Every culture throughout time has had its own understanding of dreams. The value given to dreams has varied. Some cultures depended on dreams to give them insight and foresight in regard to every aspect of their lives.
Although, there is no definitive view or an empirical understanding of dreams, we believe that dreams are valuable and necessary to the understanding of our human nature. To deny a dream is to deny a part of ourselves. Dreams are an instant connection to our unconscious. It is a place of mystery and the unknown, but it can be studied and made personal through dream interpretation. A moderate attempt to interpret our dreams will lead to greater self-understanding and awareness, as well as to moments of enlightenment resulting in greater consciousness.
We hope this Web site will appeal to everyone. We encourage you to increase
your dream IQ and give your dreams the respect that they deserve.
What is consciousness?
The words conscious, subconscious, and unconscious are very frequently used and most people don’t think about their actual meaning. Consciousness is the level of awareness to internal and external conditions, stimuli, and events. There is a continuum of conscious.
“Continuum of Conscious” refers to the degree of awareness,
or the progression from total alertness to total unresponsiveness.
They are as follows:
|1. Controlled processes
|This is the state in which we are the most alert and aware. We are in this processing state when we are fully concentrating on a task. For example, when we are learning how to do something new or doing a difficult math problem. All of our attention is dedicated to the task at hand and we are fully aware of ourselves and our environment. The mind is sharp and it is processing information quickly and efficiently.
|2. Automatic processes
|The task at hand requires little awareness and we can do two things at a time. When you are driving a car, singing a song that’s on the radio, and chewing gum, you are in a automatic processing stage. You are aware of your environment and of your own activity, but no one thing requires your full attention or concentration.
|3. Day dreaming
|This is something that we all do and it occurs during automatic processing, when the level of awareness is considered to be low. This is a level of consciousness that can be placed between sleep and full wakefulness. Men and woman engage in equal amounts of fantasizing and the content of their day dreams is similar.
|4. Altered states of consciousness
|Much research and discussion has been dedicated to altered states of awareness. It is a change from normal levels of awareness induced by external or internal factors, such as meditation, drugs, hypnosis, or sensory isolation and/or depravation. When in an altered state of consciousness normal perceptions are not possible.
|5. Sleep and dreams
|Scientists believe that sleep is controlled by specific areas of the brain, body temperature, neurotransmitters, and chemicals in the blood. Currently there are two theories, Repair theory and Adoptive theory, that are given serious consideration in regard to why we sleep.
|This is biologically based and states that during the night we replenish and repair those things that we use up during the day.
|This theory states that sleep has evolved into an intrinsic part of human behavior. Sleeping enabled early man to conserve his energies and avoid nocturnal predators.
There are five stages of sleep.
Most people need an average of eight hours of sleep per night.
Four out of five stages are without Rapid Eye Movement (REM).
Non REM sleep makes up about 80% and
REM sleep 20% of the time we are asleep.
|The brain is producing alpha waves as we are transiting from wakefulness to sleep;this stage takes about 7 minutes.
and Stage 4
|During these stages you are going into deeper and deeper sleep. Muscle tension, heart rate, respiration and body temperature gradually decline. During stage 3 and stage 4 the brain is producing delta waves. Stage 4 is the deepest stage of sleep. Sleepwalking, and night terror in children occur in stage 4 and neither of these experiences are remembered.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep
|It takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to go from stage 2 sleep to REM sleep. The brain produces fast frequency, low amplitude beta waves that are produced when a person is fully awake. REM sleep is also known as Paradoxical Sleep because the body is in the state of physiological arousal. Heart rate, oxygen consumption, breathing and eye movement are the same as when awake. The only thing that is lost is muscular tension in the neck and limbs. In sleep studies, 80% of people that were awakened when in REM sleep reported to be dreaming. It is believed that all people dream and that it occurs during REM sleep.
We enter REM sleep five or six times per night.
The cycle goes something like this:
|We are transiting from wakefulness to sleep; this stage takes about 7 minutes
|Muscle tension, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature gradually decline.
|During this stage you are going into deeper and deeper sleep.
|This is the deepest stage of sleep
|Now the trend reverses and you gradually come out of deep sleep.
|Muscle tension, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature gradually increase.
|It takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to go from Stage 2 to Stage 5. Bodily functions are the same as when you are awake. The ability for motor movement is largely disabled due to a mechanism in the brain that relaxes muscles. It is believed that dreams occur during REM sleep.
|Once again muscle tension, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature gradually decline.
|Once again you are going into deeper and deeper sleep.
|Once again you are in the deepest stage of sleep.
|Once again the trend reverses and you gradually come out of deep sleep.
|Once again muscle tension, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature gradually increase.
|In sleep studies, 80% of people that were awakened when in REM sleep reported to be dreaming.
|Once again muscle tension, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature gradually decline.
|Again the trend reverses and you gradually come out of deep sleep.
|The cycle continues all night.
