My dreams are becoming more vivid lately. We’re talking iMax quality movies with Dolby surround sound, and Sony Smell-O-Rama in my pimped out limbic system.
Whenever I tell people about the dreams I have they look at me like I’m crazy. Of course, when I share any of the stuff inside my head, people often back away slowly, one hand resting on their cell phones.
But to me, the dreams are never vivid enough. I always want to crack open my psyche more with the spinning blades of that precious REM cycle (dream in the place where you are, now face North, think about emasculation like you haven’t before).
Throughout my life, I’ve tried many ways to stir up my unconscious. It’s like dredging the sludge from the bottom of a stagnant swimming pool–there are frightening creatures nesting among the slime, but once you spend time with them, you start to see the beauty of their world.
Here are some of the techniques I’ve tried:
- Falling asleep while listening to the radio or music, something that will stimulate a specific effect.
- Making a recording of myself or someone else talking, and setting it to play on a loop when the REM cycle kicks in.
- Repeating a phrase in my head before I fall asleep.
- Fixing my mind on the image of something I’d like to dream about, and holding onto that until I fall asleep.
- Drinking a special herbal Dream tea from Tea Chai Té in Portland, Oregon. [Sadly, they haven’t had this in stock long enough for me to do sufficient experiments.]
The results of these techniques are mixed. Sometimes I can control what my dreams are about, or stimulate especially vibrant dreamscapes. Other times, I don’t remember my dreams at all.
Over the past year, though, I’ve been discovering what does work for me:
- I haven’t owned a television in over three years, which means that any television program or movie I watch is on DVD and on my own time. Gone is the constant bombardment of visual and aural stimuli.
- I read and write often, both of which stimulate the imagination.
- I do yoga and meditate every day, so I expect that I’ve been opening up some of my chakras, or balancing my chi, or getting in touch with my Mojo (choose the metaphor you like).
- My sleep cycle is erratic. Over time, probably a period of 1-2 months, my sleep becomes less regular, but then my body resets itself and I sleep extremely deeply for about a week and have wild dreams. I think this is my mind finally processing all of the information that’s been collecting over that time.
Shamans dreamed to predict the future or find guidance. Jung delved deeply into his own subconscious using dreams (and self-imposed madness, which I would do if I could get a reliable cat-sitter).
So, I’ll continue my journey. Maybe over the next year, I’ll post my dreams online and see what they contain. There’s rich, organic sludge deep within my unconscious, waiting for me to embrace it.