Thursday, March 01, 2012

Analysis of a lucid dream

So all of this began rather innocently, about two weeks ago. I had been meaning to watch a film called 'The science of sleep', mostly because I'm a huge Michel Gondry fan( Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind) and I had just learnt that this film stars Gael Garcia Bernal, of whom I'm certain that I'm madly in love with. Its a fascinating film about a guy who has a wild life in his dreams, so much so that he cannot distinguish it from reality. This set off a marathon of films about dream psychology and I watched another jaw-dropping film called 'Waking Life', which deals extensively with lucid dreaming and how to experiment with it. (I will come to lucid dreaming in a bit)

Between all of this, I had been having certain odd dreams and like most people, discarded it as unimportant. Despite the discarding, I noticed that the frequency of dreams and the number of dreams in each sleep session (afternoon siestas included) kept rising. I don't keep a dream journal as such but I would go over the dreams mentally - once as soon as I woke up and still in the overlapping zone between sleep and wakefulness, the second time about fifteen minutes into the day and a third time about an hour into the day.

So a lucid dream is a type of dream where the dreamer is aware that she is in a dream and is able to control it. Apparently one can fly, have out of body experiences and so on. I have been having lucid dreams fairly recently but didn't know that it was called a lucid dream,until I watched 'Waking Life'. Last week,I dreamed that I was on a talk show hosted by Eckhart Tolle and we were exchanging notes before going on air :) I didn't write this down until today and when I did, certain things surfaced.I realized how alert I was in the dream, with no wandering thoughts about the past and the future. How my ego did not say "You think you're good enough to be on a talk show hosted by Tolle?" Hell, in reality, my ego would have said "Are you stupid? No way on earth would Tolle ever have a talk show for chrissakes!". In my dream, my ego was nowhere to be seen. I felt the most non-judgmental I had ever felt. We were having a perfectly pleasant chat about what we'd discuss on the show. Now I get why the dream state is considered to be a higher state of consciousness than wakefulness.

Another interesting point raised by 'Waking Life' was whats called a reality check. This is a little test you perform while in the dream, to see if you're dreaming or not. In the movie, the lead tries to turn off a light switch. If you can't turn it off, then its a dream. In the dream that I had yesterday, I heard the voice of a Tamil folk singer (sounded a lot like Pushpavanam Kuppuswamy but it wasn't him, but we'll just call this character Kuppu for now). I was intensely aware that I was dreaming but I was also skeptical at the same time, 'cause I could only hear him, his body was missing. It was so loud that it was like he was sitting right next to me and singing just for me. And then I tried this as a reality check - I tried to change what he was singing. He was singing in a certain raaga and I tried to manipulate his song, the way I would sing it if I were to sing that song. And I realized that it just wouldn't change, and in fact, the more I tried to change it the more unfamiliar his phrasing got. It was like Kuppu had a will of his own!

I am still fairly new to all this, but the next time I'm going to try a more concrete reality check, maybe with an object. Has anyone had an audio-only dream?