Tag Archives: weirdness

Turkey dreams

Q: Does eating Turkey really help increase serotonin and make my xmass dreams more funky.

Firstly Turkey does help increase serotonin intake BUT this does not make xmass or thanksgiving dreams more funky.

If your like me, on xmass or thanksgiving day you eat some Turkey, some bread, fruits, salads, a few roast vegetables, maybe some dip and a whole lot of pudding. While you do this you often also drink a substantial amount of Alcohol.  Which as you can guess is actuly our “weirdness” culprit. Alcohol is the big doosey here for every article on how serotonin alone (not just Turkey) affects sleep, depression, etc., there are at least 5 more on Alcohol and its effect on sleep and the body. Your weird xmass dreams are also effected because, you guessed it, you expect to have them. You have had them in the past, everyone talks about them and its a fun way to spend the rest of the day when you wake up and don’t feel like moving as you have a pretty full belly.

Turkey and its effect on sleep is partly myth, partly reality. Preprocessed Turkey (like deli-meat) will be different to non-preprocessed (fresh cooked at home) as well, due what they do to processed meat (more salt, more fat, more accessible protein). If you really want a deit that will give you better “happy dreams” I am afraid that 1 meal Turkey is more likely to just give you a case of gas. Serotonin intake is also affected by everything else you consume on xmass day. And the thing is messing around with Serotonin isn’t something we should just do because we like weird dreams.

Serotonin doesn’t just give us the “happy” feeling, it also does other stuff, and having lots of it will actuly make you nuts. Were talking barking-foam-mad-dog mental asylum nuts here. You want to increase and decrease serotonin slowly and not without the help of real doctor or psychiatrist. 

Eating heaps of Turkey for a while may make your feelings, dreams and behavior change ever so slightly, but the serotonin is converted by your body, your body will stop converting it when you reach whatever level is normal for you and the rest will just end up in the toilet.

If you want to change your diet to get better dreams your better off doing, you guessed it, what every health expert pretty much tells you about diet. Mostly fruit and vegetables, medium grain and pulse, some meat and cheese; not to much and plenty of fresh water; Skip out on Caffeine and Alcohol drinks. Although yes alcohol helped you with the “weird” dream, the “weird” dream effect is diminishing. The longer and more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to do damage and cause issues.

Republished due to high search count. 

Addressing the “Reality” of dreams

The irony is that we all hear voices and see “things that aren’t there” when we dream, voice and visions that we do not consciously create — and that’s considered socially acceptable. It’s even acceptable, to a certain extent, to look to dreams for personal direction. But for some reason, it’s not acceptable to listen to these voices or pay attention to these images when we are awake. And the truth is that everyone hears voices and sees image in their head, even when we are awake. And I would hazard that most people have had the experience of hearing a voice or seeing an image which did not feel like it came from them. And sometimes these experiences feel … well, significant… (http://allergicpagan.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/hearing-voices-or-talking-to-ourselves/)

Talking to “yourself” is nor acceptable as it is mentally unstable
We could talk here about historical context, or even anthropology, we can take this to deep psychology or philosophy. The entire argument is a logical fallacy. The problem is that this is in fact http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies). Having a considerable level of experience with mentally ill people in my real life I get REALLY annoyed at this argument. It essentially is saying that your mentally ill and therefor everything you say, do, or have ever done is therefor able to be ignored. Which you can tell is a pretty stupid argument. Especially when we consider the fact that most of us, especially those who read this blog regularly will know that dreams are in fact a projection of our unconsciousness mixed with a dash of psychology and some neurology thrown in for good measure. If you think people who interact with their own unconsciousness are nuts, then I will kindly show you the door.

Reality
Now we have addressed that, we will go onto the idea of “Reality.”

Philosophically speaking our dreams are real. Not a different state or reality or a different universe. They are real. You experience thought in them, conduct actions, do things that seem as “real” as they do when you are awake. Sure they seem pretty silly, or “weird” (https://dreamsandbass.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/you-are-not-weird/) when you are awake. Last night I had a dream that combined George R.R. Martins Song of Ice and Fire with Rob Balder’s and Doctor Who. We are not talking fully surreal (see
: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhXGxNgv6Iw ), but its pretty cool. Maybe some might say its “Weird” but we have already pretty much dismissed this sort of talk as logical fallacy and even possible bullying.

My point is, don’t worry about how “real” things are unless you really want to get a decent headache.

You want to interact with your dream characters? Do so. No really do. Interacting with your dreams is a awesome thing to do. Are they really spirits or gods? I can’t really answer that one for you. That really up to you, and I know what I think (but this is not a blog about my opinion on those matters, my opinions on religion/philosophy go elsewhere). And to be perfectly honest I think we have better things to do then argue ourselves into yet another debate that goes nowhere.

