dream sleep

If we reflect upon our own dream experiences, we find that while dreaming, we always believe we are awake. We describe our dreams as, “I was walking down this long and winding road, then I came to a bridge, which stretched out over an ocean, and then I saw a rainbow,” or something like that. The point is that we almost always recount our dream experiences in the first person, and we also feel awake during our dreams. Accordingly, it seems possible that this “awakeness” during our dreams, though we are not fully awake, as we are when we are really awake, is responsible for the desynchronized waveform that appears on the graph...

Here the paradox of dream sleep rears its head once again. We do exist in our dreams. Our “presence” in dreams is responsible for their being any retrospective experience of dreaming at all. But we have already observed that one of the defining features of sleep is the absence of consciousness. So which is it? Are we conscious during our dreams, or not? And if we are conscious in our dreams, then how is this consciousness different from an awake consciousness?

©1995 Charles McPhee. Excerpted from Stop Sleeping Through Your Dreams: A Guide to Awakening Consciousness During Dream Sleep published by Henry Holt and Company, Inc.

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