A new perspective

My last post worried Husby. His immediate comments regarding my feelings (“Well that’s just silly” and “You come off as a little bit of a psychopath”) were appropriately and maturely dealt with and we eventually managed not to fall out. I did make some minor alterations to the post, which I hope meant I came off as less of a psycho but I figure you’re here for the real deal rather than the ‘presentable’ me. I certainly hope so, cos great dollopy servings of truth are what I intend to continue to offer.

After a long, late-night chat, I realised that I needn’t worry too much about my value. I have intrinsic value as a created, living being (otherwise what leg do I have to stand on to stick up for those in the position of NOT being seen as valuable, despite their being alive) and any other value attributed to me by others is a gift – one I should enjoy, not question. With regard to how I feel about that, I figure that if others see me as valuable and I try to see myself through their eyes, I should feel pretty happy about that.

So onward and upwards to today, when another chat with my friend, the lucid dreamer, made me think a bit about the imagination.

He was explaining that he’d heard of an exercise to help train your brain where you imagine that one half of your brain holds a key and hides it somewhere in a house, then you shut off that half and imagine the other half entering the house and searching until it finds the key.

My initial question of ‘how do you shut off one half of your brain?’ was met with a grumbled “Not sure, I don’t remember the rest of the article.” I also wanted to know whether there was a particular half to use for the hiding then the finding – I’ve heard that left and right brain tend to take on different roles (I think usually something analytical vs something creative, but I’m not sure which way round they go) and again, no dice. I’m sure it’s possible though.

My friend has amazing dreams, where he’s in a world almost like the physical one, but is in charge and can make anything happen. If he wants a rollercoaster ride, it’ll appear. If he wants to fly, it happens. He once had a cigarette on the moon! He has a plan of creating a dream world and going back to it each night, extending it by sculpting his own cities and countrysides. He reckons he’d write it down at first, then once he’s got into the habit, just go there in his sleep as a matter of course. It sounds absolutely awesome.

And yet, our sub-conscious imagination doesn’t always seem to be that…imaginative. Even our conscious imagination struggles (try to come up with a completely new word for sailing ships, or a new colour, and you’ll see it’s harder than you might think).  Listverse has this incredibly cool list of facts about dreams and the one which really grabbed me was that we only dream about what we know. Admittedly the known factors might come in bizarre combinations or morphs between two known things, but I can certainly say that I’ve never noticed any complete novelties in my dreams.

Other sources suggest that men and women dream differently (which makes sense if our brains are wired in different ways), that we can train ourselves to lucid dream (below) and that the things we see and experience in our dreams might be alternatively symbolic of things going on in our waking lives, symbolic of specific things or symbolic only if we attribute meaning to them.

The MILD (Mnemnomic Induction of Lucid Dreams) technique involves similar reminders to the reality testing method but focuses those reminders at night rather than throughout the day and night. MILD begins with telling yourself when you go to bed that you’ll remember your dreams. You then focus your attention on recognizing when you are dreaming and remembering that it is a dream. Then, you focus on reentering a recent dream and looking for clues that it is indeed a dream. You imagine what you would like to do within that dream. For example, you may want to fly, so you imagine yourself flying within that dream. You repeat these last two steps (recognizing when you’re dreaming and reentering a dream) until you go to sleep. Using this technique, Dr. LaBerge has been able to have lucid dreams at will. Because this type of technique takes such mental training, however, LaBerge is now doing research using external stimuli to induce lucid dreams. (HowStuffWorks – How Dreams Work)

I can’t imagine how awesome it would be to control my dreams. The world would be utterly limitless. I could do anything I wanted and there would be no danger, no repercussions, no provisos. Allegedly, Salvador Dali was fascinated with the weird images he saw just before sleep and would position himself with a fork in his hand, balanced over a tin plate so that as he dropped off and his hand relaxed, the fork would fall onto the plate, wake him up and he could quickly sketch out what he could remember. Now we know why his paintings are so awesomely weird. Next time I dream I’ll at least have to try to write it down.

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening (1944) Salvador Dali
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