Worried about your mental health? Seek help from your GP or psychologist.

Dream magic (with or without a K)

The idea that you can affect your dreams using “magick” is not new nor is it without some basis. Freud, Jung, Boyer, Pascal, Pierre Liénard and others all draw on the conclusion that religious “magic” and “phschology” are closely linked. And as I have said before

Anything you do affects your dreams

So if you do magic (show or religious, or both), it will eventually show up in your dreams.

But what about magic for reaching dream states?

Ophiel wrote on this subject pretty comprehensibly (and accessibly) in his book The art and Practice of Astral Projection and he list more than two ritual (magic with a k in some circles) methods for reaching the OBE/Astral projection state. One is closely connected to Themla and the OTO, but I am not sure how closely what he wrote in the book resembles any practices done now (its a old book but a good one). This is besides the point because the others all work just as well as it, though some are “easier” and the effect is similar, the longer more complex ones have less of a shelf life. By that I mean, when working with them for a long period of time some people (like me) will find the effort of that method gets harder over time. Other people will be able to slip in and out of the OBE state like a dolphin and still others may not reach it at all. Lucid dreaming is certainly more accessible in terms of how “easy” it is in comparison for a lot of people. Of course much like how “binueral beats” work for some (in some circumstances) and not for others ever. However reaching lucidity and OBE are not exclusive ways of using dream magic, there are others.

There are many other reasons people may use “dream magic” and I will list some of them:

Protection

A lot of people have good reason to feel afraid. Fear is a cause of nightmares and some may use a “magical” ritual to protect them. This ranges from prayers to a circle casting to candle magic, to contacting spirits for protection in trance and so on. This sort of dream magic has ranged success level. Fear is something you should talk to a psychologist for if you are scared of your own nightmares/dreams.

Connection

Connecting to gods, the self, spirits, etc. Very awesome, some people consider it dangerous and thus use a magic circle or similar for protection. Collective dreaming sometimes involves small rituals but I am not sure of how successful they are.

“Dreamwalking”

Dreamwalkers are people who try to invade or even consensually connect to a person who is dreaming themselves. There is no “proof” in any literature it works. Some say it can be used for malicious purposes (and heard of people fearing this after abuse from a so called “dreamwalker”).

10 big dreaming myths

1. Everyone dreams

Not true. Some people can’t due to the fact they have brain damage or are on medication that inhibit the dreaming state. Some medical conditions cause a lessening of the REM or nREM state (and other dream states).

Almost all people do dream (including blind and deaf people), recall of dreams however is harder for some people. Lifestyle, medication, sleep time, desire to recall and even personality can effect this.

2. People go crazy when they don’t sleep/dream

Yes possible, but very unlikely. Generally go without sleep for long enough and you will go into a coma or be hospitalized and they will force you to sleep. When sleep deprived you will do more risky things and be inhibited. The more sleep deprived, the more likely it is to cause a problem.

Insomnia is a real problem for which a GP or sleep doctor is needed to assist.

3. Animals don’t dream

Completely false, Google scholar “mammalian dream states”. Dolphins, Rats, Dogs and Cats (most dog/cats owner can tell you this), Rabits, Cows, etc. Even Snakes and reptiles have a state their mind enters into when asleep, they do not enter a coma. It can be reasonably assumed almost all animals with a brain and central nervous system dreams. Weather or not this indicated consciousness or if they are aware of dreams is a argument for the ages.

4. Lucid dreaming will make me X

Go mad, be sexier, scared, silly, stupid, etc. Most of these claims are false. Lucid dreaming is completely safe and almost always leads to the dreamer having a awesome nights sleep, nothing more.

5. You can get trapped in dreams

Not true, but you can have a “false awakening” attack were you wake up again and again but are still actually asleep. These dreams are unnervingly real and look and feel real, its often not till you are awake you notice the difference. If you suffer from them, best keep a log of the differences you notice. The movie Groundhog Day reminds me very much of someone having a false awakening attack.

Reoccurring dreams are also an issue, best thing to do is to attempt lucid dreaming and or seek professional advice from a GP or sleep doctor.

6. My dreams tell me the future

Unlikely. I published a post about this here. Generally most claims of dream prediction have turned out to be false. Its possible, but VERY unlikely. Actual credited accounts backed up by multiple independent people are completely nonexistent.

