.: Dream Control :.
Think of a dolphin swimming in the ocean. The dolphin may dive deeply, and it often does, especially for food. The dolphin may jump completely out of the water, but when she does she can control her propulsion for only a little ways until gravity takes over and pulls her down.
In our state of wakefulness we have a degree of control. The study of Kismet will show us how little control that really is, but it is considerably more than in deep sleep.
Rather than jumping out of the water in great leaps or diving deeply, the dolphin may skim the surface of the water, keeping her fins largely submerged, occasionally jumping completely out of the water, occasionally completely submerging but remaining near the surface. This behavior is called "dolphining" and is observed in other animals as well and emulated by people.
What we do in dream control is to "dolphin." I'll explain that statement further in a moment. You will understand better if we first talk about how we access our dreams.
In a state of complete wakefulness we can direct our conscious mind, our thoughts. In dreamless sleeping we (apparently) have no control of our conscious mind, nor is our subconscious mind active. In the state of dreaming the subconscious mind is aroused and active but the conscious mind remains asleep. The subconscious mind, according to the most widely accepted theory, is also awake when our conscious mind is awake. It is subdues, however, by the more powerful conscious mind.
How then, do we have any awareness, any communication between our conscious mind and subconscious mind? There are two ways: 1. while dolphining and 2. through memories.
~Communicating through Memories
Memory seems necessary for any higher mental activity to take place. For us to imagine or think of going from point A to point B we must be able to keep in mind (remember) that there is a point A and point B and that we are (or are to) travel(ing) between them. The mental activity of both our conscious and subconscious minds are recorded as memories. Memories once recorded, regardless of whether they originated with the conscious or subconscious mind, are subject to the same dynamics. They can be recalled, associated, lost over time, confused.
Remembering dreams is, to most people, the limits of conscious-subconscious mind communication. Most people will remember most vividly those dreams which occurred just before waking. Although the subject continues to be debated, most students of the dreaming phenomena believe we store all dreams in memory, but have a difficult time recalling most of them. One of the discoveries in the Psychology of Learning is that we recall best the things learned last. The most recent memories appear to be the most vivid, and are easiest recalled. We could confuse the issues further by differentiating between short-term and long-term memory, but for now simply accepting the phenomena of last learned -- best recalled, is enough.
~Communicating through Dolphining
As with many other behaviors of the human mind, we don't understand dolphining very well. It's not clear if the subconscious and conscious mind are communicating directly with each other during the dolphining period or simply using the memory as an intermediary.
In dolphining we skim the surface between wakefulness and sleep. We use our conscious mind to direct thoughts (while "under the water,") but we also prevent sleep from taking over and completely direct our minds (when we are "out of the water").
Although it may be possible for some people to master dolphining by the shear power of will, most of us must first use training wheels (training fins?). We'll use some simple physical techniques to extend the period of dolphining so there is a much longer period of time for this strange interaction between conscious and subconscious mind to occur.
I haven't a clue as to HOW our conscious mind learns to direct the subconscious thus controlling dreams. It is kind of like learning to roller-skate. If you try to do it long enough, you will eventually learn, and can even become quite good at it. The physical techniques which let you extend the period of dolphining just give you more "practice time" for your minds to get to know each other.
The techniques here presented are my own. They were learned partly by accidental means, party by experimentation. They have worked for me and I think it reasonable to assume they will work for you. There are other techniques including relatively recent studies at Stanford University which you may wish to study as well.
~Kismet and Dream Control
Of what use is dream control? Being able to control our dreams has value in and of itself. With dream control we can banish nightmares, have a better, more fulfilling, fantasy life, and wake up happier. Dream control is just the first step in using our subconscious minds for Kismet. Remember, the learning that occurs when our conscious mind discovers how to direct our subconscious mind to control our dreams is not a one-way street. Our subconscious mind is learning too! It is learning how to interact with and even, upon occasion, direct our conscious mind.
~A First Mystery of Kismet
Our subconscious mind is a virtual well of thought, experience, observations, and ideas. We don't know were most of these come from. A commonly held theory is that our subconscious mind records and observes the same sensual experiences as our conscious minds but acts almost independently (as if it were another person) in what it considers important and how it processes information. If our subconscious mind were truly able to function in this manner it would certainly have tremendous survival value (provided the subconscious mind could somehow communicate this information to our conscious mind). We could be warned of danger, told we were being foolish, reminded to do important things.
~Beware of Superstition
Some people make fantastic claims for the power of the subconscious mind. According to one (not well-accepted) theory, the subconscious mind frequently connects with paranormal happenings. It reads other people's minds, communes with the cosmic mind, is able to predict the future. We must be very careful, in the study of Kismet, not to identify Kismet with any theory which assumes anything other than sensory phenomena. The practitioners of Kismet, as is true with students of any discipline which makes use of phenomena which are not well understood (are mysteries), can easily identify superstition with "the truth."
There is much concerning the subconscious mind and the conscious mind, for that matter, which we don't understand. Perhaps the use of Kismet to study the subconscious will bring us better understanding. We don't have to understand something completely to make use of it. One can't help speculate, however, at the great rewards of mind-power which might be ours if our use came from a thorough knowledge of what the subconscious mind is and how it functions.
~A simple technique to Control Dreams
Think about the times when you have had vivid dreams. What was your physical state during those times? A lot of the old wives' (or old husbands') tales have more than a grain of truth. Have you heard the one about eating rich or strange food just before you go to sleep? Folk wisdom has it that such a diet will make you dream. How about sleeping in a strange or different bed? Being overly tired when you fall asleep?
Do you want a good night's sleep, free from dreams? Dark, quiet, comfort, a peaceful mind, no extraneous movement, sleeping alone, will help you sleep. (Don't forget that cup of hot chocolate!)
Want to wake someone up? Light, movement, and noise, will do the trick. (So will a pail of cold water!)
To extend the period between sleep and wakefulness, we must create a state which is either somewhat uncomfortable or else a condition where the comfortable and pleasant things associated with wakefulness, but not with sleep, are present. These pleasant wakefulness things must, however, be more subdued than in wakefulness, or one will simply remain awake and won't enter the twilight zone.
Movement may well be an ideal stimulant to induce the half-sleep, half-awake state. I've never been able to figure out how to set up the conditions for such controlled movement, though. Light and noise, however, may be effectively used to allow us extended dolphining.
First position a light near the head of your bed. Try either a yellow-tinted light or a lamp with a yellow shade. Ideally you should install a rheostat to control light intensity, however you can accomplish almost the same thing by varying the distance between the light and your eyes. You can also use a towel to partly shade your eyes from the lamp.
Apart from the fact that the light is to remain on during your sleep period, you should endeavor to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Position yourself so the lamp is in your peripheral vision. You will have to use trial and error to find the best position of the lamp in relation to your sleeping posture. If you nod off to a deep sleep without dolphining, the light isn't bright enough, or should be repositioned.
The use of sound offers some interesting opportunities to choose sounds which will direct your dreams. I suggest you avoid this temptation. The technique will indeed work, but it is really cheating. Its not your conscious mind interacting with your subconscious mind during dolphining which chooses the direction of your dreams but rather your conscious mind hours before the dream state occurs which records chicken noises (for example) to make your dream of chickens, or has your best commanding voice order yourself to "study harder and get higher marks," or some such useless babble.
If you use sound as an aid to dolphining, use only music and never music which has lyrics or where lyrics exist. Don't choose music which reminds you of anything in particular. Classical music is good, but don't choose anything very familiar. You want sound to help hold you in the dolphining state so your own minds can interact; you don't want the music or other sounds to become the Director.
The sponge-rubber head sets work well and have an acceptable comfort level. Don't simply plug the headset into a radio receiver tuned to a classical music station and adjust the volume. Spend four or five dollars and buy a tape. Control your Kismet! You have much more control of what music is played on the tape than you do over the music played on the radio station.
There is no reason why both light intensity and sound could not be used together to help induce dolphining. In my own experimenting, I haven't been able to coordinate such double stimulants properly and have stuck with one or the other with light intensity being used most often.
Keep in mind that, until you get the knack of inducing dolphining, you will be frequently erring in the direction of not getting proper sleep. There will be many nights you will simply not be able to engage in experimentation. You won't be able to afford to lose sleep!
~Doing the Dolphin
It is far easier to describe to you the physical conditions which may allow you to engage in dolphining than to tell you how to DO dolphining. Once you create the conditions you will probably teach yourself. However, having taken you this far into the exercise I owe you a little more "how to" technique.
Further elaboration is completely subjective. If asked to instruct you on how to ride a bicycle, I would tell you to "steer in the direction you find you are falling." Those instructions, while valid, will not teach you to ride a bike. You have to get on the dad-burned thing and skin your knees a time or two. Further explanations won't help you nearly as much as your own experiences. However, before wishing you "happy riding" I'll mention some techniques I have found useful.
First, during the conscious state, I try to be mindful of physical changes which will bring me further from the sleeping conditions toward being more fully awake. I'm careful to make sure that I am neither too hot or cold by dressing carefully and making sure the room temperature doesn't vary much. There are a lot of physical conditions which can tip the scale toward awakening in the rather delicate balancing act. I restrict my own movements in order to prevent becoming wider awake.
Mostly I give my mind free reign. However, I avoid thinking of or at least dwelling on, anything which is worrisome or disturbing. Such subjects will cause me to lose the balance and awaken.
It isn't really very difficult for me to hold off full wakefulness. Most people will find this to be true for them as well.
It is more difficult to prevent losing control and sliding into deep sleep. In the beginning, only the care in setting up the physical conditions (correctly positioning the lamp, for example) could prevent sleep from getting the best of the argument. With continued experience in trying to extend the dolphining period, I have become alert to the early warning signs of drifting too deeply into deep sleep and have learned to prevent this from happening.
One technique is to initiate slight movement which has the effect of bringing one out of the sleep state. During light sleep I find I can, with difficulty, initiate eye, facial, and neck movement more easily than movement in hands or feet. I concentrate on making movements which are easiest. I will also initiate movement to force myself to wake up completely when in a dream state when the dreams are not to my liking.
Another method for control started with the observation that in deep sleep, control is lost: therefore I tried to keep the balance always tilted slightly toward wakefulness. As time has gone on and I have gained more control, I have been able to move the point of balance more toward the dream state.
There are actually two balancing points. One is the mid-mark between your swings from sleeping to being awake. The other is the point at which the change from being asleep to being awake occurs.
As you gain control, you can let yourself go deeper and deeper into sleep and still bring yourself back by dolphining. Or perhaps a better way of putting it is you learn to dive deeper into a sleep state AS YOU DOLPHIN.
~Exercising Dream Control by Dolphining
We've talked about achieving and extending the dolphining state. We haven't said much about how dolphining is used to control dreams. Here's how it's done:
As you dolphin into wakefulness, your conscious mind exercises control and you pick your dream topic just by thinking of the subject, as you would while awake. This can take the form of pictures, sound, or any sensual "image." This can even involve reasoning and problem solving.
You then allow yourself to dolphin into the sleep (dream) state where your subconscious mind picks up from the last images or mind-sounds of your conscious mind, and does the free association trip we call dreaming. If you let it, your subconscious mind will take the ball and run with it all the way out of the ball park, and you'll end up doing things and going places you don't really want to go. When you sense this happening, you dolphin back to a state of consciousness (or semi-consciousness) just enough for your conscious mind to take over to again set the scene.
As your conscious mind takes over, it can draw from the elements just presented by the subconscious mind in its own imaging. You then achieve a kind of conscious-subconscious mind interaction which is more interesting and enjoyable than if either mind were completely the master.
~Beyond Dream Control -- Freeing your Subconscious Mind
Kismet is about becoming master of your own fate rather than being led around by the nose. With dream control you gain some mastery over your subconscious mind, but still allow its interaction with your conscious self. Think of your subconscious mind as if she were a playful friend with a short attention span. She easily gets distracted and is very apt just to wander off. If you can keep her in one place long enough, you can have a lot of fun together.
