It has long been said by many that believe in spirits that they feel they can communicate with us or give us messages through our dreams. Like a lot of things in the paranormal, it is pretty impossible to ‘prove’ if a dream is just our subconscious or if it really is a message from the other side. In order to explore this concept further, we need to understand where our dreams come from and what they typically mean. So let’s look at dreams, the different kinds of dream and sleep states, and the phenomena surrounding visitations to see if there is a connection.
When we sleep, we go through 5 stages of sleep. 4 of these are considered to be NREM - non-rapid eye movement, with the final stage labelled as REM sleep - rapid eye movement. We can dream during any cycle of sleep, but it is most common and most vivid during REM sleep. IT is believed that we have between 4-6 dreams every night, we just don't always remember them.
A dream is a story or a movie that our brain creates while we are in REM sleep. There is still a lot about dreaming that Science does not yet know or understand. Some speculate our subconscious plays a major role in 'creating' these stories. So much so in fact there is what is called a dream dictionary. Psychology suggests that it comes from our subconscious and our current state of mind or emotions can play a role in the type of dreams that we have. There are common dreams that people share. From falling from a building to turning up to school or work completely naked, we have all had a certain type of dream at some point in time. A lot of people however do tend to argue over what the meaning of these dreams is. In the early 1900s, Sigmund Freud explored this quite extensively. He believes a dream was a result of our deepest anxieties and desires. He believed they often had a connection to repressed childhood memories or obsessions.
A precognitive dream is one that shows the dreamer a vision of the future. There are many accounts all over the world of people perhaps dreaming of a certain place they have never seen or heard of before and months later they suddenly find themselves in that exact same place. Some people believe they are warned about future events in their dreams. There are reports of people for example who dream of natural disasters days before they occur. Another form of a precognitive dream is considered to be a sign that you are on the right path. Some take it as a message from spirit or spirit guides. Some consider it just a coincidence. When the event itself happens and you experience it in waking life, you have a sense of déjà vu because everything is familiar.
Hypnagogia is a state where you aren't quite asleep and you aren't quite awake, you are a little bit of both. It would probably be what you would associate with as dozing. It is a state that is compared to REM sleep where a person is in their deepest sleep. Your mind is going through a lot of thoughts, emotions, ideas and accessing memories. During REM sleep, you are in such a deep sleep that you are not aware of you don't remember this. When you are in a hypnagogic state, you are in between full sleep and being awake so you are aware of these thought processes. A lot of people enter a meditative state which is pretty similar to hypnagogia in order to 'meet' their spirit guides or have some form of communication with the spirit world. They also claim it is the perfect time for spirits to communicate with us because our mind is open and free of outside influence and even our own subjectiveness. You essentially are letting stuff happen without your own judgment clouding things as you are virtually asleep. It isn't until you wake up and start looking at things that your judgment comes back into this. It is of course how you interpret everything you have seen and felt and experienced when you wake up as to if you think you have had a hallucination or if you think it could be something more. This state is thought to be closely associated with sleep paralysis and it can cause a person to hallucinate. Certain medications, stress, over tiredness and alcohol can all be factors that can cause a person to have a hypnagogic hallucination. It is the number one conclusion that a lot of people will jump to when a person claims to have some sort of alien visitation in bed. While there is a scientific explanation here, does this explain all occurrences?
A Lucid dream is a dream where you are aware that you are dreaming and you are able to control your actions. The term of lucid dreaming was coined by Frederik can Eeden who was a Dutch author and psychiatrist, in an article he published in 1913 called A Study of Dreams.
Aristotle once wrote
It is thought by some to be a reference to lucid dreaming. In fact, there are references made to it throughout history. It is thought by some to be a powerful tool when used in such a way to help people overcome their fears. Some in the medical field even believe that it can help treat conditions such as anxiety and PTSD, however, there is not enough research to conclude either way.
Sleep paralysis occurs when a person is in REM sleep - Rapid Eye Movement. It is in this state that the brain has vivid dreams. It also sends a message to your muscles to relax which puts you in a state of temporary paralysis so that you don’t go and start physically acting out what you are dreaming. If you dream of punching someone, you don’t want to be punching your partner in your sleep - or if they snore as mine does maybe you do! Sometimes a person wakes up and becomes conscious before the brain sends the signal to the muscles to wake up. It means a person is lying there and is conscious but is unable to move and unable to speak. It is common to hallucinate in this state as well as you are still technically in REM and some people report seeing figures in their room or at the foot of the bed. They can feel a heaviness on their chest or a choking sensation which makes you feel like it is the figure at the foot of the bed doing this to you. It doesn’t take long for the body to catch up, but it can feel like an eternity when you are in this state. It is absolutely terrifying. It is called sleep paralysis. It can occur if someone is sleep-deprived, stressed, on certain medications or if they suffer from other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea. People often associate this with what they consider negative spirits and feel it is a form of psychic attack.
As you can see from the above, there are potentially different ways or more specifically different dream states which we can be in that could potentially open a door for spirit communication. Whether our mind is free of us 'thinking or judging or trying to control things' to it simply just being in a state where our consciousness is the most vulnerable, quite a lot of people report having some sort of spirit visitation during a dream. How do you tell if it is just a normal dream or a visitation? A lot of people tell me that they know KNOW when it is a visitation as there is a specific message that they understand or perhaps needed at that time. Simply dreaming of a person doesn't necessarily mean a visitation in their eyes. I have also been told that when you wake with the feeling of love and comfort after a dream, it is a visitation as you are feeling the energy of your loved ones. I have also been told that they are often surrounded by a glowing light indicating that they are using 'Devine light' to communicate with us. I haven't had an experience in this sense so in this case, I am going by what people have told me through their own experiences. It could also be argued, particularly by someone like Freud that a dream could just be some sort of way of dealing with the grief or loss of a loved one. Perhaps there are some unresolved issues you feel deep down but don't wish to confront. Maybe something you wish you had said or done. Maybe there is guilt associated with it. Our subconscious is a powerful tool ...... but so is our consciousness.
Now when I look at all the different ways that we can dream, there is a common denominator ..... our consciousness. It is unknown exactly what our consciousness is capable of and if it even lives on after we die. If our consciousness is not confined to our physical body, where does it go when we are sleeping? Is a dream our subconscious or perhaps is it a peek into something else. We live in a 3-dimensional world. The 4th dimension is time which we cannot see. Some consider it to be the bridge between our physical world and the spiritual world. The 5th dimension is thought to be the first major spiritual dimension where a person reaches a higher form of consciousness. It is in the 4th dimension that people claim they can astral travel and leave their body via their consciousness to visit another place or person. The 4th dimension is also made up of time. When we dream, it can feel like a dream has gone for hours, yet in reality, a dream lasts for only 20-30 minutes on average. Time doesn't seem to apply in our dreams - the ones that we remember anyway. Is this an indication that perhaps during our dreams, we are entering a different state of consciousness? Is that what would make it possible for us to receive a visit from a loved one in the form of a dream? Is that why we only remember certain dreams?
I have some pretty crazy dreams. Once I didn’t talk to my husband for 2 days because he dream cheated on me and it took me a while to realise that I was basing my anger on a dream. Sometimes though, I have dreams that really stick with me to the point that I think there is possibly something more to it. My Grandfather passed away just before my 21st birthday. I wasn’t actively investigating the paranormal back then, it was just something I had an interest in. A few months after he died, I had a dream that I was surrounded by my family when the phone rang. Back then it was common to have landline phones. I answered the phone and I heard his voice on the other end. I asked him where he was. All he said was I’m OK. I was crying in my dream. Tears of happiness. It was the first time I had experienced the death of a loved one and it took me a while to come to terms with it. It was comfort and reassurance I personally needed at the time. I woke up feeling a sense of comfort thinking perhaps he had found a way to contact me and let me know he was OK wherever he was. Fast-forward to earlier this week. I had a dream where my mobile rang and I received a call from a payphone (something that doesn’t really exist anymore). He was on the other end. He told me he was getting on the train with my Nan (who passed around 5 years ago) and they were going shopping. What was extra odd was this took place on a Wednesday which was the day that we all used to go shopping together. In both dreams, I never saw him. I only heard his voice and it was his voice. He even said my name in the funny way he would always say it. Again I woke up comforted. It had been 16 years since I had ‘heard’ from him. I have never had any experience with any other ‘spirits’ or loved ones that have passed. These are the only two occasions. I could say it is my subconscious or something else, but I honestly don’t want to. I feel comforted and I feel loved and all day I was remembering him. It was a lovely feeling and I like to think it was his way of saying hello.
At the end of the day, like most things in the paranormal, we can’t really ‘prove’ if someone is receiving a message from spirit or if they are just dreaming. I can argue all day on this topic and look at all the different possibilities and even if a spirit is what we think it is. Sometimes though, I like many others just want the comfort of knowing that my loved ones who have passed are ok. So maybe this is something that doesn’t need to be debunked. Is it hurting anyone by thinking a loved one visited us in a dream? I don’t think so and I know I like to think my special experiences are my Grandfather’s way of saying I haven’t forgotten you I am here doing the things I always loved to do. For me, that is enough.
Do you have a story about a dream visitation you want to share? Do you think spirits visit us in our dreams?
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