Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Why do some people struggle with dreaming?
It’s rare that you’ll find me talking about the brain when it comes to dreaming. From a sacred circle perspective there’s more than one physiological element that plays in the process of dreaming and each one plays a distinct role. It’s no different than working with our personal roles on our sacred circle (firekeeper, visionary, peacekeeper, warrior, nomad, dreamer, initiator and healer). For example without the stable rhythm of the heart it would difficult to keep our consciousness steady in the dreaming. How many times have I said that unless one works through their emotional body it will be difficult to complete a whole dream? Stress, strong emotional reactions and fear can make dreaming a challenge. Our lungs and how we breath also contributes to a better dream state. None of this means you can’t dream if you have chronic illness attached to any of these organs. It simply suggests that it may imply difficulty.
Coming back to the brain…
The way we think, react and act; the way we access, address and behave; and the way we perceive the World around us contributes to the way we make our brain work. I’m sure most of you have heard about spontaneous healing. Some believe that with strong positive thinking we can bring the body to cure a cancer or any other disease. Yet, despite the belief a small percentage of people have been able to make this happen. Why? In some cases positive thinking comes naturally but for others it means incredible changes in lifestyle and attitude. Ironically perhaps our ancestors were dead on when they said: “Attitudes and gratitude make a huge difference towards wellness, wholeness and growth; but most of all it has a strong effect on how we develop our supernatural (for lack of a better word) abilities.” Indigenous dreaming would fall into the supernatural category. Where everyone can dream not everyone can lucidly dream regularly and intentionally direct their dreaming to accomplish particular feats. For example a traditional dreamer can dream along with others; journey into the space of others; have access to predictions and prophecies; and manifest particular events…
It takes more than intention and thoughts to be able to journey to the dream space of others. It takes a good mastery of personal energy. It means understanding your vital space and being able to project your spirit (so to speak) beyond your body. In other words it’s one thing to dream, which for most people means being capable to experience scenarios with vivid characters and landscape while we sleep; but it’s a whole other thing to be able to make it happen regularly and to have a certain control (so to speak) over what occurs. One comes naturally and the other takes discipline and work, which for me means a process of development towards a supernatural ability. It’s become more and more difficult these days to find good teachers to initiate you into indigenous dreaming. Yet – they exist and you don’t have to travel to South America to find them like many seem to think…
Psychoanalysts believe that dreaming starts with unconsciousness where we find repressed desires, which are looking to be manifested. It then moves towards the ego, which wishes to sleep. There is where our daily residue basically moves around our suppress desires, which are dormant in our unconsciousness and threaten to disrupt our sleep. The next step is dreaming until we wake up. Scientifically the same process is explained with the help of physiological elements. For example just as we lie down to sleep our neurones are excited and search for some kind of outlet. Don’t forget our body has been active all day and is slowing down. Our motor sensorial neurones are moving into a sleep pattern and find a way to express themselves. Soon these neurones are connecting with our logical thought process and creating images, feelings and scenarios until we wake up. Both theories are valid within their own right but from my perspective they don’t explain all of the strange experiences I’ve had during the course of my life. I needed to find other answers.
Science told us for almost a century that dreaming occurs during the REM sleep stage; but recently it was discovered that it was possible to dream even outside REM sleep. Scientists are now exploring the idea that dreaming is necessary during the course of our waking reality and most probably occurs between every inhale and exhale. This is a theory indigenous people have explored and proven during the course of millenniums.
Do we need to be asleep to dream?
It all depends on how you define sleeping.
You do need to move from an agitated state of mind to silence and stillness to be able to dream. Sleeping implies the same process but on a larger scale. According to Indigenous Dreaming you can access up to 24 different levels of dreaming and thus, by moving through different states of silence and stillness. Death could be seen as the ultimate state of sleeping and dreaming.
So why would some people have a difficult time dreaming?
• Are you someone who’s anxious, nervous and constantly needing control over your World?
• Are you someone who has chronic illness related to the heart, lungs and nervous system?
• Do you take medication for any kind of condition?
• Are you someone who has strong emotional reactions to experiences and people?
• Do you struggle with breathing?
• And finally – were you ever taught by your parents or a teacher how to fall asleep and how to dream?
It may sound strange to hear that dreaming and sleeping can be taught. The fact of the matter is we teach our children how to walk, how to talk, and how to eat but we often forget that even though sleeping may come naturally it can quickly derail if we don’t teach our children how to maintain good sleeping and dreaming habits. When my children were young I made sure to give them a routine. They napped every morning around 11:00 and went to bed at night around 19:00. I never disrupted this schedule because I wanted them to be strong dreamers and they are… Still today they make sure to calm down after supper and make sure to be ready for sleep. My son, the musician, now explains the process through music concepts. To be able to remember our dreams we have to be able to move our body slowly down a scale of energy.
Dreaming is also a collective activity. In other words, if you are near strong dreamers your dreaming will improve. If you start a dreaming circle you’ll trigger your inner dreamer and you’ll have no choice but to learn to discipline it. Our babies slept their nights within 2 weeks of being home. My dreamer energy was an important factor. Whenever I came into contact with babies I always had the knack to make them sleep. People took advantage of me. ☺ It certainly wasn’t coincidence. Even when given lectures on dreaming I tend to influence my audience to sleep. I often tell my students to not fight the sleepiness and allow the dreaming to arise. People are often impressed with how much dreaming they can access just by being in my presence. The stronger the dreamer the stronger the influence. Some individuals will enjoy the process of dreaming while others will fight against it because they find it uncomfortable. This could be another reason why some people don’t dream.
Trees, dogs, birds, reptiles etc… we all dream.
Take a moment to watch how the World around you sleeps and dreams. You may want to mimic them. You’ll find ways to dream just by watching and by allowing your perspectives to shift. I found that changing my attitudes and my life style was the best way to improve my dreams. Try it but make sure to do it one step at a time. It’s the only way to get consistency.
I hope this blog answered many of your questions.
Don’t be shy to leave me feedback. Thank you.
P.S. I’m leaving for Golden in a week or so for a workshop. I plan to be away for a good 10 days. I won’t be writing a blog during that period --- BUT I plan to write another entry in the next few days. Keep an eye out for it….