Thursday, September 26, 2013

Movies in our Dreams: What's Playing in Your Head?

I'll See You in My Dreams (1951 film)
I'll See You in My Dreams (1951 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        In the previous post we discussed how specific movies might affect our dreams.  Sometimes my dreams take on a cinematic format.  The dream becomes my own movie in my mind.  There seems to be greater continuity than many typical dreams I have.  I feel as though I am part of an audience watching the dream movie in my internalized dream theater.

        Have you experienced any of these?

Movies with stories and actors --The dream seems to have a running storyline with a clearly identifiable plot.  There are dream actors whom you perceive to be actual actors in the dream movie.  Sometimes these actors may be actual actors whom you know from the entertainment media or they might be unidentifiable actors.   In some instances you may even find yourself in certain dream roles that you are able to watch as you simultaneously experience the action.

Special Effects--Your dream seems to have a special effects team creating disasters, fantastic creatures, or other unusual visuals that you sense to be fabricated and not something that is real.   Often if this happens you don't feel any sense of fear in situations where fear should be the normal reaction because you know that this is only a dream movie and the things you are seeing are not real.

Settings--The dream setting is obviously fake.  Buildings appear to be empty shells or merely false fronts. Backdrop scenery lacks complete dimension and seems to be a static representation rather than an actual place.   Rather than a geographically identifiable location the dream seems to occur in an artificial environment.

Previews and Advertisements--At some point during the dream you may see previews for other "movies" or even the current dream movie.   There might also be commercials or advertisements for products that are real or imagined.

Credits--Prior to or at the end of the dream you might recall seeing titles and credits

Commentary--As you "watch" your dream movie you might offer comments or hear a commentary in the background from someone else who is describing the story or certain aspects about what is happening.

        Do you ever watch movies in your dreams?   Which of the above situations have you had occur in a dream?    Do you think you actually dream the "movie" or  organize the memory after waking up as a movie in order to relate to the dream experience more easily?

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Movie Reruns and Remakes in Dreams

Seven Waves Away
Seven Waves Away (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         One recent evening I watched the 1957 film Abandon Ship (originally known as Seven Waves Away).  I recall seeing this film shortly after it was released in theaters when I was a child.  The opening images of the mine drifting in the water haunted me since the time I saw this film and I'd always wanted to see the film again.  When I saw that this film was going to be shown on the Turner Classic Movie network, I had a feeling that this would be the same film with those opening scenes that settled so vividly in my memory from childhood.  It was the same film.

          The story involves the dilemma of a ship captain in charge of an overloaded lifeboat after a cruise ship sinks after hitting a rogue mine.  The ship goes down with most of the passengers.  Twenty-seven passengers vie for a position in a lifeboat intended to carry only nine people.   The ensuing drama is the struggle for survival and the hard decisions the captain must make to assure that at least some will remain alive.

          This is a very good film that kept me engaged throughout.   The story dilemmas that are raised are reminiscent of the values clarification exercises that have been so controversial in schools.  The fact that the film was so thought-provoking and infiltrated my mind prior going to bed clearly explains why this film would have been replayed in a sense, or more accurately, remade as a dream movie.

          During my night's sleep I seem to recall having awakened a few times after rewatching condensed dream versions of the Abandon Ship movie.  Each version of the dream movie altered certain story facts and changed the outcomes to turn out in better ways.   The final version of the dream movie remake was so drastically different from the actual movie I had seen that it was essentially a different story that was inspired by Abandon Ship.

        This final version takes place on a train.  I no longer remember the details of the dream story since I didn't write the dream down immediately upon awakening.   Perhaps there is a  bomb on the train?  Or maybe the train is a runaway?  At one point I recall that people are airlifted by a helicopter flying above the train.   In another part of the story it seems that other trains are used to stop the featured train in the movie.

        In the dream I am not only watching the movie, but also controlling the story as I see fit.  At times I even seem to be in discussion with others about what direction the story should take.  Incidentally, the dream movie I am watching is in black and white as was the Abandon Ship movie I had watched the previous evening.  Since my dreams almost always seem to be in color, the black and white presentation was rather unique for me.

       Obviously, viewing the movie and thinking about it prior to bedtime had a big influence on my dreaming for that night.   I have had what I would call dream movies in the past, but rarely have they been so closely to an actual movie that I had just watched.  And usually they are not as much of a passive viewing event for me.  The typical dream movies that I've had have been partly or wholly participatory for me.  In this dream I was watching every aspect of the movie right down to the credits.

       I'm certain that my level of enjoyment and interest in this particular movie was carried to bed with me.  After falling asleep my mind wished to continue this pleasurable movie viewing experience throughout the night's sleep and up to my moment of awakening.

        Have you ever watched a movie and continued to have dreams that same night that were influenced by that movie?     Do you have movie dreams?   What are some movies that have influenced your dream life?

