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    Thread: Who is the dreamer when you are not lucid?

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      Who is the dreamer when you are not lucid?

      Like the title says.. who is the person who decides what you dream, when you are not lucid? I've been trying to grasp this but can't come to any other conclusion than that I am 2 persons. One is in the background when I am awake and I am in the background when the other guy dreams. Some people call it the subconscious, some call it a higher self or something like that. But who is it?

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      The thing is about dreaming and how your brain functions is that; we know very little about how it works. We know even less about dreams and sleep or even how/why we sleep.
      That said, I guess it is also important to consider your personal beliefs? I don't know. It's like falling down a rabbit hole.

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      I think of it this way: if we could only make a decision after first making a decision to make a decision, how would we be able to make any decisions? It must be possible for us to make decisions without us deciding to make those decisions. It must be instinctive for us to make decisions, just as it is instinctive for us to dream and breathe. We have some control over our decisions and our dreams and our breathing, but those processes are also based on our instincts, which I think are based on our DNA or how we've been conditioned to think.

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      Quote Originally Posted by kneejo View Post
      Like the title says.. who is the person who decides what you dream, when you are not lucid? I've been trying to grasp this but can't come to any other conclusion than that I am 2 persons. One is in the background when I am awake and I am in the background when the other guy dreams. Some people call it the subconscious, some call it a higher self or something like that. But who is it?
      I would say your higher self or source consciousness. I had a dream about this once.. the dream said "I am the picture all around you." Another dream, lucid, I am taken up into space and see the whole universe, the universe speaks, it says in a booming voice: "Bi am God." Bi, meaning two. Ego and everything else [source consciousness].

      Explore for yourself and see what you think. Some of the answers are too hard to explain in words, I think.
      Last edited by MoonageDaydream; 09-06-2021 at 02:07 PM.
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      The brain is complex and science has only just scratched the surface when it comes to understanding it. We’re not consciously aware of most of what are bodies are doing on a daily basis and it’s the same with the brain. I believe it’s all still connected and “one” even if we’re not aware of some of what’s happening in the background. I see dreaming as a little sneak peek behind that curtain. These processes aren’t just going on at night though, you can observe the random and spontaneous nature of the mind during day dreaming, whilst being creative and during meditation. You can see first hand how random thoughts and images seem to appear out of nowhere when you observe them like a spectator. When you really start thinking deeply about it you arrive at that big old question, “What actually is me? Who am I and am I really in control of the things I do?” It’s fascinating.

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      Do you mean you are like a vessel? Are we our own gods in a way if that is the case?


      Think it might be even bolder to assume that our reality does not exist without our input or presence? That would imply that we puny humans are possessed with truly cosmic power -- I haven't seen much evidence of that either (and again, not for a lack of looking).
      Isn't the paradox beyond ideas of fact vs. fiction the land where dreams begin?
      ----
      I'm going to move this to Beyond Dreaming. Since it is a topic about more than just dreaming.
      Topic moved.


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      Quote Originally Posted by HumbleDreamer View Post
      Do you mean you are like a vessel? Are we our own gods in a way if that is the case?


      Think it might be even bolder to assume that our reality does not exist without our input or presence? That would imply that we puny humans are possessed with truly cosmic power -- I haven't seen much evidence of that either (and again, not for a lack of looking).
      Isn't the paradox beyond ideas of fact vs. fiction the land where dreams begin?
      Hope you don't mind if I reply to this. I think (and this is just from my own experiences and from reading too many spiritual books) that we are all pieces of divine, connected to the source of everything, but also separated. I personally don't think our individual existence determines reality, but, all conscious beings do contribute to the formation of our world through the power of thought. I think we do posses cosmic power... more than we are aware of. I think our limited human intelligence is the main barrier. To quote the Bible, with an addition.. Be still, and know that I am God (and so are you).

      Just thoughts.
      Last edited by MoonageDaydream; 09-06-2021 at 11:12 PM.
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      Who or what?

      We seem to be a well-defined self when we are awake. Our waking life identities feel rigid and our perspectives make us cognisant of a sensible world. But there is a stream of thinking that runs parallel to waking perception which competes for our attention and can lead to daydreaming or rumination; if we are mindful, however, we become conscious of this mental chatter for its true nature and thus less liable to its mesmerism.

