Friday, December 19, 2014

Deja Vu: Or Is It Just A Dream?

       With thanks to hosts D.L. Hammons and Nicole Zoltack, we have another year of the Deja Vu Blogfest.   In this event we post a blog post from the past year that we'd like to see get more exposure.  That's an easy one for my blog about dreams A Faraway View since this blog gets very few visitors.   Maybe this blogfest will change that.

       The post I've chosen to revive from the past appeared on Thursday March 13th of 2014.  I hope this reappearance whets your curiosity enough to visit again now and then.   A Faraway View normally posts each Thursday.


The Adverse Affect of Blogging on Dreams

Example of dark circles
Example of dark circles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          Since I began blogging in September of 2009, more than once have I awoken in the midst of a night's sleep with a concern about blogging.   Before I learned how to pre-schedule blog posts I would just write a post and then publish it.   This lead to posts appearing randomly at various times of day.  Then I read somewhere that posts should appear on a regular time schedule.   I just had to figure out what time would be best.

          This concern about posting times began to cause me to wake up at odd hours at times.  Usually I would try to have a post completed so I could publish it as soon as I woke up.  Sometimes I would forget and remember during the night.  It was probably in dreams that I was reminded about preparing my post to publish in the morning.  Sometimes my sleep, hence my dreams was disrupted.

          The discovery of scheduling the posts to appear automatically at designated times was a boon and a blessing to my sleep time--for the most part that is.   Blogging and internet in general still frequently affects my sleep and dreams in an adverse way.

          This phenomena is comparable to dreaming about work, school, or anything that might involve a major part of our lives.   These days I spend so much of my time on the internet and doing things related to my blogs that these activities preoccupy much of my thinking both consciously and subconsciously.  I won't make any mental health judgments about this.  It's just the way things are in my life now.

         Occasionally I have awoken from a dream about blogging--usually not a troubling dream, but one that causes me to dwell upon my blogging.  The dream may be related to an idea for a post.  There are times when I have gotten up in the middle of the night to compose a post or at least lay out a considerable amount of notes so the idea would not be forgotten.  Naturally this takes away time from sleep and dreams.

         At other times I might dream about other bloggers.   This is usually not adverse I would suppose, but these dreams can create a peculiar sense of involvement with people I don't actually know.  Can such fantasies play a negative role in my perception of waking life?

           Then, as I have mentioned in other blog posts, my dreams sometimes delude me into thinking something is wrong with my blog, my computer, or some aspect of my internet life.   Sometimes I wake up confused from dreams such as these and it may take a while for me to understand that I was only dreaming.

          Probably my major concern is that blogging draws me away from sleep and dreams and I may have a compulsion to go online instead of sleeping when I should be at a state of rest.  This can result in sleep deprivation.  I often feel tired and think this may be a reason why.  Being tired, I will typically take an afternoon nap during which any dreams that I have are usually not what I would call "quality dreams" in that they don't seem long enough, they lack story and have minimal coherency insomuch that a dream can be considered to be "coherent".

           There is no good solution to this that I can think of.   And in fairness to my internet involvement, my sleeping habits do seem to be getting better of late.  Then again, maybe I'm just adapting to having the internet influence in my life.   This may just be another plight of modern existence.

            Is your sleep and dream life affected by your activity on line?  Do you think the internet can be a danger to the mind?   What are some ways that modern technology intrudes on your ability to sleep well and dream healthily?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blogging Break

Due to family circumstances this blog will be inactive until I get back on a regular schedule.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Are Dream Fears Real or Subconsciously Fabricated?

English: Words associated with Fear
 Words associated with Fear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Let's say you are having a dream that frightens you--or perhaps even gives you a sense of absolute terror.   The dream may cause you to wake up.   You might be shaking with your heart pounding.  You might be sweating.   The dream that has awakened you causes you to lie awake afraid until the fear has subsided so that you can finally go back to sleep.

        Most of us have experienced a dream like I've described here.  Think back for a moment on what exactly it was in the dream that scared you so.    Can you remember precisely what is was in the dream that caused you to be afraid?

