Day 1.

Well, I was furloughed in thanks to COVID-19. I want to be proactive during my time off, organize my files, photos, work on my books, etc. And, per usual, I got distracted within minutes.

Have you ever found old papers or projects from your school days? Specifically, high school?

As my readers may know, I often refer to dreams and apparently, I did this at 18 years old as well. Enjoy this psych paper I wrote in high school.

PS: I always knew I was a lucid dreamer. Told ya! It's called consistency, folks.

And how about this senior high school photo I also found. Haha! 

Dreams to Dream

Last night I had a dream. Last night, you had a dream. In all previous nights, everybody had a dream. Have you ever really wondered what cause dreams? Where they come from? Why they occur? Do dreams really mean anything? Can people really have dreams that predict the future, or coincide with events that are soon to come? Dreams are, as Freud states, the "royal road to the unconscious"—a road to greater knowledge about a patient or about oneself. But this does not tell me what dreaming really is.

Everybody dreams, but some people never recall dreaming. Others remember only a little about a dream they had just before awakening and recollect nothing about earlier dreams. Nobody recalls every dream, and in general, dreams are usually forgotten. Dreams, in most cases, lack sense and order. Dreams are incapable of being 100% remembered, and they are forgotten because as a rule they fall to pieces the very next moment. Also, remember that the fact that most people take little interest in their dreams, which takes a part in forgetting dreams.

Dreams, none-the-less, are stories that people watch in their sleep. Sometimes dreams are so vivid to the imagination that people believe they are taking part in it. Usually this takes place because dreams are connected to real experiences, which are sometimes forgotten and re-enacted in slumber. Dreaming makes connections between recently experienced material and old memories; it often puts together or combines two different people, two different places, or two different parts of our lives. That all the material composing the content of a dream is somehow derived from experience, that it is reproduced or remembered in the dream- this at least may be accepted as an incontestable fact. Yet it would be wrong to assume that such a connection between the dream-content and reality will be easily obvious from a comparison between the two. On the contrary, the connection must be carefully sought, and in quite a number of cases it may for a long while elude discovery. The reason for this is to be found in a number of peculiarities evinced by the faculty of memory in dreams; which peculiarities, though generally observed, have hitherto defied explanation. It will be worth our while to examine these characteristics exhaustively.

There are two main theories or groups of theories followed by dream researchers and clinicians at present. One derives from Sigmund Freud's thesis that every dream when truly understood represents the fulfillment of a wish. Second, there is a group of modem biologists who suggest that dreams are random, more or less meaningless products of brainstem activity during sleep.

The events of a dream usually consist of a story. In some dreams, the person takes part in the story. In others, the dreamer merely watches it take place. However though, the dreamer cannot usually control what takes place and there is little logical though, and events that occur that could not occur in that reality and environment we live in. Occasionally, the dreamer realizes that they are dreaming and may be able to alter what happens in the dream without waking up. These kinds of dreams are of called lucid dreams.

People see in most dreams; as well as hearing, touching, smelling, and being able to taste. Also, most dreams occur in color, though often vague and unrecalled. Dreaming also puts things into new and unexpected perspectives, which in some cases, has led to important scientific discoveries.

Like all mental processes, dreaming is a product of the brain and its activity. Whether a person is awake or asleep, the brain continuously gives off electrical waves. Scientist measures these waves with an instrument called and electroencephalograph. An electroencephalograph, or an EEG, measures electrical voltages and are used by doctors and neuroscientists. They use it to study normal brain activity as well as abnormal brain states caused by injury, tumors, infection, or even death. Most of the time when a person is asleep, the brain waves are large and slow. However, at certain times they become smaller and faster and the person’s eyes are moving rapidly, as though they were watching something. This is the sleeping stage where most dreams take place and is called REM, or Rapid Eye Movement. Work from laboratories on the biology of REM and non-REM sleep helps us to understand the essential biology of the underlying sleep state (REM sleep) that is the best. Adults usually have three to five REM periods each night. This movement occurs every 90 to 100 minutes, but only lasts for about 5 minutes at a time. Don’t get confused though, because not all dreams come from REM periods. Some people report dreamlike mental activity when awakened from non-REM sleep or as they are falling asleep.

