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Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/1/20 9:40 PM
Hi all,

Recently I've noticed that my relationship to my dreams is more like I am watching a film than that I am experiencing something, in other words a third person rather than a first person viewpoint. I've never been very skilled at lucid dreaming. Usually one of two things happens when I become lucid: either I wake up instantly or I fall back after a short priod and become not lucid because I want to "find out how the story ends". Though I cannot be sure, I think the latter may happen when I'm watching the dream from a third person point of view. This occasionally extends to my meditation practice, where "I" end up trying to watch myself transition into some state (jhana, etc.).

I wonder if the tendency to experience dreams this way is a result of the massive amount of screentime I usually experience in waking life (and now, with the coronavirus SIP yet more)? And if it might be the cause of my difficulty to achieve and maintain lucidity while dreaming? Does anyone else experience dreams like this and, if so, have you worked with any practices to become more embodied in your dreams? Thanx.

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/2/20 6:10 PM as a reply to svmonk.
I get this, too, have since I was in my early twenties, or at least that's when I first noticed it. Sometimes I will start a dream in the first person then midway through it will become something I am just watching, in some cases with blatant markers like the border of a screen or an atmosphere of a darkened theater. Related to this is a pervasive sense in most of my dreams of "Oh, it's okay, it's just a dream" without fully acknowledging that it is I who am dreaming, therefore it is different from and in my opinion inferior to lucidity (had a lot of lucidity in my early twenties, still do occassionally). It can provide a nice buffer against fear/anxiety or nightmares, but at the high cost of not feeling in tune with my dreams. I've come to view the sense of "its only a simulation" as the brain deceiving me, since it blinds me to the fact that dreams are indeed a process of reality! Ive come to a similar conclusion as you that it might have to do with screen time, or with living through others in general. Anyhow, I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you, since I haven't solved it for myself, though my instinct tells me that the path to embodying yourself in your dreams is embodying yourself in your life.

Take care,
K

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/2/20 8:50 PM as a reply to svmonk.
Recently I've noticed that my relationship to my dreams is more like I am watching a film than that I am experiencing something, in other words a third person rather than a first person viewpoint. 

I pretty sure I don't remember a lot of my dreams. But... when I do, I can't recall a dream in which this was not the perspective. I'm referring here to the last ten years. I don't seem to have first-person dreams. Somehow I know I'm dreaming and can experience what's going on from that angle.

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/3/20 9:42 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

I don't seem to have first-person dreams. Somehow I know I'm dreaming and can experience what's going on from that angle.

This is my experience of the last few years. The illusion of agency seems as gone from dreams as waking reality. Moreover the idea that lucid dreaming was ever anything but a fantasy seems prevalent. Now I also seem to have increased bleed through - when I wake up and dream-like structures seem to transition into the waking moments during the night - something like hypnogogia? I used to dismiss the dreaming/semi-waking state as unreal, but I've been working to just accept what is happening in any of these moments are "real" rather than reifying some moments over others.

Cue Advaita/Namkai Norbu reading list here. emoticon

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/11/20 6:17 AM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Moreover the idea that lucid dreaming was ever anything but a fantasy seems prevalent. Now I also seem to have increased bleed through - when I wake up and dream-like structures seem to transition into the waking moments during the night - something like hypnogogia? 

Hi Stirling, Could you write more about LD being a fantasy? Is it something along the lines that there have always been consciousness in the dream? Also I'm curious of your hypnagogic experiences. 

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/11/20 6:34 AM as a reply to svmonk.
I read or heard somewhere that knowledge of the dream being a dream or a fiction counts as one form of lucid dreaming. That is one of the different forms of it that happens to me. 

I don't think it necessarily follows from having much screen time, but maybe it follows from having a lot of time being aware of something as fiction, that is, being aware of it while watching it. It is a common practice to work on that awareness with regard to daily life. I guess technology and media have given rise to new versions of this practice, which is a fascinating development. There have been reports of insights stemming from virtual reality games and role playing games, so why not other genres? Personally I often find that insights occur while watching netflix and being aware of what my mind does while doing it, and while interacting with people too. 

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/11/20 4:10 PM as a reply to hae1en.
hae1en:

Hi Stirling, Could you write more about LD being a fantasy? Is it something along the lines that there have always been consciousness in the dream? Also I'm curious of your hypnagogic experiences. 

