The meaning of Studying in dream | Dream interpretation
To dream that you are studying, signifies that your brainpower and knowledge will lead you into a life path of success and wealth.
Symbolic of a wearisome activity, Eccl. 12:12
To be studying the signs, foretells that you will be harassed by small matters taking up your time. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
For an author to dream of his works going to press, is a dream of caution; he will have much trouble in placing them before the public.
To dream of spending great study and time in solving some intricate subjects, and the hidden meaning of learned authors, is significant of honors well earned.
To see children at their books, denotes harmony and good conduct of the young.
To dream of old books, is a warning to shun evil in any form.... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
To you will come suave debonair, Fortune robed in shining dress, Bearing wealth and happiness.
To dream of seeing many beautiful children is portentous of great prosperity and blessings.
For a mother to dream of seeing her child sick from slight cause, she may see it enjoying robust health, but trifles of another nature may harass her.
To see children working or studying, denotes peaceful times and general prosperity.
To dream of seeing your child desperately ill or dead, you have much to fear, for its welfare is sadly threatened.
To dream of your dead child, denotes worry and disappointment in the near future.
To dream of seeing disappointed children, denotes trouble from enemies, and anxious forebodings from underhanded work of seemingly friendly people.
To romp and play with children, denotes that all your speculating and love enterprises will prevail. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
To see others studying it, foretells that you will be forced to yield your rights to others.
If any of the branches are missing, you will ignore some of your friends because of their straightened circumstances. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
If you know that the suit is dishonest on your part, you will seek to dispossess true owners for your own advancement.
If a young man is studying law, he will make rapid rise in any chosen profession.
For a woman to dream that she engages in a law suit, means she will be calumniated, and find enemies among friends. See Judge and Jury. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
To dream of looking for one, denotes that a sudden discontent with your surroundings will inspire you with new energy, and thus you will rise into better conditions.
For a young woman, this dream denotes that she will rise into higher spheres by sheer ambition. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
To find yourself studying the mysteries of creation, denotes that a change will take place in your life, throwing you into a higher atmosphere of research and learning, and thus advancing you nearer the attainment of true pleasure and fortune. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
If you scale them, you will journey along before you find the gratification of desires.
For the young woman, it prognosticates a husband who is in no sense congenial.
To dream that you are studying the mystery of the ancient pyramids, denotes that you will develop a love for the mysteries of nature, and you will become learned and polished. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
If one’s thoughts are good, then it will show, and if they are evil, they will also manifest.
If one wears a slipper over his head and a turban in his foot in a dream, it means that he is carrying trouble. Depending on its type and name, a garment in a dream could represent a man or a woman. Wearing a new garment in a dream is better than seeing an old one.
If a man sees himself wearing a woman’s apparel in a dream, it means that he is a bachelor. Ifa woman sees herself wearing a man’s garment in a dream, it means that she is unmarried. Wearing a tightly buttoned shirt in a dream means experiencing tight circumstances or reuniting with a traveller returning home, or it could mean marriage for an unwed person. Wearing a stately apparel in a dream means honor and dignity. Wearing a soldier’s uniform in a dream means war. Wearing a scholar’s robe or a teacher’s vest in a dream means studying to become a learned person. Wearing an ascetic’s woolen wrap in a dream means becoming a renunciate. Wearing a salesman’s suit in a dream means hard work or looking for work if the suit looks expensive in the dream, for people mostly wear expensive looking suits when they are still searching for work. Wearing a white garment in a dream means pride, honor and dignity. Wearing silk in a dream means strength and occupying a high rank in a business or government.
If one sees a deceased person wearing a silken garment in a dream, it means that he is dwelling in the heavenly paradise. Wearing a garment that is adorned with gold in a dream means victory over one’s enemy.
A black garment means honor, reign and having mastery over people. Wearing a green garment in a dream means martyrdom. Wearing a cotton garment in a dream means following the Prophet’s tradition (uwbp). Wearing a woolen garment in a dream means clarity, unless if it is coarse or unfitting and in that case, it means poverty and humiliation. Wearing a linen garment in a dream means enjoying a blessing or a favor. Wearing a brocaded garment in a dream means receiving an important and a revered message, rising in station, enjoying wealth or it could represent the blessing of having a child. Wearing a robe that is trailing behind one’s feet in a dream means rebellion and disobedience, while wearing a moderately short coat in a dream means purity, virtues and chastity. Wearing any type of garment in a dream means emulating the character of such people or becoming a prisoner of war. Wearing a kufi or a headdress for prayers in a dream means atonement for one’s sins. Wearing a jubbah or a long cloak in a dream means longevity. Wearing an open sports jacket in a dream means ease in one’s life or financial success. Wearing a special costume for a festival or a celebration in a dream means prosperity and a wealth that is saved for one’s children, or it could mean buying new merchandise for one’s shop. Wearing a military uniform in a dream means distress, trouble or a scientific dispute. Wearing one’s traditional costumes in a dream, or that of another community means to befriend them and to celebrate their festivities with joy.
(Also see Filth; Linen; Used clothing)... Islamic Dream Interpretation
A grave robber or a body snatcher in a dream represents a deliberate and a premeditated scheme to unravel a mystery, or forming an expedition to search for a hidden treasure. Digging the grave of a renowned scholar in a dream means studying his school of thought and the restoration of his studies, life, traditions and prominence.
(Also see Graue digger; Graue)... Islamic Dream Interpretation
A sack in a dream also represents the body of a human being.
An empty sack in a dream then means death. Seeing a sack within a sack in a dream represents the knowledge one benefited from during his life in this world.
If the second sack contains money in the dream, it means that one’s knowledge is true.
If it contains change, it means that one is still studying and needs to further his knowledge.