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Wake Up Code

Coat of arms of Serbia
Coat of arms of Serbia (Photo credit: thivierr)
        In my previous post I described a dreaming incident during which I awoke from a dream and then returned to sleep to continue the same dream scenario.  During this dream situation I was having what was not a particularly unpleasant dream in a setting that brought me a good feeling.  According to my observation of the hours on my alarm clock, the second dream segment lasted about 27 minutes.

        I woke up about a minute prior to when the alarm would be going off.   Interestingly something odd happened in the dream that was almost like a prompt for me to wake up.  Within the dream I heard some words spoken that seemed to be my wake up call.   Let me describe the latter moments of the dream and the words I heard spoken.

       Towards the end of my dream I am in the same theater where I have been throughout the dream sessions.    I go looking around the theater environment to find myself to be in what seems to be a sort of shopping mall.   From the backstage area I look out into this mall-like place to see food establishments and various other businesses that are not necessarily stores, but more like professional offices and service businesses.   There are some people milling about and sitting on benches, but the place is not very crowded.  In fact the place does not look busy at all.
     As my eyes scan the scene before me I see uncertain places that somewhat confuse me as to where I am.  I look behind me to see that the theater is still there.   I am apprehensive about venturing out into the alien environment outside of the theater.  I look for a bathroom.  I look for some of my fellow cast members and people I had been with previously.  I look into dressing rooms and other rooms that are in the backstage area.

        Either from someone around me or within my mind I hear a voice say "Hospitality was always the source of the finest days of Serbia."

      Upon hearing this I immediately wake up to see that the alarm is about to go off.  I puzzle over the final declaration I heard in my dream.  What did it mean?   Was is a code designating that it was time for me to wake up?

       Do we have prompts that cue us that it is time to leave a dream and awaken from sleep?   Have you ever received a strange or nonsensical statement in a dream that left you puzzled after you awakened?   Do you think these types of messages are cryptic codes that are saying something to us?   What do you think the message I received meant?  

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Returning to the Scene of the Dream

English: "Midsummer Nights Dream Act IV S...
 "Midsummer Nights Dream Act IV Scene I--A wood - " (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       Previous posts have discussed topics related to ongoing dream topics throughout a night's sleep and the déjà vu experience in dreams.  But what about a brief jump back into a dream prior to completely waking from a sleep session.  Specifically I would be referring to the short span when we might awaken from a dream to discover that we still have a few more minutes of sleep time that we can resume before we intend to leave the sleep activity and we return to sleep and to the same dream we were previously having.

       An example is a recent dream experience that I had.  I had been dreaming an intricate dream that seemed very long and involved.  As with so many of my dreams I was dreaming about being on the road with a traveling theatrical production.  The principle players in this dream were my brother and his wife and their daughter and her husband.  There were also unremembered/unidentified persons who may have been family members, friends, or people from my past road tours.

       Like in many dreams of this nature I am confused about my job, there are issues about time, I am having certain conflicts with others in the dream, I am uncertain as to where I am or where I am going next, and many other situations which give me a certain amount of consternation.  However, despite all of these elements there is a certain element of pleasure and positive feeling about the dream.   This is possibly due to the dream players on one hand and the dream setting or situation on the other.  I am with people with whom I feel comfortable and in an occupational setting that brings me good memories.  I overlook the turmoil welling within me because I am happy to be there.

         Then I awaken.  I look at the clock to see that it is 5:01--29 minutes before the alarm is to go off.  I get out of bed to go to the bathroom.  I briefly consider staying up and going to my computer.  Instead I decide to go back to bed to see if I can go back to sleep until the alarm goes off.   The clock now reads 5:02.  I close my eyes and immediately return to sleep.   I return to the same dream setting that I was in before I woke up.

       For the next twenty seven minutes I sleep and dream in the same vein of the dream I had been having.  I am in the same settings with the same cast of dream players and experiencing the same sense of uncertainty and consternation.  It's okay and all is well until I awaken once more.  The clock now reads 5:29.  I get out of bed to wake up my wife.

      Since the dream was a relatively good one for me, I wanted to return to the dream to continue being in the experience of it.   Despite an underlying tension in the dream, I felt comfortable being there and was more than willing to return to the dream after the first awakening.  This type of thing has happened to me before, but not with regularity.  And in this particular case the event was more pronounced when I look back upon it.  Though there did not seem to be a conscious effort on my part to make this happen, it all seemed to occur very naturally.

        As an addendum to this, my final awakening was interesting in itself and rather curious.  The way I woke up will be the topic of my next post as I discuss "The Wake Up Code".

        Do you ever return to dreams that have been comfortable or pleasant?   If so is this something you do willfully?   Or often?   Are you able to will lucid dreams?

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