Fascinating research on Lucid Dreaming

“Scientists at the U.K.’s Liverpool John Moores University explored the potential link between dreams and problem solving by examining a specific type of dream: the lucid dream. In a lucid dream, the dreamer is aware that he or she is in the midst of a dream, and can take control and direct aspects of the dream. Lucid dreaming is a skill that can be developed, according to some research.

In the current study, researchers worked with 9 experienced lucid dreamers, male and female, between the ages of 18 and 41. Researchers created a control group of 9 participants with similar demographic characteristics who were not lucid dreamers but who did have strong dream recall abilities. Over a 10-day period, all participants were given a nightly “task” to solve. Researchers delivered tasks via email each night at 9 p.m. Both the lucid dreamers and the control group were instructed to read over the task several times before going to bed, and to try to memorize it without actually solving the problem it contained. The tasks were of two types—logical and creative. The logical tasks involved providing factual information in response to a question, while the creative tasks involved creating metaphors.

Researchers asked lucid dreamers to use their dream skills to complete each task. Lucid dreamers were given specific instructions about how to do this, including initiating a dream and seeking out within that dream a guide who could help the dreamer solve the problem. Once the task had been resolved, lucid dreamers were instructed to wake themselves up and write down the answer they received.

Non-lucid dreamers were asked to recall their dreams immediately after waking, to record their most vivid dream of the night, and to solve the task with the first answer that came to their minds. This was also the procedure that lucid dreamers followed—if they weren’t able to successfully find an answer through a guide within their dream. Research analyzed 160 individual dream reports of both lucid and non-lucid dreamers, examining the responses to both logical and creative tasks. They found no significant differences between lucid and non-lucid dreamers in terms of the logical problem solving. When it came to solving creative problems, however, researchers’ analysis determined that lucid dreamers had an edge over non-lucid dreamers. Lucid dreamers were more successful in creating metaphors than non-lucid dreamers.”

According to dream researcher Domhoff, high dream recallers have strong visual imaginations. Images are visual metaphors and may explain why dreaming and particularly lucid dreaming can support problem solving. If that is the case, then it seems a core skill for both remembering dreams and making use of them is the development of your visual imagination. Lateral thinking skills, pioneered by Edward Bono, help develop visual imagination: https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sk/lateral.htm

The research study quoted here was found at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201412/how-our-dreams-influence-our-days

Posted in Lucid Dreaming

How Social Media Affects our Cognitive Distortions

A guest post by Marie (marie@noreazon.com)Thanks, Marie!

We see them, and in some cases, we may do this ourselves. We post photos on Instagram containing the highlights of our day: when we feel successful at work, comfortable in our relationship with our significant other, situations in which our cat looks cute (and isn’t scratching our vintage furniture), days when we feel at peace with ourselves. What people don’t see is when we feel anxious, depressed, lonely, angry — or any other negative emotions. They don’t see behind-the-scenes arguments, the mistakes we make or the nights we spend lying awake worried about the future and other things.

How has social media changed our society and overall mental health?

It has changed the medium of our cognitive distortions. Joseph Dillard explains that emotional cognitive distortions are “words or statements that you tell yourself or others than feel true, but when examined factually are found to be irrational.” Logical cognitive distortions may seem reasonable, but really, they’re tactics used to persuade or manipulate while problem solving. Perceptual cognitive distortions are the world views that determine what you think is real life and what is possible. All three of these cognitive distortions contribute to the Drama Triangle, where people participate as persecutor, victim and rescuer.

When we post on social media, we could say the photos and posts are true. We really want to believe they are because they are full of happiness and positive aspects of life. In reality, our Instagram feeds and 140-character tweets are likely emotional cognitive distortions. No one can be happy all of the time, and social media has exemplified the need to be liked and happy in the 24/7 news- and digital-age. From a mental health standpoint, when you see someone who has exactly what you want (a house, significant other, job, child and so on) and that person posts about it constantly on social media, it could affect your mental health. You could feel depressed because you’re seeing everyone’s “happy” posts while you are unhappy.

Here are some ways that social media could affect individuals’ mental health:

It’s an addiction.

More than 63 percent of people use Facebook at least once per day.  If you find yourself checking your phone every five minutes and checking your social media feeds even more, you could have an addiction to social media. You want to check how many likes and comments your posts are garnering, which is an example of all three cognitive distortions. You could present something positive about yourself, and you manipulate an audience to like and comment on it. It determines that your world view is centered on self-esteem built by a social-media platform.

We tend to compare ourselves with others even more.

You see someone else’s utopia and want that for yourself. You begin to ask yourself, “Why can’t I have that?”, which can lead to obsessive-compulsive behaviors and thoughts. We tend to be restless with our lives and have trouble relaxing.

It can lead to cyberbullying.

