As far as I am concerned, no one gives dreaming enough credit. For as long as I can remember, dreams have always been important to me, and I feel like I have to talk about them, to get them out of me, to ponder them. I believe that this has a lot to do with the realness of the dreaming experience. There is a theory that DMT, a very powerful hallucinogen, which is already present in our brains in small doses, secretes while we are in REM sleep. If you have ever read about a DMT experience in which it is smoked, or had the experience yourself, then you would know that it is described as feeling “more real than real”, and there is a fast transition from being in this reality, in which the person experiencing it feels like they are being pulled out of their bodies.
The thing about hallucinogens, is that I do not believe they trick the mind. Some people think of hallucinating as something fake, as an experience that is not a real or valid one. I heavily disagree with this. The mind perceives an extraordinary event through the application of a substance that alters the brain chemistry temporarily. How can this be a fake experience? This is definitely a part of a valid experience of reality.
Dreaming, you could say, is like having a psychedelic experience, and because it happens everyday, it’s novelty can wear off, and a person can easily begin to dismiss their dreams. I believe that whatever happens in dreams is just as valid as being awake.
Ever have one of those dreams that you just can’t shake as soon as you wake up? I’ve experienced that a lot. I will wake up crying sometimes, or in shock at the contents and the feels of the dream I had been having. I will quickly go write these dreams down, because I believe that whatever I was made to feel, was for a purpose. I try to decode my dream experiences, to understand why it happened as it did.
Of course there are dreams that I have that appear to have no valid narrative, that seem to be a string of randomness sewed together. Then there are dreams that have a lot to do with my awake reality. I’ve had dreams in which I took a shower multiple times, because before I fell asleep it really bothered me that my hair was so oily.
Who can say that what we experience when we dream is not valid enough to be looked at as seriously as we look at our own lives while we are awake. If it is a natural state that occurs, then it has a purpose.
I used to be an atheist, and while I was, I was extremely depressed. I convinced myself that the concept of god is a delusion. I was very depressed and would have panic attacks, all because when I closed my eyes, I could only see darkness, because I could not see purpose to this life when there was no spirit for me to acknowledge.
Then I had an experience, one with DMT, in the form of a brew called Ayahuasca (this word means “vine of the soul”). It is a much less powerful, but longer-lasting version of smoking DMT. Ayahuasca has been brewed and drunk in South American for a long time, and it is used by shamans to cure disease of the soul, or of the mind.
In my experience, I felt as if I was seeing myself for the very first time. I examined my self, my actions, my thoughts, my whole life, and I could see all the mistakes that I had made. How hating myself for most of my life caused me so much harm, and I hated myself for what? What reason did I have to cause myself so much pain?
It was like years and years of self-therapy in one night. After my experience, I felt a glow, like I could understand so much more about my experience of reality, like a gloom was wiped away. I listened for what felt like the first time, really listened to what people around me had to say. Most importantly, I felt like there was a life about everything, every moment, every tree, every thought, every person, every object, everything. I could sense the energy of the earth, and it is a lot less hard to do than you could imagine. I could see how everything was inter-connected, and how no one is alone. What a wonderful revelation, to finally know that I am not alone, when I had made myself alone, told myself I was alone for so many years of my life.
I could see that “god” was not what I thought it was. God is all that is, all that is to become, and all that ever was. We are a part of god, and god is a part of us. God is not a man, nor a woman. God is much more than we can perceive, and it is the mystery. God is not limited to one religious view, and god has no rules. God is love, understanding, and creativity. God is meaning.
I do not align myself to any one religion, but I feel more attuned to this basic truth: Reality is not cut from a simple shape. Reality is in the eye of every person, and every person sees reality in their own way. Therefore, alternate realities co-exist in almost seven billion different ways. We all have our life narrative, we are all striving for a purpose. There is something very special about this, and to simply be materialistic, and base all of reality simply on what we see, and less with what we feel, is like being asleep.
This is why I see dreams as so important to our functioning. This daily experience, lucid as it is, becomes concrete through our emotions. If one were to pay more attention to their dreams, what would they end up learning? I am very curious to find out.