TED Conversations

greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement


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what makes you think you're not dreaming right now?

as you read my question here on TED conversations, you're pretty sure you're not dreaming, right? What makes you think so?

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    Oct 18 2013: Hi Greg :)

    Dream: Illusion of wakening while sleeping, is what we call Dreaming, right Greg? A kind of Illusion when one is not in the state of his/her 'True Self'. A dreamer never can conclude that he/she is dreaming, because at the time of dreaming, he/she is not aware of this too. A wakefulness is required to declare the dream. Once a person is out of dream or returns back in the actual true state of being, he is capable of noticing the previous state was false being (Dreaming).

    So, The Awakening is the only way to find out our true state of being.

    Its very easy to understand, if something is within our human experience. One can know if he/she is dreaming or not right now by comparing some significant things about dream and reality. The richness of dreams (during sleep) is less than that of waking, so if you have rich visual experience, you must not be dreaming, and there are certain things one can do at while dreaming, like fly (as Lajen said),, so if you can't do those things, you can conclude you aren't dreaming'.

    Okey now lets talk about the other nature of this illusion. Are we still dreaming when not sleeping?

    Yes! infact we are Greg. What we call our 'personality', is an illusion, its a dream. what is our identity? Is this our name? is this our religion? or is it Nationality? ... No! they all are just granted degrees, given to us by this world, by other personalities, aren't they. Its not our true being. I can exists without all these. There is something in me, which can not be taken away from me, that is real me. Those things are obtained from this world can be taken away. Even, in deep knowing, one can found all relations belongs to our individual personality, which is false. Also, one day the death will bereave me with my body too. Thus dreaming...

    Answer is still same. The Awakening is the only way to find out our true state of being. We know many persons, those have achieved the 'True self', The Awakening, The Enlightenment ! :)
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      Oct 23 2013: manish, does it mean anything when we fly in dreams? Is it just our mind being silly?
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          Oct 28 2013: does it seem that lucid dreams are rare, Chris? Why, any idea?
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    Oct 17 2013: cause I'm not snoring????
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      Oct 18 2013: Craig, do you hear yourself snoring when you're dreaming?
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        Oct 18 2013: How could I tell if it was dream snoring or snore dreaming???

        Send a beautiful lady to come live with me for a month to determine for science....

        Then perhaps we could get to the bottom of this...for science..
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          Oct 18 2013: I'm wondering if we could describe dreams as "slippery"?
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      Oct 18 2013: Funny Craig...I know a couple people who wake themselves up with their own snoring!!!
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        Oct 18 2013: Hi Coleen,

        So do they both wake up at same time or does one wake the other up first??? I'm curious....
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          Oct 18 2013: Hi Craig,
          The people I know do not sleep together....as far as I know! That might be really funny though.....to observe two snorers sleeping together!!!

          My wasband (was my husband) is a world class snorer. I did not sleep all night for the 24 years we were married (except when he traveled), and I often observed him waking himself up. I also have a friend who wakes herself up with her own snoring!
  • Nov 14 2013: I believe our ability to recognize when we are not dreaming stems from the human capacity to recognize the absurd in relation to a known structure of our physical environments. The human mental map of the world is the most elaborate and complex of all species. If we are presented a scenario that does not completely match our understanding of an environment (a dream for instance) we recognize the absurdity of the scenario and classify it as a dream or a figment of imagination.
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      Nov 14 2013: then I guess my question is why don't we recognize when we are dreaming, my understanding is that when most people are dreaming, they think the dream is real.
      • Nov 14 2013: I am by no means an expert on the subject, but my understanding leads me to say it has to do with the impaired consciousness we have when we are asleep. The reason why dreams feel real to us is because in a sense, they are real! If we can remember a dream, that experience can influence out future behavior and decisions just as an experience in the physical world could. However, getting back to your question, it is impossible to recognize the absurdity of dreams while we are sleeping because our consciousness is not capable of critically comparing the dream situation to our understanding of reality. It is only upon waking we can fully accept that the dream was in fact a dream. Lucid dreaming, although again I am no expert, appears to be an ability to overcome the impaired consciousness of dreams, recognize them as an absurd situation and therefore a dream, and choose to manipulate them to our own whims as a means of entertainment or pleasure.
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          Nov 14 2013: any reason why our consciousness would be impaired when we are asleep? One could argue that it would be more acute as we are very relaxed, our body is not working so our mind can work harder.

          Stephen, I am assuming that for most people when they are dreaming the dream seems real, I've never actually asked anyone. Do your dreams seem real to you while you are dreaming?
      • Nov 14 2013: If you want to learn about the differences between the awake mind and the asleep one an interesting study at the Univiersity of Wisconsin could help: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3270580/ . Essentially is shows that although brain activity when asleep is similar to when it is awake, the measure of connectivity between areas of the brain is lower. This means that when we are asleep, the areas of the brain share information less regularly. This explains why we cannot create a perfect mental map when we are in a dream. They have not discovered a sure fire reason for why we need sleep as of yet, but scientists are closing in on it.
        As for your other question, my dreams vary in their compatibility with reality. Have you ever had a dream that you believed was real when you woke up and then later finally realized it never happened? I have. I would say that is a high compatibility dream as its measure of absurdity was rather low and for with my conscious model of the world. If I dreamed I was being chased by a murderious clown who had four arms in an amusement park, I would say that is a low compatibility dream, and when I woke up I would a classify it as absurd.
      • Nov 14 2013: I think maybe I haven't fully answered your question looking back ok my response. Do my dreams seem real while I am in the dream? I would say that when dreaming, I can't decide whether or not something seems real. It is only upon waking I can do that, unless as mentioned before it is a lucid dream. In a non-lucid dream humans lose their ability to question the reality of an environment, due to impaired consciousness that comes with sleep. Only upon waking can we look back I'm a dream and then critically analyze its credibility as a real event. Is that more clear?
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          Nov 14 2013: I believe I had basically understood, Stephen. I went to the link to the study, at the moment it looks pretty dense, I will read it when my mind feels a little less plugged up. But still, why would consciousness be impaired when sleeping? And if it is impaired, why would we occasionally have a lucid dream?
      • Nov 14 2013: Maybe it will help to define what we mean by sleep. Sleep in and of itself is a state of suspended consciousness. Therefore, impaired consciousness doesn't come with sleep. It IS sleep. As to why we need this impaired consciousness, or why do we need sleep, the truth is obviously science doesn't know for certain. However, my theory would be that sleep is necessary for memory sorting and solidification. Studies have seen a correlation between establishing long-term memories and sleep. Maybe by preventing communication betweent he different areas of the brain, the hippocampus is granted a rest from processing new information and can instead solidify and rank memories based on importance. Again, though this has not been proven.
      • Nov 14 2013: Also, if the material in that link is to dense, I was first introduced to this study because the research was used on an episode of Through The Wormhole. About 18:00s in is the experiment I am referring to.
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    Oct 23 2013: I could be experiencing a holograph. I could be experiencing life with only the view of shadows caste on the wall of a cave. could be.
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      Oct 28 2013: true, but something gives you the feeling you're not, what is that something?
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    Oct 19 2013: Hi Greg,
    I AM dreaming, in the sense that this world is a physical illusion, and I am only conscious of it as long as I am here in a physical body, breathing. When I move on, as far as I'm concerned this dream of an incarnation on planet earth is also gone.
    What am I essentially dreaming about? I am dreaming of how I found my way back home to higher consciousness. I can only undertake such a journey when I am asleep, dreaming it, because it's actually not real. (Something that is "not real" is something that does not last for ever). When everyone fully wakes up in consciousness, and stops dreaming their lives on this earth, it will disappear.
    Why do we need to dream of a journey back home anyway in the first place? Because it's how we evolve in consciousness. We have to experience as real, duality, (ie: separation from our Divine Creator, even though such a thing is impossible) and the only way we can experience the impossible is in a dream that is so apparently real that we take it for real, and stretches us enough to evolve in consciousness to find out in what way it is just a dream, and reality lies elsewhere.
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      Oct 23 2013: well, thanks, Joshua, I was thinking of dreams as people more typically understand them, little stories you go through while asleep.

      If you think our waking life now, here, is not real, is it then proper to call it a dream, I wonder if there's a better word to describe what you're talking about?
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        Oct 23 2013: Well, perhaps it's a question of levels of dreaming.
        We have day-dreams, night-time dreams when we are asleep, and maybe both those are set in the context of a different-level dream (as in the film, The Matrix); in which case when I get up in the morning I am just moving from a 'horizontal' dreaming state, to a 'vertical' one.
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    Oct 18 2013: Greg,
    I think I told you that I had a near death experience (NDE) years ago? During that event, I experienced another reality....one that was very connected with all that is.....loving....content....peaceful and harmonious. I got a glimpse of how our world might be when we recognize our connectedness, and genuinely respect each other.

    I learned unconditional love from my mother, which embraces all people, and causes us to live life joyfully. Because of my beliefs, I have been told that I do not face reality.....I am living in a fantasy world...etc. Interesting that when I am told that, it is by people who do not agree with me!

    The reality I experienced with the NDE, and the reality of what my mother taught me, which are similar, sometimes seems more "real" to me than the reality of this earth school. I believe there are several different realities that one can experience in various life forms....several different levels of consciousness that we can experience in the human form, and dreaming is one of them.
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    Oct 18 2013: In every dream I can remember I have never read anything. But then again if I am dreaming they would be dreams inside a dream
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      Oct 18 2013: Interesting observation! I can't remember it too... TV as well, never watched anything ...

      Could it be that dream visualizations come in lower resolutions than in 'reality and fall below readability?

      Hires and detail rich close-ups is also something which I can not remember.
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        Oct 19 2013: Yes I think you are right. Most dream I have every remembered I have related back to triggers through that day or planning ahead for the next. But even commination in dreams. There can be rough thing I remember people saying but I have never had a in depth conversation about anything.
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          Oct 19 2013: Maybe it is a self-protection mechanism. Imagine you begin to read the best book of your life just to wake after 25 pages and never return to this dream ever again! We would never know who was the murder ... :o)
    • Nov 14 2013: I have read a few things, but the reading soon becomes garbled and difficult-to-impossible.
      But I can't remember having watched t.v.
      It seems that details are hard to catch, such as "how" this Harry-Potter-type magic is actually working; it always ends the magic.
      But it is nice to wake up with a nice workable idea every now and then!
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    Oct 17 2013: Hi Greg:>)
    Nothing makes me think that I am not dreaming because I AM dreaming!!!

    I'm dreaming about marinated wild salmon, new potato just plucked from the garden, roasted with herbs, and the last of the zucchini squash....tender little delectable veggies roasted.....accompanied by a lovely glass of wine........

    Gotta go....talk with ya later:>)
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      Oct 18 2013: Dear Coleen,:)

      I'm happy to see you live in your dream with pleansant everything. I live in my reality and dream but I enjoy myself too. :)
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      Oct 18 2013: but that's not a dream, it's a fantasy, you know you're not eating those things right now and you cannot, whereas in the dream you'd think you were really eating them...wait a second, do we ever eat in dreams?
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        Oct 18 2013: Greg...call it what you will.....it was cooking as I wrote that.....it was all DELICIOUS BTW:>)

        Good question....I cannot EVER remember eating in a dream!
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    Oct 15 2013: It is the most persistent, most consistent and most coherent experience I return to.

    On top of it, I can't fly on my own right now and walls won't let me pass without doors.
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      Oct 15 2013: funny, though, Lejan ., do dreams seem coherent when you're having them, it's only afterward that they seem kind of crazy?
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        Oct 15 2013: I think this depends on how much your 'reality-filter' takes part or doesn't.

        Actually, it was especially these 'crazy-dreams' which made me understand how tolerable my mental expectancy is, which only gets corrected when this 'reality-filter' kicks in again.

        A dream in itself can be perfectly coherent, regardless how crazy it is, yet the moment I combine it time-wise with consistency, I find no parallel ongoing story in my dreams.

        Every now and then, very rarely, I remember a view similarities in my dreams or that I enter the same dream setup again. Yet this is incomparable to my current state of mind.
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          Oct 15 2013: so do you think it's crazy when you fly in a dream? but it's not coherent, in other words, for it to be coherent wouldn't you have to be able to fly all the time, not just when dreaming? Or maybe you mean something different by coherence?
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        Oct 15 2013: It can be coherent in that very dream. Many times I just took off without any surprise that I could do that. In those dream, it was just 'natural'.

        The break in coherence usually happens when you wake. And seen retrospectively by a fully functioning 'reality-filter', this dream appears crazy, yet not necessarily while you are in it.

        I also had dreams in which its very coherence broke while I was still in it. This becomes a bit impractical while flying at high altitudes. And in some dreams I crashed because I realized that I actually couldn't fly on my own. Of course, this insight only strikes after take off, never before ...
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      Oct 16 2013: wondering, Lejan ., did you say that in dreaming your mind is more tolerant than in waking life? But why do you draw this conclusion, if you are flying in your dream when in reality you cannot fly, could we not say that your dreaming mind is stupid, or unaware, or too focused on fantasy?

      By the way, is Lejan a German name, it sounds French to me.

      By the way, are you still smoking? Is it something you're trying to give up? Perhaps every time you want a cigarette you could have a glass of milk instead.
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        Oct 16 2013: Yes, more tolerant is what I meant.

        My conclusion I draw from several sources, yet those dreams helped me to realize them.

        If humans would be cubes on legs, our brains would have incorporated that concept with ease. If we were capable of beaming instead of walking - no problem at all, although we might have wondered what those legs were good for. But once our brains get subjected to a given framework or setup, it starts to define this as 'reality'.

        So when I do something in my dream, which is outside of this 'reality' and it does not surprise me at all, my explanation is, that the brain bypasses this 'reality filter' and taps back into its original ability of pure tolerance, in which may be whatever there is.

        So in a way it becomes 'unaware' of this 'filter', yet I do not see any reason why I should become any more stupid while dreaming than I am when I am awake.

        To focused on fantasy is another way to describe the absence of 'reality' and therefore compatible to my conclusions.

