Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ryan Hurd and the Archeology of Gratitude

Ryan Hurd has a charming and generous review of this blog at his Dream Studies website, an excellent clearing-house for information on the ever-expanding field of dream research. I am tickled by his description of my Active Dreaming adventures as "shamanic lucid dreams". We do indeed travel deep into realms of the shaman, and beyond "lucid dreaming" as it is understood in much of the literature, practicing shared and group dream travel, timefolding, shapeshifting and conscious exploration of the multiverse and the multidimensional self.

Ryan is, inter alia, an expert on the phenomenon of sleep paralysis, and offers practical guidance on how to deal with this problem as well as informed speculation about the factors the factors that may be involved - from poor sleep habits to psychic intrusion - in an excellent ebook, Sleep Paralysis, available from his site.

One psychologist describes sleep paralysis with vivid imagery as "bound lucidity." Its common name may be a misnomer, since it is a phenomenon associated with the hypnagogic zone and/or the waking state rather than with sleep. In terms of physiology, what happens is that a switch malfunctions inside us so that muscle groups that need to shut down during REM states (so we don't try to act out our dreams physically) stay shut down when we are awake and want to move our bodies. Some people find this quite terrifying ans see horrible apparitions menacing them. I experienced this in my teens, but only rarely in adult life - in a time of immense psychospiritual activity analogous to Jung's "confrontation with the unconscious."

I found the best recourse was to stay calm, remember that spiritual help and protection is always available when we ask, practice a little conscious breathing and try, very gently, to flutter an eyelid or move a toe or finger. Ryan offers similar practical counsel. My only issue with his approach is that he suggests that part of the fix is to adopt a regular sleep cycle, something I have never done and don't intend to do now.

Ryan reviewed this blog before I launched my new Dream Gates blog over at Beliefnet. My intention is to post very actively on both blogs on parallel tracks. On this blog, I'll post more reports of first-hand adventures in the multiverse, and stories, essays and poems of and from the Imaginal Realm. My Dream Gates blog has already taken shape as a fun teaching vehicle that will help to bring core techniques of Active Dreaming, inspirational and instructive stories from the lives of contemporary and historical dreamers, to a much broader audience, and so contribute to the rebirth of a dreaming society. It's time! I'll welcome active discussion on both blogs.

Floating dream image by hi_jme via the Dream Studies website.


Ryan said...

thanks for the shout out and keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

Sleep paralysis plagued me in my late teens and 20's - now I know it was probably because of my erratic sleep habits - had to take alot of naps due to late night studying amongst other nocturnal diversions!

Ryan said...

hey Karolyn, while no doubt sleep hygiene plays a major role, I also think people in their early 20s are prone to sleep paralysis due to all the soul searching that goes on in that age group. SP seems to come with periods of "spiritual emergence" suggesting that it has a role to play as a spontaneous initiatory rite of adulthood.

Unknown said...

Just a quick note to say thanks for the great blog and I've just written a book--Sleep Paralysis: Night-mares, Nocebos, and the Mind-Body Connection (Rutgers)-- that I'd love to share with you when it's out in November.
Shelley Adler

Ryan said...

I'm looking forward to your book as well! Perhaps we can do a trade as the print version of my ebook is also in press.