7. I can talk to God/Spirit/Goddess/Jesus/etc. in my dream

This is completely YOUR experience and for you it is truth and for everyone else it is, well you talking to your mind. In reality that god/etc you talked you is really your own subconscious and thats fine, talking to your subconscious is awesome and I am glad you do it, but claiming to anyone but yourself that this is the TRUE WORD OF GOD is likely to get resounding bouts of laughter. Also note you REALLY DONT have to do anything this God/Spirit etc tells you to do, really, make these decisions with your waking mind with evidence and support and counsel of your partner or friends or whoever.

8. I can die while dreaming

Yes you can, but not from dreaming in of itself. Stroke, heart attack, hit by an asteroid, suffocate on your pillow, all possible while dreaming. Its not the dreaming state that kills you though.

9. Waking a sleepwalker is dangerous

Not true, wake that sucker for their safety. People have done crazy things like get in the car, get milk from the shop, cook dinner and leave the stove on while asleep. If you know your a sleepwalker and live alone, use some method to wake yourself, such as a alarm that goes off when you open your bedroom door, a bell tied to your feet, something.  Problem sleepwalkers should also consult a GP or sleep doctor.

10. Dreams are inspirational

Yes, yes they are.

Are “invader” dreams ghosts?

Neurologists like Blanke (1,2) and Chenye (3) call them “invader dreams”, others refer to them as False Awakenings and OBE. They all fit into Night terrors. But are the thing we see ghosts or spirits?

The answer is actually maybe. Scientifically they are things that only exist within our mind, they are things our mind make up, for whatever reason (some reasons are supposed in the International Journal of Dream Research ( http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/ojs/index.php/IJoDR/index ). Its most likely a combination of psychological and neurological reasons. But they feel real. That feeling is hard to argue with no matter how much scientific evidence there is. The thing is that people do not like their feelings and experiences dismissed, they “know” its real, even if there is a scientific explanation from a guy with letters after their name, its still “real”. Psychologically this makes sense, we will trust our own epistemological sense quicker than anything else. We have and experience to back our claim on, to look at it any other way seems odd.

The thing is that belief and science are not mutually exclusive. We believe things because we are human, we need stories to make sense of life. We like the idea of a scientific explanation, but we want a way of dealing with it for ourselves. A means to look at these experiences that help us know that they happened and are real experiences. There is no reason why we can’t believe that they are ghosts, spirits, gods, etc. As long as we make sure we know these are our individual experiences and when telling other people about them saying something like “My experience was like this, I know the scientific explanation is this, but I still believe in X anyway”.

1. Blanke O, Landis T, Spinelli L, and Seeck M. Out-of-body experience and autoscopy of neurological origin. Brain, 127: 243–258, 2004.
2. Blanke O, Mohr C, Michel CM, Pascual-Leone A, Brugger P, Seeck M, et al. Linking out-of-body experience and self processing to mental own-body imagery at the temporoparietal junction. Journal of Neuroscience, 25: 550–557, 2005.
3. Cheyne, J. A. and Girard, T.A. Cognitive Neurophysiology, 9,4, pp. 281-300, 2004.

Now for some discussion about OBEE’s

OBE or OOBE or OBEE (chose your acronym of preference):
Note: I will use OBE to mean Outside (or Out) of body experiences in this post, I am entering any current discussion of their relation to NDE or Near Death experiences at this stage. Please also note OBE and lucid dreams are generally considered distinct to one another (though you can slip from one to the other).

Current science
Hypnagogic imagery and OBE are a petty big topic. Although (Cortex 45: pp. 236–242, 2009) tells us there is now a fairly clear distinction between the two states, Blanke and Mohr (1,2) also let us know that there is much to be studied in this area. It is pretty much cutting edge science from that point of view. New studies on this topic are often hard to find in peer-reviewed literature and without full text access to major neurology and psychology database (the best I can do is Informit and Google scholar which are great but not brilliant for this really cutting edge stuff). One however is at a loss to discus one without the other.
For OBE’s Many older “How to do it” publications confuse the two simply either due to lack of knowledge or the fact that at that stage science had not even studied such brain activities. Of the most comprehensive “how to do it” books Ophiel (3) is by and by the outright winner, listing no less than five different ways to achieve an OBE. More recent authors such as Barham and Greene (4), Eby (5), and Peterson (6) have all made fairly useful reading for a good background to the modern day OBE practitioner and the science behind the activity of achieving this stage. Rincpoche (7) talks about “Dreams of clarity” but as his methods are culturally specific I don’t choose to compare them to the others, all of which fit in with modern 70’s to 00’s western culture. There was some rumor that someone had perfected a method to obtain OBE scientifically using machines, but I have never been able to find any real facts behind this claim which are either easily obtainable or cost noting I am not unfortunately a very rich man and I can’t waste my money on every “guaranteed to work” method that, unsurprisingly doesn’t work. I do understand that those who make these methods need to eat as well, but its not for me to test them all, maybe someone else will.
Hypnagogic imagery is less of a “clear” part of this discussion, its mostly classified as the a state which the body goes into between awake and sleep (or sleep and awake which some call Hypergogic imagery, Eby goes on a major rant about this in her book) and pretty much its left as just that. Its really hard to define what is and is not hypnagogic imagery and what is an is no OBE due to this fairly poor definition. Essentially always most people will experience hypnagogic imagery before getting OBE, and one major hypnagogic imagery is the old granny syndrome of which I talked about in this post. False awakenings (FA) can sometimes also be a type of hypnagogic imagery, they are often experiences just before awakening and often contain almost “reality” duplicate to the real life you currently live in their imagery and content. False awakenings are the bane of many a dreameworker and dealing with them can be a major pastime for some who experience them as a problem in their lives let alone in their dreamwork, the “falling dream”, “naked at work/school dream” and the “can’t find a toilet dream” are all classic false awakenings.

