Guiding Light of The Month

O LORD, Thou art my refuge and my blessing, my strength, my health, my hope, and my courage. Thou art supreme Peace, unalloyed Joy, perfect Serenity. My whole being prostrates before Thee in a gratitude beyond measure and a ceaseless worship; and that worship goes up from my heart and my mind towards Thee like the pure smoke of incense of the perfumes of India. - The Mother

Walking in Light: A peek at physical culture

Dreams

A phenomenon that cannot be dissociated from sleep is ‘dream’. What does ‘dream’ or ‘dreaming’ mean? The conventional meaning of dream is “…a series of images or feelings that occur in your mind while you are asleep…” (Oxford Dictionary, 2002). ‘Dreaming’ is the verb form of dream. The study of dreams is known as oneirology. Studies indicate that daily, during our sleep, we spend about two hours dreaming. Most dreams are between 5 to 20 minutes. It is said that dreams that we have at the beginning hours of sleep are relatively shorter, and as we progress into sleep, the dreams get longer and longer. Also, we are, it appears, able to remember most of the dreams we have later in our sleep than those that we have earlier. Another fact about dreams is that, during the state of dream, the release of certain neurotransmitters are completely suppressed, hence preventing the motor neurons (that are responsible for all muscular movements and hormonal secretions) from being stimulated. This arrangement saves us from performing dangerous movements in the course of dream. One might have the sensation of running away frantically from a pursuing animal or human in the dream, but one hardly finds oneself actually running, physically in the course of that dream. What a clever mechanism of suppression of the release of neurotransmitters during sleep. One can imagine the repercussions if only the neurotransmitters are released as in our waking state!

It has been widely acknowledged that dreams are a cause of mental activity which rarely ceases during sleep. This is one evidence that points to the fact that while the physical body is in repose, the mind is not. A dreamless state where the mind too is in repose is possible, but for this, The Mother says that a perfect control over the mind must first be in place. More often than not, the activities during sleep are heightened because the mental control is laxed during this time and “..the sensory being……reacts all the more violently during the night when this constraint is no longer effective.” For many of us, it is in dreams that many suppressed tendencies, desires and inclinations seek their expression as the active will is dormant or asleep. It is no wonder than that it is in his sleep that man’s truest nature is revealed.

The Mother has given significance to dreams in that they can reveal to us what we are in our inner states. If dreams are a gateway to revealing what we are in our innermost regions, then they merit great attention in this endeavour of knowing ourselves, inside out. How does one give attention to dreams? This will be taken up during the May issue of the Newsletter.

1. The Mother (1978). Words of Long Ago. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
2. The Mother (1979). Questions and Answers 1954. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
- Jayanthy

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