There is a considerable amount of stuff that goes on when you fall asleep and begin dreaming. So much so, that we're going to devote this chapter as an overview of the entire sleep-dreaming process. Don't worry if some of the concepts we discuss here seem unclear. This chapter is meant to give you a taste and a basic understanding of what the rest of the book will cover in greater detail.
As we stated in the last chapter, the process of dreaming begins when the body is put to rest. Consciousness gets forced out of the body due to fatigue and chemical build up. Once consciousness is free of the body, it turns its focus toward one of several other realities. The most common reality is what we call the Dream Universe. It is in the Dream Universe where you engage in experiences that soothe, cleanse, and balance your soul. Our main focus of this book will be thrust into the Dream Universe; however, the Dream Universe is not the only reality that consciousness can go to.
Consciousness can also leave the physical body completely and go to one of several other dimensions, like the Etheric Plane, Astral Plane, the Mental Plane, or even the Spirit Plane. Ultimately, where consciousness goes, just after falling asleep, depends on the needs of the individual at that time. For example, if the individual needs to meet with a friend, he or she could enter into the Astral Plane and meet with this individual. Once all needs of this nature are met, consciousness returns to the body and will again hover over it. Now consciousness will enter into the Dream Universe and begin the dreaming process. On the other hand, if there are no immediate concerns, the individual will remain by the body and enter into the Dream Universe almost instantly upon the body going to sleep.
Now, your time spent within the Dream Universe can be broken down into several categories:
Throughout the period that you are within the Dream Universe, you will engage in dreams that fall into the above categories. These categories are subdivisions of the Dream Universe and, as such, occupy different areas of the Dream Universe. For example, when you begin dreaming you may fall into a dream that involves yourself and your own outlook. This dream may help you to clarify a stance you have taken on some issue. Next you exit that dream and enter into a dream where you are with many people. What you have done here is jumped across the Dream Universe into a new area, though don't let our use of the word across influence you into thinking distance is involved here.
You see! The Dream Universe can be considered to be made up of several sections. When you enter into that particular section, you will experience a dream having to do with that section. In the beginning, this sectioning of the Dream Universe is not too important; however, once you gain in proficiency with dream manipulation, a knowledge of the various sections of the Dream Universe will help you to target certain areas to obtain specific information. For example, if you wanted to learn how come you get frightened when you go to the doctor, you can enter into the area of the Dream Universe that deals with self and find out. Entering into the area of the Dream Universe that deals with others will not help you to resolve a personal issue unless that issue involves other people.
Now, this jumping from section to section will proceed automatically. You do not have to do anything in particular to move from one section to another. Consciousness itself can and will jump on its own from section to section as if guided by some unknown force. There is no set pattern for this jumping either and that pattern can and does change from sleep cycle to sleep cycle.
Once consciousness has fulfilled its needs in the Dream Universe and is refreshed, it can emerge. Now, when it emerges, it may or may not join with the body and begin to awake. Remember those other planes of manifestation we spoke about earlier? Consciousness may now indulge in these other realities. These other realties are planes of existence much like physical reality is. You can and do have ties or duties to some of these realms. In this part of sleep you will engage in those duties.
When all your duties are taken care of, it usually is time for you to return to the body. Like a fine watch, your consciousness knows when it is time to return and to not return. You will again hover over the body and then slowly the body will take your consciousness back. Soon after assimilation, your body will begin to stir and you will start to awake. It is at this point that you can remember your dream experiences, if you wish. Some kind of mental effort is necessary here. However, after this brief period of semi-consciousness, your body is ready to go. All you have to do is open your eyes and get up. The act of opening your eyes or moving a limb will cement your consciousness into the body, so to speak, as the urgency of physical existence once more takes precedence.
As you can see the whole sleep-dream process is automatic and requires no real effort on your part. Each time you sleep the routine is repeated, whether you are aware of it or not. Awareness is not a requirement but is a desired state. Awareness of your sleep-time activities, as you will see, will help you immensely in the control of your physical lives. It also will help you to understand who and what you are, something many many of you have little or no idea of.
Now, what haven't we mentioned about the process of dreaming? Well, let's see! As we briefly mentioned in the introduction, dreaming does not require a physical body. Nonphysical beings dream too, because whatever reality an entity is a part of -- be it an inhabitant of the Etheric, Astral, Mental, or Spirit plane, that entity's consciousness will eventually tire and become fatigued. When this fatiguing occurs that person will fall into a sleep like condition -- the difference being, that there is no physical body to lay down or put to rest. Consciousness itself will just disappear from what ever nonphysical plane it is on, enter into the Dream Universe, and then reappear when done dreaming.
I hope we've given you a pretty good idea of the process that goes on each time you lay your body to rest. You may think that sleep is a very simple routine; however, the real truth is that sleep and dreaming are at the core of your being. You could not exist without it, and your reality would fall to pieces, in an instant, if that reality was not supported by the network of things that you do each and every sleep cycle.
In the next chapter we're going to cover what the Dream Universe is and where it is located. We're also going to explain about those other planes of manifestation that we've been mentioning about since the introduction. An understanding of these things will dispel many of the misconceptions that you have been told about dreaming and just what it means to be a spirit without a body!