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Consciousness During Dreams

Are we conscious during the dream state? The measure of consciousness is to be aware, but just how aware are we when we dream?

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Consciousness is to be aware. It’s an awareness that we are living, that we are alive, and that we will die. Consider each of the above definitions relating to dreaming. Our first definition of consciousness centers on the ability to experience things, so it seems that we do have consciousness in dreams. We have conversations, walk, talk, act, think, and feel, but is this what we mean when we say consciousness? When we check the second definitions, we understand we do not have consciousness in dreams because after all, we are asleep. In another way, we are also awake. In our dreams we act awake and believe we are awake. We visit friends, dead and alive, we wander in caves or castles. We swim in the sea, even if we are afraid of water.

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We dream, feeling like ourselves but some of the things we do are ridiculous and not anything we would do consciously. We might slap a friend in the face or wander from house to house on a lonely road. Another thing to consider is that we almost never know that we are dreaming, and if we were conscious, we would surely know we are dreaming. Most dreams are not the stuff of our waking lives. In our dreams we can fly or accomplish unimaginable feats. Dr. Allan Rechtschaffen says, “I have often been asked why we occasionally have lucid dreams. It’s a peculiar question. The question should be why are not all dreams lucid? It is only during dreaming that most of us regularly lose so completely the road map to our own consciousness.”

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In our dreams we can no longer judge and evaluate our experiences. The person we know as self ceases to exist. We are this person who can swing from the trees and spring over mountains, who can jump over tall buildings in a single bound. In other words, we are not who we are. We are not conscious of our true self. Our consciousness is on vacation during our dreams.

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  1. Nikita K

    On August 21, 2009 at 4:31 am

    I’ve always been interested in dreams and dreaming and all of that and I know that lucid dreaming is a very special phase of dreaming and conciousness. It is amazing how the brain works though isn’t it? I read somewhere that even if you are asleep, your brain is still concious and aware of its surroundings which is why you never roll off your bed, or if you are sleeping beside someone, you don’t bump into them!
    Great or what?
    A really engrossing and interesting article!

  2. MJ Sunderland

    On August 21, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Excellent work, very thought-provoking.

  3. raman13

    On August 21, 2009 at 4:56 am


    Keep the good work on

    Best Regards

  4. ken bultman

    On August 21, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Good article. What does it mean when you’re awake but think you’re dreaming? I mean, the dream is unrealistic but you have the sense that you could open your eyes and end it if you wished to.

  5. Jenny Heart

    On August 21, 2009 at 5:50 am

    Dreams are about everything. Like it!

  6. giftarist

    On August 21, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Your topics are very interesting and thought provoking..

    Thanks a lot for sharing..

  7. Hazel Crowther

    On August 21, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Good work.

  8. chitragopi

    On August 21, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Very interesting

  9. Judi Eddy

    On August 21, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Hi there. I really enjoyed this. I do dream a lot, But sometimes ask myself if only dreams could come true

  10. Christine Ramsay

    On August 21, 2009 at 9:44 am

    This is an excellent article and it explains a lot to me.


  11. Lex92

    On August 21, 2009 at 10:44 am

    i never thought about it before… generally I don’t dream.


    On August 21, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Dream is something interesting to be ventured. It does reveal certain hidden messages as well. But, in most cases, people are unconscious while dreaming. Have my liked it, thanks.

  13. lindalulu

    On August 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Nice one Ruby…I love to dream and have acquired the ability as I am sure others have that if I am dreaming about something I dont want to then I can wake myself up. It took me along time to be able to do this. I have also read alot on dreams and the dream state and believe that there are people who can transport themselves in dream state. Wonderful article….

  14. cebuanaeyez

    On August 21, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I believe most of us are conscious during the dream state…up until REM.

  15. Heatherhills

    On August 21, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Really nice article, Ruby. Dreams can be strange a recent one was of Mother who is no longer with us.I was in an audience of a theatre when I saw her take a seat near me with a man friend much younger than her. Mother looked completely different her hair was short and features I could not recognise but yet I knew this strange woman was Mother.

  16. Hugo La Rosa

    On August 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Everybody has had at least one experience in which he/she was conscious while dreaming. It has happened to me, and I guess it has also happened to you. If your answer is negative, probably you have forgotten about your dream. I say all this just to say that lucid dreaming is at all possible. Regards, Hugo

  17. PR Mace

    On August 21, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Excellent article. I think dreams are a path into our consciousness. The first Father’s Day after my Dad died I dreamed he called me from the grave and wanted to know why I didn’t buy him a gift. I woke myself and Craig up crying. I think this was because I told Craig how strange it was to me not to buy a gift, talk to or see my Day on Father’s Day. As it came closer to the first anniversary of my Moms death, I dreamed more and more of her but these were pleasant dreams. I have wondered for years why I dream of a certain house. My first apartment was an old house split in half into apartments. It was old and rundown but at least once or twice a year I dream about it. Usually, Craig and I have brought it and we bring it back to it’s glory days. A few years old while on trip back to Alabama, I went to see this house. It is still split in half and has two business offices in it. I thought that would stop the dreams but it did not. What a thought provoking article. See where it took me. Thanks, Ruby.

  18. Jamie Myles

    On August 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Great article Ruby, The conscious and sub conscious mind is still a mystery. Dreams can be wonderful or horrifying sometimes both at the same time.