        Lejan sounds French to me too and it is no German name that I know of. I don't even know if this name exist in France or anywhere else. It is a combination of the French article 'Le' and part of my original and German name, which is 'Jan'. Jan is also used in the Netherlands, Poland and Czechia as much as I know. So in translation it would be 'The Jan' and that's what I am ... :o)

        I am not trying to give up smoking and I don't like milk very much, because all I can buy here is pasteurized due to hygiene regulations and doesn't taste like milk at all. The only way I can stand it is with some corn flakes, muesli and lots of sugar, so that the milk is more of an optic issue than of its taste.

        When I was a child, we used to get fresh milk directly delivered by the milk man and I remember, that this milk tasted like pure untreated milk. My last experience I had at older age was in Russia, where I had to get another bottle just because it was that tasty. To bad that I can't get it here!
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          Oct 17 2013: well, I guess what I meant by stupid is that the dreaming brain may have you flying, but for most people it will seem real, like they are really able to fly, but in reality they are not able to fly.
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        Oct 17 2013: I see. Yes, thats what I use the 'reality filter' for. If its 'off', flying seems real to me in my dream because I don't recall the fact, that I usually can't fly in reality. If its 'on' in my dream I either can't fly, or it creates a funny feeling the moment I realize I am doing something which I actually can't do. It happened to me, feels quite funny.
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          Oct 17 2013: oh, well, I've flown a couple of times in my dream, but it just seemed real to me, there was no realization that I actually can't do it. So maybe it's my brain that is stupid, or unaware, or do you say different? You don't fly where it just seems real, where there is no awareness that you really can't do this?

          Do you smoke a lot, Lejan .? I'd encourage you to reduce, I can just see you in 20 years with lung cancer, not a good picture. By the way, what do you eat as your typical diet, when I was three years old my family lived in Germany for a year, I was asking my mom, but she doesn't remember what was in the German stores. Are your parents in your life, you've never mentioned them that I recall.
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        Oct 17 2013: Thank you for your sympathy!

        As a heavy smoker I stooped smoking for a woman I felt deeply for and because she was 'concerned' about my health. It wasn't easy, yet she fooled me long enough for a biological detox and left me with a total reset of my self-esteem. The usual story.

        Rebuilding since, not there yet.

        I lost my mother some years ago by lung cancer and know how these pictures look like to the very end. She was a heavy smoker too, ironically her cancer type untypical for this habit.

        My father is still alive, yet for reasons to private to name here, I choose to separate from him. He was the most beautiful person I could have wished for a father when I was a child, he couldn't keep up with me, growing in my direction. Probably as well a usual story for many.

        My typical diet is a bit on the monotonous side lately, potatoes, veggies some salad and some meat at the weekend. Bread, margarine, marmalade and honey. Every now and then some cookies or potato chips. Thats pretty much it, so far.

        The main difference in products in US and German stores is only in package size, as the 'super-size me' trend didn't make it across the ocean and hopefully never will. Besides that some typical products and brands vary, yet not that much anymore. I missed brown bread when I was in the US, which I couldn't get the way I was used to. But this may have changed as well, I don't know.
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          Oct 17 2013: Dear Lejan,
          I spent the last couple days with my brother, who just got out of the hospital.......again. He has COPD (lung disease), and is struggling to breath on a daily basis. He was a heavy smoker for years.

          I believe that taking care of our "self" is more beneficial when we do it for our "self", and not for another person. People we love can certainly encourage, but we need to feel "worth it" in our "self" to be as healthy as possible.

          If your diet and habits are on the "monotonous side", as you say, how about being creative with yourself, and more healthy with your choices in how to treat the body?
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          Oct 18 2013: I don't follow this story. You're saying that you gave up smoking for a woman, and then she broke your heart in some other way, so now you resent her for breaking your heart, but also for inspiring you to give up smoking? Well, I would say at least use the good thing she gave you, the giving up smoking.

          To me you seem like a nice person, Lejan ., and very smart, therefore I would like to see you live as long a life as possible.

          On dreams, Lejan ., don't you pity those of us who dream and think the dreams are real, aren't we kind of stupid? Or am I being too harsh?
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          Oct 19 2013: "reset of my self-esteem"

          You will learn alot about yourself in the here and now. If it happens again you will then learn even more. Happens again, depending on what is at stake, you will then dissect and untangle yourself into deep philosophical thought especially if you are dealing with someone that walks the thin line of love and hate. This is the best advice I can give to you. Dig deep within yourself. I'm so far in I have started writing a story/book for my children that will teach them what I want them to know of most important. I have created two characters that are within us all. "Samscratch and The Ram" The ram is our governing self, he is the one that keeps us from farting openly in public, having food fights, getting drunk... Samscratch is the one whom has no boundaries. Samscratch is a pirate that lives on Monkey Salad Island. He is a pirate! He has a patch over one eye! He has a parrot that constantly repeats crap making us laugh even at times The Ram is trying to hold him back. I'm gonna involve a little girl or boy in the story as well. I haven't come up with a name just yet. However, one of the lessons in the story is: There is a time and place for everything. Because I see my two girls rarely and randomly I don't have much time with them I have to get my message across as effective as possible. I must deliver it straight into their hands not trusting what Mom may do with it. When I complete the story I will drop it in the idea section of this site for others if liked and needed. This is no way for me to make a profit nor any other to profit from it. It is from me to my two and others. That's if I can ever end it soon. :B
          Endure it and face it head on like a champ. Only you can figure it out correctly, no one else. Keep growing but never grow up. So, what's the name of this cult you wanna start? The Better Offs? The Why of Why's? The Sperm Donors? Wink men? Black iron lung? :B hahaha
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        Oct 17 2013: @ Colleen

