It's all just Instinct!
Let's begin the explanation of the most basic of dream planes: the etheric plane. But, before we do, let's just briefly explain what a dream plane is, for those people that may find this concept difficult.
A dream plane is a place to be, to do things, to inhabit. It is a space where you and others can meet and engage in various activities. Physical reality is one such space, and there are many others. Each of these spaces are relatively isolated from one another and what happens on one plane does not necessarily have to effect the others. It's like the various rooms in a house. What goes on in the kitchen does not necessarily have to involve what is going on in the living room. People can be in both rooms doing their own thing with no one ever meeting.
The etheric plane (as well as the astral, mental, and spiritual) are similar to our room analogy. It is another part of the Universe, both separate and a part of it. When you step out of your physical body -- as you do whenever you dream or in an out of body event -- you are, in effect, stepping into another room in the Universe. The first and easiest room to step into is the etheric plane because it is right next to the physical plane.
In a house it is no coincidence that the kitchen and dinning room are next to each other. In the Universe, it is no coincidence that the etheric plane sits next to the physical plane. Food is prepared in the kitchen and served in the dining room. Their close proximity to each other is deliberate and by design to their functions. The physical plane and the etheric plane, like our kitchen and dinning room, assist each other too.
To begin with, for consciousness, the etheric plane is a place of rest, rejuvenation, and healing. It is near enough to the physical plane so that certain connections can be maintained. It has enough distance so that both the physical body and the host consciousness can separate from each other to rest properly. The etheric plane sports a very physical-like demeanor, so that your consciousness will not feel alienated, out of place, or get too disoriented. For example, jumping from the physical plane to the etheric and back to your physical body is like going on holiday to a neighbor's house, not much stress or unexpected adjustments to contend with. However, jumping from the physical plane to the mental and back is like coming off of a very fast ride at an amusement park. For a period of time, you will be disoriented because the two environments are vastly different.
Of course this ease of reorientation is not the only reason the etheric plane is similar and located near to the physical plane. Below is a brief explanation of other etheric plane qualities.
Now, just like on the physical plane, on the etheric plane you will possess a body. This body is very similar to your physical one, and it will feel and react nearly the same. We call this body your dream-body (or in out of body terms it is also known as your Mach-1 nonphysical body). This dream-body is very dense and very physical like -- again to minimize disorientation going from one plane to another and from one body form to another. You can levitate in this body, and travel more quickly than you do in your physical body. Objects and walls will appear solid while you are in this body. You may wonder why another body at all? What is wrong with the one you have now? Well, each reality plane has a barrier that blocks some aspect of your physical and energetic self from passing through it. For the etheric barrier that is your dense physical body. Sorry! In this case, you cant' take it with you! To go into a dream state you have to leave your physical body behind and take only your lighter dream-body. The same is true for the other reality planes (astral, mental, spiritual), but we will cover each in later chapters.
Becoming lucid in an etheric dream is more difficult than when in an astral or mental plane dream. Your dream body is a no-frills, low-end body. It is not really designed for conscious (lucid) control. Consequently, when you are in your dream-body most of your remembered dreams will be of an unconscious nature. Achieving a lucid state in these types of dreams is not really the goal here. The act of remembering an etheric dream is the beginning of learning to recall your dreams, and this ultimately will lead to lucid or conscious control of your dream self in the higher reality planes (astral, mental, spiritual).
Sometimes it is even undesirable to remember an etheric dream.
You see! The etheric plane is primarily a reality of instinct, of basic responses
to situations. This aspect makes it the perfect testing ground for your reactions
in various physical situations.
When this need occurs, your consciousness will propel you into an etheric dream, or a series of dreams, where you safely play out probable scenarios of some impending physical event. In this case, the etheric plane serves as a test-place to examine certain situations of what your instinctive responses could be, the possible consequences, outcomes, and your available choices. Remember the probability pool? We talked about it several chapters back. Well, it is in the etheric plane that many of these probable versions of future-physical events get played out. In fact, the probability pool is thicker in the etheric plane than in any other plane, to accommodate the many probable variations of events that lie here in abeyance for manifestation.
