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What Is The Nature And Function Of Sleep And Dreams?

Feb 8, 2008
Sleep is the process in which our energetic body (also known as the etheric body or vital body) is put on 'recharge'. It expands and opens in order to assimilate and store energy. This energy body can normally only do this in its expanded state during sleep. In this state, the chakras (energy centres) trickle power in the form of 'etheric matter' into the energy body, which is basically a 'double' of the physical body (and sometimes called the etheric double for this reason.)

"As the physical body and mind fall asleep, a copy of consciousness is reflected into the etheric body, and from there into the projectable double as it is generated, and later into the astral and higher subtle bodies. While this is happening, the physical/etheric copy of the mind begins sliding toward another type of projection, an internal projection into the dream environment. At the start of the process, while falling asleep, the physical/etheric mind begins losing the strength of will to form coherent and logical thought patterns. It slowly loses itself among wandering fragments of thought and subconscious impressions. It loses touch with reality and begins to experience dreams, some of which appear to be generated by the subconscious mind."
- Robert Bruce, Astral Dynamics p.134

We may well note, we need sleep to live, and the refreshing reward of a good night's sleep is not possible to produce by any drug or any other means. This results not just from the resting and rebalancing of the metabolism of the physical body, but the emotional and mental vigour of energies gained by our etheric and astral bodies. In this state, the etheric body is just out of alignment with the physical, which 'uses up' this energetic charge during the day.

The etheric body is usually about two inches above the physical one while sleeping, and this accounts for the slight change in perspective reported at the start of some Etheric Projections. Most people have experienced the 'jolt' that is caused by sudden awakening as the bodies 'fall' back into realignment. This can be caused by either internal or external factors, such as nightmares or other highly active dreams, aborted projection attempts, astral obstructions, loud noises, or even being bumped too hard by a partner rolling over.

"In periods of sleep your consciousness actually does leave your body... your consciousness does return at times, to check upon the physical mechanisms... [however] the body consciousness is always with the body, so it is not vacant. But the largely creative portions of the self do leave the body, and for large periods of time when you sleep."
- Seth, Seth Speaks p.120

It is during this recharging process that our astral body separates and tunes into the Astral Plane where it can create and experience dreams. This is also why we still feel refreshed after projection as it is a separate process. And again, whether we realize it or not, we are all familiar with the Astral Plane because the dream dimension is part of it. The difference with a conscious Astral Experience is that you know you are there and this makes the experience far more vivid and directable.

"In sleeping... you focus your awareness in altered form into another world that is every bit as valid as your physical one."
- Seth, Seth, Dreams and Projections in Consciousness p.219

In other words, the astral body - with your main conscious focus - 'comes and goes' from alignment with the etheric body and to the Astral Planes. You 'dream' or 'project', and return, several times in a night! Four or five times is common, though it depends on how long you sleep among other factors. Mostly we forget the brief awakenings between dream periods, but we can learn to remember these to. (For myself, I was a deep sleeper, but now I frequently wake up in these in-between periods with full recall!)

"Dreams ... are not just imaginative indigestion or psychic chaos. We are not temporarily insane when we dream, as some theorists maintain. To the contrary, we may be far more sane and alert during some dream states than we are ordinarily."
- Jane Roberts, Seth, Dreams and Projections in Consciousness p.9

Dreams serve so many multi-purposes and functions that it is almost ridiculous to attempt a comprehensive list of them, however the main points will be of some help. Especially when we've been taught that dreams only serve this or that particular function! No way! There is far more to them than that...

"In dreams, you give freedom to actions that cannot adequately be expressed within the confines of normal waking consciousness."
- Seth, Seth, Dreams and Projections in Consciousness p.246

Without further ado then, here is a summary list of what Dreams provide:

freedom from the physical limitations of time and space, allowing us to return to physicality with renewed physical and psychic energy
sorting out and processing our daily experiences and organizing internal and external information
exploration of probable realities, the living out of events to enable us to better make daily decisions
therapeutic experiences, including facing fears, neuroses and any other major or minor concerns
valid information about our motives, needs and decisions
inner communication with other portions of the self (deeper parts of the psyche), including reincarnational, past, future and parallel probable selves
symbolic or accurate visions of past and future events, or other translations of inner data into terms the conscious mind can more readily interpret
communication with other people and entities (especially upon request)
a unique way to solve problems and overcome difficulties
greater intunement with our creative abilities and talents
a lot of fun wacky stuff that shows us our inner world is more expansive than we may think!
as many different possibilities of experience that you can (and do) come up with...

"An unrecognized unity and organization lies within all of your dreams, beneath their diversity. And your dreams, while part of you, also exist apart."
- Seth, Seth, Dreams and Projections in Consciousness p.174

So of course, it would be more accurate to say that many or all of these things are occurring at once in our dreams, thus emphasizing their true multi-dimensional nature. In this sense, it is like all of the dimensions of our being interacting to form cohesive and relevant dream events for beneficial psychological purposes. Or to put it more simply, dreams can really help us!
About the Author
William Ember is an self-trained explorer of Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection experiences, and has recently authored the most comprehensive and in-depth training guide to these experiences available anywhere. It is available at: http://www.ultimateastralexperience.com
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