        I totally agree with all what you are saying. and I can not argue against any of your points logically, and thats where the problem begins, as neither me nor any other human is totally logic.

        Destructive behavior perpetuates itself by avoidance strategies, denial, distraction, the list is long of what we have for it.

        On top of this, and if not for any other reason we have an inbuilt optimism that misfortune is what only happens to other people. Every now and then we may have a rendevouz with Murphy, yet usually nothing really serious.

        This is what makes us leave our homes, drive our cars, because otherwise we would freeze and paralyze.

        And for our cars, don't most of us know for many years that by using it we destroy the lungs of our very planet? Not even just our planet, which would serve the 'self' in us, even the planet of those we usually love the most - our children.

        At times, inconsistency needs a little help to spiral out of its vicious circle, although it would certainly be more truthful if it managed to to it on its own.

        Strong emotions such as fear or love seem to have this extra momentum from the outside, changing the inside not by insight, which has been there before in many cases.

        I didn't mean to blame the woman I mentioned, in fact I can't, as she fooled me more than once, yet she left a bitter/sweet taste in my mouth if someone gets concerned about my health ever since.

        If I drop death tomorrow, you wouldn't even get to know about it, so what is the intention of the message you have given me?

        Do you think - with no offense - that your brother which I probably never get to know is adding any informational or emotional aspect which I may have missed while guiding my mother to her own grave?

        With all due respect, you don't know me at all, so how shall I take your believes?

        I even wrote, that my self-esteem has been shattered ... Rebuilding since, not there yet ...

        It feels bizarre ...
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          Oct 17 2013: Lejan,
          I wholeheartedly agree..."Destructive behavior perpetuates itself by avoidance strategies, denial, distraction, the list is long..."

          With that in mind, I am not talking about cars...I'm talking about your health. The message I have for you is......I CARE......very simple:>)

          Is the story of my brother adding any information or emotional aspect which you have missed? Apparently not. You can take my message however you choose.

          And, I also respect the choices you make for yourself:>)
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        Oct 18 2013: @ Colleen

        Thank you for your sympathy!
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          Oct 18 2013: Well honestly Lejan, I do not extend sympathy..."an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other; mutual or parallel susceptibility or a condition brought about to think or feel alike".

          I prefer to think of it as compassion. As a fellow human being traveling this life adventure, I CARE about you:>)

          One thing that really ticks me off about the tobacco industry, is that they intentionally put "stuff" in the cigarettes to intentionally get people addicted and buy more, thereby putting more money in the pockets of those in the tobacco industry. They intentionally compromise people's health to get rich!!!

          BTW, I smoked, starting at about 13....guess I thought it was cool to have a cigarette with my friends! I was never a heavy smoker (1-2 cigarettes a day maybe), and I quit when I got pregnant for our first child at about 20. I started thinking a little more about what I was putting in the body....my own, and the little one that was forming:>)
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          Oct 19 2013: Lejan ., I hope this doesn't hurt your feelings, but doesn't it seem like the spirit of TED is somewhat opposed to smoking, in other words TED is about clearmindedness, and smoking fogs one's brain? Well, maybe it's more complicated, maybe smoking does help one think interesting thoughts?
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        Oct 18 2013: Nonsensical behavior is difficult to explain in sensical ways, thats what makes it hard to follow for others. Yet I like to leave it as such and thank you for your friendly intention and good wishes,

        I think you are a little to harsh on the sleepyheads. They don't harm anyone by their unawareness. :o)

        Stupidity to me is not to confuse with 'not knowing'. In fact, it is its opposite. Before we knew about the risks of smoking, being a smoker wasn't stupid. Now, it is.

        By this, we are in a state of 'not knowing' that we are dreaming, if we think our dreams are real, which does not appear stupid to me at all. Thus, no pity. :o)
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          Oct 18 2013: are you aware of "lucid" dreaming, Lejan .?, this is where the dreamer realizes he is dreaming. It really bothers me that we don't all dream lucidly, all the time.
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        Oct 18 2013: @ Colleen

        It seems I could not take your message however I choose, yet the intention of my response could have get lost in translation, as the English word 'sympathy' returns 13 words with discrete meaning in my language.

