Of dreams and cognition…

बन्धुउद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् ।
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मन: ॥ ५ ॥

बन्धुरात्मात्मनस्तस्य येनात्मैवात्मना जित: ।
अनात्मनस्तु शत्रुत्वे वर्तेतात्मैव शत्रुवत् ॥ ६ ॥

uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ
nātmānam avasādayet
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ

bandhur ātmātmanas tasya
yenātmaivātmanā jitaḥ
anātmanas tu śatrutve
vartetātmaiva śatru-vat

One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.

For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita 6.5,6.6

All of us dream. All of us wake up.

If we observe and interact with the world with our waking mind, then who observes and interacts in our dreams? If it is not the waking mind, do we have a dreaming mind? Does it exist separately in our head, or our bodies?

How do we wake up from our dreams? How do we slip into our dreams? If you observe, you will find that you cannot pinpoint an exact moment when you actually “go to sleep”. You are awake one moment, and then you wake up the next day. What were you thinking that exact moment when you went to sleep? Were you aware?

There are many recorded instances of individuals who were able to arrive at solutions to nagging problems, in a dream state.

Beginning when Einstein was a teenager hanging out in his father’s electric lighting company, he would play with imaginations about the nature of light. He would try to become one with a beam of light and wondered what he would see if he could catch up to a light wave. This matter found itself in the playground of Einstein’s subconscious and revealed a paradox in a dream. It is said that Einstein dreamt of himself overlooking a peaceful green meadow with cows grazing next to a straight fence. At the end of the fence was a sadistic farmer who occasionally pulled a switch that sent an electrical current down the fence. From Einstein’s birds-eye view he saw all the electrocuted cows simultaneously jump up. When Einstein confronted the devious farmer, there was a disagreement as to what happened. The farmer persisted that he saw the cows cascade in a wavelike motion. Einstein disagreed. Both went back and forth with no resolution. Einstein woke up from this dream with a paradox.

In the account of Einstein’s dream, and other accounts of the role of dreams in creative work, such as music, science, and visual art, there is a common theme: a paradox is revealed through imaginations that are contradictory in the awake state.

Perhaps dreams are an arena that can enable supracognitive powers to perform calculations and perceptions of reality that may be incomprehensible in our wake state.

Stephon Alexander

What you read above is a series of questions and thoughts in no particular order, and with no imminent solution. They are there for you to think over, meditate and wonder. I didn’t add “arrive at a solution”, because then you would be in the minority of one. Perhaps the enlightened beings became aware of these things, but mere mortals – they don’t even think of such matters, let alone find answers.

Try tonight:)

See you tomorrow!