      When we sleep, that very same incessant stream of thinking is given a stronger voice, as it were, in the form of dreams—and it's most vivid during the REM stage. Despite its disjointed and, at times, abstract quality, which is often at odds with real life, we are completely taken in by the mental illusions the unfolding narrative is composed of—unless, of course, the dreamer is lucid which is the equivalent of being mindful in the waking state.

      This empirical basis suggests that the dreamer is part of the dream itself or made of the same fabric, so to speak, hence why our identities and memories in ordinary dreams can be as disjointed or erroneous. It stands to reason, then, that to be lucid is to possess an identity identical to the waking self where real life memories come to the fore, i.e., the dreamer recognises the environment to be a dream because it doesn't tally with the real world—such as those WILD instances where the bedroom is recognised to be inaccurate because memory of what the real bedroom looks like is present.

      It seems to me that personal identity is nothing but a bundle of thoughts and memories which is illuminated by consciousness. It's not surprising, then, that entire personalities can be eradicated through severe physical trauma to the head—where acute amnesia is incurred by a violent accident and an almost empty awareness remains to be filled by an entirely new personality as the brain forms new connections henceforward. The dreamer is defined by the ever-dreaming, living brain. It is the witness with no intrinsic identity or definition other than that which it identifies with which arises in consciousness from the deep unconscious.

      'Who is aware?' Stephen LaBerge once asked. Nobody. There is just the awareness of this and that.
      THE PHASE = waking consciousness during sleep hybridisation at 40Hz of brainwave activity conducive to lucid dreaming and autoscopy.

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      Thanks for the insights everyone. Really makes me think about this. My worldview is very biblical, meaning that I believe in the existence of one God, who says he lives inside us and all around us, and we live inside him. The reason we are alive is because we are connected to this Source. When our ego thinks, erroneously, that it is separate from Source, that's when we feel fear and sadness and abandonment and hatred and all the negatives. But this separation is an illusion. And our mind is strong enough to make a godless world a seeming reality. Hence why there are many people who don't believe.

      When I dream I feel that I am doing the things that I actually want to do in waking life, but can't due to circumstances. My dream-self is not limited by any inhibitions and just does what it wants, because it has no fear. The only one who judges my dream-self is my ego, when I wake up and remember the things I did in the dream. It feels like the dream is the ultimate utopia, where everyone loves and knows everyone because we are all one, connected through source.

      I have been attacked in dreams, which I have always interpreted as beings that are not of God coming into my dreamworld and trying to sabotage the utopia. My dream population has a defense force that's similar to a military. They help me fight the intruders. I don't think I am the creator of the dreamworld, or of these other beings. I think Source (Spirit) is the creator who uses my memories to build a world in which I can feel at home. I've had run-ins with other people who were lucid and visiting my dreams. These seemed to be peaceful people. I usually wake up right after this happens because it causes me to become lucid when these visitors ask me something or interact in another way. And I can't stay lucid for long without waking up.

      After your answers and my own thinking about this I can say that I believe the dreamer is indeed me, just without the limits of ego and the physical world.
      ------------------------------------------------------
      Quote Originally Posted by HumbleDreamer View Post
      Do you mean you are like a vessel? Are we our own gods in a way if that is the case?

      Humbledreamer - forum moderator
      I think my body is a vessel for my soul, which is spiritual in nature. When I sleep it feels like I leave my body and go to this other place, the dream world, which is a spiritual place. I believe our Creator made us in his image, so it stands to reason that we inherited the creative aspect of him as well. That's how we can create things. And yeah, if all 8 billion of us have the same mindset I'm sure we can change the world. But as it is now all of us are grouped up in divisions, each with their own interests and wishes for the world. It is a constant struggle to say the least.

      Quote Originally Posted by MoonageDaydream View Post
      To quote the Bible, with an addition.. Be still, and know that I am God (and so are you).

      Just thoughts.
      This quote I don't know from the bible, have to look it up. But I have seen it in books about magic. I spent some time in mental hospitals years ago with psychosis. (I am diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia) I'm doing alright now so don't worry One night in that mental hospital I had a lot of disturbance in my mind. I closed my eyes and said with my inner voice: be still, for I am God. And then it was quiet in my mind. The next day one of the other patients came to me and asked: what does this mean? 'be still, for I am God' ? I didn't know how to answer that. But apparently he had heard my inner voice. I didn't say I said that because I wanted to see if he knew it was me. But he didn't clarify any further.

