READ Big Dreams 107


READ Big Dreams 107 ¿ [Read] ➪ Big Dreams ➲ Kelly Bulkeley – Big dreams are rare but highly memorable dream experiences that make a strong and lasting impact on the dreamer's waking awareness Moving far beyond I forgot to study and the finals are today and othe Big Dreams are rare but highly memorable dream experiences that Big dreams are rare but highly memorable dream experiences that make a strong and lasting impact on the dreamer's waking awareness Moving far beyond I forgot to study and the finals are today and other common scenarios such dreams can include vivid imagery intense emotions fantastic characters and an uncanny sense of being connected to forces beyond one's ordinary dreaming mind In Big Dreams Kelly Bulkeley provides the first full scale cognitive scientific analysis of such dreams putting forth an original theory about their formation function and meaningBig dreams have played significant roles in religious and cultural history but because of their infreuen. Can dreams have a meaning and purpose beyond that of our brains taking the garbage out each night In this book Kelly Bulkeley makes the case that the content of dreams is a worthy subject for scientific study It is not necessarily easy to study something so personal and subjective but with a combination of EEGs and fMRIs etc which can give us insight into which parts of the brain are active during particular kinds of dreams and dream databases which gather descriptions of dreams from a wide range of individuals and organise them so they can be searched by keywords it is possible to obtain some objective data to analyseAs the title suggests Bulkley’s ultimate aim is to look at the relationship between dreaming and religion but because both of these topics may be viewed as uestionable areas for scientific study he takes his time and works his way up to them progressively beginning with an account of the role that sleep plays in the lives of animals generally and humans specifically We learn that dolphins sleep with one half of their brain at a time one eye always open for possible dangers and that bottle nose dolphin mothers and calfs remain awake and in visual contact for over two months straight after the calf’s birthThe outline of the book follows the example of Thomas Auinas’ Summa Theologica 5 Vols in that each chapter begins with a uestion followed by a brief account of an answer to that uestion which runs counter to that which Bulkeley will be making in the chapter itself He then makes his detailed counter argument and ends with a brief summary explaining why he thinks his answer is the valid oneA key idea which is introduced in the second section of the book in which Bulkeley moves on to the topic of dreams themselves is that dreaming is a form of play In play we experiment freely with ideas and forms of behaviour in a safe environment He explains that patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder have a tendency to experience rigidly repetitious nightmares reliving their trauma and that the process of recovery can be charted in the freeing up of the dream process We can see in this a reflection of waking culture in which creativity and health arise from the ability to improvise rather than be restricted by fixed stereotypical forms of thought or expressionAfter setting the scene with the first two sections of the book which deal with the topics of sleep and dreams generally he moves on to his main subject “big dreams” The term comes from Carl Jung A “big dream” is one which is very memorable and leaves a significant emotional reaction after waking These dreams are relatively rare so to study them is a “black swan” approach The argument here is similar to that of Willam James when in The Varieties of Religious Experience he argued that the best way to increase our understanding of religious experiences was to examine the extraordinary examples in which defining ualities were exaggerated and thus could be easily observedBulkeley divides these big dreams into four kinds aggressive sexual gravitational and mystical His contention is that our ability to experience these kinds of dreams has arisen via natural selection because each of them may convey upon the dreamer a survival advantage Aggressive nightmares in which we may have to battle against or run from frightening creatures can act as an emotional preparation for dealing with real life dangers Sexual dreams may help to increase our breeding potential by whetting our appetite for sex and allowing us to mentally rehearse sexual activities Gravitational dreams such as nightmares about falling may have helped our tree dwelling ancestors to maintain a necessary habit of wariness about the danger of falling out of the tree at night but they may also act as a metaphor for failure of any kind thus encouraging wariness generallyIt is with the evolutionary advantage of mystical dreams such as dreams of flying and visitations from people who are dead that we get to the heart of the thesis which will feed into the examination of religion Here the evolutionary advantage is that such dreams stimulate our capacity for hope and imagination These kinds of dreams may have been the origin of religious beliefs in other plains of existence and the survival