TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Can we control what we see in our dreams?

I believe that Dreams are stories created by our brain from the objects(for e.g. images) which are stored there as a result of what we see in our daily lives. Of course the link between those objects is our thinking/belief/ideology about the situation that we see in the dream.
I believe that we recognize only those things that we see and observe, but we don't recognize things which we must have seen and not observed
I would love to know your views on dreams and ask you that Can we take control of what we see in our dreams? If yes, then how? Also why do people day dream?

Topics: dream
Share:
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2013: Yes, you can. And you can learn it.

    I did a few experiments and I had a couple of conscious and controlled dreams.

    how: (this is what I did, it is a protocol and I hope you can replicate it, if so, let me know, or what worked and what didn't)
    1) Try and remember your dreams as soon as you wake up.
    Write them down, try to relive them.
    Do this as well when you wake up at night.
    This step should improve your consciousness to pay attention to your dreams.

    2) Before going to sleep, visualize one or two objects, things or situations that are not possible in real life, but possible in a dream (a purple moon, a black coffee-cup shaped diamond,...). If you dream about it, you might realize you must be dreaming.

    3) Other tricks to realize you are dreaming are:
    - you can't switch the light of with a light-switch
    - you can't read time on a digital clock
    - you are flying or doing some other impossible thing
    -...
    Visualizing and wanting to be conscious in your dreams (before you go to bed) augments the chances that you will have a conscious dream.

    4) If you realize you are dreaming, you might wake up... this is something you'll have to learn not to do.
    After a few times waking up, you might succeed in the end.

    5) When you are in a conscious state of dreaming, try and alter the flow of your dream slightly, without waking up.
    After some time you can alter your dream completely.

    I tried and succeeded in doing this in a month or two. I then quit doing it, as for me I only wanted to know if this was possible or not.

    I know this is a case study, and not sufficient for a scientific publication, but if other people are able to replicate it, maybe even through other protocols, we might get an estimate of how many people succeed and which techniques are worth training to obtain such results.

    Enjoy your sleep!
    • thumb
      Jul 29 2013: Thanks Christophe for bringing up the techniques of how to achieve lucid dreaming! That's the name I used instead of conscious dream. In such dreams you can do antyhing you want. Fly. Have a conversation with a departed relative. Meet whoever you want, play with the fabric of reality.

      I've tried the techniques, they do work. Unfortunately, my first lucid dream was more of a nightmare which was quite a repellent, but the rest was fine. I quit as well, but I confirm that it is indeed possible.

      I still have dream diaries lying around my bed, I still unwillingly practice some of the routines I forced myself to have during the learning period (like the reality check - can I lift this object with my mind? No? Then I am not dreaming. If you have those routines there is some probability of practicing them while asleep and dreaming which may trigger a lucid/conscious dream). This is not science-fiction, philosophy, psychiatry or any sort of 'new age', this should actually belong to and be studied by the field of neuroscience.

      There are even workshops in this, one of the writers exploring, explaining and teaching this is Adam Bytof, I don't know of any others.

      It's incredible what a human mind can achieve.

      Sweet dreams to everybody.
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2013: I feel that 'control' is too strong a word. I do feel certain that we can influence our dreams. There are many ways, some of which have been scientifically studied, to alter many things about your sleep, including your dreams. Sometimes our dreams are influenced not so much by us, but by what has happened to us. Other times, our dreams can be directly influenced by us as they are happening in lucid states.

    Have you ever been aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming? The odd thing about your use of the word 'control' to me is that whenever I realize I'm dreaming, I tend to immediately and calmly ascertain if I'm safe or threatened, in other words, am I in a good place or a bad place? It's a quick, instinctive yet relaxed check, yes or no, question and answer moment. Very brief. And then I always try to start influencing the dream, but often the harder I try the less influence I actually have. Other times, but less often, the harder I try the better the results I get.

