Dreaming of Beliefs

by phil on Wednesday Mar 26, 2008 12:18 AM

My sleep schedule has been altered in the past couple months. I sleep from around 3-5am till about noon till 1pm. This is a bit at odds with the way the sun works and the way my circadium rhythms seem to want to operate. I have a sliding solid screen that divides my studio up, so I can sleep in mostly total darkness, but a little bit of light creeps in at the top and at the bottom.

The consequences though is that the last 2-3 hours of my sleep are much different than your last 2-3 hours of sleep. The typical American wakes up by alarm or wakes up before the alarm immediately. As a result, for most people, waking up is an abrupt process. For me, waking up is a gradual 2-3 hour process which feels more like a couple of naps than the tail end of sleep.

Because a large part of my sleep is like naps, I have a higher occurrence of lucid or vivid dreams. Some definitions are in order. A vivid dream is where you see every detail in your dream vividly: the textures of the wall, the color of people's eyes, all the conceptual details, everything. A lucid dream is where you not only see things with great acuity, but you can also control your dreams.

These tail ends of my sleep have been very vivid, and I've noticed an interesting recurring dream situation lately. The first instance was where I had a dream that I actually believed in God. It was a vivid dream, and during those 2 hours of my life, I felt I was actually a God-believer. I had somehow seen him. And I walked around telling people I had, and I genuinely believed it. I say "2 hours" but those 2 hours of consciousness involved memories that "I had always believed this." So in some sense, for those moments, I had a temporary sense that I was a person with totally different set of truths than what I have now.

And because the dream was so vivid, and because it was so long, and because I still remember it, it's like I have this surreal part of my mental image of myself that includes a brief period where I was actually a God-believer. I know now that that wasn't real, but in those two hours that was real.

Today, I also had a dream that a loved one who passed away was actually alive. In my dream I approached him, and for a second I thought, "wait, I thought you were dead." And then I thought, "oh, I must have remembered incorrectly." It wasn't like, "Oh, you came back from the dead!" it was more like, "Oh yeah, right, you're here, and you've always been here, so what's up?"

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