          Sometimes we can pinpoint the exact nature of the source of the fear in the dream.  It might be a frightening individual or an animal of some sort.   It might even be a literal monster or demon.  The fear may have been aroused by a dream occurrence or the expectation that something awful was about to happen.   Dream fear can be stimulated by a specific place or the unfamiliarity of a mystery place.   Just as happens in waking life fear in dreams can be incited by a number of things.

          On the other hand, there may be nothing you can pinpoint visually, aurally, or from any other reference of the senses that would seem to be the source of any fear.   The fear might just be there for no perceptible reason.   In the dream we might imagine that there is something to be afraid of but we can't identify anything that we should be afraid of.   In cases like these, fear is merely an element of the dream.  Waking from a dream like this can be the most puzzling situation, resulting in prolonged periods of inability to go back to sleep as we fret over the meaning of the dream experience and the reason for the fear.

          Either way we might be led to wonder why exactly we have the presence of fear in dreams at all.   The fear can stem from something we experienced in the preceding day or at some other point in our lives.  Why we would dream about fearful things from the past could be because we have recently been reminded of those events.  If our mind just randomly dredges up fears from long ago then that would be a peculiarity of the dream state that would be difficult to understand.   Surely the fear is most often related to recent events.

          Fear in dreams might also be related to something in the future that we feel insecurity about.    Events at work, situations within the family, or other circumstances that loom in our future with uncertainty can trigger fears related to failure, rejection, and other negative emotions.    The fears that we have about what lies ahead in our waking life might be reinterpreted as nightmarish situations in sleep.

           A final possibility might be that the frightening dreams are symbols that don't have anything at all to do with our actual lives.   Perhaps the subconscious fabricates nightmare scenarios to toy with us or even entertain us much like we might look for entertainment in watching horror films or reading scary stories.  Our minds can often come up with pretty random thoughts that seem to come out of the blue.    The subconscious mind maybe?  

           How do you usually respond when you have a frightening dream?   Are your dream fears something you can usually actually identify or do the fears seem to relate to something that is vague or unknown?   What frightens you most in your dreams?    Are your fears in waking life the same as your dream fears?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Are Dreams Honest?

English: SYTYCD audition photo
SYTYCD audition photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Dreams are typically strange.  Sometimes they will present us with familiar situations while at others we may be in unfamiliar places and circumstances that remind us of something from our past.   Are these seemingly familiar people, places, and circumstances actually real or has our subconscious mind created them?

          How honest are our dreams?   Perhaps they are completely fabricated stories based on vague notions.  Or at other times they might be revised dream versions of what we've actually experienced at some time in our past.

         Here is a case study of a dream that I've had:

I am going to downtown "L.A." to audition for a film or TV role.   My second wife (S),  our kids, and our high-school age girl babysitter is with us.  We go to a big building.  I am confused where to go, but remember coming here once before for another audition.
There are many people, most of whom seem to be here to audition.  I'm not sure where to go.  While S. goes to the bathroom there is a call for everyone to go somewhere but I'm not sure where we were told to go.  When S. returns we go to where I think we went last year.  In the dream I realize that S. and I are no longer married or speaking.
We are directed to a car that will take us to the audition. I get in the front where two hispanic kids are sitting practically on the driver's lap.  We are dropped off at another location.  I find a place with people and tables, but no indications what we are supposed to do.  I wander around and finally we are in a chaotic place where auditions seem to be happening.  There is a wide variety of strange people.
At one point a pudgy quirky looking guy sitting up on a ledge becomes belligerent when I think he has been told to leave.  He begins talking about "cake".  I realize he is doing a comic monologue and is doing a good job at it.  In the end it appears he has the job.
They start dismissing groups.   I stay kind of hidden in hopes I will be missed and allowed to stay.  I see S. dancing with another group.  She looks awkward.
Finally I'm told to leave.  I see it's raining hard outside.  I worry about my kids.
I leave, but then decide to return.  As I walk back I begin singing a very good and unique rendition of "Hotel California".  I am convinced that I should get a part.

       There are many aspects of this dream that are clearly based on my past experiences.   Though S. and I never went to any auditions, we worked in theatrical productions for many years.   S. had often danced in these productions though she was an awkward looking dancer.   The baby-sitter was a real character who had filled this role when my children were younger.  I often fantasize about being a singer and feel that I have a decent singing voice.

        I'm not sure what this dream is telling me about my ambitions or about my previous marriage.   I woke from the dream with a certain feeling of melancholy about that marriage, but a sense of positivity and optimism about the future.

         Do you dream about a past that is not exactly like it was?   Are you more talented in your dreams than you think of yourself in waking life?   Have people from your past unexpectedly appeared in your dreams even though you haven't seen or thought of them for years?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wake Up Call

Richwood is situated on both sides of a valley...
Richwood is situated on both sides of a valley located in the Appalachian Mountains. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Sometimes I wake up from sleep remembering the dream I have been having without that dream seeming to be any reason for my awakening.   However on some occasions a dream will specifically appear to wake me up.   Usually something in the dream has scared me into wakefulness.  There have been times when my awakening is due to something special about the dream such as certain words that have been spoken, a particular idea that has been conveyed, a person who has special significance, or a dream event that stimulates my mind causing me to wake up.

         These dream wake up calls frequently result in an inability to go back to sleep for a period of time. They are dreams that might wake me up and cause me to stay awake thinking about them.  Typically there will be deep significance concerning the dream message that has been delivered in whatever form it has been sent.   Apparently there is a need for my conscious mind to attempt to decipher what the dream mind has told me.  Much of the time I end up staying awake for some period of time and pondering the dream or mind writing a dream ending to the story in order to have resolution in order to peacefully return to sleep or get out of bed to begin functioning in the world of wakefulness.

Here's a recent example of a "wake up call dream":

         There is a long involved sequence of going places and encountering many people in different situations.  Eventually I am in the cab of a sort of truck with my father driving.   We are apparently in Kentucky in a rural Appalachian type area.  My father drives very erratically and I am somewhat nervous about his driving. We seem to be looking for somebody or going to pick someone up.   We reach an interstate that we are supposed to travel north on.   My father enters the cloverleaf ramp onto the freeway at too high a speed.  Our surroundings become a white blur as we round the loop.   We find ourselves on a somewhat narrow country road that becomes more narrow we proceed and then eventually turns to gravel.  We know we've taken a wrong turn and are now on the wrong road.
         Then the truck is gone and we are walking on what is basically a somewhat wide gravel trail.   We turn around to go back to where we had been.  We come to a willy nilly house with various porches and doors.  The house is not particularly old or run down, but it's not overly nice or sophisticated looking.  Country folk live here.  In front of one door I see a malformed youngish dwarflike human writhing on the ground wearing something similar to a Confederate soldier uniform.  A frightening looking middle-aged man dressed in overalls comes out to confront me.  Behind him I see what I take to be other family members--his wife and kids.  They all have a swarthy appearance that suggest to me that they might be of indigenous American ancestry.  They all look mean, angry, and unwelcoming.
          I tell my father to keep walking.  I stay to deal with the man whom I find very threatening.  I am very afraid of what may happen.  In my fear I wake up.

         Once awake I found that I was unable to go back to sleep.  My mind was absorbed by the circumstances of the dream causing me to feel uncomfortable.  As I lay awake I began to imagine the dream scenario as I played out what the outcome of the dream encounter might have been.  In my imagination I began having a conversation with the man.  I asked if the small person in the uniform was his son and he confirmed that it was.  Then I continued to discuss other things that I now don't remember.  Eventually we were having an almost pleasant conversation.  I smiled at the man and a trace of a smile seemed to appear somewhere in his scary countenance.

          As my wakened mind finished out the story to a more amenable conclusion, my mental state became more relaxed to a point that was more conducive to sleep.   A lingering awareness that I had been afraid cast a pall upon my mind, but I was able to go to sleep feeling that the threat of the dream had been diminished and probably dismissed for the most part.

