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    Thread: A Discussion on Passive Dream Control, The Subconscious, and the Concept of Muscle Memory

    1. #1
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      A Discussion on Passive Dream Control, The Subconscious, and the Concept of Muscle Memory

      Passive control isn't a new idea around here (if I remember right, the first person I saw advocating for it was BillyBob), but I think it's a topic worth discussing the intricacies of.

      Definitions
      To start off, let's define what passive dream control is. Passive dream control is any method of controlling a dream that avoids a conscious and direct, "brute force" attempt at control in lieu of one that guides one's expectations to utilize the mind's unconscious thought processes to control elements of one's dream. The direct/brute force method employs consciously controlling any aspect of one's dream.

      Quick Word on the Subconscious/Unconscious

      Something I also want to get out here before diving too far into things is my thoughts on what the subconscious/unconscious mind and unconscious thought processes are. Many people on dreamviews (but certainly not just here) seem to hold the idea that the subconscious is something like an entirely separate being from yourself that resides in your own mind. It's almost as if they see it as a second, conscious you that has access to more information and controls your dreams and unconscious desires. As a result, a lot of people believe that the subconscious can subvert your attempts at lucidity, dream control, or even getting lucid in the first place. This idea has little basis in reality. The subconscious is a term that refers to the thoughts and feelings that go on at a level below consciousness, but are not in anyway separate from you. The unconscious mind and unconscious thought processes are basically the same thing, only this terminology is a bit more expansive in what it represents. It includes everything subconscious, but also includes thought processes that are entirely out of your control. These include the processes that eventually combine to form the final "big picture" of reality that we perceive. You can certainly ask your subconscious/unconscious mind questions in a dream and get answers, and even ask it to show itself as a dream character. The problem is that this is easy confirmation bias fodder, because when you believe these things are as I've described them, it easily allows these things to happen, but avoids making unsubstantiated (and highly unlikely) claims about there being a separate being that is still you that exists inside you, but somehow has a will separate from your own and has poor communication skills. If you get an answer back from it, or it shows itself as a dream character, it's not different than you asking any dream character a question or for some random dream character to appear. Your mind is capable of simulating reality and is always at work doing so except when in deep sleep. It happens when we are awake (only it's constrained to sensory input) and while we are dreaming, so why is it not that it simply simulates the answers and whatever form you expect it to give itself? It doesn't make asking it questions any less interesting, but it's an important distinction and helps us understand what's really going on while we're dreaming. Understanding this and tossing out the old idea of a subconscious entity with a will almost diametrically opposed to mine at times has had a substantial impact on my success rate when it comes to controlling dreams and successfully becoming lucid. Without having this nagging doubt that I was ready to attribute to every failure that my subconscious would undermine my attempts allowed me to find the real reasons I was failing, and stopped me from expecting to fail at any time because my asshole subconscious was out to get me. It reaffirmed that I was me, and that failure wasn't a result of self-sabotage (which it effectively was self-sabotage before, if you think about it). If I hadn't done everything believing there was a 50% chance my subconscious was going to block my attempt (I truly believed this at one time), my rate of success would have skyrocketed, like it has ever since I thought about this critically and came to a conclusion that actually seems possible.

      Reasons for Passive Control over Direct Control
      So, why use passive methods over direct ones? If you've ever tried to use both, you've probably realized that using the direct method has the potential to have devastating effects on the dream, to include losing lucidity (and the dream becoming non-lucid), destabilization of the dream, the dream ending (and winding up in a void or blackness), or even flat out waking up. It's generally destructive to one's lucidity, and as a result we have to put in some effort and come up with more creative, non-destructive ways to control our dreams. An example of a direct method of control is to simply will a dream character or an object into existence, or will something to happen. Passive control is more complex and, as a result, has many examples for what qualifies as passively controlling one's dreams. Just one example would be to imagine that when you enter the dream, you show up with a pill that gives you super strength in your pocket; you then check your pants pocket and find the pill, take it, and get super strength. Rather than simply wanting a pill that gives you super strength, or willing yourself to have super strength, you come up with a logical reason why something that can give you super strength would be in your pocket.

      The reason this method isn't destructive is because you are offsetting a significant amount of the load placed on the conscious mind when trying to manually create all the details of the dream the way you want them to be onto the unconscious processes that already work in order to form the dream you are in. The mind isn't good at multi-tasking, especially when the tasks you try performing require lots of attention and conscious thought. Try visualizing an apple. Then, try and imagine it in as much detail as possible. The more you focus on the smaller details on one area of the apple, the less detailed the areas surrounding exactly where you are focusing get. Now try imagining that the apple is being thrown, and try and keep the apple every bit as detailed before, while also paying attention to exactly how it's rotating through the air, and who threw the apple, at what, where they are at, etc. The more detail you try and consciously incorporate, the more difficult it is to even visualize at all. This is essentially what happens when you decide to consciously alter the dream by means of sheer conscious effort, only on a larger scale. You are putting too large of a load on your conscious mind, and as a result, it either outright fails to accomplish anything, or the dream itself loses stability.