It’s sometimes easier for bullies to hide behind the computer screen. If you’re in an already fragile state of mind, you could feel victimized in chat rooms, social media sites, private messages or other websites. If you are being bullied online, talk with a mental health professional on betterhelp.com. He or she can help you wade through the world of social media and cyberbullying.

While there are clear negatives to social media, it can greatly help us socialize and increase our connectivity with the outside world, especially when feeling anxious and depressed. Here are some other pros and cons of social media.

Posted in Addiction, cognitive distortions

Examples of two Indexing/TOC links from .Doc upload

Posted in Uncategorized

Coffin on Tracks

This is a good example of a visual metaphor of our latent potential for transformation, how we keep ourselves from transforming and what we need to do in order to transform. Obviously, the particular “prescription” or methodology is going to be different for different people.

 

Tell me a dream you remember.  It can be an old one, a repetitive dream, a nightmare, or one that you’re sure you understand.

I am watching a flat, oblong plastic or metal “coffin” automatically slide slowly along hardly visible rails set in a floor. It appears to move slowly around on a large oblong track. I am curious as I watch. What is it? What’s its purpose?

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

Doing things promptly.

Sticking to my routines – yoga, meditation, gym

Substituting low sugar for higher sugar drinks and foods

Tell me a dream you remember.  It can be an old one, a repetitive dream, a nightmare, or one that you’re sure you understand. 

I am watching a flat, oblong plastic or metal “coffin” automatically slide slowly along hardly visible rails set in a floor. It appears to move slowly around on a large oblong track. I am curious as I watch. What is it? What’s its purpose?

Why do you think that you had this dream?

I don’t know. I haven’t been thinking about death lately.

If this dream were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee? 

Coffin on Tracks.

These are the characters in the dream, beside yourself…

Coffin, tracks

If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?

The coffin!

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are this or that character in your dream and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Coffin, are you a character in Joseph’s dream?

Yes!

Coffin, look out at the world from your perspective and tell us what you see… 

I am more of the artificial or man-made shell of a seed, part of a transformational potential that is within me that is not man-made but totally natural, innate and spontaneous. What is inside me can burst forth if I am planted…

Coffin, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I am going in circles instead of vertically. I am meant to be planted.

Coffin, what do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I provide shelter and protection for amazing potentials for transformation and rebirth.

Coffin, what do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

I can’t think of any. My man-made or artificial nature is stronger, more durable and more adaptable than most natural-occurring substances, so I do an extraordinary job of protecting my contents until they are ready to burst forth. I like myself just fine, but this going around in circles on this track, while interesting, is not supporting my function, which is transformation. 

Coffin, what aspect of Joseph do you represent or most closely personify?

His transformational potentials.

Coffin, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

I would be buried, metaphorically speaking, and getting the equivalent of darkness and moisture, with ready nutrients, the ingredients that nature normally supplies to seeds and eggs. The darkness is best supplied by meditation, not because he does it in the dark – he doesn’t – he even keeps his eyes open, but because it is a state of relative sensory deprivation because he focuses on clarity rather than on senses, thoughts, feelings or images when he meditates. The moisture is best provided by emotional warmth, provided by his practice of inhaling abundance and exhaling thankfulness as well as by his constant exposure to creative ideas, generosity and service to others. The nutrients are best provided by interviews such as this one, which supply him with access to emerging potentials that align him with the priorities of his life compass. 

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Seed Pod, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence, 0-10. 10. Why?  I can and will do what I am made to do, given the proper conditions. 

  Compassion, 0-10. ?? Why? I don’t do compassion; humans do compassion. I am extremely patient and durable and then go into action when conditions are appropriate. 

Wisdom, 0-10.  10 Why? My wisdom is innate; I respond appropriately to the right conditions. Flow.

Acceptance, 0-10. 10. Why? I accept that I am not planted or cracking at present; when I am I will accept that.

Inner Peace, 0-10. 10 Why? Because I am high in acceptance. 

Witnessing, 0-10.  10 Why? I have no problem observing my environment, my contexts objectively and dispassionately.      

Seed Pod, how would Joseph’s life be different if he naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

He would have much less resistance to planting and sprouting me! He could break himself out of his horizontal reality, his addiction to his train of mind that mostly takes him around in circles!

Seed Pod, if you could live Joseph’s life for him, how would you live it differently?

I would take 5-10 minute meditation breaks throughout the day. He doesn’t have to do a lot if it’s quality, in order to get me the amount of time “underground” that I require to sprout. 

Seed Pod, if you could live Joseph’s waking life for him today, would you handle Joseph’s three life issues differently?  If so, how?

Doing things promptly: Getting started is the most important thing. He sticks with stuff pretty well once he starts. 

Sticking to my routines – yoga, meditation, gym: Going over the routines for the next day at night before going to sleep will help.

Substituting low sugar for higher sugar drinks and foods: I am not too concerned about this. Not buying them is key, since you can’t eat or drink what you don’t have on hand.

Seed Pod, what life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Joseph’s life?