A sack in a dream also represents one’s personal and secret life. In a dream, if one makes a cut through a sack and throws its contents asunder, it means that his private and intimate life will be exposed and becomes the subject of people’s talk. Ifone’s money falls through a hole in the bag or a purse he carries, the bag also represents his body and the money represents his soul, which is an indication of his death.
If one finds termites or moths inside his sack in a dream, it also means death. Thus, a sack in a dream denotes what a person represents, or it could mean one’s heart.
(Also see Bag; Pouch; Purse,’ Suitcase; Trunk)... Islamic Dream Interpretation
If its color does stain the skin or one’s gown in the dream, then it represents an illness. Grinding the dried purple saffron flowers in a dream to use it as powder, or as an additive for making perfumes in a dream represents a severe illness, though many people will pray for the recovery of the person who is struck by it, but to no avail.
It is also said that saffron in a dream represents benefits, except if it touches one’s skin or stains it. Grinding saffron in a dream means producing something one will view with pride and be amazed by its results, though again, one’s efforts will be followed by a severe illness. Grinding saffron in a dream means illness, exposing secrets, divulging confidential information, or it could mean deeds that will bring happiness, or it could denote studying, or acquiring knowledge.
If a woman sees herself grinding saffron in a dream, it means that she is a lesbian, or a female homosexual.
(Also see Miller)... Islamic Dream Interpretation
If you map out the Zodiac then you will have good fortune in your future... Tryskelion Dream Interpretation
1- Thoughts in pictures’—a process of thinking while asleep.
2-‘Ego alien’. They have a life and will which often appears to be other than our conscious will. This led older cultures to believe that dreams were sent by spirits or God.
3-‘Hallucinatory’. We believe the reality of the dream while in it.
4-‘Drama’. Dreams are not random images. They are ‘stage managed’ into very definite, sometimes recurring, themes and plots.
5-‘Moral standards’. Dreams have very different moral standards than our waking personality.
6-‘Association of ideas’. In dreaming we have access to infant or other memories or experience we would find very difficult to recall while awake.
Freud originally said that one of the main functions of a dream was wish fulfilment, and an expression of the ‘primary process of human thinking’ unaffected by space, time and logic. Later, in considering recurring dreams which re-enact a recent traumatic incident, he agreed that dreams were not only an expression of the ‘pleasure principle’. W.H.R. Rivers, studying dreams connected with war neuroses, saw such dreams as attempts to resolve current emotional problems.
Although there is still controversy regarding whether there can be a valid ‘dream dictionary’, Freud himself saw dream symbols as having consistent meaning so frequently that one could attribute an interpretation to them independently of the dreamer’s associations. See abreaction; Adler, Alfred; birds; dream analysis; displacement; door; Fromm, Erich; hallucinations and hallucinogens; hypnosis and dreams; Jung, Carl; lucidity; plot of dreams; wordplay and puns; secret of universe dreams; dream as therapist; unconscious. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
C G Jung began studying archetypes and dividing function into thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. Following various work by his pupils, it became possible to build up a type of ‘map’ of the interaction between all of these functions and to discover where one’s own distortions occur. Each function has a ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ quality which is perhaps better described as ‘greater’ and ‘lesser’. Each of the masculine and feminine sides of the personality has these four functions, thus there are 64 (8 x 8) interactions possible. Where a distortion has occurred, we tend to project onto those around us the archetype with which we have most difficulty (often the Shadow). Consequently there will be a tendency to repeat situations over and over (e.g. the woman who continually finds herself in close relationships with a father-figure type, or the man who continuallv finds himself at odds with women executives) until we learn how to cope with and understand our distortion.
The obverse of this is that, with awareness, one is able to accept other’s projections onto oneself without being affected bv them. Perfect balance would be achieved by using all aspects of the personality as shown below. Kindly Father and Mother are self explanatory. Ogre represents masculine anger used negatively and Destructive Mother may be wilfully destructive, or simply the smothering type that is the mother who prevents the adequate growth of her children. Youth and Princess are the more gentle, fun-loving aspects of the personality while Tramp is the eternal wanderer and Siren is the seductress or sexually active part of femininity. Hero is the self- sufficient Messianic part of the personality, while Amazon is the ‘self-sufficient’ female the efficient business woman type. Villain is the masculine part of the self who uses power for his own ends, while Competitor is die typical ‘women’s libber’ who feels that she has 110 need for men. Priest and Priestess are the powers of intuition used for the ‘greater good’, while Sorcerer uses inner power totally dispassionately and Witch uses that same power rather more emotionally and perhaps negatively.
2- More specifically the feminine archetypes arc:
This is the conventional picture of the caring mother figure, forgiving transgression and always understanding. Because much has been made of this side of femininity, until recently it was very easy to overdevelop this aspect at the expense of other sides of the personality. Destructive Mother This woman may be the ‘smothermother’ type or the frankly destructive, prohibitive mother. Often it is this aspect who either actively prevents or because of her effect on the dreamer causes difficulty in other relationships. Princess The fun-loving, innocent childlike aspect of femininity. She is totally spontaneous, but at the same time has a subjective approach to other people. Siren This type is the seductress, the sexually and sensually aware woman who still has a sense of her own importance. In dreams she often appears in historic, flowing garments as though to highlight the erotic image.
The self-sufficient woman who feels she docs not need the male: often becomes the career woman. She enjoys the cut and thrust of intellectual sparring. Competitor - She is the woman who competes with all and sundry both men and women - in an effort to prove that she is able to control her own life. Priestess - This is the highly intuitive woman who has learnt to control the flow of information and use it for the common good. She is totally at home within the inner world.
The intuitive woman using her energy to attain her own perceived ends. She is subjective in her judgement and therefore loses her discernment.
