We all dream even though some of us don’t remember our dreams. Recent theories of why we dream include memory processing, a way to work thorough difficult experiences or emotions to achieve balance, a way to prepare us for threats and challenges. Sleep is needed to restore our bodies. Meditation has been shown to improve our health. In my own life dreams and meditation have given me valuable insights.
Historical examples of dream insights include: Joseph had many dreams including the sun the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to him predicting his future high status. Harriet Tubman helped 300 slaves escape through her dreams. She could see routes, the safe houses and where danger was to be avoided. Google founder Larry Page got the idea to download the web and then keep only the links for eventually developing a search engine. (You can google it and see him talk about the process.)
Have you ever gone on a walk or performed some repetitive task and all of sudden an answer to a problem just pops into your mind?
Brain waves change with sleep and meditation
- Gamma State is hyperactivity and active learning. Retaining information. This might be your state now if you are paying attention to what you are reading.
- Beta State is our working or thinking mind: analytical, planning, assessing and categorizing.
- Alpha State can occur after a yoga class (I got some great insights here), a walk in the woods or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective, have a slightly diffused awareness.
- Theta State where the verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind we have stronger intuition, more capacity for wholeness and complicated problem solving and visualization.
- Delta State has been documented in Tibetan monks who have been meditating for decades. They can reach it in an alert, wakened phase, but most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.
The topic next month will be some practical tips to use dreams and meditation to solve problems.