Meditation dreaming - anyone else have this?

lior

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I do 3 non-sleep rests at set points in the day. Either I lie down quietly, normally with my eyes closed, and try to focus on my breathing/body/sounds, or I put on a guided meditation from a meditation app.

Then I let myself let go of tension. If I do fall asleep it means I've been doing too much, and thankfully I do have lots of weeks where I don't fall asleep during these meditation rests. (Normally I struggle with the opposite: letting go and getting properly calm.)

Sometimes something strange happens, just for a few minutes. It feels like dreaming but I'm aware enough to be technically awake. I'm normally very aware of the mind-chatter, that internal monologue that goes on, but I start to not be fully aware of it. When I'm able to tune in to the thoughts, it's ridiculous nonsensical dreamlike stuff: stories I'm telling myself, or plans that I'm making, that don't make sense in the real world, formed through pulling together disparate bits of information. I often can't remember afterwards what the nonsensical thoughts were. Sometimes I come out of this state with a useful new idea.

Is this half-sleep? Is half-sleep actually scientifically possible? Is this dreaming, or deep meditation? Am I actually asleep but just think I'm awake? Does this dreaming count as rest? My CFS clinic told me that meditation is more restful than sleeping, because dreaming takes energy. But if I'm dreaming as a result of meditation, does that still apply?

Couldn't find anything on google about this particular thing, so I'm hoping one of you will have some experiential insight... :)
 

pamojja

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Is this half-sleep? Is half-sleep actually scientifically possible? Is this dreaming, or deep meditation? Am I actually asleep but just think I'm awake? Does this dreaming count as rest? My CFS clinic told me that meditation is more restful than sleeping, because dreaming takes energy. But if I'm dreaming as a result of meditation, does that still apply?
Consistent meditation can bring many surprising experiences with it. It is rather normal at certain levels of concentration or insight that also visions arise. The trick is not starting discursive thinking about it (all like in above quote), but just be aware, don't get excited too much (or frightened), and back to the object of your meditation again. Maybe consider it milestones in meditation. If you get too much fascinated with them it's like stopping the journey at a mile-stone and no getting further. Though some progress even without any of such phenomena.

Though in my meditation tradition there is also a little bit analytical awareness present concerning the 5 hindrances: is there any craving, aversion, sloth/topor, restless/worry or doubt present?

On the other hand any of the 5 strengths? confidence, energy, mindfulness, concentration and/or wisdom.

But being shortly aware of their presence or absence suffices. Anything else will lead you, well, away from meditation into discursive thinking.

By the way, one term for such vision in Pali language is nimitta (see note 10). Well done.
 
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pamojja

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When I'm able to tune in to the thoughts, it's ridiculous nonsensical dreamlike stuff: stories I'm telling myself, or plans that I'm making, that don't make sense in the real world, formed through pulling together disparate bits of information.
Maybe I misunderstood. This passage makes it more look like daydreaming. Which is usually an expression of any of the 5 hindrances to meditation. And very common during meditation. Also in this case just be aware and return to the object of meditation. Doesn't matter whatever comes up, just become aware and return to the object of meditation.
 

Wolfcub

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@lior ....if you are consciously aware when this is happening then it is possibly a trance state, or even possibly lucid dreaming? Either way it is my feeling that the state is quite creative.

Of course I can only go on my interpretation of what you have written so hope I haven't misunderstood. But you could check out "lucid dreaming" and "theta wave trance". Both are altered states of consciousness which can put you in touch with your Astral Self at least.

Sometimes what appears to be a loss of control during a meditation practice can be an intuitive journeying of a kind, which can be creative, so long as the "message" is understood by the Soul and filtered through to brain awareness.
 

lior

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Thanks for the interesting replies.

@Wolfcub I'd never heard of theta wave trance. It does make sense that it would be theta waves - whether it's dreaming, meditation, or something in between.

It happened again just now. It is creative for sure. I wasn't able to get a hold of it this time, and tune in to what my mind was doing exactly. I wanted to stay in that state, and I welcomed sleep but it didn't come. Instead I came out of the mental state quite easily - easier than waking up. My body is left feeling relaxed, and heavy. Often I resist feeling heavy because it's an uncontrollable symptom which I often resent, but after being in this theta wave state, I'm at peace with how my body feels. Which is great! It feels good and right for me.

@pamojja I'm fascinated with the 5 hinderances and 5 strengths. Thank you for sending those links. I'd never heard of them before, and it will certainly enhance my meditation practice. I'm not sure if this state I've been in conforms to those principles, but since it seems to be beneficial for where I'm at with my ME/CFS healing journey, I'm not going to push too hard to change it. It's definitely not day dreaming. I don't have the capability to return to focusing on my breathing/body etc - it's its own state, separate from that. A safe place where I have let go of being in control.

Your response makes out it's a meditation thing rather than a falling asleep thing, so I'm afraid you have entered into discursive thinking with me, whether or not you intended that! Haha. It's the first time I've ever heard discursive thinking implied to be bad. But I understand. Probe too much, and it changes things. I'm enjoying, and accepting. You're right, I don't need to completely pin it down with words, in this discursive realm.

I have experienced nimitta before - this isn't it. It's an internal monologue with words, only dreamlike - it's not visual.
 

pamojja

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Your response makes out it's a meditation thing rather than a falling asleep thing, so I'm afraid you have entered into discursive thinking with me, whether or not you intended that! Haha. It's the first time I've ever heard discursive thinking implied to be bad. But I understand. Probe too much, and it changes things. I'm enjoying, and accepting. You're right, I don't need to completely pin it down with words, in this discursive realm.
It's certainly not that I don't appreciate the discursive realm. It's just that I wish every meditator this first little moment, where by doing nothing than observing, suddenly it is noted all the 5 hindrances are completely gone. Temporarily. It's so otherworldly.
 

Wolfcub

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Yes, Mara can get very creative ;).
Yes we have to be discerning and not put energies into things that are bound to lead us astray. But I find Human instinct is actually quite well tuned-in (if we decide to use it, that is!)
 
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Hello!
I almost don't sleep at all. Just 2-3 hours at night and that is all. When I sleep for 5 hours I'm very happy! The point is that when I "sleep" at night I am in the state which you described - aware of my body, the blanket, what I hear, what I feel... but later when I think about that state, my thoughts and ideas... I can explain it only with lucid dreaming. Being awake and having such crazy thoughts is just not possible. Unfortunately, I don't feel rested or energized after that kind of "sleep". Insomnia is my worse symptom temporarily.