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    Thread: Do dreams and spirituality go hand in hand?

    1. #1
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      Do dreams and spirituality go hand in hand?

      I noticed that our forum does get a lot of discussions of spirituality. Do the subjects of dreams and spirituality go hand in hand in your mind? I have found that once I started focusing on dreams I have also started thinking more of my own spirituality, so I would say for me the two are related. Of course, I realize that they do not have to be for everyone, and that's fine. My previous online forum experience was about fish keeping, and even if that forum had not been too heavily censored for such discussions, aquariums really do not lend themselves to spiritual growth. Many religions and spiritual traditions have dreaming as an integral part of them: dreams feature as major parts of the stories in Christianity, Buddhism, and many other faiths. Feel free to share your thoughts on this subject. I am on purpose choosing the word "spirituality" broadly, hoping that anyone who has any interest in spirituality no matter how defined, will feel welcome to contribute to this thread.

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      I personally don't think they are connected at all. However, I understand why people often connect them both. In dreams you are kind of outside your body, experiencing things from a different place and I think that leads people to start thinking about spirituality at times. I wonder if the same thing will happen once we have virtual reality and people can use that to experience dream like situations, will that lead to spirituality as well?
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      Ah, yes, you have a good point about the Kind of outside body experience as one possible cause of connecting the two. Although I don't think that is why for me the two are related. I am thinking that the reason why I am relating the two in my mind has more to do with greater self awareness, self questioning, self examination, leading to examination of my values and priorities. Thus many of the steps for achieving LD also make me reexamine who I am and what I believe. Furthermore, dreams for me are related to existential questions and questions about purpose of life (both waking and dreaming). Part of it may also be related to why I turned to lucid dreaming and dream interpretation: a personal crisis - stress, depression, self esteem issues. And dealing with dreams for me provides emotional healing (dreams as self improvement tool), as does a reaffirmation and strengthening of my spirituality through greater awareness and acceptance of myself and my purposes. However, that's why the two subjects are related for me personally, but I wonder whether others have other reasons to link the two subjects maybe.
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      It depends on your definition of spirituality. For me, drugs, dreams, trances, etc, are all related to an exploration of consciousness. And for me, exploring consciousness is integral to understanding what is and what to think of it. Because I am interested in understanding reality, I am also interested in bending my perception of it.

      I would define the spiritual path as the big picture path of life. So for example from the spiritual perspective love and success are not about the particular outcomes of one opportunity or relationship but about growth throughout one's entire life. In this sense, dreams serve a spiritual purpose because they reveal one's unconscious neural patterns and connections and can aid in psychological growth.

      But deeper than that, the reason I am interested in pursuing things like dream sharing and particularly unique trance states to aid remote viewing, etc, is to test the fabric of reality and help advance society forward along these possibilities. I suppose I consider myself a pioneer of consciousness and the nuance between consciousness and reality, form and thought-form. While I am interested in deepening my connection to Now and essentially following a Buddhist path, dreams are not relating to that endeavor very deeply. Just like how I do not think Transcendental Meditation would serve that end as well as Mindful Meditation would. But that path is about peace and joy. I also consider myself a Magician, and dreams are an integral part of that path. But I am not a Magician to make me happy, I am a Magician because I am naturally disposed to consider there's more to reality than meets our current understanding.
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      Thank you for sharing, Original Poster. As stated in my original post starting this thread, I would like to encourage people to post their thoughts on this subject no matter how they define spirituality. While some aspects of my spirituality are different from yours of course, I can relate to some of yours as well. Mostly I was hoping to encourage an open-minded discussion on dreams and spirituality, in the hope of reading interesting insights that are new to me, but ring true. I must admit that part of my purpose was also to reclaim this section of the forum for discussion that is not just divisive, if you know what I mean.
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      Hm. If you, as a Christian, consider your spiritual process to be deepening your connection to God as I, as a more eclectic Buddhist sort, regard my spiritual path to be a deepening connection to the present moment (and where else could God exist?) then dreams don't really have much relationship to spirituality. Because one is just as capable of that connection in conscious reality as unconscious reality. However, a lot of interesting insights could come up which should not necessarily be taken for granted. I believe there is something of a Higher Self, or a God which is within all of us. However, I am not sure if dreams relay messages from the Higher Self or merely create sensory data based upon our neural patterns. I'm inclined to the latter, though I'm not exclusive on the matter.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I think of dreams as one possible useful tool to encourage spiritual growth, but I agree with you that they are just one of possible tools. However, a lot of the practices that I have taken up in an effort toward lucid dreaming, such as greater awareness and questioning reality, those practices are leading me to spiritual questions and insights as well. I am currently reading Rinpoche's Tibetan Yoga of Dreams and Sleep, and this book is written with the premise that lucid dreaming is essential to achieving spiritual enlightenment. I would not go that far, but I do think that lucid dreaming and dream interpretation and meditation and All Day Awareness are useful tools on the path to spiritual growth.

