Typically, when the average person hears the term "common dreams"; they automatically associate it with the mutual goals or aspirations shared between a group of individuals. On the contrary, a Beginner Occultist would think it meant every-day dream scenarios that various people experience; right? Well, yes and no. See, we must first develop an understanding of what dreams truly are before we can properly define the term from an occult perspective.
We're mostly led to believe that dreams are a collective way for us to work out real life problems whilst sleeping, and they're maintained exclusively by electrical activity in the brain. This concept is so hollow that we will not entertain it when it comes to Dream Theory here at QD, however; we will link it to the whole.
We spend a decent portion of our lives sleeping, and it's also safe to assume that within that period of time we've experience a few dreams. As someone with more than 20 years of lucid dream experience, I can assure you dreams aren't simply limited to electrical brain activity. Strap on your seat belts and prepare yourselves for a Quantum Ride through the Dream World.
The big question, if dreams aren't exactly what science claims them to be then what are they? Before we dive right into the answer, let's perform some foundational groundwork. I'll break it down into two pillars: physical and spiritual.
All sentient lifeforms express what is called "consciousness", and no matter the level of awareness a being expresses; it still knows it exists. Human beings are no different, and it's no surprise that as a whole we believe ourselves to be the pinnacle of conscious existence on earth; but would it surprise you to know that animals such as cats, dogs, dolphins, whales and many more dream on a regular basis? Some humans claim to have never had a dream in their entire life, while others claim to dream only in black and white. The point I'm trying to make here is--there's a subtle reality upon which the consciousness of all living beings can project itself.
Now, there is something human beings possess that trumps all other known forms of life on earth in regard to the abundance of; and that's "ego." The human ego in particular fuels most action & re-action throughout global society, it's that primal sense of "I" and "self" similar yet different from consciousness. If you fancy yourself a person of goodwill then the following scenario should properly demonstrate the difference between the two: assuming you know how to swim, are able bodied and witnessed someone drowning in shark infested waters; your conscious-mind would tell you to jump in and save them, your ego-mind however, would urge you to avoid the risk of a shark attack. So, how does the ego correlate with dreams? The ego-mind is what most of us use to interface with any particular dream sequence.
Here's when things start to become a little more complicated; the reason being is that consciousness naturally leans more towards spirituality, while ego leans towards physicality. Let's define what "spirit" is, by definition spirit means "an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms." Spirit is a reservoir of energy that gives to, and sustains all natural life in the "multi-verse". Try not to think of it's nature as electrical energy inside a battery that can be drained and re-charged at any given moment; rather, think of it as an inextinguishable flame that intensifies or weakens over time.
The seat of the spirit flame is called the "soul" which, by definition; is "the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal." The soul is a body within our physical body, it's who we were and are before we developed a human ego. Remember the "unfortunate person drowning in shark infested water" story? Well, having enough spirit energy at your disposal and the soul type to match, your conscious mind would quell the ego and you'd jump in to save him or her. An undisciplined ego has the tendency to subvert consciousness and override the connection with spirit-soul, hence greatly influencing the thoughts and emotions of the individual.
You're probably still questioning at this point, what does this have to do with dreams? Well, continue reading and I'll tie all this mumbo-jumbo together for you.
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The problem with modern dream theory is that in essence; there's an abstract reality very closely related to our own that's being neglected and/or completely rejected. If this realm were to become recognized by popular science as being "actual" there'd be an entire world of information open for study and experimentation, on a mass scale.
In similar fashion as to how we approach the "what" about dreams in error, we frequently make the same mistake in regard to the "why" factor. If you feel the question as to what dreams are hasn't been explained well enough then I'd kindly advise that you re-read the above section; as the information therein ties directly into coming paragraphs.
Moving forward, it wouldn't be too far off to assume that if life after death is real then there must be a world that exists to be it's domain; right? Let's dive into what the dream world is, and why we end up there while dreaming.
