Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

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Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:53 am

Dear all,

Recently I have experienced a number of awakenings. First of the mind and the realisation that change in the physical realm is actually an appearance in consciousness. Second of the heart and a sense of dissolving in joy love and devotion emanating from it. Third of the gut / solar plexus where the ego is felt as a stone which can be evaporated from the body. Recently these three have converged resulting in a largely permanent sense of boundless awareness.

This awareness continues into deep sleep. When I close my eyes to sleep I tell the body to shut down and watch as its breath slows and almost stops. I know how asleep it is by the ease by which I can move parts of the body. The legs turn to stone first - presumably due to the mechanism in the brain designed to stop us acting out our dreams like the man who dreamt he was an American football player and jumped out of a window (!) Around this time I sense the formation of dreams. I can either watch them passively or actively will them into being. I like to make flying dreams as I feel the body smile and breath move with th Ed movements of the eagle as it weaves through the sky. I can make these dreams and just watch myself and not witness the dream or I can observe the dream or I can dive into the dream and make it my reality. These are a conscious choice. If I choose to make the dream real I lose consciousness and become slept into the stream of dreams until instinctive dissolving occurs and I return as awareness. At any time I can open my eyes and I am in the body and fully awake (though the body does not like doing this in the middle of the night - I feel its eyes sting).

I was wondering if anyone has any experience of this? Specifically what the best practice is during this time. I have been trying to remain dissolved (the only way I can think of describing this state - perhaps it is pure awareness / Brahman etc) for as long as possible to aid the maintenance of this state to permanence. However, doing this for 8 hours is quite dull - so I have been diving into dreams. What do others do with this time? I'm considering getting a lot of good podcasts and letting thdm play through the night and listen in silent awareness. If anyone has exams for school / university I recommend learning this trick so they can double their revision time!

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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby Sighclone » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:37 pm

I do not have awareness in deep dreamless sleep. But my dreamstates are much like yours, with optional creativity or passivity as they flow -- often textbook lucid dreaming -- amusing and fun. But not all of them -- sometimes I am deep into a dream and do not participate from awareness. My deep dreamless sleep seems to last one second, but it is actually five hours.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby runstrails » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:38 pm

Zen wrote:

This awareness continues into deep sleep. When I close my eyes to sleep I tell the body to shut down and watch as its breath slows and almost stops. I know how asleep it is by the ease by which I can move parts of the body. The legs turn to stone first - presumably due to the mechanism in the brain designed to stop us acting out our dreams like the man who dreamt he was an American football player and jumped out of a window (!) Around this time I sense the formation of dreams. I can either watch them passively or actively will them into being. I like to make flying dreams as I feel the body smile and breath move with th Ed movements of the eagle as it weaves through the sky. I can make these dreams and just watch myself and not witness the dream or I can observe the dream or I can dive into the dream and make it my reality. These are a conscious choice. If I choose to make the dream real I lose consciousness and become slept into the stream of dreams until instinctive dissolving occurs and I return as awareness. At any time I can open my eyes and I am in the body and fully awake (though the body does not like doing this in the middle of the night - I feel its eyes sting).


Something very similar has been happening with me! I also have been aware during my dreams, making conscious choices on whether to enter, what's interesting is that regardless of the choice I make, after a while the dream moves by it's own volition while I watch (kinda like life :wink:).
But just to clarify this is not deep sleep. Deep sleep (also called stage 4 sleep) by definition has no REM, no dreams etc..
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:56 pm

Haha yes RT - it's funny how the dream and waking states converge. Do you feel like the witness during the dream? From my limited dream memory that is how it feels to me.

I am aware from the moment I lay down to sleep, through into and beyond dream states so I presume this includes every stage of sleep but I am not entirely sure (it was a while ago since I studied this). The mind and ego are there along with all the other senses. Just as in waking life I can dissolve and then just reside in that state - pure expansive nothingness - that state and the body, separate and one.

Sighclone wrote:My deep dreamless sleep seems to last one second, but it is actually five hours.


Although sometimes this happens, when I am aware while the body sleeps I don't have much of a perception of time - except occasionally wondering how long has passed, whether I should get up, what practice I should be doing - then I either make a dream, get caught up in a dream already being made, watch the process, or dissolve.

This is all very new for me so I'm curious to see how it evolves - both in myself and others here :)

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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby runstrails » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:38 am

Hey there Zen,
Great thread!

Haha yes RT - it's funny how the dream and waking states converge. Do you feel like the witness during the dream? From my limited dream memory that is how it feels to me.


Yes, indeed it feels like a witness when I am lucid dreaming. In fact, many teachers will use the dream analogy to explain the witness stage. It's about as pure of a witness stage as you can get.

I feel that the whole business of lucid dreaming really sheds light on what is happening the awake state. (I also believe that reality is fractal and thus provides these types of clues).

Here are some of the similarities I find between the dream state and the 'waking' state:

1. The witness is similar in the dream and in waking life: In a lucid dream, you are consciously witnessing the dream. Quite similar to the awakened consciousness after self realization.

2. Non-duality can be so realized easily in a dream: Every character in the dream is you---that is, a dream is a clear depiction of non-dual reality. Interestingly, (and just like waking life) even though every character is you, there is only one perspective to that dream. The main character's perspective. How eerily similar is that is to our waking lives! Zen lives his life from his perspective and RT from hers, but ultimately we're both just pure consciousness taking on two perspectives.

3. In lucid dreaming, you can consciously choose to enter the dream but the dream keeps moving with its own momentum (usually through subconscious desires and fears which are manifesting in the dream). Similarly in waking life, I believe that our subconscious desires and fears keep our life and its experiences moving forward while we witness it, so to speak. And just like the real life, in lucid dreaming sometimes we are detached from the experiences that occur and sometimes we are so involved that we do not feel like a separate witness. We feel like its happening to us.

4. When you wake up, even though you were SO interested in the dream--ultimately it was meaningless and almost immediately forgotten. Here I am speculating, that when we 'wake up' from this life (i.e., death) then this life may be a distant memory at best and we'll be immersed some new kind of experience.

5. And here is the science part that i've been contemplating. Recently some studies found that the same neurons are activated when you move a hand or leg in waking life and when you move them in a dream! What could this mean?

Feel free to add your thoughts! Would love to hear :D.
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby peas » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:27 am

Sighclone wrote:I do not have awareness in deep dreamless sleep. But my dreamstates are much like yours, with optional creativity or passivity as they flow -- often textbook lucid dreaming -- amusing and fun. But not all of them -- sometimes I am deep into a dream and do not participate from awareness. My deep dreamless sleep seems to last one second, but it is actually five hours.

Andy


Are you sure? Or is it that you do not have a memory of the awareness?
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:17 pm

Great to hear from you RT. This is exactly what I was hoping for when I wrote my experiences here. Before I delve into these fantastic points...

runstrails wrote:(I also believe that reality is fractal and thus provides these types of clues).


I was wondering if you could elaborate a bit more on this? It might require a separate thread but I'd love to hear more. I know very little about fractals (only that zooming in on fractal geometry leads to infinitely evolving detail - I think the equation is Z = Z2 + Z (or something - my friend has it tattooed on his wrist).

runstrails wrote:The witness is similar in the dream and in waking life: In a lucid dream, you are consciously witnessing the dream. Quite similar to the awakened consciousness after self realization.


This is my experience too. Awareness is watching both the dream and the waking state. Both are a dream to awareness. But as awareness recognises itself more and more fully this experience becomes more and more vivid.

runstrails wrote:Non-duality can be so realized easily in a dream: Every character in the dream is you---that is, a dream is a clear depiction of non-dual reality. Interestingly, (and just like waking life) even though every character is you, there is only one perspective to that dream. The main character's perspective. How eerily similar is that is to our waking lives! Zen lives his life from his perspective and RT from hers, but ultimately we're both just pure consciousness taking on two perspectives.


