“Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions.” — Edgar Cayce
Even though we all don’t lead James Bond-esque lives filled with action, intrigue, and beautiful women (or men), believe it or not, we do lead double lives.
We are not suggesting we are all having affairs, work on the side for the CIA, or double as a super hero when we get home from work (although for those of us who work full time and have young children, it certainly feels that way!). Our double lives begin at night when we close our eyes and our brain begins producing DELTA waves…and we slip off into REM sleep.
We all lead double lives…in our dreams.
Dreams: A Glimpse Into Another Reality?
There are an abundance of theories regarding the interpretation and meaning of our dreams. Psychologists and dream researchers may tell us that our dreams are nothing more than the subconscious working out the kinks through symbolism and metaphor (would this mean that dysfunctional people, having more kinks, have more dreams?). Or perhaps dreams allow our imaginations to finally get a chance to run amok, something we rarely allow them to do during our normal day-to-day existence.
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Or, perhaps, as some researchers and maverick authors are suggesting, dreams are instead a glimpse into another reality, a parallel domain that many insist is just as real, if not at times MORE real than the one we all know and love.
Interpreting the Imagery of Our Dreams
Although some dreams certainly seem to symbolize life challenges or fears, not all dreams have the same “feel.” When we are having a dream most imagery is presented in an interpretive state. Many times the imagery represents something in our waking, conscious state that needs to be confronted, or even changed.
Sure, dreams of tidal waves can mean we are overwhelmed and in fear of “drowning” under the weight of our challenges. Yes, recurring dreams of being chased by a dark figure can signify that we are “running from something” in our waking state, something that we had better stop and confront before it does damage to us, either physically or mentally.
And who has not had a dream of flying? Some say that this represents the desire for freedom, while others believe they are sexual dreams. Maybe they are just our opportunity, as human beings bound to earth, to get a “higher perspective” on our lives.
Lucid Dreaming: Controlling One's Dreams
The most cutting-edge dream studies are focusing a bit less on the “symbolic” angle, and more on the potential that dreams may hold for experiencing other levels of reality, communicating with people in our dreams, and even walking the landscape of time from the past to the future. For Robert Waggoner, author of Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, and president-elect of the International Association for the Study of Dreams” (IASD), lucid dreaming is the ability to control one’s dreams and even create the dream experience.
According to DreamStudies.org, lucid dreaming, or at least written records of it, goes back as far as 1000 BC with the “Upanishads,” the ancient Hindu text, and is even a part of another ancient Hindu tract, the “Vigyan Bhairav Tantra,” which describes how to direct consciousness within a dream and visions states of sleep.
Aristotle, Plato, Socrates Held Dreams In High Regard
Dreams were held in high regard in Greek philosophy, and Aristotle may have experienced lucid dreaming in 350 B.C. when he wrote in his On Dreams that “often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness that declares that what then presents itself is but a dream.”
Plato and Socrates also wrote about dreams, and some suggest that the actual first lucid dream report occurred in 415 AD courtesy of St. Thomas Aquinas, although St. Thomas later suggested that some dreams were demonic, thus plunging dream research into a “dark age” of its own. Even Rene Descartes, the famous French philosopher, mathematician, physicist, and writer wrote of his own lucid dreams in a private journal known as “The Olympica.”
Increasing Our Conscious Awareness of the Dream State
When we dream, it seems so real to us. Waggoner states that in almost every dream, our senses do not inform us of the difference between waking and dreaming. Instead, our senses “seem to confirm that whatever reality seems to be happening is indeed happening.” He goes on to say that the only way we can truly realize the nature of the reality we experience in the dream state is to increase our conscious awareness of the dream state. Lucid dreaming can do that.
Bringing conscious awareness into the dream state allows us to have some control over what we dream about, who shows up in our dreams, and how those dreams ultimately turn out in the end. According to Waggoner, lucid dreaming can be learned, even perfected, with practice and by following certain directions designed to prime the pre-dreaming mind to do what we want it to do.
It can be as basic as stating that you will recognize your own hands at some point during the dream, then in the lucid state holding your hands up and “seeing and recognizing them.” Or it can be much more complicated, as in learning to travel to other locations, talk with other people (perhaps even other lucid dreamers!) or maybe even give a positive ending to a recurring nightmare by changing the outcome.
Being Aware That We Are Dreaming
Lucid dreams feel more “real,” because of our more conscious awareness and participation in them. Rather than being the audience, watching our dreams play out like a movie on the screens of our minds, we can actually become the leading actor or actress, as well as the writer, director, and producer of the entire show!
Obviously, getting to that highest level of lucidity requires patience, persistence, and good, old-fashioned hard work. But most of us have at one time or another, been aware in a dream that we were indeed dreaming. And for those of you who want to learn everything there is to know about lucid dreaming, we strongly suggest that you pick up Waggoner’s fascinating book (Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self).
The Déjà Vu Enigma: A Journey Through the Anomalies of Mind, Memory and Time
by Marie D. Jones & Larry Flaxman.
This article was reprinted with permission of the publisher, New Page Books a division of Career Press, Pompton Plains, NJ. 800-227-3371. ©2010. All rights reserved.
About the Authors
Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman are the authors of 11:11 The Time Prompt Phenomenon and The Resonance Key. They are the founders of ParaExplorers.com. and have been featured on many radio shows, including Coast to Coast AM With George Noory.
Marie D. Jones is the best-selling author of 2013: End of Days or A New Beginning? and PSIence: How New Discoveries in Quantum Physics and New Science May Explain the Existence of Paranormal Phenomena. She is a highly regarded and popular speaker on science, metaphysics, consciousness and the paranormal and has appeared at major conferences and events. She has also lectured to local and regional meet-up groups, networking organizations and libraries, bookstores and author events.
Larry Flaxman is the founder and senior researcher of ARPAST, the Arkansas Paranormal and Anomalous Studies Team, and serves as technical consultant to a number of paranormal research organizations. He has been actively involved in paranormal research and investigation for more than 10 years and has authored many articles and been featured in numerous newspaper, magazine, radio, and television interviews.