       Various dream events and images can sometimes awaken us to leave us in a state of discomfiture, paranoia, or even terror.   We may lie awake or have to get out of bed to do some activity that will distract us from our thoughts.  The result may often be a restless night of sleeplessness or sleep deprivation.  Perhaps the best thing to do is immediately confront the dream issues and resolve them to the best of our ability in order to remove the distraction from our mind.

         Have you ever been awakened by scary, puzzling, or even good dreams that have caused an inability to go back to sleep?    What dream people have caused you to wake up and think about them for an extended period?    Have there been any ponderables (such as things you are concerned about, forgot to do, or need to plan on doing in the future or anything else that causes enough fretting to interfere with sleep) that have notably awakened you from your dreams?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

If the POTUS Speaks in a Dream Should You Listen?

English: Seal of the President of the United S...
 Seal of the President of the United States
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        I am at some event--perhaps a political rally.   The President of the United States is on a portable stage with a temporary drapery backdrop behind him.  This President is not Barack Obama, but some other man that I don't remember and perhaps have never seen before. There are many folding plastic chairs set up for an audience, but hardly anybody is at the event.
        Perhaps this is why the President speaks directly to me--I'm the only audience member.  He tells me something that I forget after I wake up.  Across from me in the front row of another seating section is a young version of former Vice President Al Gore.   He is watching the President and me during this verbal exchange.   Al Gore looks mildly happy, not smiling, but seemingly pleased with what was said.

         Now I feel disappointed that I didn't retain whatever it was that the POTUS said to me in this recent dream.  Or did I even hear any words.   Sadly I have no recollection of anything specific having been said.  Or perhaps there is something about Al Gore's presence or the dream setting that should be significant to me.

          This reminds me of other dreams where someone like my father, a friend, or some other figure of note says something that seems important for me to hear.  Sometimes the messages are so plainly spoken or obviously conveyed that they stand out.   These messages can be something related to my current waking life.  In some dreams these words might be warnings that I am not understanding when I think back on them.

          There are dreams where people speak or distinct messages are delivered in the form of literal messages--spoken words, written words, or understandable visual cues.   The messages can come in any form.   When dreams are forgotten these messages can be lost forever.

           What people have appeared to you in dreams to deliver a specific message to you?   Have you been visited by a messenger such as God, an angel, a celebrity, or some other well-known entity?    Do you believe that dream messages are reliable or do you think they represent something other than the literal message being delivered within the context of the dream?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can Dreams Resolve Conflict?

Scene from My Week With Marilyn

         Can dreams resolve conflict?

         This question came to me in the early morning hours after a night of many dreams and awakenings.   Before going to bed that prior night I had read an email that led me to sense that a friend of mine had apparently taken offense to something I had said.   I felt uncomfortable with what had been suggested to me and consequently was thinking on this matter as I fell into sleep and throughout the night.   The topic floated in and out of my dreams.

         In this particular case there was no revelation that I would call conflict resolution, but I began to wonder if in some instances dreamers might come to terms with a matter in dispute or come up with an appropriate solution that might fix things later.

         Why not?  Problems are indeed sometimes solved while the mind is in the dream state.  There might not be an actual meeting of the minds that are at odds, but a dream can clarify issues better to show the dreamer that things are either not as bad as previously discerned or begin to develop a rational approach to finding a solution or a state of mind that is more receptive to listening to the different sides of the argument at hand.

         In a state of worry dreams can focus on a problem, looking at it from various angles and dissecting that problem into ways one might not consider when in a state of stress stemming from doubt, fear, and even sadness.    The solutions might evolve into an idea that is symbolic thus requiring interpretation and unraveling.   Then again, the answers might be delivered clearly and directly.

         The key to finding solutions based on dream data is to think on that information and consider the ramifications of all that is presented.   This might be time-consuming and in the end even unproductive, but still attempts are not in vain if the dream data is recorded for future reference.   One never can tell when dream messages can be used in future similar situations.

