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Secret of the Universe Dreams

Writers commonly quote the experience of William James who, while under anaesthetic dreamt he found the secret of the universe. What he was left with was the doggerel ‘Higamus Hogumus women are monogamous – Hogumus Higamus, men are polygamous.’ Their conclusion is that dreams cannot be truly revelatory. While it may be true to say that some such dreams contain little which adds to the dreamers understanding, many dreams give insights which profoundly alter the dreamer’s future attitudes or actions.

Revelatory dreams are more common to men than women. This may be that more men concern themselves with questions of what the universe is. If the dreamer creates a mental or emotion tension in themselves through the intensity with which they pursue such questions – and we need to accept that often such intensity arises out of anxiety regarding death and one’s identity – then the self regulatory process of dreaming might well produce an apparent revelation to ease the tension.

On the opposite tack, research into mental functioning during dreaming, or in a dream like state as in research using LSD, show that there is an enormously increased ability to access associated ideas, allow feeling responses, and achieve novel viewpoints. Freud pointed out that dreams have access to greater memory resources and associated ideas. P. H. Stafford and B. H. Golightly, in their book dealing with LSD as an aid to problem solving, say that this dream like state enables subjects to ‘form and keep in mind a much broader picture…imagine what is needed – for the problem – or not possible…diminish fear of making mistakes.’ One subject says ‘I had almost total recall of a course I did in thermo dynamics; something I had not given any thought to in years.’

Although humans have such power to scan enormous blocks of information or experience, look at it from new angles, sift it with particular questions in mind and so discover new connections in old information, there are problems, otherwise we would all be doing it. The nature of dream consciousness, and the faculties described, is fundamentally different to waking awareness, which limits, edits, looks for specifics, avoids views conflicting with its accepted norm, and uses verbalisation. A non-verbal, symbolic scan of massive information, is lost with people who have not developed this other level of thinking, when translated to waking consciousness. See Dimensions of Human Experience

My experience is that the full content of revelatory dreams is almost wholly lost on waking. Dream images are like icons on a computer screenYou have to ‘click’ on your dream images to make them come alive. Thinking about them doesn’t work. You need to open yourself to the magic of them. To make them into the wonderful gateways they are you may have to learn certain skills.

If the individual explores the dream while awake however, and dares to take consciousness into the realm of the dream, then the enormous waves of emotional impact, the massive collection of details, the personality changing influence of major new insights, can be met. The reason most of us do not touch this creative process is in fact the same reason most of us do not attempt other daring activities – it takes guts. See: creativity and problem solving in dreams; Being the Person or ThingGrof’s Influence.

 

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved