Sunday, 9 October 2011

A pinch of fairy dust..

The rays of an early morning winter sun seeped through the musty glass as the cacophony of a boisterous grade 7 classroom surrounded us; but me and my friend chatted obliviously, as usual. I tapped the person sitting in front for some water, who turned out to be a classmate from grade 9. I wavered a bit and went back to yapping. In a few seconds, a bunch of 3 people walked into a now hushed classroom and stood, smiling at me. I froze. My mind did a big flip as i realized that not only were those 3 people known to me in different periods of my life (entirely unrelated to each other) but also seemed to have not grown older at all since i last saw them...
My friend next to me, got up and walked to meet them like an old known person. I flipped again. How, how could this ever be? Am I in Harry Potter's world?? This just aint possible!! Unless... it's a dream.
And that's how i had chanced upon my first Lucid Dream.

Many a moons have shone since i had this dream but it was only more than 2 years back that i stumbled upon the term Lucid dreaming and realized that there's much to it than i thought. Lucid dreaming refers to dreaming with the awareness that one is dreaming or is part of a dream. It can either be:

1) DILD (Dream Initiated Lucid Dream) - it kicks off like any other dream and somewhere along the line the dreamer realizes that it's a dream.
2) WILD (Wake Initiated Lucid Dream) - when the dreamer passes directly from a conscious waking state to a dream one without any apparent blip in consciousness or memory.

So far, i've experienced only the former; and many times over. Once the awareness sinks in, you're the master of your dream. Initially, the realization is immediately followed by waking up. But with practice, you become comfortable with it and continue with the dream, albeit with much more control and consciousness. That however, varies with the level of lucidity. Higher the level, more you aware are you that it's a dream and nothing that happens in it can touch/affect/harm you physically. It's important to understand that Lucid dreaming isn't the same as Dream control. You may control without being lucid and you may have little control even being highly lucid. Although, both are intricately complementary.

My first thought on learning about this was Whoaaaaaa. This means i can sleep my life away dreaming the most amazing, exhilarating things ever! Where's the quilt, i've gotta sleep right now! Alas, i faced a biological barricade that any one of will face - a limited amount of REM sleep. So much so for discovering my life's vocation.
I told my friend about it and his question flabbergasted me for a second, unable to believe the rationality he was seeking in such an invigorating activity - That's nice. But what's the use? What good will it do me? That sent me back to finding out more (i've to admit, not to gain knowledge but to convince him about the novelty of this). And this is what i dug up on its potential benefits/uses:

1) Adventure/fantasy - hardy harr harr! Go ahead, be the Pirate you've always             longed to be. Or be the superhero who saves the day. Take your pick.
2) Rehearsal - perfect that tennis swing. Or better that ballet jump to a 10/10.
3) Overcoming phobias - shatter your (recurring) nightmares or face up to your fear of heights by jumping off a cliff without a bottom.
4) Healing - using positive imagery to meliorate old nagging injuries/handicaps, physical or mental.
5) Creativity/problem solving - the unconstrained, unprejudiced state allows you to see beyond the usual and barrage through that artist's block you've been facing.
6) Transcendence - experiencing states so exalted, so surreal that one is forced to ponder over what's real and what's not or if there's a difference at all.

The explanation for all of the above is the finding that brain activity during the dream state is same as during a waking or actual activity one; anything you learn or practice in this state is similar to the preparation and effort you exert in the waking world (sans the physical/emotional/mental stress or unpleasant circumstances!). You focus neatly and only on what you want. Your neural patterns are being conditioned and established. All sensory input and noise is muted allowing you to unfurl your imagination.

And now if you'll excuse me please, i need to dream into getting my name published in the Guinness Records for running the most random, yet most read blog ever. Meanwhile dig in your hand into your bag of dreams and sprinkle some fairy dust above and around - dream on(literally)! :D

When i sat down to burn this post, the following poem floated into my mind and here it is. The poet is Edgar Allan Poe and he gifted it to the world in 1849.

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

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