The masculine archetypes are: Kindly Father This side of the masculine is the conventional kindly father figure who is capablc of looking after the child in us. but equally of being firm and fair. Ogre This represents the angry; overbearing, aggressive and frightening masculine figure. Often this image has arisen because of the original relationship the dreamer had with their father or father figure.
The fun-loving, curious aspect of the masculine is both sensitive and creative. This is the ‘Peter Pan’ figure who has never grown up.
This is the real freedom lover, the wanderer, the gypsy. He owes no allegiance to anyone and is interested only in what lies around the next corner. Hero The hero is the man who has clcctcd to undertake his own journey of exploration. He is able to consider options and decide his next move. Often he appears as the Messianic figure in dreams. He will rescue the damsel in distress, but only as part of his growth proccss.
The villain is completely selfishly involved, not caring who he tramples on in his own search. He is often the aspect of masculinity women first meet in everyday relationships, so can remain in dream images as a threatening figure if she has not come to terms with his selfishness.
The intuitive man is the one who recognises and understands the power of his own intuition, but who usually uses it in the services of his god or gods. He may appear in dreams as the Shaman or Pagan priest.
This is the man who uses discernment in a totallv dis- passionate way for neither good nor evil, but simply because he enjoys the use of power. In his more negative aspect he is the Trickster or Master of unexpected change.
3- Spiritually, when we have access to all the archetypes, we are ready to become integrated and whole.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
Vulnerability, or the need for protection.
Being distant and unfeeling. Putting up barriers between yourself and the world so as not to get hurt. Please note that this can pertain to anything appearing in the dream that is armored, like a truck or tank.
In Christianity, the armor of God that provides the believer with all the tools necessary for righteous living. Similarly in Judaism, a special breastplate was worn by early high priests, symbolizing their authority and connection with the Divine.
Psychically, wearing a helmet reveals the potential need for psychic or mental protection of any nature. You may be studying too hard, or be under some kind of psychic attack.
Knight in shining armor: Being rescued, or hoping for aid in rime of need. Alternatively, the desire to venture forth on a quest for personal honor, or fight for a just cause.... The Language of Dreams
Because of its shape, a compact disc may be interpreted as an alternative circle emblem.
Information crunching. Perhaps you’ve been studying too much, or trying to integrate too much data too quickly.
Technological advances and their influence in your life.
Having a lot of talents or knowledge right at your fingertips—all you need do is access it!... The Language of Dreams
If you see children reading books, it foretells harmony in your family and among your friends.... The Complete Dream Book
If you are looking at pages in a book, it means you are thirsty for knowledge, This is good for studying, and also for finalizing contracts. See Paper and the chapter on “Letters in Dreams.” Looking at many green leaves: expect a happy event; you are entertaining new ideas and establishing interesting goals. Wdted leaves: worries and defeat. Watching falling leaves: misfortune or loss in your family. See Branch, Leaves, Tree.
Depth Psychology: Green leaves symbolize emotional and intellectual growth; wilted leaves stand for what has passed. Vou have lost your footing and feel tossed about like “a leaf in the wind.”... Dreamers Dictionary
If you map out the Zodiac then you will have good fortune in your future.... Encyclopedia of Dreams
If the light is dim, you will have to work hard and face difficulties if you wish to succeed. But if there are many Lamps, then your path will be an easy one.
If the light goes out, then expect ill-health, or the failure of your plans.... Mystic Dream Book
If the Map is coloured, the omen is a fortunate one.... Mystic Dream Book
If the former, we need to come to terms with what appears to make her cantankerous in the dream – pain or disillusionment perhaps.
If the latter, then the greek goddess hecate, as keeper of the crossroads, is worth studying.... Dream Meanings of Versatile
If you see kids working or studying, peaceful times are ahead.
To dream of a sick or unhappy child symbolizes trouble from your enemies.
If you dream of playing with children, your love hopes will come true.
If you dream of being a mother (and you don’t have children in real life), this foretells a surprising turn of events concerning a cause you believed to be lost.... My Dream Interpretation
If it is your own library, it suggests the need to rely on what you had already acquired.
If it is someone else’s, it is indicating the convenience of being informed or further studying the issue that concerns you today. The library of your dreams also represents the world of ideas created within the self.
If people in the library are talking or if you have trouble finding a particular book, the dream suggests that you should concentrate more.
According to some beliefs, this dream portends you will disappoint your
friends.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams
If you dream of your own zodiac sign, it is likely a representation of yourself.
If the other figures appear, you should pay attention to the qualities that they symbolize and their relationship to your own life or personality.
Some oneiric oracles claim that dreaming of zodiac signs foretells that you will soon emigrate.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams
If you dream of being on a diet, you may be telling yourself to limit your emotional involvement in someone or something.
If you suddenly ballooned to obesity in your dream or became waif-like and starving, such scenarios all point to poor body image.
If you aren’t preoccupied with your weight in waking life, such dreams may suggest a feeling of being dragged down by weighty problems that you long to shed. Or perhaps you are indulging yourself or getting obsessed with a hobby or a job and your waking life has become unhealthily unbalanced. On the other hand, if you are studying, you may feel as if you have taken in so much information that you are fit to burst.
If you are too thin in your dream, have you been starved of vital nourishment recently—intellectual, emotional, sexual or spiritual—in waking life? If someone is withholding food from you in the dream or preventing you from eating in some way, they may be the cause of emotional malnourishment or are perhaps trying to protect you from self-destructive habits.
If you suffer from food poisoning in your dream, is there anyone you know who might be trying to poison your mind by feeding it toxic thoughts? Or are you poisoning yourself with an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, perhaps with little or no exercise and a high alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, salt, additive and saturated fat intake?... The Element Encyclopedia
If the person you were dining with is someone you know, this suggests your desire to get closer to them, sexually, emotionally or intellectually. Further clues are hidden in the dream scenario. What kind of food were you eating? If you were eating oysters and sucking fruit, this may denote a desire for a sexual relationship but if you felt your tongue tingle in your mouth, this may suggest a need for verbal or intellectual stimulation.
