February 03, 2012

The Mystery and Wonder of Dreams

Dreams are a wonderful and mysterious thing.  Poets and wise men of centuries past have often written about them.  And there have been people from all cultures who talked about their dream experiences.

It hasn't been until more recent centuries that mankind has been able to give some scientific explanation to the purpose and mechanics of dreams.  For instance, we know that there are five different stages of sleep.

These stages have been categorized into two main types:  NREM (Non-rapid Eye Movement) and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.  REM is the deepest level of sleep where dreams occur.  And depending on how long someone is able to rest REM sleep can be experienced for up to an hour.

Although everyone who achieves a good night's rest experiences dreams, not everyone can remember them.  Yet there are people who always remember their dreams and can recount them to others with vivid detail.  My mother is one example.

Many times her dreams are so vivid that she not only remembers them but acts on them.  For instance,  one night she dreamt that thieves had entered our home and were standing in the doorway of her bedroom.  In her dream she tried to awaken my father but he could not be roused.  So she dreamt that she whistled loudly to get his attention.  In reality her body reacted to what her brain was telling her was a true threat and she rolled over and whistled, the type of whistle you make with two fingers, directly into my father's ear.

As you can imagine he woke up very quickly, as did my mother!  They couldn't get back to sleep because they were laughing too hard.  It is a favorite story we tell to friends and relatives. :)  But the point I want to make is that dreaming seems very real  until we realize we are in a dream.

This level is often referred to as Lucid Dreaming.  Lucid dreaming is when something in our dreams triggers our logic to kick in and we suddenly realize that we are in a dream.  It is often at this level of sleep, between dreaming and waking, that we are able to control what happens in our dreams and it is the best time to remember them.

Recently I have become more aware of when I enter Lucid Dreaming.  I am a musician and have composed pieces in the past for one instrument, mainly piano.  But over the past year and a half I have started experiencing dreams filled with music so vivid and beautiful that I would still remember it after waking from sleep.  And I've discovered that if I am quick to write down the melodies I can return to the musical composition and recall the other instruments for whatever I have written down.

I was reluctant at first to say much to anyone about my experiences, fearing that people would either not believe me or think I'm looney.  But after doing some research  I've learned that there are, in fact, many people who hear music in their dreams.

In a scientific study performed in 2006 at the University of Florence, Italy, it was discovered that musicians have a higher propensity to experience music in dreams than non-musicians.  And the study concluded that musicians who were exposed to musical education at an early age had even higher chances of vivid dream music and the experience of creating music that has never been heard before.

So science says it is possible to create while we dream.  But science can't explain how our minds know to be logical.  It can't explain why our brains create while resting or why music impacts the emotions so strongly to the point that we remember even after waking.  But I know that God loves to fill our lives with good things and that once we become his children there is nowhere we can go where He cannot be.

Dreams, music, our minds... they are all free gifts from God. And what can be better than creating something beautiful to offer Him as worshipful thanks?

Its getting late and I'm getting tired so I will be heading to bed soon.  But before I check out for the night let me wish you a good night's rest.  May you have sweet dreams.  And who knows... maybe God will sing to you a lullaby.

Psalm 103:5  " He fills my life with good things. My youth is restored to me like the eagle."

2006 Study of Music in Dreams


Calvin said...

Would be interested in hearing your dreamtime compositions.

BTW, this is lone grey squirrel and your word verification system won't let me post using openid.


Oh my! Thank you for notifying me Mr. LGS. I believe I have corrected the open ID problem. But if not I will try again.

Yes. I will have to upload a few samples of my music once it is recorded. :)