      I've experienced many miraculous things that made me a firm believer but I'm still looking at what it all means and what my role in it all is. It does seem to be simple; we are all one, and we should strive to live like that. No human stands above any other human. And above us is only our creator God.

      I hope I'm not preaching too much. I'm just trying to explain my point of view on things. You are all of course free to believe what you want. Or take from this what you want.
      Last edited by kneejo; 09-07-2021 at 03:48 AM. Reason: Merge 2 post... If you need to add something please use that Edit button.. Thank you! :D

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      Quote Originally Posted by Summerlander View Post
      Who or what?

      We seem to be a well-defined self when we are awake. Our waking life identities feel rigid and our perspectives make us cognisant of a sensible world. But there is a stream of thinking that runs parallel to waking perception which competes for our attention and can lead to daydreaming or rumination; if we are mindful, however, we become conscious of this mental chatter for its true nature and thus less liable to its mesmerism.

      When we sleep, that very same incessant stream of thinking is given a stronger voice, as it were, in the form of dreams—and it's most vivid during the REM stage. Despite its disjointed and, at times, abstract quality, which is often at odds with real life, we are completely taken in by the mental illusions the unfolding narrative is composed of—unless, of course, the dreamer is lucid which is the equivalent of being mindful in the waking state.

      This empirical basis suggests that the dreamer is part of the dream itself or made of the same fabric, so to speak, hence why our identities and memories in ordinary dreams can be as disjointed or erroneous. It stands to reason, then, that to be lucid is to possess an identity identical to the waking self where real life memories come to the fore, i.e., the dreamer recognises the environment to be a dream because it doesn't tally with the real world—such as those WILD instances where the bedroom is recognised to be inaccurate because memory of what the real bedroom looks like is present.

      It seems to me that personal identity is nothing but a bundle of thoughts and memories which is illuminated by consciousness. It's not surprising, then, that entire personalities can be eradicated through severe physical trauma to the head—where acute amnesia is incurred by a violent accident and an almost empty awareness remains to be filled by an entirely new personality as the brain forms new connections henceforward. The dreamer is defined by the ever-dreaming, living brain. It is the witness with no intrinsic identity or definition other than that which it identifies with which arises in consciousness from the deep unconscious.

      'Who is aware?' Stephen LaBerge once asked. Nobody. There is just the awareness of this and that.
      Yes! This is exactly what I was trying to articulate but you said it much better

      The dreamers expectations and beliefs also play heavily in the creation of dreams so really we’re more in control of how they form and play out then we may originally think.
      Last edited by Tiktaalik; 09-07-2021 at 12:46 PM.

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      I'm the dreamer in pretty much all my dreams. It is possible to have very vivid dreams, with a strong sense of self-awareness, and still not recognize that the present (dream) moment is in the dream state. I call these "vivid & present" dreams, "present" because "I" feel like I am really "there" in the moment. They're usually quite amazing.
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      I find it weird to see the dreamer as "a higher self" or "me, just without the limits of ego". I also don't like the duality of conscious vs subconscious.
      I see the consciousness as a tip of a pyramid, the subconscious is the base, but it is still one pyramid, one me. The tip can't exist without the base but the base without the tip is significantly less than the whole thing.
      The dreamer is me but with some things subtracted - large parts of memory, self-awareness (which I think is directly linked to memory), with some cognitive abilities decreased and little or no volitional control (executive abilities decreased). But there is still consciousness and enough of higher cognitive functions left for the dreamer to feel like me, with an indisputable continuity of my personality, emotions, and other things that make me me in waking life.

      I am not spiritual at all but I am fascinated with the existence/emergence of consciousness and self-awareness from the neuroscience point of view.
      The answer "who is the person who decides what you dream" could be simply answered through schema activation, but that's only the first step.
      As Tiktaalik said, it is impossible to think about this more deeply without getting to the major philosophical questions.

      Yesterday, after reading a lot on schemas and archetypes, I was cleaning my cat's litter box. I was thinking how she has a schema of this evening ritual in her head (I take a plastic bag, scoop the content of the litter box, take it outside to the bin, go with her for a short walk/stretch my leg outside, then go back and give her food) - she remembers the pattern and through the repetitions, it all gets connected and strong associations are created within the neural network. And this is how she understands the world.
      And then, I realized, we are exactly the same. Our schemas are more complex and the connections we make can be more abstract, but that's it.
      It makes me somewhat uncomfortable to think that we are just a bunch of learned patterns but it is also humbling.
      Non-lucid dreams make it possible to observe this in its rawness and nakedness, without the meta-layer that we create over it.