      Muscle Memory and How it Relates to Dream Control
      So, where does muscle memory come in? Muscle memory is an unconscious process by which one learns a skill and can perform it without thinking about it, and often it is described as simply "feeling" what you are supposed to do, rather than thinking about it. After enough repetition, the mind and body learn, through constant feedback, what they're supposed to do during a task. At first it requires a lot of conscious thought, and typically the results aren't quite satisfactory. They're overly thought-out and sloppy. Then, when new neural pathways have formed and their impulses are strengthened by repeated exposure from constant reiteration, the actions a person goes through become unconscious, almost as if they are second nature. Something very interesting to note, and quite pertinent to the topic of dream control, is that after muscle memory is formed, people perform the learned actions most accurately and effectively if they simply allow themselves to "just do" whatever it is. In other words, they allow themselves to just feel what they're supposed to do, and do it. When somebody consciously thinks about what they are doing after muscle memory has formed, their performance actually plummets, because signals sent by the neurons responsible for conscious thought interrupt the signals sent through the newly formed pathways responsible for accurately performing the action you've learned.

      This is an exciting little factoid, when you really analyze what it means and how it's related to dream control (or really just about anything you do). What this does is gives us a bona fide, scientific explanation for why relying on the conscious mind to do things typically handled by the unconscious mind and various unconscious thought processes winds up disrupting that process. When you consciously try and alter your dream (a product of various unconscious phenomena), the dreaming process is disrupted--even to the point that the dream itself ends and you wake up. The mechanics and everything involved aren't 100% the same (such as muscle memory being involved with the physical body specifically), but the concept and core functionality are all generally the same.

      Break Down of How Passive Control Functions
      Passive control is, at its core, a method that consciously guides our expectation (an unconscious phenomenon we exploit to control the dream on an unconscious level) and our confidence in those expectations such that it results in a desired change in the dream. Dream formation, which is an ongoing process, is something that is almost entirely produced via unconscious thought processes (though not totally--in order for us to make sense of or even "experience" the perception at all, the conscious thoughts do become incorporated dream formation late in the process, just like when you perceive waking reality). As a novice using the passive control method, or even someone fairly adept at it, coming up with specific reasons for things happening or existing is a requirement to effectively guide one's expectation and get the desired result. You are limited only by your creativity. As time goes on however, or if someone happens to be an extremely talented dreamer, you begin to feel out the way to control dreams with more subtle forms of expectation. This happens naturally as time goes on and you rack up experience using this method. Just like you unconsciously learn what things work best sometimes when repeating some specific task over and over, you unconsciously learn how to control and alter the dream without having to go out of your way and come up with specific reasons for things to happen, yet you still aren't directly controlling the dream. You simply have learned to "feel" what to do when it comes to controlling what happens, and in reality you have merely picked up the subtleties of using expectation as a means of control. You have learned to almost "feel" or just "know" what to do, like with muscle memory. Again, to get good at controlling the dream this way, you either need lots and lots of practice, or you happen to be a natural at it and are most likely an all around incredibly talented dreamer.

      edit: I got so wrapped up in the post's length, I forgot to mention that I would like to formally encourage a discussion on the subject, like the topic suggests. If you have any input, theories, techniques, whatever it may be, please, feel free to contribute!
      Last edited by snoop; 08-31-2016 at 11:43 PM.

    2. #2
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      That's a lot for me to read so I'm going to try and understand what your saying while putting some of my thoughts into it.

      It's almost as if they see it as a second, conscious you that has access to more information and controls your dreams and unconscious desires. As a result, a lot of people believe that the subconscious can subvert your attempts at lucidity, dream control, or even getting lucid in the first place.
      I don't know how other people see it but the way I see my dreaming mind is not as a separate being but what I need in order to dream. It's like how we breathe. Our breathing is unconscious and in a way is programmed to keep us breathing without conscious thought.If I think about it in terms of dreams your mind does have a level of control over what occurs in your dream. When it comes to unconcious desires I believe this can be true in some ways. For example, there is this person I don't like but I would never fight her out of no where in waking life. But I had a dream where her and her friend annoyed me and I ended up hitting them even though it was doing nothing to them which annoyed me more. I think my unconscious desire would have been to make them listen to me but in waking life I know that is an absurd and chaotic way of thinking.However, even if your mind has some level of control it doesn't mean you don't have the ability to do what you want with your lucid dreams.These are just some of my thoughts. I'd write and read more but don't have time.
      Last edited by DreamCafe11; 09-01-2016 at 09:56 PM.
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    3. #3
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      I hope people take the time to review (and comment on) your OP, Snoop, because it says a lot of important stuff.

      I can't think of a thing to add right now that won't repeat what you've already said, so I guess I got nothin'...
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      ^^was not expecting that
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      Alright I finished reading the first and passive control part. I think it makes sense to use that way of thinking to get what you want done easily. Hmm...Reminds me of the dream where I had my dream guide take a pill that had my personality. My thought was that the pill was already in the pocket and it was a sucess.However, in that dream when I wanted to use mass telekinesis through direct control it wasn't working.I think feeling did play a part in failing though. Most of my direct control worked when I detached myself from the thought of my dream body and felt confident/free.

      Reading the part about muscle memory reminded me of something. There were times when I would search for my dream guides as soon as I became lucid and it ended up becoming somewhat of a routine. This was good because its what I wanted to do but bad for the times when I actually wanted to do something else. It was like I became accustomed to lucid dreaming for that reason but what I really needed was to practice remembering other tasks because I had become accustomed to the desired one.

      Okay I finished reading it and feel like I don't have anything more to say. But I'd be interested in knowing more about how you feel about the asking dream characters questions and seperate beings thing. :3 I think you mentioned something about how asking any character wouldn't make a difference. That is true for the most part but like you mentioned with the pill example. Instead of forcing a dream character to give me an example I automatically think someone else has the answer which gives me smoother results in a way. It's also more fun for me to think or look this way. I could use dream control on a character but prefer not to.
      Last edited by DreamCafe11; 09-02-2016 at 05:54 PM.
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