Waking dreams when meditating?

Waking dreams when meditating?

by Headspace_HQ » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:45 pm


Recently I've been getting very vivid dream like thoughts whilst meditating. Snatches of conversation between characters in a dream or random images. I'm still awake but these thoughts are often quite random and absorbing. Where previously I've been able to note more mundane ordinary thoughts these dream like thoughts seem much harder to note and much harder to recognise as an emotion.

Do you have any tips on how to note these stranger less tangible but in some ways more absorbing thoughts. They seem to just spring from no where and don't relate to anything happening they are like waking dreams.

Andy's answer:

So, the good news is that these 'dream-like' thoughts are a good indication that the mind is quite relaxed and that thoughts are not being overly processed or filtered. When we sleep at night we have no filter at all, which is why dreams can often appear so bizarre. Essentially, we are experiencing what western psychologists like to call the subconscious mind. But in everyday life, we usually have to filter these thoughts somewhat and so we tend to experience the mind in a very different way, perhaps a more linear and rational way. Although of course this isn't always the case for everyone.

When these dream-like thoughts start to appear in our meditation, it means we are no longer filtering or over-thinking the exercise. The risk, as you rightly point out, is that we then get easily lost in them and become distracted. This is quite common at first. But it's important to see this as part of the learning process. To begin with we tend to have a very active mind which finds it difficult to relax and let go. But once it starts to calm down a little, it can often go to the other end of the spectrum. So it's as if we are learning the extremes of a scale and by doing so, discovering the middle. It then becomes a matter of learning to rest in that sweet spot, where there is both relaxation and focus in the mind.

So it sounds as though right now you may need to apply just a fraction more attention. It is so subtle and in trying to do so, it is quite likely that at first you will apply a little too much. Again, it's a bit like having our foot on the accelerator of a car and learning when to press down and when to ease off. In time, we discover a comfortable cruising spot. But even then, there will be some days when the mind requires a little more gas and other days when we need to ease our foot right off the pedal. This process is an integral part of learning meditation and of learning to be present and comfortable with the mind as it is.
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