Words: Shirley Erasmus
Controlling the colour of our dreams…
Do you dream in colour? How can you possibly become aware of whether or not you do dream in colour? A small amount of people have shown in various recent studies, that to dream in black and white colours only, although the reasons behind this are rather murky, is a suggestion of academics grasping at very hypothetical straws.
As interesting a concept as dreams may be; answering the question as to whether we dream in colour or in grey scale is not an easy question to answer. Can you recall whether the last dream you had, was definitely in colour? Our minds are often so caught up in the very real and very emotional act of dreaming, that it can be easy to dismiss the thought of colour.
REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement sleep, during which the body dreams) can be a very turbulent state of rest and sleep. From being chased by strange creatures and kissing that person you’ve been lusting after, to flying, falling or failing an important exam. There’s a lot going on in our unconscious when we dream, so it can be difficult to gage whether or not your dreams are in colour or not.
Dreams are a product of our unconscious; stories that our minds invent while we are asleep in order to help us cope with the aspects of our lives we find difficult to deal with, or, are most prominent in our minds at the time. While we often find it difficult to simply remember a dream, remembering vivid details of dreams can be even more challenging.
Would you believe me then, if I told you that you could control what you dream about and even what happens in your dreams? There is a way to be actively aware in your dreaming state and this practice is called Lucid Dreaming. Currently at the forefront of the practice is Charlie Morley, who has recently given talks and training sessions at Rhodes University and across the country on how lucid dreaming can affect our daily lives.
Charlie Morley is an author and teacher of “Mindfulness of Dream & Sleep” which he calls the holistic approach to lucid dreaming, particularly within the context of mindfulness, meditation and Tibetan Buddhism. Charlie teaches that by learning how to sleep “mindfully and dream lucidly we can begin to wake up in our daily lives as well as our dream and sleep as we enter onto a path of both spiritual and psychological awakening”. Studies have shown that lucid dreaming can benefit you in your waking hours, by making you better at decision making, solving problems, being more aware and creative, which sounds like a deal most of us would buy into.
So what exactly is lucid dreaming? A lucid dream is a dream in which you are consciously aware that you are actually dreaming. This would probably be the first step to establishing whether or not you dream in colour. Aristotle even had some words to say on this phenomenon; “Often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream”. Charlie Morley offers a number of different courses teaching you how to lucid dream and where to go from there, but if you’d prefer to just figure it out yourself, there is loads of information online which can teach you the art of lucid dreaming.
Naturally, you would hope that you don’t become so good at lucid dreaming that you slip into a state where you cannot distinguish dreams from reality… How can you really know if you’re actually really awake right now and reading this article?