        So what suits you best to thank you for? Care? Then care it shall be.
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          Oct 18 2013: Thank you Lejan for your kind words and intention. My intention is simply reaching out to you with friendship, and I realize that different languages offer us challenges:>)

          I wonder if we dream in the same language(s) that we speak? Or could it be another language altogether?
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        Oct 18 2013: @ Colleen

        From my experience we usually dream in the same language we think in most of the time and where there is no clear tendency, I assume, the language will freely switch as well while dreaming.

        Before I lived abroad, I always wondered how the transition would be like and feel like, to shift the language of thought form one into another, especially at older age.

        And as usual for me and my 'big questions', the next time I thought about it I did this in English and missed the whole party.... :o)

        Retrospectively, my transition process from 30 years exclusively thinking in German to exclusively think in English took about 6 month and included all stages of mixtures and limitations which were also reflected within my dreams.

        At the beginning it was an ongoing and conscious translation process, which slowed down all of my reaction times - forward and backward - as it took twice the 'processing time' in my head, or even more, as languages come slow for me and with a lot of 'blanks'. During this period my 'dream language' remained purely German.

        Somewhere in the middle I got somewhat lost, as I didn't have enough English vocabulary to maintain the depth and precision of my thoughts, yet couldn't compensate for it fast enough in my native language, as it then took time to recall it. Feels like a deep sea diver in a puddle, because whatever you think, remains shallow and so were my dreams. During thinking, the difference between 'active' and 'passive' vocabulary remains the same as while speaking, as both come in similar pace.

        At the end of this transition, the exchange of the language of my thoughts and dreams was complete and a direct copy of all my imperfections in pronunciation, accent and grammar.

        Within our native language we usually just start talking, because we know, whatever we are going to say, we will have the words for it.

        This changes by restrictions to avoid to end a sentence by a word you don't know, which constantly triggers dynamic detours.
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        Oct 18 2013: Lucid dreams are my absolute favorites and I absolutely agree with you that this is a good reason to be bothered that we don't have them every night.

        They happen very rarely to me, at least those I remember the next morning, about 1 lucid dreams in 3 to 4 month. Way to little in my opinion!

        Do you think we could learn to rigger those dreams or to train, prepare for it in some ways?
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        Oct 19 2013: I think this form of 'should' questions on biological processes do not return useful answers, as it comes for reasons why there is, what there is.

        If lucid dreams were a necessity for the recreational process of sleeping, we would have them.

        Sleep is actually the opposite, the absence of awareness, maybe even its 'price' to have it. If it was optional, we could easily extend our conscious lifetime by an extra 33%.

        So how should the state of 'awareness' then be able to influence a period of its absence? This does not work.

        Dreams only occur within certain cycles while we are sleeping in which our brains run in restricted conditions. If you imagine or brains as 'reality engines', which not only create us ourselves, yet also the interpretation of our environment, it becomes even obvious, that on certain 'idle modes' the likelihood for new creations is very high and that it draws from its own sources (memory) while doing so. Restricted, but still, and in which lucid dreams are at least not impossible, yet also no necessity.

        The only fact that we like them does not seem to have a say in theses biological processes. :o)

        And while skipping through some of Colleens links it became obvious, that repetitive rituals try to increase the probability to re-ignite awareness within these restricted brain modes by using our memory, our remembrance to bridge the break of awareness itself. Might work, I don't know, yet is seems to need a lot of personal discipline.

        Have a good sleep and sweet lucid dreams! :o)

        @ Colleen, thank you for the links!
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          Oct 19 2013: My pleasure Lejan:>)

          I didn't read the links carefully.....just quickly scanned them and there seems to be quite a bit of information about lucid dreaming. Years ago, I read quite a bit about Jung's work regarding dream interpretation, tried some of the practices that are supposed to encourage lucid dreaming, and I do it sometimes, but I don't focus on it now. I agree with you....it needs to be a conscious focus using some repetitive practices.
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        Oct 19 2013: My feelings are on vacation at the moment, Greg, so I am fine. :o)

        I must have missed the small print when I set up my profile here on TED. As much as I remember there were no restrictions for smokers, are there?

        I smoke normal tobacco without any psychoactive substances, so my brain stays un-fogged.

        Marijuana doesn't work on me and is illegal in my country anyway.

        Do my thoughts appear foggy to you Greg?

        Some days ago there was a very interesting radio special on my favorite station about psychoactive mushrooms. Several specialists have been invited and were interviewed by the host and the whole topic got covered in a very broad and informative way. Historians, psychologists, medical doctors, chemists, neurologist and consumers shared their knowledge and discussed it with one another.

        I think I will try them out one day to experience the effect they have on perception. But for this it is absolutely crucial to be in top emotional shape and to have experienced guides with you, as otherwise those trips can become very dangerous.

        I assume we won't find any TED talk on this topic ... :o)
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          Oct 19 2013: no, your thoughts are quite sharp, but would probably be a touch sharper without cigs. I really believe the doctors' statements that cigs are damaging, thus am trying to motivate you to reduce. But when I have smoked, there is some awareness you get on cigs that you don't otherwise, so I suppose it's a bit complicated.

          We (six friends) did the mushrooms 3x at Stanford, very enjoyable, I would think the guide is not crucial but nice to do with friends. Stanford of course is a relatively benign setting, little traffic, few cops, etc. Maybe you should go to such an environment, even some kind of forest to use them, but in this case not alone. However, I question whether we really used psychoactive mushrooms, someteimes they just take non-psychedelic mushrooms and dip them in LSD.
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        Oct 19 2013: Those mushrooms are legal in the Netherlands were you can experience them under professional supervision at their 'coffee-shops'. Although by recent EU law it is only allowed to sell them to Netherlands citizen exclusively, there are ways around it and no one is checking anyway.

        I am surprised this didn't collide with EU discrimination laws ... :o)
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          Oct 21 2013: well, I partly think everyone should have a psydelic experience or two because it helps you see the world differently. But I cannot advocate for it strongly in the U.S. because it is against the law, and I generally think people should follow the law. I believe much of the reason we outlaw drugs is because of our technology, in other words because we drive cars and operate heavy machinery we have to have people sober and not on a trip. But in a primitive society without cars and heavy machinery generally these psychedelics are accepted and tolerated.

          If the pot doesn't affect you don't know if the other will. Even in the Netherlands (legal) I wouldn't be surprised if they are ordinary mushrooms just dipped in LSD, thus you are getting defrauded.

          Thanks for other comment, Lejan .. I believe you're right, that if you begin a lucid dream it takes more effort than a non-lucid one, wonder why?

          Emphasizing the word "lucid," I have been trying to pay more attention to lght during my waking hours, always glancing around my environment and studying the light, where it is coming from and its characteristics. But so far no additional lucid dreams.
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          Oct 21 2013: wish I could bother you to smoke less, when you are smoking it is real damage and not a dream...
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        Oct 21 2013: Paying attention to light is what good painter do. It would be interesting to know if it helped them to have more lucid dreams on the long run.
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          Oct 22 2013: well, i suppose i think of myself as an inventor, to some small degree I'm trying to invent a way to have some lucid dreams. Actually, Lejan ., paying attention to light has shown me some extra beauty in the world around me that I had not noticed before, as I walk and look for the light in the environment my eye is drawn upward and I'm seeing details in tall buildings I hadn't noticed before. I must wait to see what happens in the long run.
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    Oct 15 2013: The cruel realities.:)))))
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      Oct 15 2013: that's a little sad, Yoka. What are your cruel realities?
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        Oct 15 2013: For example, I dream I can always as healthy as I was 25,but the reality is I found white hair now.

        But I'm happy still.
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          Oct 17 2013: My dear Yoka,
          We can still be happy and healthy with gray/white/silver hair!!! :>)
  • Nov 14 2013: As usual, I forget my dreams.
    So when I go back to sleep, I will forget about your question, and most of the day that goes with it.
    That is how I know. :-)
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    Oct 28 2013: no i do not believe so. By lucid dreaming what exactly do you mean, "life like" , symbolic,,,?
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      Oct 29 2013: hi, mary. No, a lucid dream is one where the dreamer realizes they are dreaming while they are dreaming. For example, a friend of mine used to have dreams where a group of guys were going to beat him up, and he'd say to them "You can't hurt me, I know this is a dream."
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        Oct 30 2013: Greg thank you for taking the time to reply. You have give me reason to ponder. I don't think my dreams are lucid but, there is always a recurring theme (for lack of a better word). I do see myself as a participant but, not sure my voice,thoughts are heard? How does one dream with lucidity?

        I find this all so fascinating for I am drawn to the subject matter and have read about it to include the view of science. There is much credence to your question.
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          Oct 31 2013: you participate in your dreams but you're not sure your voice or thoughts are heard by who? the other people in the dream?

          I don't know, I have never had a strong lucid dream, I would like to because I think in a lucid dream you feel emotionally better. I think I had the very beginning of a lucid dream and it felt good emotionally, but then I woke up.

          Well, it seems to me the light is a little brighter and crisper when I'm awake. But when I'm dreaming I never realize the light isn't quite as bright, it's only after I awaken that I realize the light wasn't as bright in the dream.

          There is a certain people I've read about called the Senoi, maybe in Malaysia, who really emphasize dreams, every morning at breakfast they tell each other their dreams, they might have ideas about how to have more lucid dreams.
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    Oct 28 2013: uncomfortably profound emotional responses to the challenges Life throws me.
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      Oct 28 2013: I get those in a dream, too, though.