      Quote Originally Posted by FryingMan View Post
      I'm the dreamer in pretty much all my dreams. It is possible to have very vivid dreams, with a strong sense of self-awareness, and still not recognize that the present (dream) moment is in the dream state. I call these "vivid & present" dreams, "present" because "I" feel like I am really "there" in the moment. They're usually quite amazing.
      We were discussing this recently on my thread about semi-lucid dreams and on the threads about the current dream research.

      Normally, non-lucid dreams are typically characterized by reduced self-awareness, single-mindedness, altered reflective thinking, reduced volitional control, higher emotionality, altered mnemonic processes, and impaired episodic memory.

      All these things are not binary and can be present on a spectrum. Which is the reason for all dreams somewhere between a completely non-lucid dream and a lucid dream, with many possible combinations/states of mind.

      I've certainly had dreams which were "lucid" in everything except lucidity (state awareness). Like being in a magic fight, remembering 4 or 5 spells that I'd been using in LDs and incubating in daydreams, and voluntarily choosing which spells I want to cast.
      I think it is possible to be self-aware a little bit but not enough to get lucid. Or maybe even enough but not remembering the goal to get lucid. Or just not bother with it because the dream is perfect as it is.

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      I'm sharing this because this seems to fit here:


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      It really seems that there are two camps loosely forming in this thread - those that lean spiritual and those that lean science. I hope someday we will find that they are one and the same, in a fashion. "Magic's just science that we don't understand yet." - Arthur C. Clarke

      But.. I also really love this quote from Dr. Strange.

      “That doesn’t’ make any sense..”
      “Not everything does. Not everything has to. Your intellect has taken you far in life, but it will take you no further.”

      Some things aren't testable or measurable right now, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. After all, lucid dreaming didn't "exist" in the scientific community until the early experiments by Dr. Keith Hearne of eye movement in lucid dreams in the 1970s. Before that, there was a lot of argument whether or not lucid dreams were actually real at all; that perhaps people just dreamed that they were awake in their dreams.

      Sounds a lot like our argument on whether or not spirituality, or the divine, actually exists. We may have expectations that it does, therefore our dreams affirm our expectations. But that doesn't disprove it's possibility. Just like lucid dreaming ... perhaps some day we will have more evidence of a true divine source.

      I guess I'm in the spiritual camp. I've jumped down the rabbit hole years ago and haven't come back. Also.. a great quote by Carl Jung: “I don’t need to believe, I know”

      Also, from Jung:

      "In Jung’s view, the truth about God is complex because God is a mystery whose nature is beyond human comprehension. In trying to understand God, we each create our own image of him – and the image is never accurate. Jung recognised this about his own image of God:

      Whatever I perceive from without or within is a representation or image… caused, as I rightly or wrongly assume, by a corresponding “real” object. But I have to admit that my subjective image is only grosso modo identical with the object…

      our images are, as a rule, of something… The God-image is the expression of an underlying experience of something which I cannot attain to by intellectual means… (Jung 1959c)" (source)
      Last edited by MoonageDaydream; 09-11-2021 at 02:50 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by IndigoRose View Post
      Normally, non-lucid dreams are typically characterized by reduced self-awareness, single-mindedness, altered reflective thinking, reduced volitional control, higher emotionality, altered mnemonic processes, and impaired episodic memory.
      A lot of this depends on the dreamer, of course. After a few years of practice, and actually even in the early years, I noticed a profound transformation of my dreams from wild & wacky & random mostly, to very sedate and mundane: me just hanging out with DCs in various locations. The earlier hours dreams are always sort of abstract, but those too went from really weird and random, to more organized, the more stable my waking mind became with mindfulness practice.

      The most common thing missing in my dreams is the memory of the dream state (of dreaming as a concept, and of my interest in them, and my lucid goals) and the goal to get lucid. I think this is pretty common across all dreamers. Just even the slightest hint of the concept of "dream" is enough to trigger lucidity -- once in a dream I was seated in a large outdoor amphitheater, and a young woman walked up the aisle, with the word "Dream" on her t-shirt, which triggered my lucidity and went on to have a nice LD.