  19. ahmad joko setyawan

    On August 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Very interesting write Ruby!Dreams are the truth about our own inner selves I believe,like for example when you being chased by something,it means that you are actually running from something or trying to avoid something when awake.I think when we are lucid we are actually connecting the unconscious with the conscious although sometimes that can be a rather scary situation! Excellent work as always Ruby but I have come to expect it no less by you!

  20. Moses Ingram

    On August 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Hi Ruby, A really great article and of course, well written. I have always been interested in dreams and as a young adult read everything I could find on the subject. I taught myself to remember my dreams would often awake during the night to write down my dream, than I would read it in the morning. It is said that we dream all the time when we are sleeping, but most remember only a fraction of their dreams and some none at all. I still keep paper and pencil by my bedside, maybe because many authors have said that they were often inspired by their dreams lol!

  21. CA Johnson

    On August 21, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Great article, Ruby! Dreams are really powerful and I would love to be able to interpret them.

  22. Ruby Hawk

    On August 21, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Thank you my friends, You have given me more interesting things to think about. I have always been interested in dreams and as Moses says, I kept pen and paper by my bed for years to capture my dreams while they were fresh. I have dreams that I dreamed 10 years ago and longer. I wish I hadn’t broken the habit.I think when I had to be at my place of work at 5 in the morning was when I stopped. I have all kinds of dreams, lucid, nightmares,and pleasent dreams. Pam, Last night I dreamed about my mama, grandma, sister and my sons. I dream about the dead the same as the living and I dream about every house I have lived in. I sometimes dream like scenes of a movie and sometimes it’s so real that I can’t tell it’s a dream. Ken, I would call what you are talking about, day dreaming. I do that every night before I drift off to sleep.If not, I don’t know.

  23. kathie107

    On August 21, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Very interesting! I have had so many dreams that I don’t know what they mean, and sometimes nightmares. Sometimes I wish I could wake up in a dream and realize its just a dream, I wonder if I would ever be able to do that. Have my like:)

  24. Eunice Tan

    On August 21, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    I agree with Chan Lee Peng. Dream is indeed important to learn about ourselves. Glad you bring this issue, Ruby

  25. Daisy Peasblossom

    On August 22, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Ruby, this is an incredible article, well-written and very interesting. I’ve read a great deal about dreaming, and this article puts a lot of the cogent points neatly in one compact bundle. Unless I am dead-tired, I frequently have lucid dreams, and I dream in color. For several years after my mother’s death, I would dream I was talking to her on the telephone. My most recent lucid dream almost got me in trouble. I dreamed it was Saturday, and I could sleep in a bit–then the lucid part kicked in and reminded me that I had not lived through Friday yet, and I’d better stop punching the snooze on the alarm clock!

  26. Lostash

    On August 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    And what about daydreams too? I think they can be far more disturbing, as you are totaly awake! Liked this article a great deal!

  27. unown971

    On August 22, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    I never actually remember my dreams, but great work Ruby!

  28. Collette Edwards

    On August 22, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Rudy this tops allyour writi ng so far you seem to have hit SUBJECT THAT ALL ARE INTERESTED IN. Maybe you could write a series of articals on this subject. I rarely remember my dreams and a lot of time when i do something in the dream comes true. My grandfather had this ability as well, But the ones that bother me and I have had them on several occations is the one where I’m dreaming and wake up, only to wake up for real and realize I was still dreaming, hese dreams mess up my whole day. Anyway loved the write and looking forward to more like it . By the way the pictures are awesome :)

  29. WriteEditSeek

    On August 24, 2009 at 2:27 am

    This is a very interesting subject. It seems there are various categories of dreams–some in which we are more conscious than in others. I’ve had a few dreams where I have been lucid and I have been able to get answers that I wouldn’t normally have access to. I wonder if dreaming can open us up to a higher level of reality, of which we are not always aware in our waking lives. The other thing I wanted to throw out there is that many indigenous people have viewed our waking lives as a dream. Interesting idea that makes me wonder what being truly conscious would actually be like. Thanks for the intriguing read, Ruby.

  30. Samu7

    On August 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks for the article,dream. I think dream is actually a conscious part of human existence.It is that dimension that qualifies the body and soul separation.It is no doubt a real thing. Since we can give a detail explanation of the experience after having a long dream…Could be a journey,or a sight or whatsoever. I had dreamed and remembered thinking about waking up, because I was being attacked. Most of my dreams,I\\\’m aware that I\\\’m dreaming.However,dream is largely a mystery compare to such topic as the existence of an Almighty God.I also think that these are some of the issues Science has failed to give a plausible explanation on!

    Thanks though.

  31. Mike Green

    On September 8, 2009 at 3:20 am

    Hi Ruby, Great Article. I have frequent long Lucid dreams. Usually I will make myself have one If I have something that I need help with. I will be conscious while asleep and visit my [what I would call] my unconscious self and ask for advice. It usually takes the form of me walking into a shop and asking myself behind the counter “I have this issue at the moment that I need help with”. I usually have fantastic advice for myself. Advice that is really out of the box and hadn’t even come close conceiving to being a solution during waking life. I think that if this is my unconscious self giving me advice then I have a fairly friendly unconsciousness.

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