I started this trip with the intention of remembering more of my dreams. I am not putting that much effort into it, but am trying to remember when I wake up and noting down some. At least it is making me more aware of those in-between states of consciousness, and making me question what is dreamt and what is real ; )
I am certainly not able to ‘lucid dream’, though that would be an interesting skill to have. Basically, it would mean being conscious during your dreams, so effectively conscious of your unconscious. One book I read, by Stephen LaBerge, goes into a bit of detail about how to develop this skill, and the benefits of it. Even if I don’t get to that level of awareness and control, Integral Institute suggests another way can support helathy development..
Integral Institute (I-I) make their recommendations assuming that dreams are manifestations of our unconscious, and that in dreams you tend to dis-associate parts of your self e.g. the monster in your dreams is really the monster in you seen as ‘other’. This dis-associated parts of yourself can be described as your ‘shadow’: the aspects of your self (finite, as opposed to your infinite Self) that has been disocciated.
The ‘shadow’ stuff is widely talked about in psychology, and I understand there are many ways to make your shadow more visible to yourself, and less ‘dark’. I-I also suggest shadow work is important complement to meditation for personal development, because no amount of meditation will enable you to see your unconscious. This is not an uncontested claim, as others suggest that you can effectively transcend the shadow (by primarily identifying with Self, rather than self), and that psychological work is not so important for development as it simply perpetuates the separate self-identity. I don’t feel I am in a position to say who is right – perhaps both partially true?
Anyway, I-I’s recommendation for working with dreams is a 3-2-1 process of re-integrating these unconscious parts of yourself so you can be more conscious and whole. The process, briefly, is to:
3) observe the most disturbing part of the dream (good or bad) from an objective perspective e.g. observe the monster / saint / princess
2) interact with the disturbing part of the dream, in an inter-subjective way e.g. talk to the monster / saint / princess
1) become the most disturbing part of the dream e.g. become the monster / saint / princess.
This sounds interesting, and I will let you know how I get on.
P.S. I-I also make links between dreaming states and the ego (sense of self). In deep dreamless sleep, your sense of ‘Self’ is infinite, and consciousness itself. When dreaming, your sense of self is linked to ‘Soul’ I.e. The part of you that accumulates wisdom, and lives beyond the body. And, when awake, this state is associated with the most commonly understood version of ‘ego’, that is, the separate self-sense that dies with this body.