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Awakening within the Dream

About Brain Waves, Dreams & Trance

By: Aernoudt Knecht – Print Article: pdf

1 – The twilight zone between waking and sleeping
2 – Brain waves and states of consciousness
3 – Dream conciouscess, the creative zone
4 – Awakening and dancing the dream
5 – The collective dream of our planet
Trance & The Brain

What does it mean to be awake in the dream? With our consciousness we tune in to different layers within ourselves and the reality around us. The dreaming plays a key role in building a bridge between our subconscious and consciousness, and in cleaning up our mental and energetic system. We usually dream during the night and unconsciously, but there are techniques to dream consciously and develop mastery of the dream world. Join me in exploring as to why that is useful for both your personal life and the collective life on our planet.

The Twilight Zone Between Waking & Sleeping

Among the Australian Aborigines, but also in philosophies such as Buddhism for example, it is believed that we dream up our reality. The dream is an often-used metaphor in spiritual circles. It is said that higher consciousness is achieved by “waking up from the dream.” But do we want to wake up? It is my experience that, to have fulfilling spiritual experiences, and to allow life to unfold according to the waves of magic synchronicity, requires some form of dreaming.

It is too easy to assume that waking is better than dreaming, or vice versa. It is about the relationship between the two, and about the choices you make at any time. It is about the barrier, the synapse, between sleeping and waking. There is a kind of twilight zone that we all know, just before you fall asleep, in which a stream of images and impressions unfold, things reveal themselves to you, that you can still, just about, perceive consciously.

Let’s take a look at what it means to sleep, to dream, or to be awake, and what the position and value of trance is in all of this? Let’s take a trip into the science and understanding of the working brain, brain waves and levels of consciousness.

Brain Waves and States of Consciousness

Hundreds of billions of brain cells in your head are all connected with tens to hundreds of other brain cells. Signals are sent out by small electrical currents, which are transmitted on the contact level between two brain cells (synapse) in chemical form, and then continue running in electric form. The sum of all those billions of transmissions emits an electromagnetic signal.

In 1924, the German doctor Hans Berger discovered that this signal can be measured, and that brain waves increase or decrease in frequency, depending on the state of consciousness a person is in. These frequencies have been classified into four categories. During daytime our consciousness moves about 4 Hz in the bandwidth from alpha via theta to delta, and back again to alpha. Beta waves are the exception and reach peaks of up to an amazing 40 Hz!

The brains of infants produce mainly theta waves. From the age of five, it changes into alpha waves with some beta, and subsequently mainly beta with some alpha waves. The general scientific consensus is that this increase in frequency, is part of normal development, but some consider the beta frequency to be abnormal. If, during the process of adjusting/developing/growing up in society, inner tension increases, one gradually suppresses emotions; resulting in an increase of beta waves. During nighttime, when there is a transition of these, to slower waves, suppressed emotions come to the surface in order to be processed in our dreams. Whether or not we are talking about a natural development, or a collective malfunctioning of our society, it is generally agreed, that adapting to the outside world, causes an increase in beta-frequencies. Due to the fact that there is a lot of competition in our surroundings, such as collisions of egos, increasingly more beta waves are produced, which point to a state of ’emergency’ and ‘survival’.

Brain Waves & Trance

Dream Conciouscess - The Creative Zone

From a need to escape from the beta stress of everyday life, in many spiritual circles people do exercises that brings one into alpha consciousness. Practicing yoga and meditation, for instance, encourages beta waves to make room for these kind of slower waves. One experiences a sense of deep relaxation and thoughtlessness/no-mind, which brings inner peace.

Theta consciousness – which is the synapse between being awake and being asleep – arises when the person drops even further into slower waves. Theta consciousness is also called the ‘creative zone’. One does not think so much in words, as in images, recieves insights and sees new connections between things. Also our imagination – still very prominent in children – is associated with theta waves. In a state of theta consciousness, creative and new thoughts arise, and intuitive information can rise to the surface.