of the soul beyond the body but this is not the only effect that they can have Bulkeley gives an example of a composer who had a dream about musical composition which continued to inspire him over 25 years after he had it Perhaps the same lack of inhibitions which allows us to have very “inappropriate” sexual dreams can also set free our creative intuitionWhen he gets to the topic of religious dreams in the final section of the book he discusses four different kinds those involving demonic seduction prophetic vision ritual healing and contemplative practice Here again he takes a leaf out of William James’ book and points out that we can only study what happens in the mind of the individual having a religious experience we cannot on the basis of such a study say anything about the existence or non existence of the supernatural beings with whom the individual claims to have had contactBulkeley’s approach in this part of the book is not to try to assess in any particular case whether a dream or approach to dreaming had a beneficial effect but rather to look at whether the idea that it could is credible scientifically When it comes to dreams of demonic seduction he uses a similar approach to that he used with aggressive nightmares and sexual dreams generally Just as sexual dreams can prepare us to breed successfully dreams about demonic seduction can prepare us to be suitably wary about the dangers which may occur in the breeding processThe essential argument with prophetic dreams is that our mind has access to a lot of information about the important things going on in our lives and the dreaming process is one in which our mind is freed up to play around with the possibilities inherent in that information so it is possible that we might make a better prediction of what lies ahead for us during a dream than we have while awake This may not happen very often at all but the fact that it can and that correct predictions are remembered while incorrect ones are forgotten could explain why we have developed a cultural belief in the existence of dream prophecyThe concept of dream incubation is central to the discussion of ritual healing through dreams Many cultures believe that dreams can have a healing influence and there are practices and locations which can help to bring on such healing dreams Sleep itself is central to the health of the body and the mind so anything which reassures the individual and thus helps them to sleep deeply and restfully is going to help the healing process but the other factor Bulkeley discusses is the placebo effect There are certain kinds of physical or mental ailment which have been shown to improve significantly simply because the sufferer believed that they would If we combine these two factors then it is possible that someone going through a process of dream incubation may experience a noticeable improvement in their health because of a reassuring belief in the process and a feature of that experience may be hopeful dreams or dreams which give good advice making use of information absorbed but not previously activated Once again he is not saying that it works but that it could conceivably work in some instancesIn the chapter on contemplative practice the emphasis is on pointing out the link between what happens in the brain during dreaming and what happens during meditation There is also a discussion of lucid dreaming in which the dreamer can become aware of the fact that they are dreaming and engage in all of the forms of conscious thinking which are accessible in the waking state Thus dreaming can be a gateway to exploring alternate states of consciousnessAnd for anyone who thinks he is too much of a dreamer Bulkeley makes the following point “Dreaming is not opposed to skepticism On the contrary dreaming gives birth to skeptical consciousness When people awaken from a dream particularly a big dream they immediately face a profound metaphysical uestion one that has puzzled philosophers for ages How does the reality of the dream relate to the reality of the waking world This uestion echoes throughout human life as a conceptual template for critical thought and reflection”

Kelly Bulkeley á 7 READ

T occurrence and fantastical features they have rarely been studied in light of modern science We know a great deal about the religious manifestations of big dreams throughout history and around the world but until now that cross cultural knowledge has never been integrated with scientific research on their psychological roots in the brain mind system In Big Dreams Bulkeley puts a classic psychological thesis to the scientific test by clarifying and improving it with better data sharper analysis and a broader evolutionary framework He brings evidence from multiple sources shows patterns of similarity and difference uestions prior assumptions and provides p. As a typical American albeit my heritage is 98% eastern European I’m mostly down to earth and practical But I’m also a fantasy author with a background in pastoral ministry so a book that promised to combine three things I’m interested in—science dreams and religion—proved irresistible Also difficult The author uses the precise—and lengthy—language of a good scientist but which is sometimes hard for the layperson to wade