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The Dreamscape

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  1. What is the dreamscape?
  2. The dreamscape is real.
  3. The dreamscape has a different set of dynamic laws.
  4. The dreamscape is very subjective.
  5. The dreamscape might include various types of characters.
  6. We can describe the characteristics of the "plot" of dreams.   

What is the dreamscape? The "dreamscape" is the field in which our dreams occur. (The concept of "field" is used in the idea of a magnetic field, a gravitational field, or an archetypal field; a field is an area of influence and related activity.) The personal dreamscape is within our own psyche; however, many lucid dreamers have experiences which extend beyond the personal dreamscape into other realms, via experiences which have been called "astral travel," or "out-of-body experiences (OBEs)," or "soul travel." (Note: This book gives instructions only for dreams and lucidity, not for astral travel; however, the occultic topics must be examined somewhat, because lucid dreamers often encounter them as they purposefully or inadvertently cross the border between their personal dreamscape and the other realms.)

The dreamscape is real. It is as "real" as our physical world, and it is as "illusory" as our physical world:

  1. It is real in the sense that:
    • The dreamscape contains objects which respond to dynamics. For example, if we strike a match in the dreamscape, the match will probably generate fire, just as it would in the physical world.
    • The dreamscape is a world which is to be taken seriously if we value knowledge, awareness, and psychological and spiritual growth. We can gain information and experiences which are as valid and important as the information and experiences which we could gain in the physical world.
  2. It is illusory in the sense that:
    • The dreamscape's objects and dynamics are merely representations of something else; they represent archetypes.
    • The dreamscape is a world in which we create scenarios where we learn about archetypes; when we are finished with our lesson, we abandon the scenarios, while we retain only memories and our new archetypal-field elements. We realize that the scenarios were not permanent things to be experienced forever; instead they were temporary matrices of the elements for the purpose of our education regarding archetypes.

The dreamscape has a different set of dynamic laws. In the physical world, we are familiar with the principles of gravity, time, space, energy, matter, etc. But when we explore the dreamscape, we learn new rules: gravity does not exist; matter can be manipulated by thought; etc. During lucid dreams, we can experiment with the physics; for example, we might be walking on "solid ground" as though we are bound by gravity, until we realize that "this is a dream, so I can fly." In one lucid dream, I was flying inside of a building until I crashed into a wall; if I had challenged my assumption that the wall was solid, I could have flown through it.

The dreamscape is very subjective. We can compare the relative objectivity and subjectivity of the dreamscape and the physical world:

  1. The physical world. In the physical world, the primary reality is the objective environment of people, buildings, cars, etc. The secondary reality is our subjective experience of those things (i.e., our feelings and thoughts about them); the items generally exist regardless of the subjective coloring through which we perceive them.
  2. The dreamscape. The dreamscape is dominated by our subjective reality; our feelings, thoughts, anticipations, apprehensions, and desires create nearly our entire experience. For example, a dream character "exists" only because we have the archetypal-field elements which support it. In the dreamscape, there is little objective reality, which would be defined by:
    • Laws of physics (e.g., the law of gravity, which we all experience). During a lucid dream, we can decide, for example, whether a wall is an impenetrable object or merely a veil which we can walk through. However, the dreamscape's dynamics are not totally subjective; a lucid-dream technique which works for one person is likely to work for another person.
    • Common experience (e.g., a physical house which we all agree exists). In the dreamscape, we are the only people who have the experiences; no one can say that the experiences never happened, or that our interpretation of the experiences is incorrect.

The dreamscape might include various types of characters.

  1. Personifications of archetypal-field elements. These charged thoughts, images, and energy tones (e.g., emotions and feelings) appear to us as the people, objects, and circumstances of our dreams. According to some schools of dreamwork (including Jungian and Gestalt), all parts of the dream are aspects of ourselves; these parts express themselves as everything from the main character to, for instance, the car which we are driving. Frequently these aspects are psychological components which we have denied or combatted; they are our "shadow," and they take the form of other characters so that we can interact with them, and so that they can express themselves and be integrated into our conscious psyche. Even if the character represents someone familiar (e.g., a parent), this is not the person; instead, it could be a representation of our feelings toward that person (or toward another person for whom we might have similar feelings).
  2. Autonomous entities. Many writers have described "dream characters" which do not derive from our own psyche; instead, these characters are separate beings which have lives of their own in this world or another. We don't need to be overly concerned with the question of whether our dream characters are mental projections or foreign visitors; we can include them in our dream interpretations, just as we could similarly "interpret" our wakeful life as an interaction between ourselves and an occurrence.
    • "Angels." Some religious books contain accounts of dream visitations by angels.
    • The "dream-bodies" of humans. Some people have experienced "mutual dreams," in which the "dream-bodies" of friends and other people have visited them in their dreams.
    • Ancestors. In some cultures, people believe that their ancestors visit them in dreams; for example, the Australian aborigines say that their dreams are attended by "Dreamings," which are said to be powerful ancestral entities. A friend told me, "I have had numerous dreams in which I am certain I made spirit contact with deceased relatives, because what they told me came true."
    • Spiritual teachers. In some Eastern religions, spiritual teachers are said to have the capability of teaching their students during dreams (even if the masters are no longer living). Students of some groups claim that they leave their bodies during sleep (via a type of out-of-body experience) to interact with spiritual teachers.
    • Unknown beings. A friend told me, "I have come to assume that when I am in a lucid dream, I am not alone; I often feel presences during lucid dreams." Another friend said, "In the lucid state, I often sense presences, discarnate voices, or telepathic communications."

We can describe the characteristics of the "plot" of dreams. Dreams seem to be stories, as in literary fiction, with characters, plots, and themes. Dream plots have the following traits:

  1. Randomness. Actually, dreams are probably no more random than wakeful life. We might think that our wakeful routine is orderly and linear but -- if we note the moment-by-moment reality of it -- it is filled with distractions, diversions, and inconsistencies; the brain simply filters out much of that trivia and it presents us with a neat synopsis to give us a sense of cohesiveness. Our internal wakeful life is even more random; we concentrate on a topic for only a few seconds or minutes and then start to think of something else, just as we do in dreams.
  2. Absurdity. Dreams are absurd in some ways; wakeful life is absurd in other ways. Some of the dreamscape-occurrences which seem ridiculous from our wakeful perspective are sensible from the viewpoint of the dreamscape. There is nothing inherently ludicrous about flying, or a character changing its form, or a dreamscape-scenario suddenly altering to a different scenario; during wakefulness, we fly in airplanes, we change our form as we grow from childhood to adulthood, and we alter scenarios when we walk through a doorway into another room.
  3. Spontaneity. To an extent, dream plots might be planned in advance by the mind. But after a dream begins, the dream seems to have "a life of its own," moving in directions which are determined by our response to the images and by the psychological interaction of the characters themselves.
  4. Compressed passage of time. Although some dreams seem to continue for considerable durations, the longest REM period is less than one hour. Dreams express the passage of time in the same manner which is used by movie directors: they jump from a scene to a future scene. In experiments, lucid dreamers tested their experience of time; they signaled to the technician, and then they counted to ten and signaled again. Their estimation of ten seconds during a lucid dream was very similar to their subsequent estimation during wakefulness.

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