Your dream dining experience will reveal not only the quality of your physical diet, but also the kinds of beliefs, behavior and attitudes with which you fill your life. What kind of restaurant are you in? Is it humble, exotic, shabby or expensive? Have you chosen to eat in a down-to-earth cafeteria, canteen or café? Or have you decided to eat on the go and grab a takeaway because you are in a hurry? What is the service like in the restaurant and is the quality of the food good? All this will speak volumes about the way you live your life at the current time.
Being turned away from a restaurant suggests frustration and disappointment, as well as a sense of social isolation. To dream that someone clears away the food before you have finished eating indicates problems and issues concerning those who may be dependent upon you in some way.
If you see yourself in the role of a waiter or waitress, the quality of service you provide may express concern about the way you relate to people outside your family circle; you may have a tendency, for example, of being overfamiliar, efficient, clumsy or polite.
If you see yourself in the role of restaurant critic, this will usually symbolize yourself criticizing the quality of what you fill your life with. To dream of studying the menu could indicate various options in waking life. Were you confused or decisive in your dream menu choice, as this may refer to your waking attitude to a decision you need to make?... The Element Encyclopedia
If you find yourself studying a specific photograph or film that you have taken in your dream, this suggests that something in your waking life may have escaped your attention and you need to re-examine it in more detail. A dream of using a tape recorder may have a similar interpretation to dreams of using a camera or camcorder, in that you wish to remember the chatter and noise that is currently filling your life.
If you hit any of the buttons on your camera, tape recorder or camcorder, this may express a wish to pause, rewind or fast-forward to the past or the future.
If you dreamed of recording your thoughts on a Dictaphone, this may be to ensure that you remember them when you awake.
If you dreamed of peering through a camera lens and become frustrated because everything was out of focus and you couldn’t get it into focus, the suggestion may be that you are not seeing things as clearly as you should in waking life. Perhaps your mind is clouded with emotions and you have lost sight of the truth.
If you fitted a wide-angle lens to your camera or adjusted the focus to improve your vision, the implication may be that you need to take a broader view of your waking situation. Pay attention also to the image you are filming or photographing and ask yourself whether you are portraying it accurately; this will indicate whether you have an accurate or distorted viewpoint in waking life. Finally, do not forget that cameras and camcorders are also tools used by artists and creative people to produce beautiful shots or thought-provoking films, so if you dreamed of feeling happy when using your camera or camcorder, this could suggest that you are neglecting your creative talent in waking life. See also TIME.... The Element Encyclopedia
Lucid dreaming can be incredibly exciting and rewarding.
If you are aware that you’re dreaming, you can do things that are impossible in waking life, such as flying, becoming invisible, or traveling to distant times or places. But on a more practical note, interacting with dream characters in a lucid state can help you interpret the meanings of your dreams. Lucid dreams can also help you find creative solutions to problems, work through difficult emotional issues, and promote physical and mental healing. Many people believe lucid dreaming is a path to, or at least a necessary step towards, a form of enlightenment
A researcher named Hervey de Saint-Denys introduced the notion of lucid dreaming to the Western world in his 1867 book Dreams and How to Guide Them. But the term lucid dream itself was coined by Frederik Willems Van Eeden in his 1913 paper ’A Study of Dreams’.
The best-known modern figure in lucid dreaming is Stephen LaBerge, a professor at Stanford University. For nearly three decades, LaBerge has been studying lucid dreaming in a laboratory setting, and he proved that subjects can be taught to dream lucidly, using a technique he calls Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD).
To use this technique, you form a habit in waking life of asking yourself, ’Am I dreaming or awake?’ every time you encounter some common stimulus. Sooner or later, you’ll encounter the same thing in a dream, and if you ask the question while dreaming, you’ll probably figure out that you’re really asleep. Other methods include exercises performed right before going to sleep to focus one’s attention on having lucid dreams, meditating on certain symbols or sounds, and listening to specially designed audio recordings whilst falling asleep.
With lucid dreaming it may be possible to intentionally access the creativity of the dream state to help solve problems in your waking life. Before bed, decide on a problem you would like to solve. Frame your problem in the form of a question. For example, ’What is the topic of my next book?’ or ’How can I become less shy?’ If you have an illness, you might consider the problem, ’How can I regain my health?’ Once you have selected a problem question, write it down and memorize it; keep going over it in your mind before you go sleep. Visualize yourself looking for the answer in your dreams and then, if you fall asleep and become aware that you are dreaming, explore your dream world with your question in mind. Look for any clues that might suggest an answer. This includes seeking out advice from other characters or experts in your dreams.
Regardless of the details of one’s approach, anyone who tries to practice lucid dreaming will end up wondering, on increasingly regular occasions, ’Is this real? Could I be dreaming?’ This is what so many people find fascinating about the notion of lucid dreams: if dream reality is as convincing as waking reality, how do we really know that waking reality is not itself a kind of dream and dreams a kind of reality?... The Element Encyclopedia
The myths of the ancient Greeks and Romans survive because the human characteristics they represent are universal: love, lust, anger, fear, greed and so on. Such human characteristics are the basic stuff of the stories the ancients dreamed up, and, according to Jungians, these myths lie deep in our unconscious. The personalities of myth may only be recognized by those who study them but, by recognizing their characteristics and studying them, you can learn a lot about yourself. Any character that appears prominently in your dream will be worth measuring against the mythological figure it closely resembles.
The following are some of the most well-known myths and legends, but the list is by no means comprehensive.... The Element Encyclopedia
If the photographs are not familiar to you, your dream may have been signifying an aspect of yourself or your sense of direction in waking life. Was the photo clear or out of focus? This may signify how certain or uncertain you are of your attitudes.
If you were taking the photograph, this suggests that you feel in control of your daily life.
If you were studying a negative or are in a photographic darkroom, this suggests negativity in your daily life but you may also simply be waiting to see what will develop.
If the photos come to life, this suggests the living influence of past experience and your continuing involvement in what the picture depicts. Talking photos suggests that you need to remember or take notice of someone or something in your waking life.... The Element Encyclopedia
Gestalt psychologist Fritz Perls (1893-1970) believed that dreams project hidden aspects of our personalities and the best way to interpret them is to use a non-interpretative interviewing technique. In other words, you ask your dream character or object what they are trying to say. Then you try to adopt the dream’s mindset and answer the questions.
Australian dream expert Gayle Delaney suggests using an interviewing technique that addresses questions such as ‘how did the dream make you feel?’ or ‘how can you connect your dream with your waking life?’
Some dream theorists believe dreams deal with problems we can’t solve in waking life and offer solutions. Looking at them in the light of waking day, and believing them to be full of insight, we may sometimes come up with new ideas or insights while studying and interpreting them.
Thanks to the work of Jung and Freud and other influential dream theorists, dream interpretation is now accessible to everyone. It’s as popular today as it has ever been, with people from all walks of life using dreams as unique and personal sources of guidance and inspiration, or as tools for change, growth and personal development. As we’ve seen, there are many approaches to the study and interpretation of dreams and you’ll find a fusion of all of these in this book.... Dreampedia
As I mentioned, you spend about a third of your life sleeping. If you have a life span of seventy-five years, you’ll be asleep for twenty-five of those years. Imagine! Yet, despite the prevalence and common experience of sleep, only recently did science begin to understand what it is all about.
Although dreaming and its causes are still a matter for speculation, brain wave studies provide important information about sleep itself. In a normal night, a person passes through four different stages of sleep, identifiable by brain wave patterns, eye movements, and muscle tension.
In the first stage, the pattern of the brain waves goes from what is known as beta, or normal waking consciousness, to alpha, the first step into sleep. The beta phase is 13 to 26 cps (cycles per second, the speed of the oscillations in the brain wave cycle), during which you are awake and fully functioning, studying, working, socializing. The alpha phase is 8 to 13 cps, a state of deep relaxation during which you are still aware of your surroundings, whether with eyes open or closed. It is the precursor to sleep and the stage reached during light meditation. Alpha is the sort of somnolent state we might go into on a long train ride when we have been staring out the window at a monotonous landscape for hours and are lulled by boredom and inactivity.
During the alpha stage, heart and pulse rates slow down, blood pressure drops slightly, and so does temperature. Your muscles are in a relaxed condition and you experience mental “drifting.” Images described as hypnogogic may float through your mind, seemingly unrelated to anything or else variations of what you were thinking or doing just before going to bed. These hypnogogic images can be vivid, as if drug-induced. Sometimes these images are quite meaningful and may startle you back to the beta state. When this happens, you may experience your muscles jumping back to the ready-to-go stage, a common happening that is called the myoclonic jerk.
Stage three is called theta and is represented by 4 to 8 cps, the same rate you display during periods of intense daydreaming (when you can actually forget where you are) or deep meditation. This stage of abstractedness is sometimes called a brown study. In the theta state, you are neither fully awake nor fully asleep. Yet you are in a light slumber, and, if not disturbed, you will fall asleep. The brain wave pattern of theta is characterized by rapid bursts of brain activity. Sleep researchers believe that theta is truly a sleep state, but when disrupted out of this state many subjects report that they were not asleep but merely “thinking.”
Researchers believe that it is during the theta stage that most dreams occur.
Dreams are recognizable to an observer by what is called rapid eye movement, or REM. The eyeballs move back and forth like someone watching a tennis match under their closed lids. Researchers originally discovered REM by watching cats sleep, and if you observe either a cat or a person sleeping, you will notice their eyes moving back and forth. A cat or dog may twitch as if running, but during REM a human’s muscles are virtually paralyzed. The period of REM ordinarily lasts for several minutes at a time, switching on and off. If you awaken during a REM period, you will most likely remember your dreams easily and in great detail.
“Dreaming liberates perception, enlarging the scope of what can be perceived.”
The Art of Dreaming
The last stage is delta; at 0 to 4 cps, it is the slowest and is evident during the deepest part of the sleep cycle. This is the state when you are totally out and even a ringing telephone or alarm clock may not wake you. Teens often experience this deepest level of sleep in the early morning hours, which is why they are often hard to wake up for school. Teens actually do better when allowed to sleep late: you function better, learn better, and generally feel better when you are able to “sleep yourself out.” It’s unfortunate that teens are often mandated an early rising time for school or even before-school activities, such as sports practice. It’s not only how much you sleep, apparently, but also when you get your sleep that counts.
People awakened from the delta stage of sleep will feel disoriented and only half awake, and they will want nothing more than to go back to sleep. If, for example, a need to visit the bathroom wakes you from a delta sleep, you may bump into the furniture or the walls, even though you know your way around. During delta, there are no eye movements. It is also the time that sleepwalking occurs. As most everyone knows, a sleepwalker can move around unerringly, as if awake, and should be left alone unless he or she is in danger. If not awakened, sleepwalkers almost always make their way back to bed without a problem, and when they do wake up they have no memory of their nighttime excursions.