For the most part, this event-testing gets done without your conscious participation because your personality must be certain that when and if the event is materialized, you will react in a similar manner. For example, let's say that you were trying out the various incarnations of an incident involving you and an out of control car. On the etheric plane, you play around with various scenarios, and you determine that your best chance to come out safely is to swerve left. Now, had you had a self-conscious (lucid) hand in these dreams, you would never really know if instinctively you would swerve left under similar physical circumstances. You may even smugly just sit back and see what happens (in the dream that is). Your conscious participation during the dream changes the options that normally would not be there physically. Think about it? Physically you are driving a car and a tire blows out. You lose control for a moment. Do you turn the wheel right or left to regain control? Would you even think about this at this time? Probably not! Most likely the instinctive part of you will take over and you will turn whatever way you need to bring the car under control. Afterward you may say "Boy I was really lucky!" However luck had nothing to do with it. At some point during the night, in several etheric dreams, you tested all the circumstances and probable outcomes and decided this one was the best for you. You loaded that response in the back of your mind someplace and waited for the moment to execute it. And, you did all this planning without conscious manipulation of the dream environment.
Even though you may find it difficult to be lucid during a typical etheric dream, you can still remember it and do purposeful things in these kinds of dreams. You will have to program your dream-self prior to sleep. Then, you will go to sleep with a predetermined purpose in mind, enter into a dream on the etheric plane, and upon awakening, you will recall the dream and the information that it provides for you. This approach may lack the ability to control the events in the dream, but the information you may learn could be invaluable.
To apply an etheric plane dream you must first decode it. These dreams are often easy to decode because they are very physical like and only have the occasional use of symbols to represent other things (unlike the higher dream planes which rely heavily on the use of symbolism). Usually, enough of an etheric plane dream will track along physical lines, making identifying the message relatively easy. For example, an etheric plane dream may go something like this:
You are getting a haircut. After the haircut you notice that the hair in one spot on your head is cut very close to your scalp, more so than the rest of the cut. You touch it and it hurts.
This short etheric dream is straight forward. Getting a haircut is a very personal thing. It also is an act of changing your physical image. This dream suggests that some act of self beautifying could result in you getting hurt in some way. Physically, in the future, you could actually go and get a haircut and be disappointed in the cut because it is too short. In the most general of ways, this example dream is saying to be careful of your decisions regarding your physical appearance. This theme is a classic example of an etheric dream. Your physical image is an integral part of your basic needs, and it is common to experience etheric dreams dealing with your physical appearance.
Don't let our examples here fool you into thinking that all etheric dreams are warnings. An etheric dream could just as easily and often does give you advice on something. For, example, you awake and remember an etheric plane dream where you were shopping in a particular store and buying something that you wanted. This dream is actually telling you what store to shop at to get that item. With a little deductive reasoning, you can see how much time you could save using a dream in this manner. You could request a dream which shows you where to find something that you want and need. Instead of having to comb every kind of physical place, you can let your dream self do the searching. Then, all you have to do is wake up and go there.
Many times animals in the wild work like this, especially in times of drought or food shortages. They will have an etheric dream (or dreams) that will show them where the best place is to find food or water. Then upon awakening, the animal will set out there to find it. It is no coincidences that the animal finds what he is looking for so quickly. The animal had foreknowledge -- knowledge obtained from the dream state in an etheric dream.
Remembering an etheric dream is much easier than remembering a dream from the other reality planes, which comes in very handy if you are the type of person that does not recall any of your dreams. When all or most of your dream remembering is blocked, you are experiencing conscious mind screening. Your conscious mind screens out your dreams because it sees them as unimportant. To break your conscious mind of this habit, an etheric plane dream is your best bet. Dreams on the etheric plane usually are the most physically usable. They deal with very mundane issues, like your safety, food, shelter, protection, comfort from the elements, and sex. These motifs are just the kinds of things that your conscious mind finds most necessary, and it will easily yield its block, once it finds out that dreams are a viable way to get helpful information and stimulus.
So you see! The etheric plane is a environment that assists you in obtaining your physical needs. It also provides you with a place for your consciousness to go as the body rests. It can help you to solve physical dilemmas that would be difficult to solve on your own, given the limitations of time and space. Furthermore, an etheric dream is the most easy to remember, and an etheric dream is the easiest to decode. Finally, for novice dreamers, remembering dreams on the etheric plane begins the process of breaking down the mental blocks that keep you from remembering all the other dreams you have, on all the other dream planes that exist.
In the next chapter, we delve into astral dreams. It is on the astral plane that you engage in dreams dealing with relationships and friendships, getting along with others, desires, lusts, and emotions.