      Edit: And yes, I am a Christian, so a lot of my answers and questions in my journey are based in Christianity, however, I have been exploring Buddhism, and finding a lot of tools and questions that apply to both Christians and Buddhists. I feel that I can learn from traditions other than my own, and reach a richer understanding. The nice thing about dreams is that they are awesome at creative imaginative synthesis of ideas at times.
      Last edited by JoannaB; 05-07-2013 at 11:53 AM.

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      It is true that eventually one ought to carry their mindfulness into sleep, which would mean WILDing every night. It's a necessary outcome but as a follower of the Middle Path I don't stress about it too much. It's only been in the last few months that I've been mindful outside of meditation again (since my original breakthrough at 18) and it's one of those things that slowly spreads across your daily activities. I take the easy ones first, remaining mindful while walking, driving, conversing, listening to music and writing. I still have trouble with mindfulness if I'm facing the bright sun or dealing with particularly irritating outside noise, and I find that I can't keep it up all day. I've successfully WILDed a few times but lately my dream recall has been phenomenal to the point where I don't really care if I WILD or not. I'm sure mindful sleeping is a natural eventuality but I'm not interested in biting off more than I can chew. Mindfulness is about surrender, if I attempt to force it then I fail at it.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Interesting I had not thought of mindfulness as surrender - I will need to think about that. For me awareness is empowering, but I am alas seldom good at it. I am not sure I am ready to surrender yet: it's kind of a problem because in a way Christianity is also about surrendering one's ego to God, giving up one's possessions and one's preference for family over strangers, giving up one's pride. But I am not ready to do that, I don't know whether I ever will be, which is a problem. My approach to Lucid Dreaming has been too pride and competition driven also, in a sense I should surrender and accept, but I wish to conquer and take control, which may be an issue.
      Last edited by JoannaB; 05-07-2013 at 10:12 PM.
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    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by JoannaB View Post
      I noticed that our forum does get a lot of discussions of spirituality. Do the subjects of dreams and spirituality go hand in hand in your mind? I have found that once I started focusing on dreams I have also started thinking more of my own spirituality, so I would say for me the two are related. Of course, I realize that they do not have to be for everyone, and that's fine. My previous online forum experience was about fish keeping, and even if that forum had not been too heavily censored for such discussions, aquariums really do not lend themselves to spiritual growth. Many religions and spiritual traditions have dreaming as an integral part of them: dreams feature as major parts of the stories in Christianity, Buddhism, and many other faiths. Feel free to share your thoughts on this subject. I am on purpose choosing the word "spirituality" broadly, hoping that anyone who has any interest in spirituality no matter how defined, will feel welcome to contribute to this thread.
      I absolutely agree that spirituality and dreams go hand in hand. Here's what I think(I've come to learn): During REM sleep your brain is processing the thoughts and experiences of your day. During that process any negative neuron firing or undesirable responses are filtered out. So when we encounter similar experiences and thoughts we respond in (what we perceived as; during sleep) the most desirable manner. So, this is where I relate it to 'the spirits'(that's what I like to call it), In our dreams we're playing out (very abstractly) how 'the spirits' (that we encountered in that day) and our thoughts & emotions(inward responses to worldly distress) are going to effect our personal ethos. In essence, when you wake up you've decided, you've interacted, with 'the spirits'. They've let you grow, and progress, to make new decisions. New decisions that lead to new encounters, experiences, and responses(our thoughts and emotions).

      I tend to stay up for very long periods of time. So, I see this in a very critical manner, when I do go to sleep I absolutely feel changed. Not only because I'm rested but because all those emotions & thoughts that I drew on, that I kept in mind, they become resolved. At lest for awhile. Dreams are a 'receipt' (if you will) of your personal interaction with 'the spirits'; In my opinion.
      Last edited by Lyt; 05-07-2013 at 11:12 PM.
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      Lyt, what you describe reminds me of the concept of karmic traces in The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep book that I have been reading. Btw, based on that concept, I have been trying to thus far unsuccessfully predict what I might dream of. I can usually tell what day time interactions my dreams are based on in hindsight, but I have been trying to predict the cause and effect in advance of the dream: which elements of the day left such an impact on me that I may dream of them. Despite lack of predictive success, I have found this to be a worthwhile exercise.

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      Quote Originally Posted by JoannaB View Post
      Lyt, what you describe reminds me of the concept of karmic traces in The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep book that I have been reading. Btw, based on that concept, I have been trying to thus far unsuccessfully predict what I might dream of. I can usually tell what day time interactions my dreams are based on in hindsight, but I have been trying to predict the cause and effect in advance of the dream: which elements of the day left such an impact on me that I may dream of them. Despite lack of predictive success, I have found this to be a worthwhile exercise.
      I agree, I think what we remember is probably more based on what we've been ignorant of. At lest that seems to be the case for me. I also believe that 'the spirits' never full reveal what they are, or where exactly they came from. If they did, it would be like seeing the face of a god(or God), It would probably leave you mad, you'd see its implications everywhere. So, from what I've experienced, you'll only be provided acute amounts of information that is directily relatable to your daily intents.

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      They can be related (I think they are) but they're not mutually exclusive.
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      Yes! If you want it to be! Just expecting dreams to convey meaningful messages is a good place to start. That doesn't mean all dreams are going to be meaningful, most are just junk filtering through your mind.

      I really like communicating with my subconscious directly, asking questions, observing what happens.

      I don't really consider dream sharing a spiritual thing. For most spiritual circles, that's just having fun and has nothing to do with personal development. But! There aint nothing wrong with fun and dream sharing kinda requires you to believe you exist outside the body.

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      Quote Originally Posted by JoannaB View Post
      Interesting I had not thought of mindfulness as surrender - I will need to think about that. For me awareness is empowering, but I am alas seldom good at it. I am not sure I am ready to surrender yet: it's kind of a problem because in a way Christianity is also about surrendering one's ego to God, giving up one's possessions and one's preference for family over strangers, giving up one's pride. But I am not ready to do that, I don't know whether I ever will be, which is a problem. My approach to Lucid Dreaming has been too pride and competition driven also, in a sense I should surrender and accept, but I wish to conquer and take control, which may be an issue.
      Surrender is a convenient word, though it carries possible false connotations. It implies passivity, in fact only through surrender do you gain real control over your life.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by JoannaB View Post
      I noticed that our forum does get a lot of discussions of spirituality. Do the subjects of dreams and spirituality go hand in hand in your mind?
      If by ‘spirituality’ you refer to ego-transcendence, self-realization, enlightenment, seeing through the illusory nature of everyday consciousness, then yes.

      Whenever you have a lucid dream you essentially wake up from the illusions of whichever dream scenario you’re currently involved in. The entire mechanism that is lucid dreaming revolves around self-awareness. Somehow your brain spins a new self through which you’re able to critically observe your previously biased involvements. A simplistic way to think about this is by having two selves: The primary self is subjected to the illusions of dreams and is really on the receiving end of an automated dream scenario. The secondary self would be the new awareness you attain once you realize that you’re dreaming. Now, the primary self uses the secondary self as a proxy. It’s not the other way around. The secondary self is incapable of exerting any control whatsoever, it’s merely a provider of expanded awareness.

      Using lucid dreaming as an analogy, consider this: Ego-transcendence follows the same application. It starts off by an eye-opener similar to what you would get prior to a lucid dream, namely that you’re on the receiving end of the reality you experience. A new, expanded and simultaneous awareness is spun by the brain which is later utilized by the original self as a proxy. This awareness is similar to what you get during lucid dreams and nothing profound. As long as this awareness isn’t lost, it will let you see through and rid yourself of the illusions you would normally be subjected to. In fact, you won’t have a choice if this happens because whatever you call your ‘self’ is really just an automatic bundle of thoughts, emotions, habits, intertwined states of mind just like a dream scenario is. Self-realization is all about acquiring the necessary awareness to recognize this, and once you do, all these illusions will gradually cancel out. What you’re left with is a state of mind where no sensory input is interpreted by the mind. This is a flat state of mind but it’s so grand and way beyond anything imaginable, it’s permanent happiness. Regardless, it’s nothing more than waking up from a wakeful dream state very similar to a dream, same mechanisms at work.

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      Doesntmatter, thanks for your thoughts. While it is not what I mean by spirituality, but I accept this as a possible definition of spirituality. And while a lot of what you say sounds right to me, however, for me that is awareness, and I am not sure whether I am comfortable with splitting egos like that at this time. There are times when I do consider myself as having multiple contradictory egos, but today after a lucid dream this morning, I have a strong sense of one ego without contradictions and no need to transcend it: I am me, and I am aware, my world is whole today.
      You may say I'm a dreamer.
      But I'm not the only one
      - John Lennon

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      I start from the assertion that everything is spiritual. Or as many of our ancestors, the natives of the americas believed, everything is sacred. One can find their self in any experience whatsoever and that is the basis on spiritual life. Building a relationship with our self is the quest of the spiritual life. All that said, dreams play an integral role in our spiritual life. They take waking experience and distill that into pure unconscious communication. This to me is as close to spirit as we humans reach. Then again all life is a dream on some level and that brings me back to everything being spiritual or sacred.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      It depends on your definition of spirituality. For me, drugs, dreams, trances, etc, are all related to an exploration of consciousness. And for me, exploring consciousness is integral to understanding what is and what to think of it. Because I am interested in understanding reality, I am also interested in bending my perception of it.

      I would define the spiritual path as the big picture path of life. So for example from the spiritual perspective love and success are not about the particular outcomes of one opportunity or relationship but about growth throughout one's entire life. In this sense, dreams serve a spiritual purpose because they reveal one's unconscious neural patterns and connections and can aid in psychological growth.

      But deeper than that, the reason I am interested in pursuing things like dream sharing and particularly unique trance states to aid remote viewing, etc, is to test the fabric of reality and help advance society forward along these possibilities. I suppose I consider myself a pioneer of consciousness and the nuance between consciousness and reality, form and thought-form. While I am interested in deepening my connection to Now and essentially following a Buddhist path, dreams are not relating to that endeavor very deeply. Just like how I do not think Transcendental Meditation would serve that end as well as Mindful Meditation would. But that path is about peace and joy. I also consider myself a Magician, and dreams are an integral part of that path. But I am not a Magician to make me happy, I am a Magician because I am naturally disposed to consider there's more to reality than meets our current understanding.
      This,
      And if you wish to connect dreams and spirituality, mysticism is your answer, taoism, jewish quaballah, shaminism, the left hand path are all wonderfull conduits which include lucid dreaming very heavily. But they are essentially what O.P has described.

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