An average complete sleep cycle lasts about three hours. For the first hour and a half of the cycle the sleeper moves from a waking state to light sleep to REM sleep to deep dreamless sleep. The cycle reverses itself in the second half, returning upward (so to speak) from the deep sleep of delta to the lighter theta- alpha stages. As brain activity rises, so do blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. In warm weather, you may be awakened by feeling hot as your body temperature returns to normal. This is always a clue that you are in the process of waking up, and it’s a good sign to be aware of so that you will focus on your dreams and be ready to take notes on them.
Every night you go through three or four complete sleep cycles of ninety minutes each. The first REM period of the night lasts five to ten minutes. During each cycle, the REM is repeated, lasting longer as the night progresses, while the time between the cycles gets shorter. Your last REM can be as long as an hour, and this is prime dreamtime with excellent chances for good recall of your dreams. What this means in practical terms is that, if you sleep for seven hours straight, half of your dreamtime will occur during the two hours before you wake up in the morning. An additional hour of sleep will give you an additional hour of dreaming! This is a powerful argument for getting to bed early enough to get eight hours of continuous sleep. Of course, these figures are based on laboratory averages and may not hold true for every person—you are an individual and will sleep and dream in your own way. I have found that I dream twice as much as the average reported by sleep studies, sometimes with less sleep than the average, sometimes with more.
None of these states of consciousness—beta, alpha, theta, delta—are foreign to us. We cycle through all four of them during the course of twenty-four hours, slipping in and out of them, mostly without noticing. For example, during normal beta wakefulness, you may drift off into a daydream or reverie, thinking about tonight’s date or tomorrow’s picnic, and enter the alpha phase for a while. The phone rings, or a friend speaks to you, and you snap back into the beta state.
Or you could be driving your car along a monotonous route with little to pay attention to and slip for a few moments into the theta phase (lots of people fall asleep at the wheel for a few seconds and then quickly recover) only to flip back into beta as you see a sharp curve up ahead or hear another car honking. Everyone has had the experience of “dropping off” for a couple of seconds during ordinary everyday activities (or, perhaps, lack of activity).
For those who want to pursue dream studies, it’s important to pay attention to these alpha-theta states. There is a twilight zone where you are neither asleep nor awake but are alert to slight disturbances. It’s here you may catch a dream as it is forming, and it is in this state that you are best able to give yourself instructions for remembering your dreams-to-come and for “programming” dreams to fulfill specific purposes.
Use the following exercise to track your own personal sleep patterns. Following the format given here, keep a record of your sleep habits for two weeks in order to prepare for the exercises throughout this book. You’ll find out a lot about your sleep needs, when you dream, and your level of recall. Over time, even from day to day, you may find differences that are worth noting. Then, if you want to continue the process, record your sleep habits in a separate notebook.... Dreampedia
Dreams and their purpose
Consider dreams like home movies that each person produces in response to their daily experiences. These movies are meant to clarify certain situations and support the person. With sufficient knowledge, they can become a sort of spiritual guide, since oneiric thoughts are a window to the subconscious where, frequently, hidden feelings and repressed needs are stored without us realizing.
Even then, there are people who question the importance of dreams. Some scientists, for example, believe that the content of dreams is simply a random mix of the many electronic signals the brain receives. Others, however, find all types of messages in even the simplest dreams, and end up distancing themselves from daily reality in favor of oneiric activity.
Neither extreme is advisable. Each dream is undoubtedly a journey into the unknown, but, at the same time, modern psychology has allowed us to understand a good part of their structure. One of the conclusions drawn from the study of dreams confirms this: dreams can be a priceless aid to the imagination, but above all when it comes to solving problems. You just have to know how to listen to them, because their content tends to have a direct relation to the emotional challenges you are experiencing.
Each dream is a journey to the unknown with an implicit personal message. Although it is the content of the episode that determines our emotional state, dreaming in black and white indicates a possible lack of enthusiasm or nostalgia for the past. These dreams are an invitation to live with more intensity and enjoy the present.
Still from the film Viaje a la Luna (Méliès, 1902).
It is known that in times of crisis, our oneiric production increases significantly, both in quantity and intensity. Should we consider this “surplus” to be positive? Yes, as long as one makes an effort to remember and interpret the dreams, since, as we will see further on, they have a valuable therapeutic potential.
For example, if a couple is going through a critical phase, remembering and analyzing usually helps them understand the subconscious reactions they have to the situation. In other words, dreams are an excellent tool to get to the bottom of emotional conflicts. Knowing the causes is an essential step to resolving the problems, regardless of what course you take.
The English psychologist David Fontana, whose books have been translated into more than twenty languages, said it clearly: “In listening to my patients’ dreams in therapy sessions, I have observed how, often, these can take us right to the root of the psychologic problem much quicker than other methods.” Although, we shouldn’t fool ourselves: dreams are a mystery that can rarely decipher everything. But if a certain level of interpretation helps us understand ourselves better, what more can we ask for? From a practical point of view, our own oneiric material can be very useful.
In dreams, relationships with others are a recurring theme. The people that appear in our dreams, especially strangers, represent facets of ourselves that the subconscious is showing us.
Well-known writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, William Blake, Edgar Allan Poe, and Woody Allen have had faith in this, acknowledging that part of their works have been inspired by dreams. The discoveries of Albert Einstein or Niels Bohr (father of modern atomic physics), among other celebrated scientists, had the same origin. In any case, these examples shouldn’t confuse us: no dream can tell you what path to follow through symbolic images without the intellect to decipher them.
Prosperity, precognition, and pronostics
What’s more, judging by some documented cases, we can even reap material gain from dreams. There is proof of some people that had premonitory dreams managing to earn significant sums of money thanks to their oneiric “magic.” The most spectacular case was in the fifties, when an Englishman named Harold Horwood won a considerable number of prizes betting on horses. His dreams transmitted clues as to the winning racehorse to bet on. Unfortunately, these types of premonitions don’t come to everyone. However, anyone has the opportunity to discover the greatest treasure of all—knowledge of one’s self—through their dreams.