Just as scientists know there's at least "5 known states of matter", those being: solids, liquids, gases, plasma and condensates; we Occultists know there's at least "3 known states of reality." For the sake of Dream Theory we'll deal with the one most closely related to the subject; the "Astral Plane."
The Ethereal Realm is a general term used to describe all dimensions outside our known and concrete one, the astral plane is the first realm of objective reality all dreamers visit during sleep. There's also a buffer zone between the physical and astral world, we'll call it "Real Time Space" for now and discuss this area of activity first.
RTS is an intermediate "zone" that provides dreamers a smooth transition from this world to the next by acting as a, you guessed it; real time reflection of the "real world" prior to astral transition. Yes, you can view your sleeping body or go to the next room and see what's happening as if you were actually there; and in a sense you are. There can be minor fluctuations and inconsistencies in the real time representation of your particular environment; this is due to sentient beings like yourself manipulating the ethereal aspect of this zone with thought or emotion. However, nothing in this zone should have any more shock value than the fact of being conscious while outside your physical body. Now before you question yourself as to why you've never experienced this zone before; let's talk about it's immediate parent realm, the astral plane.
Normally, when we lie down we don't necessarily "go-to-sleep", we more or less "fall asleep". If you're experienced with lucid dreaming then you know how it works; eventually you come to awareness in the middle of a dream sequence and take lucid control from there. The process of falling asleep causes you to skip the experience of RTS entirely and eventually become conscious in a dream somewhere in "time-space" The process of going to sleep is what we Occultists term--Astral Projection. Beginner practice involves an individual passively putting the body to rest while keeping the mind active, once the body is at the event horizon of "stand-by mode" the practitioner then uses conscious thought to propel his/her "ethereal body" outside of it's shell. Once successful, the being may then travel in RTS or transition onto the astral plane.
However, when we fall asleep the ethereal body hovers just a few feet above our sleeping one, connected by an umbilical like cord; from that resting ethereal form we subconsciously project the "idea" of ourselves onto the astral plane through "dreams". Dreams are at their very core a conglomeration of all thoughts, emotions and experiences we've had subconsciously; played out in raw form. Once you become lucid within a dream you have the opportunity to interact with what is essentially you, until the link that connects you with that sequence has eventually terminated.
Thoughts require energy to formulate and dreams are subjectively filled with thoughts. Taking into account that energy is neither created nor can it be destroyed; when you think a thought and eventually forget about it, does it just disappear from existence or is it somehow associated with and/or stored within the energy required to create it?
The content in this article should be viewed as introductory information regarding dreams as the subject itself is multi-faceted and very extensive. Our Dream Theory section has been designed to gradually increase the degree of knowledge and info as you progress through your studies in linear fashion. If you're already a seasoned Occultist that's just curious as to what's been published here at QD; I'm sure you'll find a wealth of information to keep you interested and/or entertained.
For the beginner wanting to know how to increase the possibility of having a lucid dream: below are my "Top 5 Recommendations for Dream Activation."
1) Practice by falling asleep while imagining "scenarios" or "dramas" in your mind, attempt motion picture quality.
2) Create thoughts and ideas that you will populate these scenarios with, maintain them by day-dreaming in your spare time.
3) Pick the one thing you do the most whether it be habit or duty, which ever is first; while doing that thing make a mental note quite often that you want to lucid dream. Chances are, what you do most regularly while awake you'll find yourself doing in a dream as well; that'll be your catalyst to activate a lucid dream.
4) Use a fan, or something that makes a small amount of bearable noise and turn it on while you fall asleep; you want the noise loud enough to fill the room but not enough to prevent you from falling asleep. "Near-field" noise helps drown out all other noises that may affect your process; use it as your stepping stone to "nothingness".
5) If you're the legal age and have no other issues with taking this product then I'd advise you try "Vicks ZzzQuil". It's non-habit forming and comes in a 10% alcohol or non alcoholic version. The beautiful thing about this product is it'll put you right to sleep in about 30 minutes, and for some reason may cause you to have multiple lucid dreams. I don't know exactly what's in the stuff but it's a very useful tool if you're having trouble achieving lucidity.