During this stage, pathways that carry nerve impulses from the brain to the muscles are blocked. Therefore, the body cannot move during dreams. Also, the cerebral cortex (the part of the brain involved in higher mental functions), is much more active than it would be when a person is in an awake state. The cortex is stimulated by neurons that carry impulses from the brain stem.

Dreams are always questionable as to what they mean. They can include events and feelings that the dreamer has experienced. In fact, most dreams are related to events of the day before and many minor incidents of the hours before sleep.

Experts who study dreams also feel dreams can related to deep wishes and fears of the dreamer. There are several theories explaining the meaning of dreams, like the one developed in the 1890’s by Sigmund Freud. Freud was an Austrian scientist who originated psychoanalysis. He suggested that dreams are wish fulfillments disguised in form. The disguise involves condensation (combing several ideas into one image), displacement (shifting a feeling from one idea to another), and symbolism (the use of symbols to represent what cannot be pictured directly).

Some scientists have suggested that biological discoveries about dreaming have made psychological theories of dreaming unnecessary. These scientists argue that a dream is a meaningless response of the cerebral cortex to random stimulation from the brain stem. However, waking thought is also a response of the cerebral cortex to stimulation, often random, from the brain stem. They think these stimulations make connections all over the place—that it is basically a random process. However, this is highly unlikely, based on a great deal people who have experienced an acute trauma and are now recovering from it, but go through dreams and nightmares while recovering. The advantage to studying dreams in such a situation is that we know what is on the person's mind. Therefore, the biology involved does not make dreams meaningless any more than it makes waking thoughts meaningless. Psychiatrists and psychologists still consider dreams psychologically meaningful.

The function of dreaming is not completely understood. A statement concerning the dream which seeks to explain as many as possible of its observed characteristics from a single point of view, and which at the same time defines the relation of the dream to a more comprehensive sphere of phenomena, may be described as a theory of the dream. The individual theories of the dream will be distinguished from one another by their designating as essential this or that characteristic of dreams, and relating thereto their data and their explanations. It is not absolutely necessary that we should deduce from the theory of the dream a function, but expectation, being as a matter of habit teleologically inclined, will nevertheless welcome those theories which afford us some insight into a function of dreams. Dreaming sleep may play a role in restoring the brain’s ability to handle such tasks as focused attention, memory, and learning. In addition, most psychiatrists and psychologists still believe that a person’s hidden feeling often surface in dreams. Psychotherapists therefore analyze patients’ dreams in an effort to help the patients understand themselves better.

Feeling paralyzed within a dream or while waking up is actually a physical process of protection by your body while you are asleep. The fear & rush of adrenaline bring you to partial wakefulness, close to waking up completely. While we are asleep (in REM state), our brain induces paralysis to prevent us from acting out our dreams, and quite possibly hurting ourselves. (See Sleep Walking, below) There have been reported deaths of people with this mechanism being faulty, who fled a dream "monster" and threw themselves out of a high-rise apartment, or ran into the street and were struck by a car and killed. There have also been reports of people "fighting" dream assailants, and sadly when they "come to" or awaken, they find out they have hurt or even injured a family member.

If your sleep disorder has reached a stage where you may be on the verge of violence or accidental injury, it’s strongly recommended for you to go to a sleep clinic and get help. Stress and being overtired are triggers for sleepwalking, and you can learn how to alleviate these triggers.

Being aware of dream paralysis is a good sign that your intuition is heightened. Being partially awake in a dream is the pre-cursor to lucid dreaming, a highly enlightened state in which the dreamer is totally awake within a dream, and reality merges with the dream-scene, one can will oneself to fly, cause magnificent manifestations of artwork, create a quite realistic reunion with friends or relatives who have passed on...the possibilities are endless. Once one has lucid dreamed, they are never quite the same. Life has opened a door of heightened awareness, which truly feels more real than one's waking life.


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