through It took me longer to read this book than perhaps any other But it was worth the effort The author’s impressive credentials enables him to combine evidence from psychology neuroscience anthropology and evolution to show how dreams aren’t just a bit of undigested beef but can be studied scientifically and are deeply rooted in the origins of world religions The first clue in what is known as the cognitive science of religion lies in in the fact that the word for “dream” in almost every culture is related to their word for “seeing” Even for blind people dreams involve the same part of the brain that is related to vision Bulkeley’s particular emphasis is on big dreams the really vivid ones that stay with us provide a picture of what troubles us the most and have the power to change our lives They appear in times of acute crisis or mortal danger as he shows in his case study of the second century martyr Perpetua Having converted to Christianity this young woman broke Roman law and was sentenced to death in the lion arena She kept a journal of her dreams which eventually enabled her to find the courage and hope to face what was coming Thankfully most of us won’t experience this kind of trauma but most of us face our own lions every day The author shows how big dreams are evidence of the capacity for hope and imagination beyond the present sometimes very grim realityBulkeley points out the close neurocognitive connection between dreaming and meditation and how important meditation is in many world religions including Buddhism Islamic Sufism Native American religion and Christianity Meditation techniues are even taught nowadays in corporate board rooms and hospitals That’s because it works It eases fear increases intentionality and enables our consciousness “to freely explore the farthest reaches of its own latent abilities” WowAs a pastoral minister I agreed with the author when he mentioned which religious groups—not entire religions mind you but certain groups within them—have trouble with taking dreams seriously He also surprisingly shows how dreaming actually gives birth to skepticism When someone wakes up from a big dream they immediately wonder what it means and how it relates to the everyday world “This uestion” Bulkeley says “echoes throughout human life as a conceptual template for critical thought and reflection I could not have formulated my own ideas without the help of skeptical uestions”The book ends with a dream reported by Charles Darwin which as I thought about it could have been similar to one Jesus of Nazareth might have had Both were facing serious resistance from religious authorities a family less interested in their ideas than seeing them properly settled and physical suffering And the dream even for an atheist like Darwin had an unmistakable resurrection motifAs a fantasy author I found this study of big dreams inspirational Dreams meditation myth spirituality—all help people “see” And this kind of vision it seems to me is inherent in the best of the fantasy genre Reading good fantasy might prepare us ordinary people for a deeper life—maybe even for the far reaching life to come Veronica Vernie Dale author of Blood Seed and Night Cruiser Short Stories about Creepy Amusing or Spiritual Encounters with the Shadow

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Big DreamsRedictive models that can be applied to new sets of data The notion of a connection between dreaming and religion has always been intuitively compelling Big Dreams transforms it into a solid premise of religious studies and brain mind scienceCombining evidence from religious studies psychology anthropology evolutionary biology and neuroscience Big Dreams makes a compelling argument that big dreams are a primal wellspring of religious experience They represent an innate neurologically hard wired capacity of our species that regularly provokes greater self awareness creativity and insight into the existential challenges and spiritual potentials of human life. Read the full review on I like about this book is that it is very easy to read Even though the subject matter that Bulkeley discusses is very scientific he has the ability to talk about complex issues with ease and knowledgeIf you are a book lover like me this book will give you so much titles of books that will go on your list for further studyThis is a wonderful oversight about contemporary knowledge of the science of dreaming with religion as specific interest And even if you are not interested in te topic of religion and dreaming this book offers so many other insights into psychology neurology and dream content analysis it is well worth your moneyI missed a chapter on the neurology of religious dreams Why did we the human species develop religion at such an early stage of our existence How has the disappearance of religion affected our dreams Are there ways to induce Big Dreams in our own lives or do we have to wait until we are in crises And how do hormones play a role in religious dreaming We know that women remember dreams and are religious than men How are those two facts related Maybe he already wrote about those uestions in his book Dreaming in the World’s Religions A comparative History And if not it will be a sublime subject for a next book