Tag Archives: mental

Dreams Solve Problems the Conscious Mind Cannot

WHEN our thick brains get all heated up worrying about life’s complexities, that’s often  the best time to kick off our shoes, and give it a rest.

Faced with a critical decision, or stuck on a complex problem, dream researchers have discovered, sleeping or napping on them often led to a right solution.

“In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die,” Lewis Carroll wrote of children: “Ever drifting down the stream–Lingering in the golden gleam–Life, what is it but a dream?”

As adults the notes of a song, the smell of burning leaves, the babbling of a mountain stream, a day-dream — all may open doors to another realm of poetic mind. They also arouse unexpected vistas.

In Wordsworth’s haunting poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” reveries opened for him an unexpected awareness of past lives.

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“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar …”

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There is “a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy,” the poet Edgar Allan Poe wrote in Marginalia, “which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language.”

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Dreaming the Future

WHEN our rational brains are all heated up, arguing life’s complexities, that’s usually the best time to kick off our shoes and give it a rest.

“Ever drifting down the stream, lingering in the golden gleam,” Lewis Carroll wondered: “Life — what is it but a dream?”

At times, when we are faced with a critical decision, or stuck on a complex problem, sleeping or napping on it, researchers find, often leads to the right answer.

The notes of a song, the smell of burning leaves, the babbling of a mountain stream, a day-dream—all can open a door to the the non-rational, poetic mind. They can also arouse unexpected vistas when we are children.

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Unfamiliar Terrortory

A few days ago, I was walking the neighbor’s dog down to the beach area of our community. It was already dusk, so I had my flashlight with me. The usual bonfire, surrounded by gents and their beer yakking about the day, was gone and folks were talking in hushed tones.

The river was oddly beautiful with numerous boats shining cobalt blue lights. I was taking it all in and then the guys told me they were searching for a missing police officer.

He had volunteered in a training exercise earlier that day at a beach down the road from us. He was playing the “victim.” How he managed to slip away into the waters while a helicopter hovered overhead and police dive team members, marine patrol, and fire department personnel watched boggles me. Helicopters overhead that night looking for him kept me awake.

Ran into an officer earlier today while walking the dog at the beach and now they’re looking for his dead body. He asked me to call if I found anything.

A drowned body is hard to recognize, a neighbor told me, especially because of all the river critters that feed off it ‘til it journeys to the shore.

“Beware of this, O candidate!,” Helena Blavatsky warned,

‘Beware of fear that spreadeth, like the black and soundless wings of midnight bat, between the moonlight of thy Soul and thy great goal that loometh in the distance far away.” (The Voice of the Silence)

At the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, mice are learning how to not be afraid in stressful situations. Researchers there explain that two types of fear, instinctive and learned, have deep evolutionary roots and are essential for survival. But in some people, pathological forms of learned fear can lead to debilitating anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress syndrome, or depression.

Learned safety, on the other hand, reduces chronic stress, one of the hallmarks of depression and other psychopathologies. “The ability to identify, develop, and exploit conditions of safety and security is central to survival and mental health,” said Institute investigator Eric R. Kandel, “but little is known of the neurobiology of these processes.”

A friend of mine sent me a note last week about how fear had been holding him back on the Path, from making progress. And he sent me a link to an inspiring film about a young man who overcomes his fears.

So powerful a person can be when he or she “resides IN the ‘great & eternal’ moment,” my friend said. “I think this guy is an amazing vehicle for this lesson.”

Think of Blavatsky’s words before you watch this:

“Fear, O disciple, kills the will and stays all action.”

© Kara LeBeau 2008. All rights reserved.

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