      Have you heard of lucid dreaming, mary? Do you have lucid dreams, very often?
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    Oct 19 2013: Easy. I can't urinate in my dreams.
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      Oct 20 2013: well, but how long do your dreams last, if they last 20 minutes you might go 20 minutes while awake without urinating, too.
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        Oct 22 2013: ah yes, but in dreams where I DO have the urge to use the toilet, there seems to be no outcome. For instance, the bathroom door might be locked from the inside... as a response to unconsciously restraining that urge.
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    Oct 19 2013: There are tell tell signs in dreams, like if you check your watch twice it'll give you a random time each time...

    Are you asking if we can know if this is real? If so it comes down to basic epistemology and your views on that.
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    Oct 19 2013: I often wonder lately if I really did something or if I dreamed it happened. It's in small things where I'm trying to figure out if I told this person something or if I dreamed it happening in order to remember to tell them in a day dream. What, I could have swore I told you this. I'm sure my insomnia plays a part in this. Confusing I know. One more try... When I realize I need to tell someone something and not able to do so, I visualize (day dream) it happening so when I do see them it sends a signal to tell them. Well, I have dreamed this happening on top of the day dream when it never REALLY happened at all. It's a bit humorous when I come to the conclusion of what happened. Depending on how one looks at it, I told this person what I needed to tell them 3X (day dream, sleep dream, and reality).
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      Oct 19 2013: Hey W. D.,
      You seem very young for this scenario! My elder friends and I do this all the time......"I think I told her/him"...."did I tell him"? Or did I just "think" about telling him and forget to actually do it"?

      I and many other elders write notes to ourselves all the time to remind ourselves of something! Hold onto that humor my friend:>)
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    Oct 19 2013: Colleen,
    Sounds like you have paid your dues with 24 years. So you must be an expert. You'd be perfect, Turning snoring into dreaming in 5 easy lessons.... It could be a gold mine....

    just thinking...
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      Oct 19 2013: LOL!!!
      Craig, if I was an expert in anything, which I am not, I prefer to think I was an expert in something OTHER than listening to snoring:>)

      just thinking....and LOLing:>)
  • Comment deleted

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      Oct 23 2013: what is this higher level of consciousness, Chris? How have you achieved it? Do others have it, and does it resemble yours?
  • Oct 15 2013: Normal philosophical logic question. What dream?
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      Oct 18 2013: Wayne, I would think it's more than just philosophical, it's psychological, and I would think biological since it involves our bodies.
  • Da Way

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    Oct 15 2013: Control. I have much less concious control of myself in my dream than when I am awake.
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      Oct 15 2013: what do you do in the dream that's out of control?
      • Da Way

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        Oct 15 2013: just about everything, the question should be the other way round- what actions are you able to control in your dreams?

        Dreaming is like watching a film, where as living is like playing a video game. There's a huge difference!
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          Oct 16 2013: I understand your feeling because I never could control my dreams when sleeping ,either. But I've heard some people have their lucid dream and control the plots in their dream.
      • Da Way

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        Oct 17 2013: If you could ever control your actions in your dream, tell yourself to close your eyes and count to 100. Bet you can't. If you close your eyes in your dream you will continue to see things. And before you can count to 100 you'll either be distracted or wake up. You're like a child in your dream, very short attention span.
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      Oct 18 2013: well, in a dream I usually feel under control, but the things I do are a little wilder or more impassioned than in waking life. It's a little bit like the effect of marijuana, except without the grogginess.
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    Oct 15 2013: my faith.
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      Oct 15 2013: what is your faith, Riadh, and how does it speak to this question?
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        Oct 15 2013: my faith that i am real , Greg ,or it can that i am not dreaming now too , Greg ;i thought they enriches my dream about my life.
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          Oct 18 2013: sorry, Riadh, your english I cannot understand on the second part of your statement, are you saying your dream enriches your life, well, that wouldn't prove you're not dreaming, would it, reading this TED conversation enriches your life, or maybe enrich means something different to you?
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        Oct 18 2013: i thought they (my faith that i am real = my faith i am not dreaming ) = enriches my dreams (thinking) about if my life is real = i am real for myself only...i proved it to myself ,like i know it can't be proved outside myself ,i concluded only the respect to each faith what can making us living all together even everyone is with his own faith will not bother anyone normally and i started by myself to promised it for never to worrying or asking about another faith why or if it's worthy to be a faith ,which gave me the satisfaction which can be a lie for you about mine now(my faith that i am real with my faith only) which is the perfection for me and whatever is yours faith (is the better to have no faith) which is respcted by mine like it is a real faith cause you believe on it (it is real for you even isn't a faith) not because you can prove it or no.....i hope it's more clear Greg now like it's a real faith for both to respect the limits of it..that is a real faith for us with itself only not the obligation for everyone to prove and touch the faith for it can be real like ,we're talking right now by our own faiths that you had did a question and i am supposed to reply to it by my faith only...thank you :)