The dry spell was broken Friday night. I had moved my journal to the bed and was pretty good about meditating on the word dream for the night leading up to it. But I think the clincher was a conversation with a co-worker about how the remembrance of a lucid dream differs from that of a normal memory. Before I explain this, let me tell you the dream.
I believe it was a very long lucid dream. My Zeo next to my bed said that I had been in a REM period for about 30 min. Also, while in the dream, I remember thinking this has been a long dream. The setting is some sort of futuristic ship that flies in the air instead of the water. It wasn’t a plane, because it was much too large. It was like a cruise ship with a large deck and large windows. But we weren’t sailing on water. I was with a friend and we were looking out at the landscape. The view was incredible – we could see for miles and in the distance were numerous skyscrapers forming a beautiful skyline. It was breath-taking. It reminds me of the skylines and mentally constructed city in Inception.
I spoke to my friend and we remarked how amazing it was that my mind was able to conjure up these images from nothing. Then, I explained to him, the problem is no matter how real this feels now (we both agreed it felt very real) we won’t remember it the same way as if we actually saw it. So, I said it is best we actually have this conversation, because we will remember the words in detail, if not the actual experience, or the feeling of realness of the experience.
I decided to wake right after the conversation and as soon as I did, the memory of the experience did not compare to the experience itself. Because I went from consciousness of the experience to consciousness of the memory of the experience, I was able to feel this shift so dramatically. I couldn’t believe how different it was. It led me to wonder why this is the case? How can something feel so real in a lucid dream, as real as waking reality, and then in memory feel like there are layers up layers of obscurity between the experience and the memory?
I don’t have an answer, but I think it is time for our Guest blogger, Rico, to come back with science’s best guess of why this happens neurologically. From an evolutionary standpoint it is fairly simple to explain – if we couldn’t distinguish between dream memories and real memories we would be far less able to cope in the real world. But what is happening neurologically? Lets see if we can find out.