The benefit of the creative zone becomes clear when we look at the consequences when it is absent. Authoritarian school teachers force their students into a survival mode, and hence encourage beta waves. The result is that these students will find it hard to see the connections between the information, and can absorb less. Scientific research shows that it is vital to dream on a daily basis, in order to avoid: disorientation, crying spells, aggression, memory disorders, concentration problems; in short: maddness. Not dreaming over a long period of time, can even result in death. As with a computer, in order to avoid a crash of the system it is necessary to clean up accumulated debris, and regularly defragment the hard drive.

So dreams help us to stay balanced, and that is why it is useful to actively generate this state. Research shows that people who regularly exercise to achieve theta consciousness, have better self- knowledge, are more in connection with their feelings, feel better, and know what they want. They can also express their feelings better and faster, and can keep them to themselves better than others when necessary. So no new-age, airy-fairy- dreamy types, who do not function properly. On the contrary, people who live life consciously, and want to awaken and dance the dream.

Awakening & Dancing The Dream

The presence of theta-waves only, is not sufficient in order to grow in a conscious manner. We would like to ‘awaken within in the dream’, remember? That’s a challenge, because dreams are difficult bring into the daily consciousness. We don’t remember most of our nightly dreams. Also in deep hypnosis, there are little or no alpha and beta waves detected. That is why, under hypnosis, people are often not aware of what the are doing and cannot remember the experience afterwards. In order to live the experience consciously, and to be able to transfer it to waking consciousness, the theta-consciousness must be accompanied by a small percentage of beta waves.

One way in which theta waves occur is when, from the alpha-consciousness, one relaxes further and deeper and eventually falls asleep. Another way in which theta waves arise, is when one moves from temporarily from delta to theta, during sleep, and begins to dream. But it can also be done differently! Physical relaxation is not always necessary, and the path/road to theta does not have go through alpha. There are other ways to accomplish mental relaxation such as certain physical activities.

It is well known that certain physical activities induce trance. There are many exercises that can be done to develop a conscious experience of the dream state. All of them encourage the brain to produce slower waves, whilst the body remains active; for example: long-term sports or dancing. Also playing a drum or a rattle, or making any kind of music with a monotonous and rhythmic character, brings people into theta consciousness. Research shows that trance mediums mainly produce slow brain waves, but they often are simultaneously physically active.

Krishnamurti once said that man should become like a cyclone: very active on the outside but quiet on the inside. During my lifetime I have taken myself consciously into trance in different ways, lying down and sitting, as well as by dancing. In my experience, the trance is most powerful, nourishing and healing, when it is accompanied by physical exertion. The most enjoyable and accessible way I know of, is through blindfolded trancedancing. Trancedance helps you to tune into the collective dream of our planet.

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The Collective Dream of our Planet

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Because of the way our planet moves through space, and the dance she does with our sun, a part of the planet is asleep, while another part is awake, always. If the soul of the world consists of the collective consciousness of all people, then our planet is partly awake and partly asleep … forever … at any time.

So if the soul of the world is on the borderline between sleeping and waking, it is not surprising that our personal lives and the evolution of humanity as a whole, unfold like a kind of dream. This may be bad news for the control freaks among us, but you have to really persist in believing that the story of humanity, or that of your personal life, simply unfolds without synchronistic magic and according to random coincidences. On the contrary, the lives of most people are very mythical and archetypal in nature, and my personal experience confirms this observation increasingly throughout the years.

Concepts such as morphogenetic field, quantum field and synchronicity, are increasingly used to express that life is experienced like a story that is told, resembling a dream that is dreamt. Try putting this in a broader context: your life and the collective dream of our planet. If you really observe closely, you can almost see the fingerprints of editors on our reality. You shouldn’t take it too literally and believe that we are in a science fiction movie such as the Matrix, but anyone can see that not only the lives of prophets and mystics, but also the lives of ordinary people are touched by deep magic.

Your brain receives signals from the ether of the Earth, and you yourself choose at any time to which station you tune into, and which signals you send out. Would you like to get a grip on your personal life and destiny? Then try to see yourself as a character in a story, and start to write your own book! What is your destiny on this planet? How aware are you of the dreams you co-create?

Aernoudt Knecht ©

first posted in Dutch on www.trancedans.net in 2008