Conceptualizing Dreams

I am sure most of you, if not all, would have seen the movie Inception. In it, Ken Watanabe asks Leonardo to perform the act of “inception”, planting an idea within the person’s subconscious mind.

This movie has raised the question – Is something like this really possible? The answer is, as of now, it isn’t….not proven at least. Although we have things like lucid dreaming and dream incubation which is what has happened to me on previous occasions. Recently, I was sleeping and dreaming. It was quite an elaborate dream and was progressing like the story in a movie and after some time, I realized it was a dream. I thought to myself that it was indeed an interesting dream and the story of the dream is wonderful and worth writing down to maybe use somewhere in the future. I started recalling the dream and I remembered it and started writing it down. Now here’s the part- I wrote it down, but again this wasn’t in real life, I was still sleeping in my bed and this was still a dream- another one because I had come out of the first one! And I was writing the story of my first dream in the second. There is also a term for this called- False Awakening! In the morning when I actually woke up (No I did not require a totem to confirm whether this was actually the reality!) I remembered both my dreams, the second one even more clearly. I remember the exact process where I was recalling the dream, how and what I recalled, the names of people and I could almost see what I had written down on the paper!

It happens to us many times that while in a dream, we realize it is a dream and that is a “Lucid Dream”. It is a dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming and can begin in one of two ways. A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually concludes it is a dream, while a wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) occurs when the dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state, with no apparent lapse in consciousness.

Another concept is the Dream incubation which is a practiced technique of learning to “plant a seed” in the mind, in order for a specific dream topic to occur, either for recreation or to attempt to solve a problem. For example, a person might go to bed repeating to themselves that they will dream about a presentation they have coming up, or a vacation they recently took. While somewhat similar to lucid dreaming, dream incubation is simply focusing attention on a specific issue when going to sleep. Several studies have shown this method to be successful over a period of time. It has actually happened that many people, scientists etc have found solutions to the problems troubling them, in a dream. This is indeed a very interesting topic and idea.

Achyut Telang

Achyut Telang is a PhD Research Scholar at IBS Hyderabad. He completed his MBA in Marketing from Mumbai in 2009. He has a lot of hobbies and a passion for writing. Some of his hobbies are drawing portraits, writing poems and blog articles, playing the piano, reading books, sports, games etc.

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