           My recent occurrence and the restless dream night that accompanied it turned out okay.   The dreams didn't seem to actually solve any problems, but they ameliorated the tension and worry that I had upon going to bed the night before.   Then again, maybe the solutions did appear furtively to me in case I would have to resort to them.

        In any case, the next morning I had an email waiting for me that made the situation better.   For those who might now be considering the possibly of any telepathic communication between minds I will merely claim that I don't think so.

          I do however strongly believe that disputes we may have with others can be analyzed by our subconscious mind via the vehicle of dreaming.   When something such as conflict weighs so heavily upon us the expected consequence would be that these thoughts would enter into our dreams.

           Have you ever had a conflict that was resolved by dreaming?    Do you tend to have restless night when you have experienced some sort of negative encounter with another person?    Would you trust a dream solution that seemed outlandish if there seemed to be no other way to come to terms with someone?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Does Dream Story Plot Enhance Dream Memory?

English: "The man with the burden", ...
 "The man with the burden", illustration from John Bunyan's dream story (based on Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress) (p. 18) abridged by James Baldwin (1841-1925)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

           To continue with the line of thought of my previous post, I might further ask "Is a dream with a relatively clear and engaging plot easier to remember than a sleep experience filled with random settings, people, and ideas and a very confusing or unclear storyline or total lack of a story?"

          Let me start with the comment left by Eva:

 Eva Prokop said...
        A few years back I was in the habit of recording any dreams I had in my journal, and that of course helped me to remember them. These days that habit has become sporadic, and so I find I don't remember my dreams like I used to. 
It's so interesting I think, the whole dream thing...and different types of memory. I think that dream life does have these various shades of intensity of memory, just like waking, sometimes I'll remember the big, flashy part of a dream immediately, and then an hour or so later, I'll remember some little detail that was in the dream.
       And sometimes, like you say, the dream never makes itself known to my conscious mind. I'll wake up with the sense that something was going on in my mind while I slept....but what?!
       Lately I've been tempted to post a few of my more ridiculous dreams...I've rediscovered them as I'm going through my old journals.
October 2, 2014 at 4:29 PM
        This comment prompted me to reflect on the times when I got into the habit of recording my dreams.  This was primarily during my high school years when I was able to waken at a more leisurely pace and reflect on the dream I had been having prior to waking.   On many mornings I would write down the dream as I remembered it including as much detail as I could recall.

        One of the vital things that enhanced my dream memory was the presence of a distinct story that I was following in the dream.    As though I had watched a movie, it was much easier to recall lengthy portions of the dream that I had experienced if a story seemed present   Due to my greater level of interest in the story I was able to remember more details about almost every aspect of the dream.  These are the sorts of dreams that are relatively easy to write down or relate to someone else.  There is logical progression of events and connections between story details that make more sense.

Here are four aspects of dream stories that can enhance the dream memory:       

Details-- Verbal exchanges, props, sensations, and a myriad of other "little" things can become vital components of the dream story.
Cast--Whether the players are people we know in waking life or fabricated chimera folk who appear for known or unknown reasons, the cast of characters is more easy to place within the context of the story.

Setting--We are more likely to identify real or imaginary places within the context of a story.  A progression from place to place helps to recreate the continuity of the dream story timeline.

Desired outcome--When a dream story has a desired conclusion then there is a facilitation regarding a sense of purpose that allows us to more clearly see a beginning, middle, and an end to a dream story.  These connections pointing to a conclusion we expect or arriving at a surprise conclusion helps us to arrange the dream story into a traditional narrative sequence.

Using a Dream Story for Writing Fiction or Essays

        If the dream seems to have had a story or if the various components of the dream inspires one to turn the collection of dream images into story form, then a dream might be ideal for creating a written work that could be suitable for publication or other sharing.  

        Often writers will have used a dream as the story or the inspiration for a written work.   Dreams can be where stories, poems, songs, and other works of art have their origins.  Indeed many great works have been attributed to a dream source.

          Dreams are the art of the creative mind on the canvas of the subconscious.   Many dreams are useful to be translated into some medium that others can enjoy or even learn from.  Those who can better remember their dreams have a well of creative inspiration that can be drawn from to use in many aspects of their lives.

