Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dreams & Dream Journaling

We all dream. It is one of life's magical mysteries and for ages has baffled mankind and given us some deep contemplation of the human mind and of Spirit itself. It is as if our soul gathers all the tidbits of our lives and re-arranges them in certain orders, that many feel are random, in order to tell us things about our lives or present mindset or to reveal some great revelation to us as we sleep. Dreaming takes up a big portion our lives and occur not only during REM sleep but also during non-REM sleep. This is when we experience that rapid-eye movement that young babies often have and when all of our muscles are completely relaxed or paralyzed, to avoid us actually being to act out what we experience in our minds during sleep. Most people don't know that we sleep for about one-third of our whole lives and that dreaming takes up roughly a quarter of that time. There must be something quite significant about this phenomena then if we do it just like we breathe, involuntarily and it takes up that much of our lives. Researchers are aware that it is possible for us to dream for even longer periods of time, under the right conditions. Native-Americans and people of many other cultures believe greatly in the power and significance of dreams.

Dream experts cannot even come to a general consensus as to "why" exactly we dream and there are lots of theories but we all know that dreams help us to get better in touch with our inner selves as we cannot pretend to be who we are not when we are dreaming. All of our inner strengths, fears, desires and dislikes come to the surface during this mesmerizing time and when we awaken, it is as if our spirit has traveled to some space in time that our conscious mind could not. During our dreamy phase, ego has no role to play, hence we are better able to envision possible solutions to our regular life's difficulties or even get a chance to see other people in a different light. Though some dreams seem outrageously preposterous, we cannot always put the focus on the main events of them or try to interpret them literally. Some portions of dreams stand out more than others as well as the fact that some dreams are far more vivid and lucid than others. It is, in my own opinion, those dreams that leave you deeply moved or powerfully on your mind when you wake up that you should pay extra special attention to.

I find that as of late many things that occur during everyday life, is foretold in some way in my dreams. Just the other day I had a dream about visiting my in-laws and just as it was time to leave, my daughter realized that she could not find a foot of her shoes. Each time she came out of the room, I put a different pair of shoes out for her to put on. That kept going until there were about three or four pairs of unmatched shoes laying out front. As odd as that sounds already i wracked my brain trying to figure out what that could have possibly meant. A few hours later, a whim sprung up in me to go and donate some items that I had collected over time to help folks on the family island who were deeply affected by Hurricane Joaquin. As I was headed there, I my right foot missed the step completely and I fell right down, cutting the crap out of my right knee. Of course I was pissed but played it cool since people were around at the time. I shrugged it off with a, "C'est la vie!" and continued about my business. It wasn't until I left and was headed back home that I realized, "Aha! That was the missing foot!" That revelation nearly caused me to fall down again! Our dreams are not there for no reason. I missed a step both literally and figuratively. That was absolutely eye-opening to say the least!

It would be very interesting to begin recording your dreams and linking them up to everyday events to try and get a better understanding of their meanings and purpose in our lives. Most people believe them to be just random thoughts and images flitting about in our minds as we sleep due to the high-stress of daily life or as a result of over-thinking. I can agree with that to a certain extent but I also remember the story of Joseph in the Bible. Joseph understood that his ability to dream clearly and to interpret them as well was a gift from God. Another powerful dreamer and dream interpreter was Daniel, renamed in Babylonian, Belteshazzar. Stories such as these tell me that our dreams do have meaning and that we should pay a little more attention to them. I'm not saying that we should ignore regular life and try to double-up on sleep just to become a sleeping psychic or anything but that we should pay a bit of attention to the details. 

It may be considerably annoying for some to try to record the details of our dreams on a nightly basis, especially for those of us who have multiple wild rendezvous during our sleep and it will be nearly impossible to record them all and still function the day after but it's at least worth a try. The most you will have to lose is a few minutes of sleep writing them down but you will gain so much more; including a new and fascinating hobby. If you are an esoteric like I am, this should be a fun and enlightening project to try. 

Tips For Recording Your Dreams: 

Step 1 - Have a dream journal. Get yourself a little notepad or book for journaling that can easily be kept near your bed or even under your pillow. You can use your computer or like myself, your cellphone. I simply type it out in the 'Notes' section. The simple act of recording your dreams and linking them up to daytime events will build your knowledge of dreams and help you to see more clearly their meanings over time. Remember that practice does make perfect. If you are of a faith that inhibits you from practicing any sort of divination, just remember that dreaming is a natural occurrence and should be considered a gift. 

Step 2 - You must record the dream as soon as you wake up! This is important because we tend to forget up to 90% of our dreams within the first minute afterward so it is imperative that your note-taking supplies are on-hand otherwise you may lose much of the pertinent details. 

Step 3 - Write as much detail as possible about the dream. Act like you are a private investigator when you journal your dreams. you want to pay attention to even the minutest details; colors, moods, thoughts, spoken words, languages, symbols and anything else that takes place. Sometimes, even the tiniest details have very significant meaning. 

Step 4 - Sleep well. A full 7-8 hours of sleep per night is required for you to be better able to remember what you dream about. Sleep deprivation also deprives your brain of cognitive function, one of which being memory. You want to be as relaxed as possible during your sleeping hours and not anxious about how much time you have left to sleep before starting another hectic day. 

Step 5 - Train yourself to get up through out the night. Those cycles of REM sleep when we dream actively come and go about every 90 minutes and so when you find yourself awake after a vivid dream experience, may as well use that time to write it down. Hey, you can't fall right back asleep anyway for another couple of minutes so now is the best time to jot it down. 

Step 6 - Relax and recall. Don't start thinking about all the school lunches you have to pack in the morning or how many runs you have to make for grandma just yet. The moment you do that is the moment you start to forget everything that you had dreamed about the night before. The best thing to do is to slowly recall the events of the dream in a backwards order from end to beginning. Let one thing link back to another until you can see the fullness of the dream like a movie. The day's events will come when you get up out of bed so take your time. It is important to remember to devote enough time to this so as not to be frazzled out at night before going to bed as well as in the morning. 

You will see over time that there are multiple benefits to doing such a practice. We can not only learn more about ourselves but it is a fun, free hobby to take up. It can be something you choose to keep private, as others may not understand why you are dong it or feel like you are just plain out of your mind. It's up to you. Perhaps you may be lucky enough to have other dream-catchers round and about you or you may start to attract more persons like yourself who are interested in the same thing. Remember that like attracts like. Dream journaling can also save you lots of unnecessary trouble by foreshadowing event to come. I like to write and so this is something fun and easy for me to do in the quiet hours before everyone around me gets buzzing.

Other interesting facts about dreams:

  1. Every human dreams. There are tons of people who can’t remember their dreams when they wake up, but they still get them.
  2. Human beings spend roughly around 6 years of their lifetime dreaming.
  3. Sometimes we dream outside of our REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement)
  4. Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians were the first to create a dream dictionary in 4000 B.C.E
  5. We roughly spend around 1/3 of our lives sleeping.
  6. People who suffer from a personality disorder lack dream activity.
  7. Our brains tend to be way more active when we sleep, than when we’re awake.
  8. Humans tend to have around 3 to 7 dreams a night. We dream around 2 to 3 hours in a whole night.
  9. 90% of the dream is lost the first minute we wake up.
  10. Men tend to dream about men more than women, and women dream about people of both genders.
  11. Drug withdrawal can cause more intense dreams. People who also quit alcohol and smoking experience heavier dreams and nightmares.
  12. You can lucid dream for up to 30 minutes if trained properly.
  13. It’s impossible to dream when you’re snoring.
  14. Babies don’t dream of themselves until they reach the age of 3.
  15. More women than men experience deja-vu in their dreams (eg. you have been in the dream before).
  16. People who experience Sleep Paralysis hear voices and see strangers in their rooms.
  17. Nightmares happen more to kids than adults.
  18. Blind people dream. Their dreams are auditory if they were born blind. If they became blind at an early age, they still dream of what they remember.
  19. Did you know around 100 000 drivers a year crash going in and out of sleep in their cars
  20. Thousands of people suffer from sleep apnea in America.
  21. Men get erections in their REM sleep and women have an increased blood flow to their vaginas
  22. You can translate over 5000 dream symbols
  23. The word “Nightmare” was used a long time ago for a female spirit who besets people at night while sleeping.
  24. On average, dogs sleep around 10 to 13 hours a day.
  25. The colder your house is, the worse your dreams are. They say that if your room is at an average temperature, you have better sleeps.
  26. Your body burns more calories sleeping than it does in the day time.
  27. Information that we learn before we go to bed tends to stick with us longer than information any other time.
  28. On average, cats sleep 10 to 15 hours a day.
  29. If you avoid your sleep for more than 10 days, you will die.
  30. A giraffe sleeps for only 2 hours a day.

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