1. Meditating more! 

2. Moisturizing with the inhaling of abundance and exhaling of gratitude!

3. Interviews!

Seed Pod, in what life situations would it be most beneficial for Joseph to imagine that he is you and act as you would? 

Whenever he does resistance. Although I am strong, solid and resistant, I do not myself do resistance.  

Seed Pod, why do you think that you are in Joseph’s life? 

To remind him of his potentials, which are like unopened gifts and possibilities that are ready to sprout and awaken if he will simply subject them to the proper conditions.  

Seed Pod, why do you think Joseph had this dream?

As above, to show him what he is doing – living on the horizontal, mostly – and motivate him to spend more of his time living on the vertical. 

Seed Pod, why do you think (some dream event happened) or (some character) was in the dream?

The tracks I am on are the habits of his thoughts, feelings and actions. His daily routines.

Seed Pod, why should Joseph pay any attention to what you have said? Aren’t these just a projection of Joseph’s own wishes and desires?

I am a representation for him of truths that he knows are authentic and important.

Thank you, character! And now a couple questions for Joseph: 

What have you heard yourself say?

If I spend more time planting and watering this seed it will sprout. The potentials are unknown but the implication is that they are significant.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your life compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Your evolution and transformation is largely independent of external circumstances. You can support, control and encourage it by planting, feeding and watering it.

Look back over the interview and list the specific recommendations that were made:

Meditate for short periods throughout the day.

Keep up the abundance/gratefulness breathing.

Interviews once a week. 

What do you think? How does transformation show up in your dreams? What works for you to support and encourage it?

Posted in Integration, interviewing self

What is Intuition?

 

Part of the reason I developed Integral Deep Listening was because I was naturally highly intuitive in a number of ways but found I couldn’t trust my intuition or that of others because I found it highly unreliable, and sometimes trusting intuition got me into big trouble. Therefore, I was searching for a way to honor and validate intuition without using it to validate simple prepersonal irrationality and unhinged belief.

I had an interesting talk with my daughter Kira last night. She was talking about how she is good at sizing people up, is usually right, and has gotten her highly analytical boyfriend Aaron to finally agree that her intuition is generally correct on such things.

I explained to her how, after being a fervent believer in intuition for years, I am highly suspicious of it because i think it is over-rated, it usually doesn’t describe anything that can be measured, quantified or falsified and therefore disproven, and is often used for manipulative psychological ends, as revealed by the response you get when you question someone about how they know what they know – they tend to get defensive and take it as a personal attack.

Kira said that she and Aaron had talked about it a lot and had come to an agreement on a common understanding of what they mean by “intuition,” and it’s one I also agree with. It is certainly less than what psychics and gurus mean by “intuition,” but it is at least some definition that I do not think is totally delusional.

That is, that intuition is right-hemisphere brain awareness, meaning perception based on non-verbal spatial awareness, that looks for patterns and configurations, similarities, is spontaneous, affective and derives meaning from stories. What is interesting is that I value all of these qualities and am particularly good at seeing and making sense of patterns. I have had a strong affinity for most of these qualities all my life.

The difficulties I have with intuition may therefore largely be a matter of language. If someone says, “I trust my intuition on that” I will tend to wonder what the hell they mean, if anything. Do they mean they trust God? Their feelings? Their “still small voice? If so, what the hell is that??” Their “heart?” Okeee…. We can see how well that works with soul mates…

Does it mean they are ignoring their left hemisphere? That is my suspicion.

So it is clearer to me if someone were to say, “I am getting a strong right-hemisphere sense of truth about this and I have really been trying to use my left hemisphere skills to make sure I am not deluding myself.”

Now no one is actually going to say that, but I am trying to communicate an approach in shorthand. What that says to me is that a person is validating their strong right-hemisphere “feelings”” or “intuitions” of truth with left hemisphere strengths.

If I know someone is trying to do this, what else can they do? In other words, I respect that.

Really, a lot of my work with dreams is about attempting to honor, respect and balance both hemispheres.

I suppose what I do when I have a strong intuition, for instance any clear wake-up call or sense of importance, such as a dream – in fact pretty much WHAT I do when I have a strong intuition or non-rational experience, again, like a dream,  – is go down the list of left-hemisphere strengths and see if my intuition just represents right hemisphere perception or whether it also can meet left hemisphere criteria of considering other explanations, can be put into some measurable form by which it can be held accountable, can be transcribed into structures of thought and action that are reliable and directs feelings in caring, loving ways.

In other words, if I want whole-brain or integrated living I have to consult, balance and integrate the strengths of both hemispheres.

People who rely too heavily on reason and logic discount the strengths and possibilities of the right hemisphere while people who rely too heavily on intuition, whatever they may call it, discount the strengths and possibilities of the left hemisphere.

In my experience, almost all of us think we have that balance pretty well figured out.

In my experience, almost no one has that balance figured out. 

Posted in What is IDL?