Your subconscious is really an amazing person. She thinks of all kinds of things you would never dream (or only dream) of thinking about. Your subconscious has a creative side to her which is not present to nearly as great a degree in your conscious self.
The ancient Greeks attributed creativity to the muses. It was just as if there were mind-creatures which were quite apart from the conscious self, and which would creep into the minds of the Helens and impart those fabulous songs, poetry, and ideas!
The majority of the songs I lay claim to having created, first occurred to me while in a dream or dolphining state. Frequently a novel approach to problem solving or the solutions themselves are thought of while dolphining.
Just after awakening, unless I am not well-rested, I find I am often most intuitive. It is as if dolphining/dreaming has so enriched my mind that solutions which would otherwise elude me come quite easily. It is these times when I am capable of those great leaps of mind which don't seem to be the A follows B usual kind of problem solving, but where the entire alphabet emerges as a unit.
Can the kind of interaction between conscious and subconscious mind which is achieved by dolphining be maintained while we are fully conscious? I don't know; but something that is very like that interaction can be achieved. I'll discuss that application in the next section.
~Strengthening the Link by Meditating
I really don't like the title of this section: the word Meditation has such mystical and superstitious connotations. However, the use of this word is about as close I can come to describing the procedure of conscious linking between the conscious and subconscious minds which occurs without dreams playing a part.
Just as with dream control, we start by setting up physical conditions which make it easier to establish and maintain this link. Start out at or about your natural bedtime and create the same conditions you would for a comfortable night's sleep. Avoid being overly tired when you began this exercise. If you are quite tired, put off the attempt until another day.
In dream control we encourage free-association: that state of dream; control; dream; control; where our subconscious is free, at least part of the time, to roam at will. In meditation we attempt to achieve relaxation without falling asleep.
~Shut Off the Damn Light
Linking through meditation makes use of the conscious mind, and physical conditions, to maintain disciple over the subconscious. We attempt to bring the two minds closer together without control passing back and forth between them. To set up the physical conditions for meditation, we darken the room (shut off the light). Light induces free-association. Dark inhibits it.
As in dream-control we relax and remain still (not rigidly or stupidly still; if you itch, scratch). I find it aids my entering the meditative state if, while lying on my back, I balance a an object such as a light paper-back book, or my favorite Yo-Yo on my forehead. I'm not sure exactly why this helps. Perhaps it creates the same slight amount of discomfort that a light on in the room does while inducing the state of controlled dreaming. It also requires a minimum of concentration which may prevent drifting into dreams.
Now hold a topic of thought LIGHTLY in mind. That topic of thought is the focus for your meditation. Do not CONCENTRATE, CONCENTRATE. Concentration is quite exhausting; it will quickly tire your mind and you will get nothing from the session except a head ache. Some practitioners of meditation engage in the exercise simply to achieve a relaxed state. That's not what we're after. In Kismet, meditation enables an interaction between conscious and subconscious mind as an aid to UNDERSTANDING.
Understanding achieved through this mind-link may be simple problem solving. The practitioner frequently emerges from the session with a very different way of viewing what he or she perceived as a problem going into the session. Don't focus on specific worrisome problems. For example if you are having a discipline problem with a child, don't decide to use a meditation session to understand the difficult behavior. Instead simply think about the child herself. All the child's attributes will be considered during the mind-link. The disciple problem will become a mere trifle as the larger appreciation for your pint-sized fellow traveler unfolds.
One of the lessons of Kismet is a recognition that most of the topics which concern us are of very little importance, but are those topics on which the immediacy of the moment focuses our attention. Meditation puts aside these trifles, and helps us to look at the world around us with better perspective.
~End of Lesson
That's about all I can teach you on dream control and on use of meditation to establish a more controlled conscious-subconscious mind link. Master this lesson, and the great gifts of the subconscious: intuition and creativity, will be more easily attained.
There is more Kismet can teach on this subject, however. Remember also that the other lessons of Kismet, those having to do with avoiding distractions while being prepared to take advantage of chance occurrences, are to be applied to the twilight times of dolphining and meditation as well as to our time spent fully awake.
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