Electric Dreams

Waking Dreams vs.
Night Dreams?

Peter Farley


(Electric Dreams)  (Article Index)  (Search for Topic)  (View Article Options)

Farley, Peter (2005 December). Waking Dreams vs. Night Dreams? Electric Dreams 12(12).





Man will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.
-- Carl Jung

How do waking dreams differ from the dreams we have at night? This is another of the most commonly asked question about waking dreams. This time there is a simple answer: There is no real difference. In fact, there is only a hairís breadth difference between the awakened state we call living, and that which we experience at night and call the dreamstate.

Waking dreams and night dreams can merely be thought of as two different settings of the same program. And, just as we might access the same program on our computers through two different methods, so to do we access the different kinds of dreaming. The night dreams require our physical eyes to be closed and our conscious mind shut off from the outside world. The waking dreams require that our physical eyes be open and our conscious mind alert to the things going on around us.

Very few people understand the true nature of dreams and the importance dreaming has to our life and the state of balance we need to try and maintain. Dreams are arguably the most important part of our lives because they are a direct method by which we can realize our existence as divine spiritual beings. And, once again, it is we ourselves who are best equipped to interpret our own dreams, and then gauge their subsequent importance.

Most everybody dreams at night, but not everybody remembers their dreams. Just as with waking dreams, learning to remember our dreams is a skill which comes with practice and attention. When we consciously set out to remember our dreams, it is amazing how quickly we can learn the ways to do it which best suit our own individual needs. As we come to see how important understanding our dreams can be to our daily lives, they will also become a nightly gift we simply cannot wait to unwrap come morning.

Keeping a dream journal in which to record our dreams and their interpretations is the most important thing we can do to help ourselves receive the wisdom and guidance being offered. Not only can this dream journal be used to record our dreams, it can also be very helpful to use as a daily diary in which to release the worries and frustrations of the day by writing them down before we go to sleep.

The one area in which night dreams may vary slightly from waking dreams is that our night dreams are normally exaggerated in size, shape, and the kind of problems they project. The pictures or symbols the unconscious and superconscious minds present to us in night dreams are exaggerated specifically to help get them past the censor and on to the conscious mind. Much like their waking dream counterparts, night dreams will often come in a series, and not so much as the individual, stand-alone kind of dream. Even though the characters and events in one dream may vary totally from the dream that precedes or follows it, the connection between the various dreams will usually come out during their interpretation. Sometimes a series of dreams will continue over the course of more than one night, so we must be sure to review the previous dayís dreams in order to get the bigger picture. The earlier example of the baby that was first miscarried and then born again in a new and larger form, is just one example of dreams coming in a series.

Just as waking dreams have a variety of messages and ways in which they can be conveyed, so to do night dreams come in different types based on their intent or on their purpose. In broad categories, these types are:

1. "Physical" dreams: These are dreams where a physical need or intrusion from the outer world such as an alarm clock, sets up similar conditions in our dreams to mirror the outer conditions. A person who goes to bed thirsty will often dream of satisfying that thirst during their dreams. An alarm clock ringing in the bedroom may translate into a telephone or some other kind of bell, ringing in the person's dream. A physical urge to go to the bathroom will manifest itself in exactly the same way in the dreamstate.
2. Prophetic dreams: These are the most common form of dream to be found in many of the world's influential sacred texts. Prophetic dreams may relate to situations as they appear in a person's life at the present, or they may be an actual vision of some future time or event. In this case, the prophetic dream will often form the basis for a later deja vu experience in life. (See chapter 11).

People will often have dreams about great cataclysms or changes happening on the planet Earth. Occasionally these will turn out to be actual predictions of what is really to happen in the future. Although this is a difficult responsibility for the person who has such dreams, it is helpful for those people to remember that each and every one of us is led to be in the exact place in which we find ourselves if we are listening to our inner guidance. The more each one of us learns to listen to and rely on this guidance, the more we can be sure that we are never in a place where we are not supposed to be.

Often prophetic dreams will fall into the category of a past-life dream where the person is actually remembering an earth change that has already taken place upon the planet at some earlier time in history. This event has then become incorporated into what is called cell or cellular memory, the greater part of what constitutes the strands of our DNA. The person experiencing such a phenomenon has simply tapped into his or her cell memory during the unconscious state we call dreaming and is then experiencing, for all intense purposes, what we like to call a past-life dream.

What many people fail to realize with regard to prophetic dreams is the symbolic nature of their dreams. Since most dreams relate to a person's own life or state of being, the major upheavals people see and think to be prophesying changes on the Earth, should actually have been translated as being major upheavals that are about to occur in their own lives and not necessarily on such a grandiose level. Remember the exaggeration aspect of night dreams which is used to slip them past the censor. Although these upcoming events may seem "earth-shattering" to the person involved, the dream has had just that kind of intention. By portraying an event as "cataclysmic," a person will be much more likely to stand up and take notice of its possible implications in their life.

