary, those who dream lucidly have a better option: directly ask the oneiric characters that so terrorizes them what it is they want, or what they represent.
This experience can not only help transform the evil figures into friendly characters, but also allows one to discern what parts of the dreamer’s personality are represented by the original threatening images. With proper training, the individual will report feeling more secure and confident upon waking.
How it all began
The term “lucid dream” was coined by Frederik Van Eeden in 1898, using the word “lucid” in the sense of “mental clarity.” So we can say that a lucid dream is one in which “the dreamer becomes conscious that they are dreaming.” This definition, given by the researcher Celia Green in 1968, is the most widely accepted today. In any case, the
study of this type of dream has been ongoing since Ancient Greece. In the fourth century BC, Aristotle makes the first written reference to a lucid dream in his Treatise on Dreams: “When one is sleeping, there is something in the conscious that reveals that what is present is nothing more than a dream.”
In 415 AD, Saint Augustine used the story of a lucid dream to justify life after death. Later on, in the seventh century, Tibetan Buddhism studies the yoga of dreams, in which the monks train themselves in lucid dreaming as part of their spiritual development. Despite these precedents, the study of lucid dreams, as we understand them today, does not emerge until the nineteenth century, by the hand of Marquis d’Hervey Saint Denys. This researcher published the book Los suenos y como controlarlos (Dreams and how to control them), in 1867. In this, he demonstrated that it is possible to learn to dream consciously. This fact converted him into the founder of the first line of study on lucid dreams, although his discoveries were put into doubt by many researchers afterward.
In lucid dreams we are conscious that we are dreaming.
The sensation that time has passed, in a normal dream, is due to the sudden change of setting. In a lucid dream, however, the critical sense of the dreamer makes them question passing of time they did not live. Much more systematic and objective than Saint Denys, was the English psychologist Mary-Arnold Forster (1861–1951). In her book, Studies in Dreams (1921), she describes techniques of lucidity and control over dreams she herself experienced. The researcher was especially interested in “learning to fly” in lucid dreams, a practice which she had done since childhood.
Another very important aspect of her work was her nightmare therapy. She learned to recognize that her terrifying dreams were “just dreams.” So she helped many children overcome their nightmares through lucid dreaming, teaching them techniques to change an unpleasant dream to a pleasant one. The fact that she criticized many Freudian theories, especially those about pretending and censorship, relegated her brilliance to obscurity. It wasn’t until many years later that the true value of her discoveries was recognized.
Meditation is a good resource to stimulate lucidity in dreams.
Through the techniques of lucid dreaming, we can overcome nightmares by transforming them into pleasant and agreeable dreams.
The lucid dream, today
Modern research on lucidity has advanced a lot in the last fifty years and has come to dismiss old theories. Traditionally, it was thought that dreams happen in a moment, although long stories occurred within them. However, after studying in a lab the subjective experience of the dreamer, in all cases the estimated time of the lucid dream was very close to the real time (LaBerge, 1980–1985). The sensation that more time has passed is due to the sudden changes of scenery during dreams. In 1982, a study by psychologist Stephen LaBerge and William Dement demonstrated that, in the lucid dream, respiration was controlled voluntarily. They confirmed it with three lucid dreamers, who could breathe rapidly or hold their breath during the experiment without suffering any alteration of the dream.
On the other side, one of the most common themes of lucid dreams is sexual activity. LaBerge, Greenleaf, and Kedzierski (1983) completed a pilot experiment on the physiological response in lucid dreams of a sexual nature. The experimental protocol required the lucid dreamer to make ocular signals at the following moments: when he entered lucidity, when the sexual activity of the dream began, and when he experienced orgasm. The investigators discovered that the body reacts the same sexually during a lucid dream as it does while awake.
The situations, characters, or objects that are present in dreams but impossible in real life are precisely those that awaken the dreamer’s critical sense and brings them to lucidity. “The Meaning of Life,” Hipgnosis.
Meditation is also a good resource to stimulate lucidity in dreams. Before going to bed, find a quiet place and sit in a straight chair or on the floor with your legs crossed. Close your eyelids until only a faint fringe of light enters your eyes, or close them entirely if it won’t make you sleepy. Then, try to relax for five minutes (as you practice, you can lengthen the sessions). Concentrate in a single stimulus, focusing your attention on a specific spot. When you finish the exercise, go directly to bed, trying not to lose the relaxation you attained. Meditation will help you concentrate as you sleep, allowing you to recognize the incongruencies in your oneiric thoughts. This is the starting point of lucid dreaming.