Research has discovered that:
1. Most people dream in color.
2. Dreams are visual in nature. Taste, smell, and touch seem to be deactivated.
3. Dreams are more frequently disturbing and unpleasant rather than pleasant.
4. The most common setting for dreams is indoors rather than outdoors.
5. Dreams usually involve motion and action.
6. The length of dreams may vary but most are as long as daydreams.
7. We dream approximately 5 to 6 times per night during REM sleep.
8. Dreams do not occur exclusively during REM sleep. It is possible to dream during
a short nap or at any time during the night.
I: Sigmund Freud theorized that dreams were vital keys to unlocking the mysteries of an individual’s personality, motivations, and the overall psyche.
He first used the term “interpretation” to refer to the unscrambling of dream content. Please look below for more information on Freudian dream theory. However, he believed that all long objects represented the male sex organ and all circular objects or cavities symbolized the female reproductive organs.
II: In 1977, Alan Hobson and Robert McCarley published research which argued that dreams were random, meaningless activities carried out by the nerve cells in the sleeping brain. They called this theory Activation Synthesis Theory. However, a few years later Alan Hobson changed his mind and reported that it seems that dreams have important personal significance to the dreamer.
Today, some psychologists believe that dreams are an Extension of Waking Life and that in our dreams we express our emotional concerns and most private thoughts.
III: Dr. Stephen La Berge conducted extensive research on Lucid Dreaming and wrote popular books on the topic. Lucid Dreaming occurs only 1 to 2 percent of time during REM sleep. It is the type of dreaming in which an individual is aware that he or she is dreaming. Dr. LaBerge concluded that the purpose of this type of a dream is to make the dreamer aware of something important. With practice we can direct our lucid dreams and improve our ability to navigate through them.
Psychoanalysis and Dreams
Sigmund Freud believed that dreams are subject to psychoanalysis just like all other parts of the human psyche. Some basic components of the Freudian dream theory include the following:
1. Dreams are NOT meaningless or random events.
2. All dreams have causes, which generally come from emotionally charged life events.
3. The themes and issues that are experienced in dreams are so emotionally charged and threatening to the ego that the individual cannot deal with them directly.
4. The dream is a façade which disguises anxiety or guilt – provoking thoughts and feelings.
5. In order to understand the dream, the individual must attempt to look past the façade and discover the real issue in the dream.
6. Psychoanalytical techniques, including free association, can be used to interpret dreams.
7. The content of dreams are mostly composed of sex, aggression, wish fulfillment, and childhood memories.
8. Dream analysis is difficult because of resistance on the part of the dreamer.
For information on Carl Jung,
Anatomy of A Dream
Spirituality and Dreams
The famous American spiritualist and psychic, Edgar Cayce, contributed to the understanding of dreams from a spiritual perspective. In his writing he pointed out that dreams have six basic functions. They are (Thurson 1988):
Dreams give real experiences in the spiritual world.
Dreams provide a symbolic picture of current conditions in our lives.
Dreams offer contact with God.
Dreams instruct us in a lesson.
Dreams present a solution to a problem.
Dreams give us a glimpse into the future.
A typical nightly dream may include only one or two of these functions.
Eckankar is a religion of “Light and Sound of God.” It is an ancient wisdom which was reintroduced to the West around 1965 by a man named Paul Twitchell. There are many Eckists throughout the world and they practice their faith quietly but powerfully. They believe in the power of karma and in reincarnation. The leader of Eckankar is called the Mahanta and currently he is Sri Herold Klemp. The Mahanta is the living ECK master who works with Eckists on the outer and inner planes. He is not worshiped but respected and his residence, as well as the center for Eckankar, is located in the United States.
Dreams are a very important part of spiritual development. Eckankar values dreams as irreplaceable tools for self discovery. It is believed that by recording and understanding dreams the dreamer gains awareness and increases in consciousness. In the dream state it is possible to work out karma, gain insight into daily problems, see a glimpse of the future, connect to spiritual beings (including deceased loved ones), travel to inner planes such as the Astral, Causal, Mental, and Etheric, and to connect to our own souls. Dreams are considered real experiences and are highly valued.
Eckists also believe that they are assisted by the Mahanta according to their needs and level of awareness. In the dream state the Mahanta comes to them as the Dream Master and he offers his love and guidance in an important dream experience.
Eckists study dreams throughout their lives and they do not depend on others to tell them what their dreams mean. It is believed that each dreamer has the responsibility to develop an understanding of their own dreams.
Eckankar is fascinating and, surprisingly, very practical. It promotes self reliance and philosophically embraces all aspects of human nature and psyche. For more information you can visit their web site: