How to Sleep When Friends are Nocturnal

This topic keeps me awake at night. It’s hard to hit the hay when your friends want to hang. These are some thoughts of mine, but I’m hoping to receive feedback on some of your methods.

For me gaming, socializing, and lounging can all go exponential into the wee hours of the morning when friends are involved. Bonding time is extremely valuable, but it’s important to note the potential enabling of a poor circadian rhythm. Sleeping schedules can get soft-wired into your system and be a potential nuisance when you want to maintain a work ethic.

It’s easy to ignore long term issues for short term pleasure, no one can argue that hedonism is a fun way to live. However, proper education on the role of sleep can lead to empowered rhythm surfing. Rhythm surfing is my way of saying, smooth and calculated adjustments to your sleep schedule to meet your life needs.

Friends complicate things, I often hear from my Miami friends “The clubs get best after 2 am!”

There may be some value in exploring how group discussion on sleep makes for better cohesion. I imagine that friendships operate better between well-rested people as opposed to groggy ones.

Share any thoughts you have. I could definitely use the advice.

Dream On Little Dreamers,

EB

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I Dream of a World of Dreamers

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” -John Lennon.

I dream (figuratively) of a world that prioritizes the substance of dreamer’s visions. These dreams are not the backwash of our daily lives but rather a vision of our possible futures. I refuse to believe the materialist excuse, which dismisses dreams as a mess of neurotransmitter firings left amok in the absence of a conscious overseer. Mastery of dreams equates to mastery of the self.

The path of psychotherapy is deeply appealing to me. I find its progress greatly inspiring and wish the best for those who advance this science. However, with all the assertion of an undergraduate psychology student I feel that there are some structural flaws in its practice. Subjective analysis, an interpretative approach vulnerable to personal biases,  in psychotherapy is its downfall.

Why can’t we nail down the reactions of the unconscious the same way Pavlov could condition the salivation of a dog? It’s extremely difficult to study, sure. It’s made of a smorgasbord of influences from the environment and genetics and dietary influences, sure. It’s a big scary question mark that has brought many psychologists careers to a shrieking halt, sure. Why don’t we try anyway?

Allowing subjectivity to be a core tenant of your scientific theory is the equivalent to sending a man to the moon with no spacesuit. It will fail and when it does it will be a tragic loss.

I want a version of psychotherapy that focuses less on interpretation and more on causality. One that is purpose-driven in its goal to make dream analysis both a valid and reliable science. Why not experiment on the plasticity of the unconscious mind? Give me ten hours of hanging out in the New York subway system and see if I dream of large crowds and rats, I volunteer!

I just want to see people care about their dreams again. Too often I bring up the conversation only to be met with “I haven’t had a dream in years.” Oh but they have, every night they’ve fallen into REM sleep (unless there’s some sleep apnea going on) they’re dreaming so many utilizable things. It’s so very sad they don’t know it.

Dream on Little Dreamers,

EB

Recycling a half-remembered dream (pondering)

So you’re whizzing around like a bird through the air, or hanging out with your favorite fiction protagonist or maybe even getting a handshake from the super charismatic boss of the galaxy  when tragedy strikes. You wake up.

“Wow! What an amazing dream, I can’t wait to write it down or share it with friends,” you’ll think, rolling out of bed beaming with pride. But after a warm shower and a cup-o-joe all too often the second tragedy strikes, you can’t remember most of it.

 

For me this happens all the time and generally bothers the heck out of me. I can’t help but much of the day dwelling on the fantastic but cloudy images left as a residue on my conscious mind. So what is there to do about it? Well quite frankly I don’t know, but I have some ideas I’d like to bounce off of you all.

I figure the best way to teach is by example, so I’ll begin with some dream-fragments I have left from last night. The first is of a friend of mine who every time I looked at him I saw broad shoulders and neat military dress, but every time I looked away he looked slob-ish with a protruding belly. The second is of an particularly shiny void shaped as the human body, it looked proud and wonderful but I was left with the lingering feeling of impermanence .

The first idea I had to recycle these fragments is to write them into poetry, for this I’ll choose the easiest format: a haiku.

Eyes on a proud shape

Such is sight to beauty bring

lo, impermanence

What possessed me to add the shakespearian “lo” to that haiku I may never know. Once I wrote it I couldn’t allow myself to take it out because strangely it makes sense to me. Point being a haiku may be a good way to extract meaning from a rarified dream.

Another idea I had was to use the dream(s) to develop some kind of character description.

In this case I imagine a man with the ability to change the world just by his sight of it. In essence this would derive from the burst of intellectual joy someone has when they discover the word “perception” and want to go around telling everyone how they see the world differently from the person next to them. But I would make this character the literal extreme of that, making it so that he always sees the world more positively despite the knowledge that it may be otherwise.

A character like that could be very useful as inspiration for doodles, short stories, music or make for a neat imaginary friend. I don’t know, heck, do what you want with it.

Any other ideas? Maybe with a bit of creative recycling we can all clean up some disk space off our waking minds and be more proactive dreamers (that sounds pretty contradictory but I promise it’s possible).

 

Dream on little dreamers,

EB

Manifestation vs. Manipulation

I often get asked by friends what kind of control I have in my dreams. I’ll usually answer with a practiced bit of how I have basic decision-making abilities, and sometimes can make myself fly and similar fun things. Here they usually ask if I’ve placed them in a lucid dream, and if so what happened to them.

First and foremost, its usually best not to tell people about their dream-projections as it’s a quick route to awkward conversation. Ignore this rule if their dream-projection did something particularly hilarious.

However on a more serious note, this question prompts an interesting debate about the difference between manifestation and manipulation in lucid dreams. Both are definitely possible in dreams, but the levels of difficulty are completely polarized. In this post I hope to distinguish the two in a way that will lead you to have more realistic expectations of your dream world.

Many expect that any amount of lucid dreaming practice will lead to the ability to manifest objects in your dreams. This includes generating fireballs, creating dreamscapes and summoning characters from your everyday life. It is very dissuading to newcomers when they find that this is not indeed the case in most recalled dreams. While it is possible, it is in fact the exception for lucid dreams. More often than not manipulation will be the primary way in which you exert conscious control over your dreams.

Manipulation in dreams works very much like real-world manipulation. You are presented with a situation and you have the ability to react in any way you choose. In the real world an example might be a rainy day, and whether you choose to stay-in or brave the rain. In the dream world an example might be an infinite white space, and whether you choose to sit-down or go exploring.

Especially in the early stages of recalling your dreams this will be the primary way in which you take an active role in your dreams. Try to take note of the decisions made in a dream in your dream journal. Anything from “there was a fork in the road, I turned left,” to “the man asked me to take a bite of the burger, instead I slapped it out of his hand” counts for this exercise. During the dream try to recognize points where you feel the power to make a decision. Try doing the exact opposite of what you think would be a good idea. Although you may end up in some particularly interesting situations, this is a good way to practice the power of manipulation.

Manifestation is a feasible goal for lucid dreamers, but it is in fact a lofty one. It is also definitely NOT the only way to have fun with lucid dreams, so acquiring this ability should not be a stressful process. The ability to manifest characters and objects in your dreams comes with a lot of practice.

As a disclaimer, I do not have the ability to manipulate everything in my dreams (nor would I want such an ability) so this is entirely theorized.

The easiest things to manifest in your dreams are things that you are very familiar with and have no definite dimensions. An example of this would be the quintessential ball of fire. The hardest things to manifest are people. Yes, that includes all of you inquisitive friends of mine. While it is easy to fling an object it is much harder to create a anatomically correct human being with a proper persona. Go figure.

My recommendation for working towards manifestation in your dreams is to recreate the simplest thing you can imagine. The “anchor” you chose (see my post Lucid Dreaming: The Basics) is a great start. Maybe create a list of objects that you check off each time you successfully manifest them. Something like this would work: Anchor object > pen > book > sandwich > ??? > fireball. Just a warning, on occasion trying to manifest even the simplest objects may wake you up as a result of the conscious effort you’re exerting.

I want to stress the fact that manifestation is NOT the only goal of lucid dreaming, and the inability to do so should not be seen as a failure on the lucid dreamer’s part. Relish in the power you do have in your dreams, you may find that even the smallest manipulations can bring great insight.

 

Dream on little dreamers,

EB