The Conscious Exploration of Dreaming
About the Book
Dreams have drawn attention for ages, with their otherworldly, bizarre and sometimes unsettling content. Yet for all their allure, people really know little about them and how they are constructed. Everyone is familiar with various superstitious, occultist, and psychoanalytic ideas concerning dreams, yet these explanations do not really satisfy the more critically minded among us. Neuroscientific investigations of sleep and dreaming have done much to demystify dreams in recent years, but the viewpoint derived from these studies has remained unconvincing to those who consider such an approach overly reductionistic because it does not seem to connect with their own personal experiences and convictions.
The Conscious Exploration of Dreaming was written to bridge the gap between scientific and popular thinking on the subject of dreams. The authors and an additional colleague had all taught themselves to become proficient at the art of 'lucid dreaming,' or knowing that one is dreaming while the dream occurs. This talent enabled the trio to study dreams from the inside out, by performing a wide range of experiments designed to test the ways in which it is possible to control dreams while lucid. Such experiments gradually illuminated the natural means by which virtually all dreams may originate and unfold.
The understanding that developed out of several years' worth of experimentation and analysis of lucid dreams strongly supported a not unknown but relatively underrepresented view of dreaming, one which sees the process of dream creation as something rooted in the nature of the human perceptual system. A strong complement to the neuroscientific position, this perceptually based model has the potential to integrate a variety of perspectives and beliefs under the rubric of a single rational, commonsense approach. The present study should thus be of value to dream researchers and their students, members of the 'dream community,' lucid dreamers, and indeed anyone with a serious interest in dreams and human psychology.
FROM THE FOREWORD BY J. ALLAN HOBSON, M.D., AUTHOR OF THE DREAMING BRAIN AND THE CHEMISTRY OF CONSCIOUS STATES:
'It is my pleasure to encourage careful consideration of the unique body of data that forms the scientific base of this book. . . . Brooks and Vogelsong are true scientists in both their adherence to value-free description and their state-of-the-art interpretation of their data. The Conscious Exploration of Dreaming is a healthy antidote to the abundant New Age hyperbole on this important and serious subject.'
About the Author
Janice Brooks and Jay Vogelsong are a wife-and-husband team who were brought together by their mutual interest in lucid dreaming. Janice, who has enjoyed frequent lucid dreams and related experiences since childhood, is an honors graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's programs in folklore and anthropology. Jay is a long-term private student of psychology who taught himself to dream lucidly as an adult out of curiosity. Their researches for this project were enhanced by the efforts of a third experienced lucid dreamer, Ruth Sacksteder. All three contributors have participated in various dream study groups and specialist publications, but the bulk of their labor and thought on the subject has gone into the production of the present book and its forthcoming companion volume, Dream Control.