This is a fantastic point! I hadn't explored this as explicitly in the dream-state. It is something that is emerging more and more in my waking experience though - via the convergence of sensory perceptions. For example, when I look at my mug while my hand is on my leg there is the looking, and there is the sense of pressure, 2 separate senses experienced but simultaneously these sensations are dissolved in my awareness so the extent that the looking IS the touching. This sensation is expanding into all senses resulting in a sensation of fullness that is wonderful. The senses are awakening to the fact that everything is awareness and I am awareness so I am everything. I'll explore your point more fully in the dream-state tonight :)

runstrails wrote:ultimately we're both just pure consciousness taking on two perspectives.


The relative and the absolute - separate and whole :) "I am one, make me many" or whatever the quote from the Upanishads is (I've not read it, I'm just stealing a line from Rick Archer :P).

runstrails wrote:In lucid dreaming, you can consciously choose to enter the dream but the dream keeps moving with its own momentum (usually through subconscious desires and fears which are manifesting in the dream). Similarly in waking life, I believe that our subconscious desires and fears keep our life and its experiences moving forward while we witness it, so to speak. And just like the real life, in lucid dreaming sometimes we are detached from the experiences that occur and sometimes we are so involved that we do not feel like a separate witness. We feel like its happening to us.


Another great point. I certainly agree about dreams having their own momentum. They emerge from seemingly nowhere and then just spiral through whatever they are and then vanish. I think memory has a key role to play in keeping the momentum going in the waking life. I am exploring the idea of fears and desires being linked with the soul. That they influence the formation of memory in the physical realm by bringing these ethereal pleasures and pains into the physical manifestation from more subtle levels of the personality. This idea is forming based on explorations in deep sleep - as the personality and ego remain in this state they must have a more subtle level than the physical - perhaps as a "soul" which extends through the gross --> subtle levels of consciousness. The only person I know who talks about this kind of thing is Harri Aalto. I thoroughly recommend his Batgap interview - it was a turning point for me.

runstrails wrote:When you wake up, even though you were SO interested in the dream--ultimately it was meaningless and almost immediately forgotten. Here I am speculating, that when we 'wake up' from this life (i.e., death) then this life may be a distant memory at best and we'll be immersed some new kind of experience.


This is becoming more apparent to me too. I was thinking about how glad I am to exist in this boundless state and wondering what would happen if it came back. Sometimes I cry from sheer joy these days. I haven't cried from suffering in a long time. But if this boundlessness were taken away then I could forsee that happening. The first thing babies do when they come into this world is to cry. Infants flip between wonder and joy and tears and emotional pain. Could it be that the boundlessness is being bound into the human form? This contraction not yet calcified leads to a mix of both boundless joy and bounded pain which either becomes tighter or looser depending on interactions between an individual personality with its root in the absolute and the totality of existence.. only musing but it makes sense from my current perspective.

runstrails wrote:And here is the science part that i've been contemplating. Recently some studies found that the same neurons are activated when you move a hand or leg in waking life and when you move them in a dream! What could this mean?


Maybe the brain doesn't perceive any difference between dream and waking? It is wiser than we are!

I'm looking forward to more thoughts and developments :)

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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby KathleenBrugger » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:32 pm

EnterZenFromThere wrote:
runstrails wrote:And here is the science part that i've been contemplating. Recently some studies found that the same neurons are activated when you move a hand or leg in waking life and when you move them in a dream! What could this mean?


Maybe the brain doesn't perceive any difference between dream and waking? It is wiser than we are!

I don't have any personal experiences of lucid dreaming to share :( but I am also fascinated by the research that rt mentions. I've heard that our brain suppresses our motor system while we're asleep to keep us from acting out our dreams, which seems to give further credence to the idea that our brain doesn't recognize any difference between dreaming and waking. If you find out more rt, please share it!

Have you read any Carlos Castaneda, EnterZen? Don Juan, the brujo (shaman) that Carlos studied with, taught him about the importance of controlling his dreams. Don Juan instructed Carlos to look at his hands the moment he realized he was dreaming. Once he did that he could do anything within the dream. Seems like Carlos ended up even interacting with other of don Juan's students while they were all asleep.
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby runstrails » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:04 am

Hi Kathleen,
I'm linking a chapter that might be useful reading. It's in a book edited by Dan Schater (who is one of the foremost memory scientists at Harvard).
http://www.lucidity.com/SleepAndCognition.html
I found the last sentence from the chapter really interesting: To the functional systems of neuronal activity that construct our experiential world (model), dreaming of perceiving or doing something is equivalent to actually perceiving or doing it.

But that chapter is from 1990. So I tried to find the more recent article about the neuron activation that I mentioned. But I'll need to dig deeper. It was in the Economist.
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:46 pm

KathleenBrugger wrote:Have you read any Carlos Castaneda, EnterZen?


I've not heard of him or any shaman really (vaguely aware of Terrence McKenna). The hand trick might be handy (hahaha) for bringing me back to awareness in the dream. My current "practice" is to dissolve in awareness at all times including deep sleep, dream states, and waking life. It's funny watching the body going about it's business and talking to people while I am actually just dissolved in the background, watching without watching.

While we're talking about dreams something interesting happened last night. A friend I hadn't spoken to in months, and who I hadn't talked to about my developments sent me a message on Facebook saying "You were in my dream last night excitedly discussing your new role as a Vicar. It was a rather normal dream to be honest but thinking about it now... you...a vicar!?" - I didn't lucid dream this, or recall it from a dream that arose in myself but I do lose consciousness during parts of the night so I can't be sure. It seems that my consciousness manifest itself within hers. A friend recently mentioned a Guru coming to her in a dream and revealing information about her past lives to her. She didn't recognise him because his head was shaven. She travelled to see him and when greeted saw that his head was shaven - as in the dream. Does anyone know much about these kinds of things? It's a grey area for me.

Thanks!
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby KathleenBrugger » Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:22 pm

runstrails wrote:Hi Kathleen,
I'm linking a chapter that might be useful reading. It's in a book edited by Dan Schater (who is one of the foremost memory scientists at Harvard).
http://www.lucidity.com/SleepAndCognition.html
I found the last sentence from the chapter really interesting: To the functional systems of neuronal activity that construct our experiential world (model), dreaming of perceiving or doing something is equivalent to actually perceiving or doing it.

But that chapter is from 1990. So I tried to find the more recent article about the neuron activation that I mentioned. But I'll need to dig deeper. It was in the Economist.

Thanks runstrails!

EnterZen: Carlos Castaneda was pretty famous in the 1960s and 1970s--he was an anthropologist who became an apprentice to a shaman and wrote many books about it. He wrote a book specifically about lucid dreaming. I haven't read this one, but here's some info about it from wikipedia, it addresses the issue of sharing dreams:
The Art of Dreaming describes the steps needed to master the control and consciousness of dreams. The Toltecs (northwest Mexico) of Don Juan Matus' lineage believed that there are seven barriers to awareness, which they termed The Seven Gates of Dreaming. In The Art of Dreaming Castaneda describes extensively how a state called Total Awareness can be achieved by means of dreaming...

4th Gate of Dreaming (sharing): This is the last gate explained in the book as such, and crossing it consists of being able to share the intended dream reality of other people. One has to have gathered enough strength into the dreaming body through the previous gates in order to travel to other people's dreams.
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby Phil2 » Sat May 24, 2014 5:45 pm

runstrails wrote:But just to clarify this is not deep sleep. Deep sleep (also called stage 4 sleep) by definition has no REM, no dreams etc..