           Have you ever used a dream inspiration to create something?    Do you ever turn your dreams into stories?    Can you remember a dream better if you have experienced it in traditional story form?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dream Memory Fade?

Hypno fade
Hypno fade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          The topic of dream memory has undoubtedly been broached on the pages of this blog at least a few times.   Honestly I don't remember clearly if I've talked about dream memory in some capacity.   This brings me to the thought of types of memory.

         We either remember something or we don't unless we're thinking about shades of intensity in memory.  Don't we have various kinds or levels of memory?   The deeply ingrained memory for example--these are the vital data such as address, phone number, age, or social security number.

          Then we have the historical memory--what we did today or some other time, things people told us, feelings we felt at points in time.   Or there is relational memory--this pertains to sense of where we are and how we will get to the next place, facial or name recognition, or even bits of schedule data so we can organize our time.

          Waking life can compartmentalized into many different memory situations.   

           But what about dream life?  Are there different levels of importance to the data presented in a dream?   Why do we remember some dreams easily, others with great difficulty, and still others are forgotten or never come to memory in our waking mind?

             Recently I've been having very limited recall of my dreams.   Also I don't write down or at least mentally ponder my dreams when I do remember something from sleep.   The result in this is that my dreams are essentially forgotten to my conscious mind.  Perhaps this is as it should be.

           Normally I close my posts with some questions for you to answer, but since I've already asked a lot of questions in this post I'll just ask for your thoughts on the answers to those questions or what theories you may have regarding dream memory.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Flying Forward

English: Tenby Harbour The classic view with a...
Tenby Harbour The classic view with a serendipitous visitor.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        In my previous post I said that I would announce my intentions for A Faraway View in this current post.   Here I am as promised.  

         I guess I'll just keep this blog going for a while longer at least.   In many cases the posts might be shorter than they used to be.  Then again they could be longer.   Like I do with all of my blogging activity I'll take things as they come and write as my whims take me.

         That's a heck of a way to do things, but often life is filled with improvisation dictated by the serendipitous nature of the world.   It's kind of like the nature of dreaming I suppose.  Dreaming is often filled with twists and turns and incongruities.  That's one of the things that makes dreaming so fascinating and in many ways fun.

         In future posts I will continue to speculate on the whys and wherefores of the dream life.  I may also start digging into my dream journals to describe some of the past dreams I've had.   Some of those dreams go back to my high school years.  That's over 40 years ago!   I may also relate more recent dreams.

          In telling these dream stories I hope to keep them interesting as I know from experience that some dreams that I've heard others describe to me can be rather confusing and often boring.   Tell me if my posts get boring at anytime and provide constructive suggestions on how I can improve my posts.   And if the posts are just fine then leave whatever comments come to your mind.

           I do hope you will comment.   As with any blog post, I see many more visits to my dream posts than comments received from those visitors.   I thank my regular commenters for their loyalty to this site.  I encourage others to give me feedback or at least just let me know you visited.

          Let me know when you like something I've posted here and I'll continue to post more like it.  After all the purpose of this blog is twofold. One is to hone my own writing skills.  Blogging is writing and I hope my writing here is making me a better writer.  More importantly though my main reason for blogging on this topic  of dreaming is to exchange information and ideas.   Let's have a conversation!

         Next week I'll get back to the business of dreams.  May all of our good dreams come true.

         Do you think talking about dreams has a benefit?     Are you mostly interested in dreams for their entertainment value or for some other reason?    Do you tend to tell others about your dreams when they will listen?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Deep Enough to Dream

         This brings me to the end of my summer hiatus on this blog.  I hope you have enjoyed the dream music and the thoughts that I have offered over the past few months.   I hope your summer was a good one.  I hope mine was too.  And now it's time for a decision.   I'm still thinking.  Maybe I should dream a bit more and let you know in the next post what I will be doing at A Faraway View...

            Did you enjoy my summer music series on this blog?   Was there any particular post that was a favorite?   Would you like to see more music posts with short text here at A Faraway View?