      This is where MILD, PM exercises, and goal setting comes really big into the picture: they trigger the "little pings" from the (subconscious?), "Psst! Hey, remember about dreaming and your goal to recognize the dream state!" The more we train our mind to produce these pings while awake, the more they occur in dream. This is one reason meditation is so powerful: the specific, repeated practice of bringing out mind repeatedly back to the present moment and to recognize distraction, is training out mind to produce these "pings." I like to include the "reflection" part as well, since bringing yourself to the present moment in a dream does not in itself promote lucidity, that requires the extra step of reflection and memory of goals.

      I think it is possible to be self-aware a little bit but not enough to get lucid. Or maybe even enough but not remembering the goal to get lucid.
      My experience shows it's very common to be self-aware a LOT, and not to be state aware. Some people define self-awareness as being deeply intertwined with state awareness -- my dreams shows, to me, that this is not the case. This is why I do not define self-awareness as including state awareness.

      Or just not bother with it because the dream is perfect as it is.
      I think this is a major reason -- and one that Sageous would agree with . I loooove my epic non-lucids. In many ways, I prefer them to lucids. My epics are long, vivid, visually stunning, fun/interesting, and very stable. My LDs tend to be shorter and sometimes less stable (but I still love them, too).
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    16. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoonageDaydream View Post
      It really seems that there are two camps loosely forming in this thread - those that lean spiritual and those that lean science.
      I suppose most subjects surrounding lucid dreaming appeal to both “camps”. I think the question itself isn’t strictly a “beyond dreaming” topic (though maybe it was intended to be) and can be interpreted either way. I think it’s great we can all share our differing beliefs and opinions in one place with respect :-)

      Quote Originally Posted by IndigoRose View Post
      I see the consciousness as a tip of a pyramid, the subconscious is the base, but it is still one pyramid, one me.
      I agree. I like this way of interpreting it.

      Quote Originally Posted by IndigoRose View Post
      And then, I realized, we are exactly the same. Our schemas are more complex and the connections we make can be more abstract, but that's it.
      It makes me somewhat uncomfortable to think that we are just a bunch of learned patterns but it is also humbling.
      Non-lucid dreams make it possible to observe this in its rawness and nakedness, without the meta-layer that we create over it.
      Yeah, It can be a hard pill to swallow but I think it’s fascinating and it doesn’t really detract from the human experience or the beauty of being alive.

      Quote Originally Posted by FryingMan View Post
      Just even the slightest hint of the concept of "dream" is enough to trigger lucidity -- once in a dream I was seated in a large outdoor amphitheater, and a young woman walked up the aisle, with the word "Dream" on her t-shirt, which triggered my lucidity and went on to have a nice LD.
      This is where MILD, PM exercises, and goal setting comes really big into the picture: they trigger the "little pings" from the (subconscious?), "Psst! Hey, remember about dreaming and your goal to recognize the dream state!" The more we train our mind to produce these pings while awake, the more they occur in dream.
      I’ve had lots of experiences like this also. Am I correct in thinking “Lucid dreaming” is its own schema? Through journaling and performing RCs we’re building up the necessary associations needed to spot dream signs, and recognise the dream state. Then we utilise techniques such as WBTB and MILD to “activate” our lucid dream schema ready to return to sleep? If that was the case, is the “ping” you mentioned this at work?

      Quote Originally Posted by FryingMan View Post
      In many ways, I prefer them to lucids. My epics are long, vivid, visually stunning, fun/interesting, and very stable. My LDs tend to be shorter and sometimes less stable (but I still love them, too)
      I had an amazing dream a couple of nights ago. It was long, extremely vivid with an interesting and mostly coherent plot. At the end of it I became lucid and after a little messing around I woke up. On reflection the dream prior to becoming lucid was much more memorable and interesting then the moment I actually became lucid! I suppose they’re two very different experiences and both have their merits.
      Last edited by Tiktaalik; 09-12-2021 at 10:17 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Tiktaalik View Post
      I suppose most subjects surrounding lucid dreaming appeal to both “camps”. I think the question itself isn’t strictly a “beyond dreaming” topic (though maybe it was intended to be) and can be interpreted either way. I think it’s great we can all share our differing beliefs and opinions in one place with respect :-)
      I think it's a "beyond dreaming" topic just because the discussion on the higher self, whether it exists and if it creates dreams for us, etc. is spiritual in nature. The higher self and/or "source" is pretty much a type of god concept, of its own kind.

      Yeah, this is a great community where we can talk about different beliefs safely.
      DarkestDarkness likes this.
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