Hello all,

I discover this interesting thread just now, great thread indeed :D

I agree that in deep sleep there can be no dream, no thought, in fact no forms at all ... I would say that deep sleep is a total 'extinction' of the world of forms ('extinction' btw is the exact meaning of the sanskrit word 'nirvana') ... it could nearly be compared to a tv-set which is just turned off ... no more images, no more sound, the world 'collapses', just an incredible deep silence, stillness ... and bliss ... and very alive too, not at all immobile or dead ...

Normally we do not remember our deep sleep state, so we might think that there is no awareness in deep sleep, but this is not the case, we just don't remember it ...

I say this because the state of deep sleep can be experienced being aware when you go far enough in deep meditation ... then you can (sometimes in my own experience) experience this 'extinction' while at the same time being aware ... it is really an undescribable experience of deep peace, and when you experience it you realize that in fact it happens every night without being aware of it ...

Ramana Maharshi used to say that 'samadhi' (deep meditation) was a state of awake sleep, deep sleep while remaining aware ... he also said that all people have some memory of this state of happiness and stillness of sleep, because when you wake up in the morning you normally say "I slept well" ...

Great stuff here, thanks to all, I probably will come back later on all this ... watching now the video interview of Harri Aalto cited by Zen earlier ... for those interested watch it here on Batgap, excellent video quality ...

http://batgap.com/harri-aalto/


8)
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Sat May 24, 2014 10:11 pm

Hey Phil,

Glad you like the thread and it resonates with you and your experience.

Thanks for reactivating this thread, as I had been meaning to update it a little. I spoke to Francis Bennett about my experiences and he felt this sleep state was possibly a meditative state rather than the deep sleep 24/7 consciousness that he experiences. After this I let go of this and the lucid dreaming. The shutting down of the body I described seems like a type of bodily relaxation which has been progressing since I started this thread. My focus has shifted to relaxation/opening of the body/chakras/mind and a growing sense of identification with the Loving Light that blossoms in these still waters. Perhaps these things will return, but right now they are not missed and I look forward to the continued unveiling of consciousness.

Happy hunting my brothers and sisters,

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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby Sighclone » Sun May 25, 2014 4:17 pm

I asked Gary Weber to comment on Ken Wilber's quotation from Ramana Maharshi: "That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real."

Gary replied to me in an email:

The "deep dreamless sleep" discussion was done 33 times in Talks with Ramana Maharshi; it was one of his favorite pedagogical themes. It demonstrates two key elements:
1) the egoic/I is not present in deep dreamless sleep, but is in dreams and in the waking state, therefore it is not "real", as is classically defined, as it does not always exist, and constantly changes. It also isn't there during the brief morning and evening interlude transition state before, or after, "the world" manifests, respectively.
2) There is awareness/beingness even in deep dreamless sleep, as well as in the waking and dreaming states and the aforementioned interlude transition state, so it is "real". It is possible to be aware of awareness/beingness even in deep dreamless sleep without an agentic self. However, reporting on this arguably brings in an ego/I, and it is most easily recognized when one is awakened suddenly.


Andy
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Re: Experience of awareness in deep dreamless sleep

Postby Onceler » Sun May 25, 2014 6:26 pm

Sighclone wrote:I asked Gary Weber to comment on Ken Wilber's quotation from Ramana Maharshi: "That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real."

Gary replied to me in an email:

The "deep dreamless sleep" discussion was done 33 times in Talks with Ramana Maharshi; it was one of his favorite pedagogical themes. It demonstrates two key elements:
1) the egoic/I is not present in deep dreamless sleep, but is in dreams and in the waking state, therefore it is not "real", as is classically defined, as it does not always exist, and constantly changes. It also isn't there during the brief morning and evening interlude transition state before, or after, "the world" manifests, respectively.
2) There is awareness/beingness even in deep dreamless sleep, as well as in the waking and dreaming states and the aforementioned interlude transition state, so it is "real". It is possible to be aware of awareness/beingness even in deep dreamless sleep without an agentic self. However, reporting on this arguably brings in an ego/I, and it is most easily recognized when one is awakened suddenly.


Nice! Thanks.
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