Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Power of Dreams (or semiconscious pseudo-intentional phenomenological happenings)

Last night I had a decent sleep for the first time in a long time. A really long time. I don’t have the experience of dreams much, meaning that I don’t often have them, or I don’t remember them. Last night’s sleep was deep enough that I had some funky dreams about chasing someone’s iguana around my university and some exam mark and granola bars, but I also had a really interesting phenomenological experience (redundant?).

My memory of it is as follows:
I just turned over a bit so I was on my right side, sort of sleeping. I had the feeling of a cat walking on the bed up towards my head. First off, I don’t have a cat; second, I sort of knew I was asleep. That itself was interesting. The cat started to come up to my face and went to nuzzle in my neck. Now this is something I usually find ticklish, so I didn’t want it to happen. While it started to happen, I was thinking, “There is no cat, you’re asleep, it is interesting how real this feels, this doesn’t feel good, wake up… wake up!” I couldn’t because I was paralyzed. Fascinating! Then I had the feeling of almost dragging ‘myself’ up out of sleep and I was able to stop the experience of the ‘nuzzling’ cat. Cool! Aren’t brains wonderful!

Off the top of my head (well, just below the top) my guess is that I was in a deep enough rest state that my body paralyzed itself so I wouldn’t act out my dreams (a helpful process), but something about the ‘deepness’ allowed for greater cognitive/introspective assessments than usual. Then, maybe, my leg felt part of the cover move and that kick-started a memory from long ago of a cat I used to have. Or, the whole thing could have been a created experience. Now, when sleeping, most of the ‘proper filters’ sort of shut off, which is why dreams are so weird. Maybe the system that allows differentiation from memories and actual experiences was out of whack and ‘I’ ‘felt’ a memory/theoretical situation with the same intensity as a real experience. This was detrimental enough that I was able to exert control over my ‘paralysis’ and stop the experience. In a way I haven’t said much, but in another way that explains it sufficiently.


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