Not all of us can be, or would want to be, seers for the rest of the people on the planet. We can, however, be seers for our own lives if we consciously allow it to happen. Since our inner guidance works with all the potential causes and effects in a person's life, it does not necessarily read the future as such because we are constantly in the process of creating and changing that future. This is especially true when we choose to make decisions which break the traditional mould or pattern of our past thoughts and actions. Our inner guidance is simply working on the situations we have already set in motion through the decisions we have already made.
3. Past-Life Dreams: Past lives dreams do happen, to some people more frequently than others. Whether we attribute them to having lived a prior existence, or to some kind of genetic or cellular archetypal memory, doesn't really matter. There is a lesson to be learned from the dream and it usually relates to something which is currently going on in our lives. In being given a past-life dream we are being asked to look at a cause to which we are currently living the effect, or to a pattern of behavior which is still holding us back in this lifetime as it has done in another. All we need to do to deal with these dreams is to realize their connection and the problem that is at the core of our behavior. Once we have recognized the problem we can deal with it, or simply move beyond it.

Human traits such as an uncontrollable temper or frustration are often products of the unconscious mind which started somewhere back in a past lifetime. They tend to surface again in our dreams as reminders of the trouble they have caused us in the past, while also asking us to take a closer look at the negative effect they may be having in our lives currently. While being a fictionalized account of just such an emotional trait passed on from one lifetime to another, Jack London's novella, The Star Rover, has much to offer on this subject for anyone who takes the time to read it.

Past life dreams are easy to tell because they have a real movie-like quality to them, usually as if we are acting in the movie rather than simply watching it. The action is often straightforward, with very few if any symbols that seem to stand out above any others. These kinds of dreams are also the easiest to remember since they seem to stay with us longer whether we normally remember our dreams or not.
4. Dreams of Intrusion: These are dreams where another person or being is trying to influence or control us while we are asleep. This can be anyone we have had in our lives who may, even subconsciously, wish to do us harm. These dreams are characterized by a person who we normally think of as being trustworthy in everyday life, appearing in our dream doing something which is very uncharacteristic of them. It is helpful to learn to recognize this kind of dream, and then to practice visualizing a blue or white light surrounding ourselves through which nothing wishing to harm us can penetrate. We must also try and be aware of when there is a potential hostility we might carry for someone which will then cause us to intrude on their dreams as well.
5. Lucid Dreaming: Lucid dreaming is a technique by which we can eventually learn to wake up in our dreams to realize we are dreaming. By being able to do this, we can then control the direction in which the dream flows, or change any parts of the dream we feel we do not like. This is sometimes easier to do when we return to the same dream after having awakened sometime during the night. By using our conscious will, we can return to the dream and change the direction in which it was heading, or re-run the part of it we did not like, but this time make it come out the way we want it.

This technique comes in very handy when we are experiencing one of the many types of phobia which often haunt our dreams. By understanding the source of the fear and subsequently facing it, we can then free ourselves from the often debilitating effects these phobias can have on the moment-to-moment living of our life.

Many inventors and artistic people have used this technique to bring back ideas and works of artistic form from the higher planes of existence.
6. Problem-solving Dreams: Have you ever heard someone use the expression, "Let me sleep on it?" The problem-solving dream does just that. If we take a problem we cannot find a solution to with us into our dreamstate, it is more than likely that we will awaken in the morning with the answer virtually exploding from our conscious minds into the world around us. Our inner guidance works for us and is always honest in what it says. When it is given an important decision to make or faced with a difficult problem, it will always reveal the best possible solution given the circumstances and conditions under which it operates.

The exercise involved with this technique is as follows: Write down on a piece of paper a goal you are trying to achieve or a problem you are trying to solve. Then put it beside your bed where you will be sure to see it first thing in the morning. Secondly, write down what it is that is the greatest obstacle or opponent to achieving your goal or finding a solution to the problem. Ask for help from your source of inner guidance or from the Dream Master before you go to sleep. Then be sure to consciously try to retain whatever it is that comes through to you as an answer in the morning. Write it down! There should be an answer there somewhere.
7. Burning-off karma or payment-due dreams: Often it is easier to work out in the dreamstate any of the more difficult lessons we have given ourselves or been given to learn in this lifetime. Again, this is especially true for those kind of experiences which would create considerable havoc if they occurred in our ordinary physical lives. Car accidents or other situations of extreme physical danger would often be too traumatic for us to experience during our waking state. If we do not necessarily need these experiences to happen in our external physical life, our inner guidance can often arrange for us to have these experiences in our dreams. This will still allow us to get the "experience" and the learning that would come from it, without putting our lives or balance in jeopardy.
8. Dreams of release from fear: "To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there be the rub." Shakespeare was obviously talking about the possibility of having Hamlet face a nightmare when he gave him those immortal words to speak. But dreams do not have to be a source of fear. On the contrary, they can be one the best methods of dealing with our fears.

To protect ourselves from the punishment and shame associated with the repressed desires of the unconscious, we have established the censor as a guard to stand over it so that none of these desires can escape into our outer world. When something is repressed in the unconscious, however, it will often come forward as a dream. Even though the memory of the dream might disappear in the morning, the psychic energy of the dream will sometimes remain with us, causing us to feel fear or to have a bad attitude, without really knowing why. The pressure built up within us by these lingering fears, and the guilt attached to them, can often be relieved by correctly interpreting the dream's symbols before the dream becomes too much of a psychic danger to our physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual balance.

Often understanding the source of these fears will help to eliminate them. If we can practice lucid dreaming as was described above, we can also recognize the fear which may haunt us in our dream and instead of running from it, we can turn and face it. By doing this we will find that it is simply a fear we have created in the darkest recesses of our own mind. This single act can break the fear's hold over us and bring a freedom and peace of mind to us that we might not have previously known.

Often our fears or phobias will stem from a "past life" trauma which, when re-experienced in the dream state, gives us an understanding of the source of that fear, and also helps diminish or totally erase that fear's hold upon us.
9. Dreams with the Dream Master: The one aspect of our inner guidance which can be of most help in our dreams is the Dream Master. During some dreams, a being will appear who we can tell cares deeply about us and our struggles to learn the often difficult lessons of our life. This being will radiate perfect love, and he is there to help us. Occasionally we can find ourselves taking trips to strange lands, meeting various teachers, attending classes in various temples of higher learning, or having all kinds of adventures in our dreamstate while accompanied by this wonderful being. In whatever form this being appears, it is the feeling of perfect love that will tip our hand to the fact that we are indeed working with our own Dream Master.

Once again, the Dream Master is an aspect of our guidance which has only our highest good at heart. If, before going to sleep, we ask for his help and guidance with any particular problems, anxieties, or fears with which we are struggling to cope, then we are likely to find the fears relieved, the problems resolved, or the solutions well at hand upon awakening in the morning.
10. The tag dream or "zinger": This last kind of dream is not really a dream. Instead, it is an urgent-telegram service which attaches its message to the end of a dream in order to slip it by the censor without having to disguise it. Most often these zingers will come in the form of words we hear just upon awakening, just at that time when the censor is "changing guard" from night duty to the daytime shift. If we can catch the gist of these zingers and retain them, we will find their words contain some of the most important messages we can receive from our inner guidance.

Sometimes these zingers will take the form of words or lines from a song, sometimes a song which we have not heard in years. If we can trust enough to take the message in the words as a personal message for us, then their significance will easily be revealed.

