The first effort appears to be our aptitude for remaining conscious about of dreams and sleep. The Mother has aptly pointed out, through a quotation she makes from a “a passage in a book devoted to the study of inner life” in the year 1912, 25th March “For where there is no consciousness, there can be no memory.” A revealing statement! Many of us need not try too hard to weed out for scrutiny such forgotten states without consciousness in our day-to-day lives. It goes without saying how important it is to cultivate the faculty of memory in order to remember dreams we have had during the nights. Once dreams are remembered and recalled then comes the task of understanding them according to their categories. The Mother says, “We must therefore learn to know our dreams, and first of all to distinguish between them.” So what then are these categories or types that The Mother speaks of?
The first type, according to The Mother, are dreams resulting from a “purely mechanical and uncontrolled activity” of the physical brain. During sleep, certain cells continue to function, generating “sensory images and impressions” related to input of pictures received from our exterior environment. As these are caused by the physical circumstances surrounding our lives, such as the food we eat, our position in bed or our state of health, these dreams have a good chance of being controlled, by altering that which causes them. The Mother marks these out as useless activities which can be controlled and eliminated.
The next type of dreams are those “which are nothing but futile manifestations of the erratic activities of certain mental faculties, which associate ideas, conversations and memories that come together at random.” These perhaps accounts for some of our dreams that incorporate childhood associations with something of present times, creating sometimes an interesting storyline or else a meshwork of mixed episodes without much coherence, except for some items and articles we can associate with as being in our lives at one time or another.
The Mother calls these “erratic” activities as significant, as they reveal the confusion within in the mental being which is not organized or ordered, existing as an independent and unordered entity.
The Mother refers to a third category of dreams as those which arise from the inner being freed from the constraints imposed on it by the active will. These are the dreams that reveal to us our “tendencies, inclinations, impulses, desires” which may not necessarily be revealed in our ordinary waking state, kept in check by our “will to realize our ideal”.
The best use of these dreams appear to be their potential in revealing to us that part of our inner being which is presently obscure to our own vision and knowledge, cognition and comprehension. Is it possible to know our dreams intimately? We take this up in our June issue.
1. The Mother (1978). Words of Long Ago. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
2. Sri Aurobindo Society, AIM Booklet (1999 - 2004). How to Sleep Well, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry