Altered States of Consciousness in Sleep and Dreams

Hypnogogic State – The transitional, twilight state between being awake and falling asleep. In this state it is common for paranormal phenomena to occur, including auditory and/or visual hallucinations, out of body experiences, sleep paralysis and sleep paralysis attacks. 

Hypnopompic State – Same as the hypnogogic state, except this term refers to the transition from sleep to waking.

Out of Body Experience (O.B.E.) –  When a person’s consciousness leaves the body and is able to observe the physical surroundings such as the bedroom they are in.  This may also involve travelling around, yet still viewing the physical surroundings as we know them in waking reality.

Near Death Experience (N.D.E.) – (a form of O.B.E.) A person may be pronounced clinically dead, only to later come back to life later.  Many will report conversations they overheard (for example between surgeons at the operating table if they died in a hospital) that are later confirmed, and the person would have had no way of knowing this information otherwise. This brings up the interesting and fascinating distinction between mind and brain, as consciousness (mind) is surviving without and beyond the death of the physical matter (brain).

Astral Projection -  When consciousness leaves the physical body and travels, similar to an Out of Body Experience, but the travel is through a more dream like, other worldly realm.

Lucid Dreaming – Becoming aware of the fact that one is dreaming during the experience of having a dream.  For more information read Robert Waggoner’s fascinating book “Lucid Dreaming”.  For more info, go here: http://www.thedreamdetective.com/faq.html#lucid

After Death Contact (A.D.C.) – When a deceased loved one comes to visit us in our dreams.  While some dreams of loved ones who have crossed over are ways of processing our loss, other are reported as feeling very ‘different’ than regular dreams. Some of the hallmarks of A.D.C. dreams are that they feel very real, as if the loved one were actually with the dreamer.  The dreamer may report smelling grandma’s perfume or grandpa’s cigar, and often the dream takes place in the dreamer’s bedroom, which is not the case for most dreams.  Sometimes a dream ‘already in progress’ may be interrupted by the appearance the deceased loved one, who almost always brings messages of comfort and love in any of these scenarios.  Many people also have these dreams of former pets who have crossed over as well.

Shared Dreams or Mutual Dreaming – The experience of having the same dream at the same time as another person.  Usually this occurs between people who are emotionally close such as siblings, close friends, family members or romantic partners. The degree of the ‘shared’ experience may vary from part of each person’s dream being the same (overlapping), to the entire dream being identical for both dreamers.  People sometimes intend for a shared dream experience, visualizing it and agreeing on a meeting spot before going to sleep.

Sleep Paralysis – In R.E.M. sleep our body becomes paralyzed so that we don’t physically act out what we are dreaming about, as this could be very harmful to our self and others.  When we wake up the paralysis releases, however sometimes there is a ‘glitch in the system’ where the paralysis takes a little longer to release.  Becoming conscious and finding that the body is paralyzed can be a terrifying experience that about 20-30% of the population will experience at some time. However, it usually resolves itself and is nothing to be afraid of.

Sleep Paralysis Attacks – A phenomenon that sometimes occurs during the state of sleep paralysis, where the dreamer reports a visitation. The visitor is most often described as either a dark, shadowy figure, or something know as ‘the old hag’, who is reported to look something like a Halloween witch. This phenomenon has been reported all over the world through out history.  Researcher David Hufford wrote a book about this called ‘The Terror that Comes in the Night’.

Nightmares – Scary dreams that often will wake us up with a pounding heart and covered in sweat.  These are R.E.M. dreams and are important to pay attention to when working through life’s difficulties.  If a nightmare relives a trauma and repeats with no progression or resolution over time, this would indicate a P.T.S.D. nightmare and professional guidance with an experienced professional is recommended.

Night Terrors – Different than a nightmare, these do not occur in R.E.M. sleep, but rather in stage 4, or the deepest, non-dream sleep. Often night terrors cause the sufferer to scream out loud, but upon waking they will have no recollection of any kind of dream or what happened.

Daydreams – A relaxed state (similar to a hypnotic trance) where creativity, imagination, problem solving and learning consolidation occur.  As part of our circadian rhythm (similar to the 90 minute cycles between R.E.M. dreams when asleep), we have a natural tendency to daydream about every 70-120 minutes through out the day.

Precognitive Dreams – Dreams that pick up on potentials for the future that may or may not play out. There have been reports of people who have had a precognitive dream and later recognized a dangerous situation in waking life because of the dream.  They were then able to make a course correction to prevent the potential negative outcome because the dream provided them with the warning and awareness to do this.