We’ve all experienced the feeling of having lost control of our lives at some point. We might feel like others are deciding things for us or that we are victims of our circumstances.
Our “dream-scapes” contain valuable information about our desires and concerns; they could also function as a forecast of some aspect of our future. According to ancient tradition, dreaming of stars predicts prosperity and spiritual wealth. “Starry Night” (Van Gogh, 1889).
However, many psychologists disagree with this. That is, they argue that daily events are not coincidences but rather meaningful deeds that reflect the inner state of the individual.
Dreams and thoughts
According to these experts, luck is a pipe dream, something that does not exist, since that which we consider the result of coincidence is none other than the natural manifestation of our thoughts and attitudes. We are basically creator, not passive receivers or victims of the events that unravel in our lives.
An example that illustrates this idea perfectly is the story of the old man who threw rocks into the sea. One day, someone asked if he ever got bored of the simple game. The old pebble thrower stared at his questioner and gave an answer he’d never forget: “My small stones are more important than they seem, they provoke repercussions. They will help create waves that, sooner or later, will reach other other side of the ocean.”
What does this have to do with dreams? It’s simple: as we’ve just seen, we are the only ones responsible for our daily experiences, no matter how hard that is to believe. Therefore it shouldn’t be too difficult to take control of our lives; we just have to listen to the messages in our interior, that is, our oneiric thoughts, of which we are ultimately the authors.
In this way, thanks to dreams, our two existences—conscious and unconscious—can work together to make our lives more creative and free. An important part of this process is getting to know and understanding better the process of thought. One of the most beautiful and commonly used visualizations in yoga reminds us of this: “In the bottom of the lake of our thoughts is a jewel. In order for it to shine in the light of the sun (the divine), the water (the thoughts) must be pure and crystal clear and calm, free of waves (excitement). If our water is murky or choppy, others can’t see this jewel, our inner light...”
In the bottom of the lake of our thoughts is a jewel...
But it’s not that simple: it’s often difficult to discern the connection that unites wakefulness with sleep, between what we think ourselves to be and what our oneiric fantasies say about us. In any case, if our search is passionate and patient, constant and conscious, it will result in the discovery of our true Self. Therefore the interpretation of dreams cuts right to the heart of the message conceived by and for ourselves (although not consciously). It is important to learn to listen to them (further on we will discuss techniques for this) when it comes time to unstitch their meaning and extract the teachings that can enrich our lives.
The rooms in our dreams reflect unknown aspects of our personality.
In this way, when we have to make an important decision, we can clear up any doubts through a clear understanding of our most intimate desires. Although it may seem like common sense, this is not that common these days, since most people make decisions at random, out of habit, or by impulse.
The meaning and psychic effect of some deities in Tibetan Buddhism can be linked to the monsters that are so popular today.
Dreams allow creativity a free rein and free us from worry, sometimes resulting in surreal images that would be impossible in waking life.
Put simply, the idea is to find your true identity and recognize your wounds, fears, and joys through dreams. Never forget that the subconscious, although hidden, is an essential part of our personality. Dreams are fundamental for understanding the Self, since they are a direct path to this little-known part of ourselves. Their symbolic content allows us to recover repressed emotions and gives us a map to the relationships that surround us.
Nightmares that put us to the test
Sometimes the messages they bring us are not so pleasant and take the form of nightmares. However, although it may be hard to accept, these nightmares are valuable warnings that some aspects of our life are not
in harmony with our deepest Self and thus need our prompt intervention. Nightmares are proof that self discovery is not always pleasant. Sometimes it’s necessary to feel this pain in order to find out what you really are and need.
On the other hand, dreams give creativity a free rein because, when we sleep, we are free from our day-to-day worries. Therefore, even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, keep in mind that all the scenes, symbols, and characters that appear in your dreams have been created solely and exclusively by you.
It’s often very helpful to record dreams in a notebook (we will explain how further on) in order to later analyze them and apply their teachings to daily life.
It is quite the paradox; the human being awakens their most intimate reality precisely when they are sleeping.
Carl Gustav Jung, who dedicated his life to studying dreams, developed this metaphor: “People live in mansions of which they only know the basements.” Only when our conscience is sleeping do we manage to unveil some of the rooms of our magnificent house: rooms that may be dusty and inhospitable and fill us with terror and anxiety, or magnificent rooms where we want to stay forever.
Given that they all belong to us, it is reasonable to want to discover them all. Dreams, in this sense, are a fundamental tool.
How to remember dreams
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Sure, dreams are really important, but I can’t use them because I simply don’t remember them.” That’s not a problem, there are techniques you can use to strengthen your memory of oneiric thoughts. Techniques that, when applied correctly, allow us to remember dreams surprisingly well.
The use of these methods is indispensable in most cases since people tend to forget dreams completely when they wake up. Why? Because, according to the hypothesis of Sigmund Freud, we have a sort of internal censor that tries to prevent our oneiric activity from becoming conscious material.
Sometimes the message of dreams turns unpleasant and takes the form of a nightmare...
However, we can laugh in the face of this censor with a few tricks. The most drastic is to wake up suddenly when the deepest sleep phase (REM phase) is just about to end, so that you can rapidly write all the details of your mind’s theater in your notebook. Waking suddenly will take this censor by surprise, stopping it from doing its job. The best time to set the alarm is for four, five, six, or a little more than seven hours after going to sleep.
If your level of motivation is not high enough to get up in the middle of the night and record your dreams, there are alternatives that let you sleep for a stretch and then remember what you dream with great precision.
First of all, it’s helpful to develop some habits before going to bed, such as waiting a few hours between dinner and going to sleep. Experts recommend avoiding foods that cause gas (legumes like green beans, raw vegetables, etc.) and foods high in fat.
You must also keep in mind that, like tea and coffee, tobacco and alcohol alter the sleep cycle and deprive the body of a deep sleep (the damaging effects of a few glasses on the body does not disappear for about four hours).
What is recommended is to drink water or juice, or eat a yogurt, more than two hours after eating, before going to bed. There are two main reasons for this: liquids facilitate a certain purification of the body, and because, most interestingly for our purposes, it causes us to get up in the middle of the night. As we said, this will catch the internal censor by surprise and allow us to record our dreams easily.
Relaxing in bed and going over the events of the day helps free the mind and foster oneiric creativity.
Yoga exercises, such as the savasana pose, are great for relaxation, restful sleep, and a positive outlook.
It’s important to surround yourself with an environment that stimulates oneiric activity. You should feel comfortable in your room and your bed. The fewer clothes you wear to sleep, the better. Practicing relaxation techniques, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath a few minutes before getting into bed will help relieve stress so that you enjoy a deep restorative sleep.
There are good books on relaxation on the market, both autogenous and yogic; we recommend one of the most practical, Relajacion para gente muy ocupada (Relaxation for Busy People), by Shia Green, published by this same publishing house. However, the real key is to concentrate on remembering dreams. When you go to bed, go over the events of the day that were important to you. This way, you will increase the probability of dreaming about the subjects that most interest or worry you.
So, let’s suppose you’re asleep now. What should you do to remember dreams? First, try to wake up naturally, without external stimuli. If this isn’t possible, use the quietest possible alarm without radio. Once awake, stay in bed for a few moments with your eyes closed and try to hold your dreams in your memory as you gently transition into wakefulness. Take advantage of this time to memorize the images you dreamt. The final oneiric period is usually the longest and these instants are when it is most possible to remember dreams.
Remember that it’s best to write the keywords of the dream immediately upon waking. It is convenient to keep a notebook on the nightstand and reconstruct the dream during the day.
The dream notebook
Next, write in the notebook (that you have left beside your bed) whatever your mind has been able to retain, no matter how absurd or trivial your dreams seem, even if you only remember small fragments. This is not the moment to make evaluations or interpretations. The exercise is to simply record everything that crosses your mind with as much detail as possible. Giving the fragility of memory, it’s okay to start off with just a few key words that summarize the content of the dream. These words will help you reconstruct the dream later in the day if you don’t have enough time in the morning. Ideally this notebook will gradually become a diary or schedule that allows you to study, analyze, and compare a series of dreams. Through a series of recorded episodes, you can detect recurring characters, situations, or themes. This is something that’s easy to miss at first glance. One important detail: specialists recommend you date and title each dream, since this helps you remember them in later readings.
It’s also interesting to complement your entries with relevant annotations: what feelings were provoked, which aspects most drew your attention, which colors predominated, etc. An outline or drawing of the most significant images can also help you unravel the meaning. Finally, you should write an initial personal interpretation of the dream. For that, the second part of this book offers some useful guidelines.
While we dream, there is a sort of safety mechanism that inhibits our movement. Therefore, sleepwalkers don’t walk during the REM phase. This protects us from acting out the movements of our dreams and possibly hurting ourselves. Still from the Spanish movie Carne de fieras (Flesh of beasts) (1936).
As we’ve seen, there are a series of techniques to remember dreams. This is the first step to extracting their wisdom. Now, given that oneiric thoughts are a source of inspiration for solving problems, wouldn’t it be great to choose what you dream about before you go to sleep? Rather than waiting for dreams to come to us spontaneously, try to make them focus on the aspects of your life that interest you.
How to determine the theme of dreams
Let’s imagine that someone is not very satisfied with their job. They’d like to get into another line of work but are afraid of losing the job security they enjoy. On one hand, they’re not so young anymore, they should take the risk to get what they really want. But they don’t know what to do. They need a light, a sign, an inspiration. In short, they need a dream. But not just any dream, a dream that really centers on their problem and gives answers.
However, if you limit yourself to just “consulting your pillow,” you won’t get the desired results. There is a possibility you will be lucky and dream about what you’re interested in, but more likely you will dream of anything but. If we are really prepared to dive into that which worries us most intimately, we can direct our dreams to give us concrete answers. Just like the techniques to remember dreams, the process is simple: before sleeping, we must concentrate on the subject of interest.
It’s also best to write in your notebook all the events and emotions of the day that were most important before you go to sleep.
Once your impressions and theme to dream have been noted, concentrate on the subject that most bothers you. Think about it carefully; propose questions and alternatives, “listen” to your own emotions. It’s best if all possible doubts are noted in the dream notebook. This way you’re more likely to receive an answer.
In order for it to be an effective answer, the question must be well defined. The fundamental idea of the problem should be summed up in a single phrase. Once you’ve reflected on the problem, it’s time to go to bed. But the “homework” is not finished yet. Before going to sleep, you need to concentrate on the concrete question. You need to forget everything else, even the details. Just “visualize” and repeat the question, without thinking of anything else, until you fall asleep.
Oneiric thoughts are a source of inspiration. Annotating and analyzing them carefully fosters a process of self discovery.
Writing a dream notebook
You should always have a notebook and pen near your bed to write down dreams the moment you wake up. Don’t forget to always write the date. What details should you include in this kind of diary? As many as you remember, the more the better.
Dreams are “signs,” messages from our subconscious, and the study and interpretation of them helps resolve the problems that worry us.
Nocturnal sleep puts us in touch with the deepest level of being, which allows us to approach our problems with a wider perspective. And induced dreams tend to be easier to remember than other oneiric activity.
When we dream, we enter a marvelous world that escapes the laws of spatial and temporal logic.... 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