I no longer have a sense of agency or self in waking life, and this is now fairly persistent in dreams too... so agency in a dream is just as illusory as agency in real life.

My hypnogia is almost always around shadow shapes in my room. They appear to move, or take on recognizeable shapes. Amongst the most interesting and prevalent, there are occasionally "monks" that will stand silently in various parts of the room. They are hooded, and where the faces would be it is dark. My teacher has said that these are somewhat common amongst practitioners she has met, and she has seen them herself.

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/19/20 8:03 AM as a reply to Incandescent Flower.
Incandescent Flower:
I get this, too, have since I was in my early twenties, or at least that's when I first noticed it. Sometimes I will start a dream in the first person then midway through it will become something I am just watching, in some cases with blatant markers like the border of a screen or an atmosphere of a darkened theater. Related to this is a pervasive sense in most of my dreams of "Oh, it's okay, it's just a dream" without fully acknowledging that it is I who am dreaming, therefore it is different from and in my opinion inferior to lucidity (had a lot of lucidity in my early twenties, still do occassionally). It can provide a nice buffer against fear/anxiety or nightmares, but at the high cost of not feeling in tune with my dreams. I've come to view the sense of "its only a simulation" as the brain deceiving me, since it blinds me to the fact that dreams are indeed a process of reality! Ive come to a similar conclusion as you that it might have to do with screen time, or with living through others in general. Anyhow, I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you, since I haven't solved it for myself, 
Take care,
K

that is one of the best answers i ever heard. Means this is a great thread with a live question, and the responses are all gorgeous. I'm a shitty dreamer myself, always have been, despite massive amounts of freudian, jungian, and even jungian senoi time put in, grinding, always grinding. i hate to admit it, but my dream journals, when i kept them, bored me. I might as well have been sifting my shit, for all i got out of all that effort. Not my gift, clearly.

though my instinct tells me that the path to embodying yourself in your dreams is embodying yourself in your life.

Be still, my heart!!!

love, tim

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/19/20 9:28 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Hi Tim,

I have had absolutely no success at lucid dreaming or Tibetan dream yoga. I took Andrew Holecek's dream yoga webinar and read through his book twice, but nothing. Dream yoga is one of the Six Yogas of Naropa and I'm studying with a Kagyu Mahamudra teacher, so it would be really nice if I could do it, even just a little, though my teacher doesn't emphasize it.

Since I first posted to this thread, I've started taking vitamin B6, which some scientific studies have found help you to remember your dreams better, to get a clearer understnding of on what's going on. Recently, I noticed that I tend to experience the dream story in the first person perspective when I'm doing something that doesn't involve another person or would be normal in everyday life, like riding in a car and looking at the landscape. When the story switches to interacting with another person or something fantastical happens, like I go sailing high above the earth holding onto a blanket pushed by the wind, then I switch to the third person perspective.

I'm still not sure what this means, but I for sure agree with IF, that being embodied in your dreams is the path to being embodied in your life. Recently, my teacher taught an on-line retreat about death (appropriate in the time of COVID), and he made the point that death is the ultimate in embodied experience. You can't experience death from the third person perspective.

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/20/20 1:40 AM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Tim,

I have had absolutely no success at lucid dreaming or Tibetan dream yoga. I took Andrew Holecek's dream yoga webinar and read through his book twice, but nothing. Dream yoga is one of the Six Yogas of Naropa and I'm studying with a Kagyu Mahamudra teacher, so it would be really nice if I could do it, even just a little, though my teacher doesn't emphasize it.

Since I first posted to this thread, I've started taking vitamin B6, which some scientific studies have found help you to remember your dreams better, to get a clearer understnding of on what's going on. Recently, I noticed that I tend to experience the dream story in the first person perspective when I'm doing something that doesn't involve another person or would be normal in everyday life, like riding in a car and looking at the landscape. When the story switches to interacting with another person or something fantastical happens, like I go sailing high above the earth holding onto a blanket pushed by the wind, then I switch to the third person perspective.

I'm still not sure what this means, but I for sure agree with IF, that being embodied in your dreams is the path to being embodied in your life. 
amen.
Recently, my teacher taught an on-line retreat about death (appropriate in the time of COVID), and he made the point that death is the ultimate in embodied experience. You can't experience death from the third person perspective.
although some think they are, and report it as such in Near Death Experience stuff. But that is not a third person perspective, really. If you are dead, that is simply the perspective you have. The apparent paradox comes in only if you return to the revived or resurrected body. Which was nothing but meat, when you looked at it from the celing on your way out. That body wasn't looking back, lol.

love, tim

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
5/20/20 12:35 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi all,

Recently I've noticed that my relationship to my dreams is more like I am watching a film than that I am experiencing something, in other words a third person rather than a first person viewpoint. I've never been very skilled at lucid dreaming. Usually one of two things happens when I become lucid: either I wake up instantly or I fall back after a short priod and become not lucid because I want to "find out how the story ends". Though I cannot be sure, I think the latter may happen when I'm watching the dream from a third person point of view. This occasionally extends to my meditation practice, where "I" end up trying to watch myself transition into some state (jhana, etc.).

I wonder if the tendency to experience dreams this way is a result of the massive amount of screentime I usually experience in waking life (and now, with the coronavirus SIP yet more)? And if it might be the cause of my difficulty to achieve and maintain lucidity while dreaming? Does anyone else experience dreams like this and, if so, have you worked with any practices to become more embodied in your dreams? Thanx.

aloha svm,

   I suspect that the third person perspective on dreams is just a filter. We remember participating in a dream in real time, as it were. Many people experience life like this, at second hand. Filtered through conceptual mind and cleansed of any real sensation.

   In hawaii we call them "tourists."

terry

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
6/1/20 1:43 PM as a reply to svmonk.
I am 68 years old, don't drink, smoke, or drug.  I always have first person viewpoint. LOTS of strenuous physical action. Stopped meditating, sparsely meditated before, because of adverse experiences. My personality type contraindicates dredging the subconscious ? :  Neurotic, nervous, depressed, anxiety-disordered, overthinking, solitary, etc. ALL dreams now just repeat and EXPAND my waking life self-esteem insecurities and failures, quitting jobs or fleeing situations I hate, not being able to make the gig or set my drums up properly to play, etc. My dreams are INCREDIBLY real and DETAILED. I have some "sleep disorder" tendencies: yelling out in real life, if I am fighting, or scared in my dreams...rolling and falling out of bed, if I am escaping a dream snake or spider....kicking bed partner, if fighting in dream. INTERESTING EPISODE: ONCE in my life, during a very low episode of self-esteem, recently, I took some "spiritual teacher"'s advice, asking my "spirit guide" to give me guidance within my dream. I don't remember the dream, but I woke up the next morning extremely anxious, feeling a compulsion at a depth I never had before, of strong suicidal feelings. It took me hours to recover. I NEVER felt like that before. ARE DREAMS MERELY "THROWING OUT THE GARBAGE", or should they normally be "problem solvers"? Am I so backed-up with psychological shit, that my brain/mind has no
time or chance to help? 

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
6/1/20 9:41 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
but maybe it follows from having a lot of time being aware of something as fiction, that is, being aware of it while watching it.

That makes a lot of sense to me.

RE: Dreams Like Film
Answer
6/2/20 12:57 AM as a reply to EdMelvin.
EdMelvin:
I am 68 years old, don't drink, smoke, or drug.  I always have first person viewpoint. LOTS of strenuous physical action. Stopped meditating, sparsely meditated before, because of adverse experiences. My personality type contraindicates dredging the subconscious ? :  Neurotic, nervous, depressed, anxiety-disordered, overthinking, solitary, etc. ALL dreams now just repeat and EXPAND my waking life self-esteem insecurities and failures, quitting jobs or fleeing situations I hate, not being able to make the gig or set my drums up properly to play, etc. My dreams are INCREDIBLY real and DETAILED. I have some "sleep disorder" tendencies: yelling out in real life, if I am fighting, or scared in my dreams...rolling and falling out of bed, if I am escaping a dream snake or spider....kicking bed partner, if fighting in dream. INTERESTING EPISODE: ONCE in my life, during a very low episode of self-esteem, recently, I took some "spiritual teacher"'s advice, asking my "spirit guide" to give me guidance within my dream. I don't remember the dream, but I woke up the next morning extremely anxious, feeling a compulsion at a depth I never had before, of strong suicidal feelings. It took me hours to recover. I NEVER felt like that before. ARE DREAMS MERELY "THROWING OUT THE GARBAGE", or should they normally be "problem solvers"? Am I so backed-up with psychological shit, that my brain/mind has no
time or chance to help? 


   aloha ed,

   Try just sitting peacefuly and letting it all go.

   Keep trying.

terry