Tricks to help remember our dreams

1. Before going to sleep, clear the head of the day's events. If necessary, record them in your dream journal. Problems and frustrations of the day will often be 'worked on' during our dream state, and therefore will tend to take up the bulk of our dream time if we do not clear them from our heads before going to sleep.
2. Remember to write in the journal why it is you want to remember your dreams. This serves as a positive reinforcement to the mind as to the benefits which can be gained from remembering your dreams. The more we clarify our desire to remember, the more our inner self will find a way to bring that request to fruition.
3. Write in the journal the questions that are currently in the forefront of your mind, or problems which still remain unresolved. This will help clarify the issues that most need to be dealt with. It will also give you a source of reference with which to begin relating the dream symbology to the particular problem it addresses.
4. Keep a small tape recorder, or a light, a pen, and a journal, ready and within easy reach. Date the journal, or include the date of the recording on the tape before going to sleep.
5. As you go to sleep, give yourself the intention of recording or writing down your dreams throughout the night and/or the next morning. This is the same "set to recall" faculty that many of us have already experienced which awakens us five minutes before the alarm is set to go off. This brings up perhaps the most common blockage to the remembering of our dreamsóthe alarm clock. The most conducive atmosphere for remembering dreams is to wake up slowly out of our sleep so that we can remain for a period of time with one foot in the dream state, and one foot in the conscious or awakened state. This forms a bridge, as it were, between the two states of existence. Being jerked out of sleep by a noisy alarm is the worst thing we can do in trying to remember our dreams. The best way to deal with this is to preprogram ourselves to wake up five minutes before the alarm goes off. This will give us time to recall sufficient details from our dream that can then be useful in triggering other details we may not yet have remembered. Another way to allow ourselves ten more minutes to go in and recapture the basic details of the dream which can then be used to recall the rest later, is to use the snooze button.
6. Don't say "I want to remember my dreams," say "I am going to remember my dreams and write them down in specific detail." Set an appointment with the inner self to remember your dreams. Set an affirmation; make an agreement. We may need to write it out or say it over and over again to ourselves to make it work more effectively.
7. Don't get up, don't exercise, and don't think about other things until you have successfully captured your dreams before they begin to fade. If for some reason your supplies are not close at hand to record the dreams, it will help if you can remember one or two important details which can be used to trigger the rest of the dream later. If some details of the dream can be brought into the conscious mind during the night, then the rest of the important aspects of the dream can also usually be brought forward.
8. Doing a contemplation or meditation upon arising will often bring back a remembrance of your dreams, or other details from the dreams which you might otherwise have overlooked. Using the "remember backwards" technique often brings out more details. If we can remember the last thing that happened in the dream, or the last thing we saw before we woke up, we will usually be able to trace backwards and find out what it was that happened up until that point.
9. Record or write down whatever comes through. Anything, whether it be a dream or not. You can worry about finding out its significance later, but only if you can remember it because youíve somehow captured it physically on paper or on a tape.
10. Write down the first thing that comes into your mind upon awakening. This will bring together the dreaming and the waking state, and also it will help to support the remembering of dreams later in the morning. Sometimes it will be the words or title of a song which contain within them a message from our inner guidance.
11. Write down all the fragments of the dream that can be remembered (the people you see, sounds, lights, spoken words, colors, feelings, song lyrics etc.). Any aspect of the dream may be important to its meaning, especially if it stands out in our memory for one reason or another. If it helps to make a small drawing of some aspect of the dream, this will help you visualize the circumstances later, and also might make the dream easier to find in your journal when needing to refer back to it.
12. Try to capture in a few words the main mood or feeling of the dream? This may help relate the dream to a certain situation in your life.
13. Give the dream a title or a word which describes the main symbol or symbols of the dream. This may be an instance of Golden-Tongued Wisdom that can provide some clue to its interpretation (see chapter 11).
14. If an explanation for the dream or for a symbol comes during the writing process, jot it down. Leave enough space under the transcription of the dream to write down its interpretation.
15. Write down all the dreams that can be remembered. Be honest, straightforward and sincere.
16. Even if our actions in the dreams do not seem to be what we would call "nice," no one else is going to read the journal, and the actions most often do not mean that we would or could do these things in our normal daily life. It is, however, important to release them through the vehicle of our dream journaling. If something hurts, writing it down will help make it resolve more quickly.

Common Tricks of the Mind

1. One of the more frequent pitfalls in doing dreamwork is the belief that the dream is not important, or that we will write the dream down later upon awakening. When this happens the dream is more often forgotten than remembered.
2. It is often easier to think that we are too tired and need our sleep. This is like paying to go to college, and then sleeping through the lectures which are only there to help us.
3. Thinking we have to go over the dream in our mind before it can be written down usually leads to us drifting back to sleep with the dream unrecorded, and usually unremembered. If it is down on tape or in our journal, then we can go over the dream at our own leisure.
4. We interpret the dream while asleep or during some short time in which we wake up during the night. We think that we will remember it so we donít have to write it down, but usually it is forgotten upon awakening.
5. Sometimes we think that we have already recorded the dream, only to find in the morning that we havenít. We may often see ourselves in the dream writing it down or recording it, especially after we've been doing this for a long time. We need to make sure we have recorded our dreams, even if it means recording them again. This may be a blessing in disguise if it leads to us getting more of the details of the dream recorded.
6. It is not uncommon for us to mistake our finger for a pen. When we have one foot in the inner worlds and one foot in the outer world, things like this can happen.
7. If blocks occur in remembering our dreams, we need to ask ourselves, "What are some of the blocks I might have to vividly remember in my dreams?" One of the most common is an attitude of "I don't remember my dreams. So why bother trying?" The best thing to do in this case is to restate this picture, that is, change the viewpoint from which we look at the blockage. Then we need to adopt a positive attitude that we can do whatever it is was that we felt was blocking us.


"Waking Dreams vs. Night Dreams?" by Peter Farley was excerpted from Waking Dreams and the Waking Dream Cards: Finding Answers to Life's Questions, a work on dreams and waking dreams co-authored with Sharon King, a former counselor at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, CA. www.cosmologies.com/treeoflife