I’m working on a dream type that is experienced by many dreamers: a dream about performance glitches. In this case, a French horn player in a symphony dreamed that he couldn’t go on stage because he had left his horn at home. This was his latest version of this dream which is one that the horn player has experienced repeatedly throughout his career. We will eventually analyze this dream in typical fashion.
However, I would like to start by examining another, intriguing aspect of the dream. The dreamer related his dream experience in two paragraphs. What follows is the second of them.
The dreamer’s description of two versions of himself in his dream
There was one big difference with this particular version of the dream, though. Whenever I have this dream, there is always a sense of two people, one “me” in the dream, and the other “me” observing. Always before, the one in the dream affected the observer, and both of us got anxious and agitated. But this time, “me” in the dream didn’t affect the observer “me.” The one in the dream got plenty agitated, but the observer was more like, “I’ve been here before and I’m OK with that. This is just a dream.”
Whenever a dreamer becomes aware that he is dreaming while the dream is in progress, he is in the first stages of being “lucid.” Lucid dreams are fascinating, and people who have had them often want to know how they can repeat the experience. Usually, what triggers the lucidity is some unusual event or image in the dream that doesn’t make sense to the dreamer. For example, an eight-year-old boy once told me that he was in the middle of a nightmare, being chased by a ghoulish zombie monster. He was really scared. But as he looked more closely at the monster, he noticed that it was wearing sneakers. At that point he thought to himself (during the dream), “Wait a minute! Monsters don’t wear sneakers; this is a dream.” Part of him was still in the dream dealing with monsters. But another part of him was acting as an observer and was separated from the dream’s plot. That part of him was lucid.
A great deal of study and research has gone into the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. This has happened not only in our own time, but for long periods throughout history. Tibetan monks put a particularly strong emphasis on dreaming lucidly, because they believe that it can affect your soul at the time of death. They make little distinction between dreaming and dying; they say the two events are nearly identical. So if you can be lucid and can be in control at the time of your death, then you can determine where your soul goes after you die.
American researchers are similarly interested in lucid dreaming because if you can confront your monsters in your dreams, you can resolve conflicts that way.
More on this topic coming up…
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