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Monday, February 21, 2005  

Immensely struck, and probably spooked

I rarely dream. Or I rarely remember my dreams. We won't go into the metaphysical puzzler of what the difference might be between those propositions. I used to dream a lot as a kid, and to swap accounts of my dreams with my school friends. Mine were luridly coloured and frequently involved nuclear annihilation. I'm talking about 1960. I believe I could revive the habit of dreaming if I were to keep a notebook by my bed and write down what I recalled the moment the alarm woke me. (Making sure I didn't use Radio 4 as my alarm, otherwise I'd be transcribing the waking John Humphrys and James Naughty instead of the sleeping Chris Cooper.) As I say, I believe I could recapture dreams this way – but I don't bother, because I don't attach significance to dreams.

But I'd find it hard to avoid attaching significance to a dream if it coincided in a few features with some unusual event that happened to me the following day. I'd be immensely struck by that, and probably spooked.

Despite what my rational mind told me. For it really would be rational to shrug and forget it.

Think of it: there are 40 million adults in this country. If only 3 per cent of them recall their dreams, that's over a million dreams recalled each morning. Imagine the following experiment: descriptions of those million dreams are written down, each in a paragraph. Also, one-paragraph descriptions of unusual occurrences are written down: the occurrences could be anything that might catch one's attention in the course of a day. The kind of incident that makes a story in a local newspaper. Or a disaster reported in the nationals. Or some unusual personal incident – someone meeting by chance a school friend they haven't seen for 30 years, say.

The two sets of descriptions are jumbled randomly and then paired, one dream description with one event description and so on. How many would seem like a good match?

One in a thousand seems a pretty cautious estimate to me. We're just talking orders of magnitude here – one in a hundred seems too high, and favours my case too much; one in ten thousand seems unduly pessimistic.

One in a thousand applied to a million dreams implies a thousand potential matches every day in Britain. And some proportion of these will be noticed, and some proportion of those will have a fuss made about them, even if only in a local paper or some crank Website.

Perhaps I was too sanguine in assuming one chance matching in a thousand – perhaps it should be far fewer. But don't forget that people who are interested in their dreams can compare each one not with a single incident chosen at random (as in the imaginary experiment above), but with any of a huge number of incidents that happen to them during the day, or that they learn about through the media. And if they don't find any matches, they can compare that same dream with what they encounter the next day, or the next. There are really an enormous number of chances to find significant coincidences. The problem is not explaining occasional seeming dream predictions, but explaining why so few are reported.

Perhaps people are just not alert.

11:02 PM

When we are born our brains are like empty computers waiting to be fed information. As we grow our peers act as our programmers, they supply us with the knowledge which we channel through the conscious mind into the subconscious (our hard drive). The subconscious mind is the biggest hard drive ever developed - it stores everything we come in contact with and by no means is all of this information of a positive nature.
All that we have heard, touched, smelt, tasted and seen are stored in the recesses of our minds. The subconscious mind holds on to this information until we need to recall it. For example when you were young your curiosity lead you to investigate your surroundings. When you approached a substance that was dangerous, such as fire, your parents or guardians would most likely have rebuked or scolded you if you ventured too near the flame. Perhaps you may even recall an incident when you were physically burned. Your subconscious mind then began to relate scolding (or pain) with the intense heat of the fire and would therefore feed the feelings of the scolding incident back to you whenever you got too close to fire again, thus acting as an early warning system.
This is the mechanism used by our brains to learn. It is also the same method employed by the mind in every situation. The subconscious mind has a tendency to emulate what it sees - it tends to replicate its environment. This is why so many people find themselves in similar relationships and situations that they saw their parents in while they were growing up. Most people also hold very strongly or similar views of their parents.
Think of a time when you gave yourself praise. What words did you use? Do you use the same words that your parents or peers used when they were praising you? The same is applicable when you scold yourself.

Watch your internal dialogue. Look at it closely. It takes diligence to change the way you think. When you notice yourself thinking a negative chose to think the opposite. This way you neutralise the negative thought. Now the think the positive thought again! You have just reversed the negative thinking in that moment and remember you only have this moment. No other time exists!
Daydream about what might be. Imagine things they way you wish them to be. If you catch yourself thinking "this is just a daydream - a fantasy" then stop! Think the opposite. It is not a daydream it is your reality. Now think it again.

By doing this simple procedure you will begin to retrain your subconscious mind to think positively and you will ultimately begin to consciously create a life that dreams are made of! hypnosis
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