Becoming Wholly Conscious In Sleep

Sri Aurobindo raises another interesting possibility in the opportunity for humans to actually become wholly conscious in the sleep-state: “It is even possible to become wholly conscious in sleep and follow throughout from beginning to end or over large stretches the stages of our dream-experience; it is found that then we are aware of ourselves passing from state after state of consciousness to a brief period of luminous and peaceful dreamless rest, which is the true restorer of the energies of the waking nature, and then returning by the same way to the waking consciousness. It is normal, as we thus pass from state to state, to let the previous experiences slip away from us; in the return only the more vivid or those nearest to the waking surface are remembered: but this can be remedied,–a greater retention is possible or the power can be developed of going back in memory from dream to dream, from state to state, till the whole is once more before us. A coherent knowledge of sleep-life, though difficult to achieve or to keep established, is possible.”

Western dream researchers, including psychoanalysts starting with Sigmund Freud, as well as modern day researchers such as C.G. Jung, have worked hard to develop techniques for bringing the dream-state into conscious awareness. Using regression, hypnosis, psycho-analysis, they have tried to take the subject inward to catch the thread and bring it to conscious recall.

Sri Aurobindo provides us an insight here that with the right focus and effort, each individual could develop the capacity of becoming conscious and extracting the essence of the dream experience through awareness and attention. The opportunities here for research and experimentation are obviously quite interesting and should be looked at by Western researchers as they extend their understanding of the inner psychology.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 5, The Cosmic Illusion; Mind, Dream and Hallucination, pg. 425

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