Another method for inducing this type of dreams consists of proposing to complete some sort of assignment while you sleep. When dreaming, you will try to finish this job, something that will remind you that the activity you are doing (if you do in fact dream about what you proposed to) is nothing more than a dream.
A variation of this technique (also implies taking on a task) consists of leaving a glass of water in the bathroom and eating something very salty before going to bed. If you follow this method, you are likely to be thirsty but, given that your body is reluctant to get up and go to the bathroom, the displacement will end up incorporated in your dream. The coincidence will make you realize you are dreaming.
When in daily life, if a person, feeling, or thought appears repetitively, there is a greater chance you will dream of it. The content of dreams is always influenced by the content of your day. The more often you do a certain task, the more likely it is to appear in dreams. Therefore, if you ask yourself “am I dreaming?” frequently, you will end up asking this question in dreams. The problem comes when the sensation of reality in dreams is so strong that it tricks you. It is necessary to repeat the reality test we show later on.
Dr. Consuelo Barea notes that there are two primary techniques to induce lucid dreaming at night. It has to do with self suggestion and direct entry into dreams without losing consciousness, which comes from Tibetan yoga.
The number of times that stimuli repeat in a dream has a great impact on the content. However, the same happens with the quality of these stimuli. An event that impresses you, that hits you hard, that causes a big impact, is much more susceptible to appearing in your dreams, even if it only happened once. The way in which people talk to you or in which you receive information can be very suggestive and enter directly into your unconscious.
The prospective memory is a variation of this ability. It consists of giving yourself an order, forgetting it, and then completing it when the opportune moment arrives. We see an example of this memory in people who are able to wake up without an alarm at the hour they want. When the order of oneiric lucidity is given intensely and with force, it can directly reach the unconscious. Some people are able to have a lucid dream just by hearing about it for the first time; this seems interesting, but it’s more useful to educate one’s prospective memory, so that one knows how to give the order effectively.
The process of training in lucid dreaming requires a gradual increase in oneiric experience. It is possible to advance suddenly to a much higher level of lucidity and control but, if this happens by chance, without having worked for it, you will not be able to maintain this achievement. Advances remain fixed when you work for lucidity, persisting with the techniques for induction. Then, the accomplishments are incorporated with your normal oneiric repertoire. In this way, you can reach a point where, in non-lucid dreams, you still act spontaneously, following the lessons learned from lucidity. For example, if you train yourself in lucid dreams to confront an oneiric character that terrorizes you, you will end up responding bravely to this person automatically, even if you are not having a lucid dream.
When in daily life, if a person, feeling, or thought appears repetitively, there is a greater chance we will dream of it; this happens because the content of dreams is very influenced by the content of our waking day. “El voyeur” (The voyeur) (Carles Baró, 1996).
This practice will give you the keys to discover all that worries you in waking life and ends up represented in worry dreams and nightmares. Upon practicing with oneiric lucidity, you will learn to reap maximum benefit from this source of inspiration and creativity.
In the box we show the steps to follow to train yourself in lucid dreaming. The information comes from the studies of Dr. Consuelo Barea that appear in her book El Sueño Lúcido, (The Lucid Dream), published by this same editorial.
Practicing lucidity gives us the keys to discovering everything that worries us and stalks us in nightmares.1. Development of induction techniques. Practice some of the techniques described earlier with the intention of having a lucid dream (for example, self-suggestion). You can practice it during the day, before going to sleep at night, or in the morning before a morning nap.
2. Gradually increase the level of oneiric astonishment.
The objective is to reach Level 3 through practice of the prior techniques.
3. Reality test. Once you’ve reached at least Level 1, you must get used to practicing the reality test in a dream. This can be visual, of laws of physics, or temporal. To do so, question for a moment the reality or coherence of that which you are seeing or what is happening, according to your notion of time and space. If you find something strange in the evaluation of one of these factors, it will set off an alarm for you.
4. Prolongation of lucidity. Once you’ve reached lucidity, you must extend the time as much as possible to better obtain more information. The way to do this is by internal dialogue with the people in the oneiric scene, and with the thoughts you have during the dream.
5. Control. When you’ve achieved lucidity for a while and it seems like it will continue, you can begin to practice control:
The Kabbalists associate dreams with the central symbol of their tradition: the Tree of Life. “Tree of Life” (Gustav Klimt, 1909).... The Big Dictionary of Dreams