    I do know I have the best success when, after I realize I'm dreaming, I stay positive, remain open to the ability that I can influence my dream, but only if I just let it happen naturally, and go with it. Flying dreams are almost always like that. Over the years, I fall a lot less and have become increasingly confident in my flying capabilities, which would support your theory that one can 'control' their dreams. On a side note, my recent flying dreams have all begun spontaneously during dream conversations and people seem to react as though it were natural and with admiration. None of them ever fly. Sometimes I just keep floating away even though I try to stay with the conversation and then when I engage in actual flight, there is suddenly too much momentum to stay hovering in front of the person I had been conversing with and I loop in gyroscopic patterns around them if I try.
  • Jun 30 2013: Encarta dictionary: sequence of mental images during sleep;images that appear involuntarily to the mind of sum1 who is sleeping, often a mixture of real and imaginary characters, places and event...and (dreams can also b sumtin hoped for..This can be controlled as long as we do what is right at d very right time)..To be honest, i do bliv 1 can control some dreams(mental images during sleep) but nt all.... Some do bliv that dreams are our subconscious thoughts..and some think that they are just 'flight of our imaginations'...i had a dream earlier2day and i was so nt hapi in d dream dat i wished and said 2myself in it 'it's js a drm' lo and behold,i awoke and i was so relieved..we christains, we have a different meaning towards the characters in our dreams.and atimes i do say dreams are stupid cos some might just be..one thing i am convince about is dat d maker of Heaven and Earth knows the true meaning behind those dreams and HE alone can control dreams ,if only we know how and when to call on HIM..
    • thumb
      Jul 28 2013: I think we can control our dreams in some ways. I am one of those who believe that dreams are our subconscious thoughts. Have you ever heard of Carl Jung? He was a psychologist that said we have a collective unconscious, something that all of us share. A lot of the mental images in our sleep come from the collective unconscious into our own personal subconscious thoughts while we are dreaming.

      When I realize I'm dreaming and I'm having a bad dream, I can wake myself up, too.
  • thumb
    Jun 29 2013: I don't know where dreams come from, sometimes I think they are the things we were close to thinking during the day but never quite got to thinking. I believe you can take control of them, for example I had a friend who sometimes bullies were going to beat him in his dream and he would tell them "you can't beat me, I know this is just a dream," and he would get away.
    • thumb
      Jul 28 2013: Dude, I do that a lot. I use my awareness of my dream to control my dream. I'll tell myself, 'That creature can't hurt me, because this isn't real. Whatever happens, I'll wake up." It works so well that nothing ever happens. I did have a bad car accident on a highway in a dream a couple weeks ago and I've been thinking about it ever sense. I was not aware I was dreaming when I happened. Nor was I driving. I was the front-seat passenger, the car I was in was positioned so that the large truck was going to collide with my side. I remember thinking, in the last second before it hit, in the dream, "Well, either I'm going to still be experiencing consciousness in the next moment or I won't..." and right as it is hitting,..."in which case I won't know." I had the whole last part of the thought during the collision, which happened at full speed. And as the car was spinning and I was awaiting signals of pain from the body, I kept noting there was still vision and there was still thought, back and forth, vision, yes, thought, yes, occasionally thinking in the back of my mind, this is good, keep going, hold on, keep being aware of having awareness. And after that all I remember a couple weeks later was the dream rationale that I survived by sheer will power, particularly the sheer will to maintain awareness of my own cognitive processes occurring. I've been wondering if my dream was just conforming to my own belief that our consciousness dies with us or if it was in some way evidence of that belief being the reality.

      Your friend seems to be doing something similar. It's not so much that he is aware he is dreaming (I wasn't aware I was dreaming while I was having the dream accident), it is that he was simply aware. He used his awareness as a shield.
      • thumb
        Jul 29 2013: do you know how you started to become able to do this, I believe it's called lucid dreaming?
  • Jul 24 2013: Yes.
  • thumb
    Jul 4 2013: Why do you need to control your dreams?
    • thumb
      Jul 28 2013: I don't know if one needs to or not. Perhaps, though, there is some beneficial aspect to exerting influence over our dreams that allows for us to experience a therapeutic result we can carry over into our waking lives? Maybe someone who is traumatized by an event can desensitize and reprocess the traumatic event and heal the psychological wound? Or work through a real-world anxiety, the way people who are afraid of flying get into flight simulators?
      • Jul 29 2013: Not bad Daniel, but they are all small cases, expand the possibilities, and you'll get to see a brave new world.