Dreamworking with OBE
From a dreamwork point of view, OBES have been something many dream workers have been working with or obtaining for many years, getting better at coming up with new ways to reach a state of OBE or one like it. Another other than those already notes is the work of those who have come up with Binaural beats. Science has little to say so far for “hemispheric synchronisation” via “modulated strophic beats” (this is what scientists call them) but its practitioners often praise it like the holy grail of all dream working tools. I myself remain skeptical, I have tried it and found that it, like a lot of methods requires a specific set up and methodology which was fairly hard to consistently use for the length of time I needed to produce useful results for myself, let alone give me any solid data. I find it is far more useful during meditation and use it frequently for that purpose.
I have had naturally occurring OBE, and have been able to control them with a number of standard lucid dream methods such as the questioning methods: “what was I doing just then?”, “am I dreaming”, “is this my hand?”, ” what is the time? is it still the same time?”, “can I breathe with my noose blocked” (note: the “pinch my arm” method rarely works for me) and the continual statements of affirmation “I will remain lucid” “I will continue dreaming” etc. We will return to these tools in later blog posts as they apply to lucid dreaming as well as OBE.
My most trustworthy method has been the “Light body” method which Opheil (3) calls “The body of light” and his method is neither new nor hard to modify, I have found no less than 6 unique versions of his method in different places in the world of dreamwork and out of it as well and thus its likely you can find one that works best for you (or read these and other OBE books and find one that does work for you).
Unfortunately like all dream phenomenon there will be some of you who will be unable to achieve OBE states for whatever reason, some medical, others simply due to lifestyle or even stress levels, its hard to ascertain without exploring every different possibility and some we simply don’t know about yet.

1. Blanke O, Landis T, Spinelli L, and Seeck M. Out-of-body experience and autoscopy of neurological origin. Brain, 127: 243–258, 2004.
2. Blanke O, Mohr C, Michel CM, Pascual-Leone A, Brugger P, Seeck M, et al. Linking out-of-body experience and self processing to mental own-body imagery at the temporoparietal junction. Journal of Neuroscience, 25: 550–557, 2005.
3. Ophiel, The Art and Practice of Astral Projection, Weiser, 1974
4. Barham, M. J., Greene, J. T., The silver cord : lifeline to the unobstructed, DeVoss & Co, 1986
5. Eby, Carol., Astral Odyssey : exploring out of body experiences, 1996
6. Peterson, Robert., Out of Body Experiences : how to have them and what to expect, [Unknown], 1997
7. Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal, The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, Snow Lion Publications, 1998

Sleep disorders and recall

Question: How does having a sleep disorder affect dream recall? For a lot of people, it’s not easy to increase their night time sleep.

It really depends on the disorder, really. If you can’t increese sleep then best to try and improve recall by having a set of or sets of recall aids, i.e. Note pad and pen etc, a meditaion/mantra on recall (“Remeber this nights dreams” is a good one), and realising that the best recall you can have won’t be the same as the best recall others can have.

Sleep disorders can be helped by seeing your GP/medical professional about them, though if he perscribes sleep aids such as sleeping tablets, expect recall to get worse as the medication doesn’t help the dreaming state (this is a very complicated subject involving states of sleep and REM vs xREM sleep).

Herbal remidies such as Passionflower, Medowsweat, St Johns Wart, Valarian Root, Caradmon, Corriander Root, and Camomile all have differing effects, remeber only take this with GP/medical practioner concent as the active ingrident in herbal remidies often conflicts or adds to the effect of perscribed drugs.