Clairvoyant Dreams –  A dream during which the dreamer is able to witnesses an outside event (happening in waking reality) at the same time it is actually occurring.

Empathic telepathy –  Similar to a clairvoyant dream, except that instead of witnessing an event as an outside observer during the dream, the dreamer experiences the event as if it were happening to them – in a sense assuming the identity of someone that the waking life event is actually happening to.

July 9th, 2012 by Mimi

Relationship Secrets for Highly Empathic People

Written by Dr. Judith Orloff, Author of ’Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life’

Relationship Secrets for Highly Empathic People

Loneliness gets to some more than others. But why it hangs on isn’t always apparent when read by traditional medical eyes. In my psychiatric practice in Los Angeles and in my workshops I’ve been struck by how many sensitive, empathic people who I call “emotional empaths” come to me, lonely, wanting a romantic partner, yet remaining single for years. Or else they’re in relationships but feel constantly fatigued and overwhelmed. The reason isn’t simply that “there aren’t enough emotionally available people ‘out there,’” nor is their burnout “neurotic.” Personally and professionally, I’ve discovered that something more is going on.

In “Emotional Freedom” I describe emotional empaths as a species unto themselves. Whereas others may thrive on the togetherness of being a couple, for empaths like me, too much togetherness can be difficult, may cause us to bolt. Why? We tend to intuit and absorb our partner’s energy, and become overloaded, anxious, or exhausted when we don’t have time to decompress in our own space. We’re super-responders; our sensory experience of relationship is the equivalent of feeling objects with 50 fingers instead of five. Energetically sensitive people unknowingly avoid romantic partnership because deep down they’re afraid of getting engulfed. Or else, they feel engulfed when coupled, a nerve-wracking, constrictive way to live. If this isn’t understood, empaths can stay perpetually lonely. We want companionship, but, paradoxically, it doesn’t feel safe. One empath patient told me, “It helps explain why at 32 I’ve only had two serious relationships, each lasting less than a year.” Once we empaths learn to set boundaries and negotiate our energetic preferences, intimacy becomes possible.

For emotional empaths to be at ease in a relationship, the traditional paradigm for coupling must be redefined. Most of all, this means asserting your personal space needs — the physical and time limits you set with someone so you don’t feel they’re on top of you. Empaths can’t fully experience emotional freedom with another until they do this. Your space needs can vary with your situation, upbringing, and culture. My ideal distance to keep in public is at least an arm’s length. In doctors’ waiting rooms I’ll pile my purse and folders on the seats beside me to keep others away.

With friends it’s about half that. With a mate it’s variable. Sometimes it’s rapture being wrapped in his arms; later I may need to be in a room of my own, shut away. One boyfriend who truly grasped the concept got me a “Keep Out” sign for my study door! For me, this was a sign of true love. All of us have an invisible energetic border that sets a comfort level. Identifying and communicating yours will prevent you from being bled dry by others. Then intimacy can flourish, even if you’ve felt suffocated before. Prospective mates or family members may seem like emotional vampires when you don’t know how to broach the issue of personal space. You may need to educate others — make clear that this isn’t about not loving them — but get the discussion going. Once you can, you’re able to build progressive relationships.

If you’re an empath or if the ordinary expectations of coupledom don’t jibe with you practice the following tips.

Define your personal space needs

Tip 1. What to say to a potential mate

As you’re getting to know someone, share that you’re a sensitive person, that you periodically need quiet time. The right partner will be understanding; the wrong person will put you down for being “overly sensitive,” and won’t respect your need.

Tip 2. Clarify your preferred sleep style

Traditionally, partners sleep in the same bed. However, some empaths never get used to this, no matter how caring a mate. Nothing personal; they just like their own sleep space. Speak up about your preferences. Feeling trapped in bed with someone, not getting a good night’s rest, is torture. Energy fields blend during sleep, which can overstimulate empaths. So, discuss options with your mate. Separate beds. Separate rooms. Sleeping together a few nights a week. Because non-empaths may feel lonely sleeping alone, make compromises when possible.

Tip 3. Negotiate your square footage needs

You may be thrilled about your beloved until you live together. Experiment with creative living conditions so your home isn’t a prison. Breathing room is mandatory. Ask yourself, “What space arrangements are optimal?” Having an area to retreat to, even if it’s a closet? A room divider? Separate bathrooms? Separate houses? I prefer having my own bedroom/office to retreat to. I also can see the beauty of separate wings or adjacent houses if affordable. Here’s why: conversations, scents, coughing, movement can feel intrusive. Even if my partner’s vibes are sublime, sometimes I’d rather not sense them even if they’re only hovering near me. I’m not just being finicky; it’s about maintaining well-being if I live with someone.

Tip 4. Travel wisely

Traveling with someone, you may want to have separate space too. Whether my companion is romantic or not, I’ll always have adjoining rooms with my own bathroom. If sharing a room is the only option, hanging a sheet as a room divider will help. “Out of sight” may make the heart grow fonder.

Tip 5. Take regular mini-breaks

Empaths require private downtime to regroup. Even a brief escape prevents emotional overload. Retreat for five minutes into the bathroom with the door shut. Take a stroll around the block. Read in a separate room. One patient told her boyfriend, “I need to disappear into a quiet room for ten minutes at a party, even if I’m having fun,” a form of self-care that he supports.

In my medical practice, I’ve seen this creative approach to relationships save marriages and make ongoing intimacies feel safe, even for emotional empaths (of all ages) who’ve been lonely and haven’t had a long-term partner before. Once you’re able to articulate your needs, emotional freedom in your relationships is possible.

June 24th, 2012 by Mimi

Who is an Empath?

Here is Part 2 of Christel Broederlow’s article on Empaths:

Empaths are often poets in motion. They are the born writers, singers, and artists with a high degree of creativity and imagination. They are known for many talents as their interests are varied, broad and continual, loving, loyal and humorous. They often have interests in many cultures and view them with a broad-minded perspective. They are mother, father, child, friend, nurse, caregiver, teacher, doctor, sales people… to psychic, clairvoyant, healer, etc. (That is not to say that any of these categories are all empaths.) The list is extensive and really unimportant. It is more important to notice that empaths are everywhere–in every culture and throughout the world.

Empaths Are Good Listeners

Empaths are often very affectionate in personality and expression, great listeners and counselors (and not just in the professional area). They will find themselves helping others and often putting their own needs aside to do so. In the same breath, they can be much the opposite. They may be quiet, withdrawn from the outside world, loners, depressed, neurotic, life’s daydreamers, or even narcissistic.

They are most often passionate towards nature and respect its bountiful beauty. One will often find empaths enjoying the outdoors, beaches, walking, etc. Empaths may find themselves continually drawn to nature as a form of release. It is the opportune place to recapture their senses and gain a sense of peace in the hectic lives they may live. The time to get away from it all and unwind with nature becomes essential to the empath. Animals are often dear to the heart of empaths, not as a power object, but as a natural love. It is not uncommon for empaths to have more than one pet in their homes.

Traits of an Empath

Empaths are often quiet and can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes. They are highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection, and talk openly, and, at times, quite frankly in respect to themselves. They may have few problems talking about their feelings.

However, they can be the exact opposite: reclusive and apparently unresponsive at the best of times. They may even appear ignorant. Some are very good at blocking out others and that’s not always a bad thing, at least for the learning empath struggling with a barrage of emotions from others, as well as their own feelings.

Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs. In general an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker. Any area filled with disharmony creates an uncomfortable feeling in an empath. If they find themselves in the middle of a confrontation, they will endeavor to settle the situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it all together. If any harsh words are expressed in defending themselves, they will likely resent their lack of self-control, and have a preference to peacefully resolve the problem quickly.

Empaths are sensitive to TV, videos, movies, news and broadcasts. Violence or emotional dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain inflicted on adults, children or animals can bring an empath easily to tears. At times, they may feel physically ill or choke back the tears. Some empaths will struggle to comprehend any such cruelty, and will have grave difficulty in expressing themselves in the face of another’s ignorance, closed-mindedness and obvious lack of compassion. They simply cannot justify the suffering they feel and see.

People of all walks of life and animals are attracted to the warmth and genuine compassion of empaths. Regardless of whether others are aware of one being empathic, people are drawn to them as a metal object is to a magnet! They are like beacons of light.

Even complete strangers find it easy to talk to empaths about the most personal things, and before they know it, they have poured out their hearts and souls without intending to do so consciously. It is as though on a sub-conscious level that person knows instinctively that empaths would listen with compassionate understanding.

Here are the listeners of life. Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and studiers of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where a problem is, so too is the answer. They often will search until they find one–if only for peace of mind.

Written by Christel Broederlow Copyright (c) 2002 Christel Broederlow Shortened Version from The Empath Report 101

About this contributor: Christel Broederlow is a natural born empath and author of numerous articles about empathy through personal experience and continual research. Her Web site, The Empath Report, previously hosted at Geocities is no longer active.

June 24th, 2012 by Mimi