"Dreams With James Harvey Stout" - Introduction
Jump to the following topics:
- This is a how-to book.
- This book contains recurring themes which are particularly important.
- The research for this book.
- We are oneironauts.
This is a how-to book. It gives instructions for techniques which have worked for many people (including me). The book also explores the theoretical aspects of dreaming, from the perspectives of psychology and religion. In the second half of the book, we will examine lucid dreaming -- being conscious while we are dreaming, such that we can willfully control our dreams.
- Our natural state is conscious awareness, not the unconsciousness of deep sleep nor the semi-consciousness of non-lucid dreaming. Our goal can be to sustain full awareness 24 hours per day (even while the body sleeps); some people have attained this goal.
- Dreams are part of the overall fabric of "who we are." They are not isolated into brief moments of our sleep; rather, they play a role in our wakeful life, just as our wakeful life reciprocally influences them. Their emotions, functions, and dynamics are as real and vital as anything which we do during wakefulness.
- During dreams, every situation is founded upon an archetype, just as it is during wakefulness. As explained in the chapter regarding archetypal fields (in The Human Handbook), we respond to archetypes by generating thoughts, images, energy tones (e.g., emotions and feelings), and actions; a record of these "elements" remains in the archetypal field (which is analogous to the magnetic field which surrounds a magnet). Then, in each subsequent encounter with that archetype, we automatically refer to those records to determine "how do I usually respond to this archetype?" -- and we tend to generate similar elements. In dreams, we are encountering the same archetypes which we encounter during wakefulness. Therefore:
- Our particular dreams are expressions of the elements of our archetypal fields; for example, during wakefulness, if we have had fearful thoughts regarding an upcoming job interview, the energetic charge of that fear is likely to generate a dream pertaining to the interview (although the topic might be veiled in symbolism). Thus, our wakeful activities affect our dreams.
- Our dreams affect our wakeful activities. During dreams, we generate new elements when we encounter archetypes. Those elements will remain there as references when we encounter those same archetypes during subsequent wakefulness.
- In lucid dreams, we are conscious, so we can perform the same types of "archetypal field-work," which we can perform while awake.
The research for this book. The research included dozens of books, newsletters, questionnaires, personal letters from dreamers, and my own experiences. Frequently, I encountered the same ideas -- in different words, and from different perspectives. The international community of dream researchers (both professional and amateur) is sharing a common pool of information, so some of this material will be familiar to the people who are immersed in dream study, but I have added my own experiences, observations, and theories.
We are oneironauts. As oneironauts (oh-NIE-ro-nots, i.e., dream pioneers), we can each become a new Columbus or Magellan. We have developed techniques and knowledge which allow us to enter the dreamscape consciously to look face-to-face at our own psyche (including the unconscious mind), and to visit realms which are as vast as our imagination. In a previous era, I might have wished you the blessings of Hypnos (the god of sleep), or Oneiros or Morpheus (the gods of dreams) -- but in this modern time, I can offer, instead, the research of scientists and amateur explorers, and the belief that you will find your way into this exhilarating world of dreams and lucid dreams.