Welcome to the hidden meaning page on Day Dreaming!
“Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning” was Peter Pan’s answer to Wendy when asked where Neverland was located. It was also Captain Kirks answer to helmsman Checkov when asked “Where to Captain?” in Star Trek VI. In both cases it referred to a mystical place between realities, an ‘unknown country’.
Neverland is also my name for that borderland called the daydream where we are neither in sleep or in wakefulness but certainly lost to both worlds. It is a place at the margins of reality a place that some call fantasy.
Now, a certain amount of fantasy is healthy to a balanced psyche. It can be healing to ones sense of self and help one to recuperate from the traumas of the everyday. This fantasy world often serves the artist, poet, writer, musician, lyricist, inventor, and scientist. It is where the energy of creativity is born. I suggest that it is the semi-lucid place where the conscious meets the unconscious where the soul speaks to us most clearly where its power is felt most keenly.
But the traveler to realities edge must be careful where he steps and to visit too long or too often can lead to entrapment and skew the balance of the psyche i.e. it can separate permanently one from the upper kingdom and thus alienate them forever from friends and family. This was a very real threat that Robert experienced in the Archipelago of Dreams. http://thedreamingwizard.com/the-archipelago-of-dreams-_277.html
It is in our daydreams that all sorts of realities can be explored. In this place the soul is freed from the restrictions of the body and its limits with time, place and idea. Here there is a clarity of mind that can begin to form and inform. No longer restricted by time the future can come into focus. Traveling into the past often affects what’s happening in the present. One typically forgets what they are doing when they travel deeper into Neverland.
In the upper realms when one is tasking the mind narrows its engagement to deal only with analytic task at hand and compassion suffers terribly. But in the Neverland of the daydream both analytic and empathetic modes function, cycling through different modes and leading perhaps to a broader understanding. In the daydreaming mind various associations not seen when awake can bring forth understandings that the awake mind has grappled with without success. This also happens during dreaming but it tends to be more random.
Basically we are a daydreaming species. A recent Harvard study suggested that we humans tend to daydream up to 47% of the time we’re awake. But this is not useless idle time because studies have shown that unusual associations and pairings, counterfactuals if you will, take place during a visit to Neverland. From our unrestricted depths well up all kinds of strange new thoughts that often turn out to be quite useful where new possibilities surfaced beyond what people are already exposed to in their waking lives (according to Baird and Schooler, Psychological Science, 2012). It is suggest here that more creative solutions result when the mind is allowed to wander into Neverland i.e. in general the better one is at wandering through the borderlands, the more creative they tend to be.
In closing I share this excerpt from Edgar Allen Poe’s Marginalia (Part V," Graham's Magazine, March 1846):
“There is, however, a class of fancies, of exquisite delicacy, which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language. I use the word fancies at random, and merely because I must use some word; but the idea commonly attached to the term is not even remotely applicable to the shadows of shadows in question. They seem to me rather psychal than intellectual.
They arise in the soul (alas, how rarely!) only at its epochs of most intense tranquility--when the bodily and mental health are in perfection-- and at those mere points of time where the confines of the waking world blend with those of the world of dreams. I am aware of these "fancies" only when I am upon the very brink of sleep, with the consciousness that I am so. I have satisfied myself that this condition exists but for an inappreciable point of time--yet it is crowded with these ‘shadows of shadows’, and for absolute thought there is demanded time's endurance.”
There's also a special state of consciousness that is very much akin to day dreaming and it's called Hypnogogia that is often experienced just before sleep or just as one is waking.
I’ve always been intrigued by visions such as these because as a preteen I too had visions– sparkling lights and cartoon characters flying through the sky. Rene Descartes, the philosopher, declared that he often saw “sparks scattered around the room” as he awoke from a nap. I lost my visions as I transitioned into puberty and that is not unusual for most people who have had these visual experiences.
Most of my “visions” seemed to happen as I lay down perhaps in a daydream reverie or just before sleep and upon awaking from a 40-winks nap.
Though most of our dreams seem to visit us when in deep REM sleep (when the eyes flutter rapidly during deep sleep) we do have visual images show up just before sleep, or upon awakening. That period before sleep has been termed the “Hypnagogic” state and upon awakening, the “Hypnopompic” state. During these so-called “lighter” states of dreaming the complex narrative and emotional characteristics of REM sleep are missing but are characterized more by formless shapes, bright colorful designs, and often with some geometric symmetry.
There is also some evidence that when an individual has been deprived of sleep for long periods of time, or had their deep REM sleep interrupted over a period that the need for REM can enter during the awake state and create an array of hallucinatory material. Some people have reported as having auditory hallucinatory material as well as visual. These auditory “visions” can sometimes take the form of warnings, pieces of interesting dialog, or music.
Though some suggest that it’s the ego-self trying to regain control of a mind slipping into the unconscious of sleep, others suggest that it may actually be the absence of the ego-self that allows for the visions to appear such as what happens in a deep meditation when one transitions to the deeper states of awareness. So why do children seem to have these visions whereas adults do not? One answer could be that the ego of a child is much less developed and therefor less dominant than in the adult so perhaps this allows the child to have these visions express themselves more frequently?
At the lighter level of sleep the unconscious may be laid bare allowing the mind to perceive at the level of awareness without adding a narrative such as is seen in deep sleep or in our conscious waking life. Some say that this lack of a narrative or complex emotions provides the raw images from the unconscious e.g. like looking only at the illustrations of a book. This may provide just an awareness of unconscious material without engaging the more creative aspect of unconscious material. I've found that I can also decipher meaning from an image and add it to the mix of creative insights.
This idea of the narrative being overlaid both in the dream and in our waking life begs the question as to whether we are dreaming all the time. Carl Jung the famous psychotherapist of the early to mid 20th century wondered if we might be too distracted during our waking state to notice this dream quality of our waking life.
Perhaps Edgar Allen Poe was right when he penned these words “Are all we see or seem but a dream within a dream”.
In The Archipelago of Dreams Robert shared, “Often we find ourselves in that space of reverie that some call ‘day dreaming’ where an exquisitely delicate and otherworldly realm is presented to us. And in this sphere, when the conscious mind is quieted, many things can be revealed.” In this book the dream world and the waking world intertwined so that Robert could no longer tell the difference. This expanded his sense of reality to the breaking point, but eventually broadened his understanding of it.
You may be interested in these three links to the phenomenon of day dreaming: