Studying EFPs

A place to share and analyze your dreams (lucid or otherwise) to better understand your dreams' subconscious symbolism.
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Prince Demitri
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Studying EFPs

Postby Prince Demitri » 02 Jan 2016 12:40

This post was made in response to a reply to one of my other posts, but as it has significance to this topic, I have reposted it here. I involves my revelations about dream interpretation, and my current direction of study on the possible meaning of dreams for individuals, and why I think my method is superior to dream symbology.

:!: Notice to readers: Many of my views on dream interpretation may seem offensive to some people. To avoid taking offense when I'm not intending to be offensive, please keep in mind that I am only sharing my own revelations about the subject here, and not making a judgement on what anyone else does or should believe concerning the interpretations of dreams. Rather, I value all views as we (humanity) don't yet fully understand dreams, and therefore should explore all avenues and ideas to help understand them better.

:arrow: Revelation 1~
While dreaming is experienced by everyone, it is not fully understood by anyone. Our level of technological advancement has been steadily progressing to give us better tools to study the dreaming phenomenon, but they are still in their infancy compared to what we eventually hope to achieve. As a result, the study of dreams and dreaming has always been completely subjective to both the reporting dreamer, and anyone else evaluating the dreams.

:arrow: Revelation 2~
Dreams are always subjective to the dreamer. Since we currently have no way to study dreams empirically, we are limited to studying the subject thru the subjective experiences of the dreamer.

:arrow: Revelation 3~
Due to current limitations, any serious attempt to create a catalog or directory of meanings concerning dreams necessarily depends on popular/common subjective reports by the group of contributing dreamers. For this reason, all such directories could only apply to those who share their thoughts and understandings with the contributing reporters. If the dreamer seeking to understand the meanings of their dream symbols do not share the same thoughts and understandings of the contributing group, then the directory of meanings is useless to them.

:arrow: Revelation 4~
The meaning of dreams is influenced more by the emotions and focal points of the dreamer, than by anything else. Emotions are a larger key to understanding the meanings of dreams than symbology is. Second to emotions, is focal points (things within the dream which feel as tho they have more significant meaning to the dreamer than other things). Combining these two factors results in a more accurate understanding of any meanings a dream may have for the individual dreamer. The combination of these two factors concerning an object or action within a dream is what I call an "Emotional Focal Point" (EFP).

:arrow: Revelation 5~
Studying the meanings of dreams by identifying EFPs and evaluating the emotional impact of the overall dream on the individual, along with their current stresses and concerns in their waking life is far more meaningful and helpful (in a practical sense) to the individual than studying/applying common symbology. Pairing waking life events with focal points and emotions within dreams is magnitudes more effective in helping dreamers understand the meanings of their dreams than trying to use any catalog or directory of shared symbology from dreams. This has been demonstrated many times by serious study, and by my own personal study and experiences in helping others derive useful meaning from their dreams.

These revelations combined are not only my revelations, they have also been understood by serious researchers in the fields that deal with dreams and sleep. It's why dream interpretation books can be found all over the place, but aren't used in clinical practice by serious therapists or professional dream researchers (this is not to say there aren't many people out there making money by catering to the belief that symbology is of major importance to understanding the meanings of dreams; only that those who are actually moving the field of study closer to empirical and useful understandings about dreams, and what they may mean, don't use symbology as more than a curious aside to their research.)

That said, dream interpretation books are fun to read to get an idea of how contributors sharing a common way of thinking and understanding (those who share a similar culture, religion, political view, etc) view the world they live in. Viewed in this way, this type of resource can even be useful when studying the anthropology of different people and places.

I understand that these revelations and my understanding of them are not likely to make me very popular with those who believe in, and love the idea of, symbology holding great meaning for dreams. That said, my purpose here is to advance the field of understanding and experiencing dreams, finding practical uses for dreaming and manipulating the dreamscape, and uncovering what dreams actually mean at the individual level as opposed to compiling cultural similarities, or studying the social significance of certain symbols common to groups of like-minded people.

So my conclusion is that using dream symbology to identify meaning can be very useful for those seeking to study the broad social understandings of groups, but are far less useful for individuals unless they share those specific understandings.

I look forward to any and all comments (positive or negative) on this subject, and hope it promotes productive discussion to refine this approach.
Cheers! 8-)
Oneironaut experience: ~28 years
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Summerlander
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Re: Studying EFPs

Postby Summerlander » 07 Jan 2016 15:44

I think everything you said makes sense. To those who come here seeking an elaborate analysis or interpretation of their dreams, I usually say, 'I can give you a generalised reading based on dream symbology, but only you--as the dreamer--can figure out what is going on in your head.'

And I think this statement is true for two reasons: the first is that only the dreamer has firsthand experience of the dream in question; the second is that they also have a unique experience of their waking lives which includes concomitant thoughts, emotions and other private sensations.

So how could I possibly probe the deepest reaches of someone's subconscious when I don't know his or her EFPs? (Even though there is much cold-reading 'psychics' can glean from their victims!) 8-)

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Prince Demitri
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Re: Studying EFPs

Postby Prince Demitri » 07 Jan 2016 18:23

Summerlander wrote:So how could I possibly probe the deepest reaches of someone's subconscious when I don't know his or her EFPs? (Even though there is much cold-reading 'psychics' can glean from their victims!) 8-)

I think that's a very fair question to ask. I used to give excellent dream interpretations for people (as well as "psychic readings") using a combination of hot and cold reading techniques and a bit of general psychology thrown in.

However, what I was actually doing was trying to identify their EFPs, and then probe their waking life for what the EFPs might be tied to, and mean for them. I cloaked this approach under the guise of something mystical about dream interpretation and being psychic, along with some "words of woo" and plenty of "show" about the entire process.

What I found was that the average person (among those I've helped in this way) is much quicker to accept the mystical and the woo than they are to accept what I'm actually doing. If I told them what I'm actually doing, they disregard it as unreliable, or as some sort of scam or trickery; but if I wrapped it up in mystical words of woo, they gobbled it up as tho it was absolute truth.

I guess this is why psychic readings and dream interpretations that ask for money always include "for entertainment purposes only" in the small print. Because whether or not they actually help by using the "psychological tricks" to reveal EFPs and what they mean for the individual, or if they are just spouting words of woo, the show itself seems to be what people enjoy, and are willing to pay for.

*shrugs* Maybe I should brand myself as a "psychic dream interpreter" again and make money with the show of it, while helping people with the more scientific research I've done so far on EFPs...

Why do so many prefer the fairy tale instead of how amazingly awesome reality can be? I don't get that.
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Summerlander
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Re: Studying EFPs

Postby Summerlander » 07 Jan 2016 22:01

I used to give excellent dream interpretations for people ...


So did I years ago when I frequented the now defunct Astral Viewers site. I was surprised at how quickly people were to make associations. They were mostly of the New Age ilk. :-D

Why do so many prefer the fairy tale instead of how amazingly awesome reality can be? I don't get that.


I've reached the same conclusions as you and I think Freud was right in the respect that people tend to believe in the beyond because they fear death. This reality--according to many who don't know enough about it and feel it's not enough--can't be all there is.

I suspect this ubiquitous way of thinking comes from humankind's infancy, when fear of the unknown was most prominent and we needed consoling narratives even if these were false and unfounded. We struggled to make sense of the hostile world around us (volcanos, earthquakes, animal predators, disease)--a terrifying reality that we gradually woke up to as human consciousness gradually emerged--and any 'explanation' would do ... any label. One of the aftermath symptoms of this trauma--passed on genetically as well as memetically--is superstition, the real source of religion which, later, would be used to corrupt and subdue much of mankind.

Religiosity could be viewed as a psychological disease which promotes misology and impairs reasoning; so perhaps the world needs more subtle or clandestine therapists like Peter Boghossian to steer them towards physicalism and atheism, which, sorry to break it to those good people who love the lord, is the only reasonable position to hold.

What do you think about conditions like pareidolia and apophenia? They certainly seem to have evolutionary explanations. Perhaps even people such as ourselves are partial to the trauma I mentioned before. I come from a Catholic background but something happened when I was a child which made me question my inherited belief. It made me go from questioning God's motives to agnosticism, and later, as my inquisitive mind demanded that I search for substantial answers (when science began to resonate with me), atheism.

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Prince Demitri
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Re: Studying EFPs

Postby Prince Demitri » 07 Jan 2016 23:32

Summerlander wrote:I suspect this ubiquitous way of thinking comes from humankind's infancy, when fear of the unknown was most prominent and we needed consoling narratives even if these were false and unfounded. We struggled to make sense of the hostile world around us (volcanos, earthquakes, animal predators, disease)--a terrifying reality that we gradually woke up to as human consciousness gradually emerged--and any 'explanation' would do ... any label. One of the aftermath symptoms of this trauma--passed on genetically as well as memetically--is superstition, the real source of religion which, later, would be used to corrupt and subdue much of mankind.

I think that's the generally understood origins of superstitions and magical thinking. Very few (if any) persons educated on the matter would disagree.

Religiosity could be viewed as a psychological disease which promotes misology and impairs reasoning; so perhaps the world needs more subtle or clandestine therapists like Peter Boghossian to steer them towards physicalism and atheism, which, sorry to break it to those good people who love the lord, is the only reasonable position to hold.

I look forward to hearing other people respond to this. Personally, I agree completely. Tho I don't know that I would say it's steering them toward atheism as much as it's steering them toward a more reliable way to think and determine what's fantasy and what's real. Atheism is but one of many conclusions that is arrived at by developing a more reliable method than magical/wishful thinking and pretending to know things we don't really know (aka "faith").

What do you think about conditions like pareidolia and apophenia? They certainly seem to have evolutionary explanations.

Humans are pattern-seeking beings. It's obvious that finding patterns have helped our species survive. In fact, this can be a good thing. For instance, many of our movie heroes (especially of the cloak-n-dagger variety) rely on the hero being able to pull patterns out of seeming chaos and come to good conclusions they can act upon.

The problem isn't so much that we're pattern-seeking beings, but in our difficulty with determining what is and isn't a real pattern. In short, were good at it, but we have a long way to go as a species to get better at that part of it. Adopting a reliable epistemology (def: The method by which we come to know what's real) is essential to developing the ability to make such distinctions.

It made me go from questioning God's motives to agnosticism, and later, as my inquisitive mind demanded that I search for substantial answers (when science began to resonate with me), atheism.

I think that's a fairly common path that many intelligent people experience during their personal growth. Personally, I went from faithful theist (pastor), to questioning the things I studied, to deist, to new age (woo-ist), to skeptic, all while searching for substantial answers. Eventually my quest led to a better epistemology based in science and reason. Atheism was one conclusion I arrived at (concerning gods) as a result of a more reliable epistemology. :)

Thoughts? 8-)
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Re: Studying EFPs

Postby Summerlander » 08 Jan 2016 01:09

The problem isn't so much that we're pattern-seeking beings, but in our difficulty with determining what is and isn't a real pattern.


I couldn't have put it better myself! Well said. How did you feel when you realised that chances are God does not exist? And do you remember any subsequent dreams which could pertain to how you felt in your mind?

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- Padmasambhava

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Re: Studying EFPs

Postby Prince Demitri » 08 Jan 2016 03:45

Summerlander wrote:How did you feel when you realised that chances are God does not exist? And do you remember any subsequent dreams which could pertain to how you felt in your mind?

I don't remember ever having a singular moment when that thought occurred to me. My journey went from believing in the Christian god, Yahweh (Jehovah), to the realization that Christianity couldn't possibly be correct.

That didn't dissuade me from a belief in god however, just in the Christian god. Then I studied other religions to see if I could figure out which of them was correct. As you might imagine, I discovered that none of them were correct, as all of them had such obvious flaws that no all-knowing being could have founded them, or would support such flawed ideas.

So then I became a deist, with the idea that "god is far greater than any religion". That's when I turned to the new age woo. I thought it was the best way to study the mystical and spiritual clues that god had left to enlighten humankind to what god truly intends for us. Over time, my idea of god slowly moved to what I thought was a greater understanding of omnipresence. More like the Force in Star Wars, god was the power that was everywhere and within everyone and everything - the entire universe, and everything in it was a part of god.

That idea seemed like a very sensible idea to me, since it also meant that god was not good, nor was god evil. Those concepts were man-made. I held the idea that god just was. The logic then was that before the Big Bang there was god, and god was all there was. So what did god use to create everything? God used him/her self; and thus, the collection of everything that exists - the universe - was god.

It was a while later when I then wondered why I could think and feel from my own perspective, but not from any other perspective, like the lettuce in my salad. I had gotten used to thinking of the entire universe as god, and would say things like, "send my intentions out to the universe, and it'll respond". I had developed the "Law of Attraction" from "The Secret" years before that book was ever published.

Of course, by the time the "The Secret" was published and became a best selling book, I had asked myself, "why would I call the universe 'god' instead of just calling it the universe?" I was convinced for a while that there was some greater consciousness, and that was indication of a universal god; but that concept kept getting beaten up by reality and my observations.

When I began to seriously study the universe (in an attempt to get to know god better), the chaos was everywhere. Things happened according to basic laws of physics (and some other laws we don't yet fully understand like quantum mechanics, etc), but other than that, they were chaotic. Consciousness isn't chaos (unless you're mentally ill, which is usually a deformity of consciousness due to chaos of things not working as they should).

So I guess there was some point when I decided that there was too much chaos for there to be a great universal consciousness that was everything, but I can't think of when that moment was. I probably can't pin-point it because I was too busy being fascinated with all the amazing things I was learning about everything. Then I kept on learning about everything.

When one finally realizes there's no god, then suddenly life and the cosmos and every bit of reality suddenly becomes much more exciting to study and explore. Too bad the faithful can't really experience that magnitude of awe and wonder until they are able to pull themselves free of unsupported and unfalsifiable beliefs. I suppose that's the curse of faith.

As for dreams... I don't remember any dreams that were very god-oriented. Some might say that indicates that I wasn't ever a real Christian, or that I didn't actually believe. But I wasn't just part of a congregation, I had a congregation for which I was the senior pastor, and I was the one writing and giving original sermons twice a week. I entered that life because I was filled with faith and devotion. The difference was that I felt a burning desire to be the best disciple of god I could be, and most people aren't as serious about that as I was.

So I never had a moment when I was struck with that kind of realization. There was a moment I was struck with the realization of "I'm an atheist!" tho. That came as soon as I learned what an atheist really was, and that I fit the actual description. But as a whole, it was a long process that took place over years.

The few dreams I did have about my realization of god were dreams where I deliberately stopped trying to limit myself in my dreams. I was a regular lucid dreamer since well before I became a pastor, and thruout all of the above. While I believed there was a god, I had a feeling of holding myself back in my lucid dreams so as "not to step on the foot of god", to avoid "playing god". I was afraid it would be a unique type of blasphemy if I did.

When I let go of my ideas about god, my dreams expanded, as I no longer had that fear of accidental blasphemy. It changed the way I experience lucid dreams as a whole. Now I have no trouble playing a single role in my dreams and going with the flow of them, or in playing god over the entire dreamscape.

That's mostly how my deconversion has effected my dreams. Ironically, it's like the bible says, "Then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." ;)

One thing I did notice, is that when I finally "let go" of the idea of god and my fears about such a being, the number of lucid dreams I experienced doubled; and I honestly think that's one reason I have so many of them now. I've let go and allowed myself to be free of those ideas. Ideas have so much power, but they're like gravity... They seem fairly weak until you consider the bigger picture.

What about you? Did you have a moment of realization, or dreams that went along with your deconversion?

Cheers! 8-)
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Re: Studying EFPs

Postby Summerlander » 08 Jan 2016 14:01

Prince Demitri wrote:I don't remember ever having a singular moment when that thought occurred to me.


Come to think of it, neither do I. I remember questioning God's motives as a child, His silence, and specifically His absence when He should have acted. I was enrolled in a school run by strict nuns and I witnessed two of them tell a young boy that his parents must make arrangements for his baptism or he would go to hell. Subsequently they left the boy to his pensive sadness and, eventually, the taunting clamour from other children that he'd burn in hell triggered a lachrymose episode which had an impact on me as I observed the scene.

I remember wondering why the other kids didn't seem to experience the empathy I felt for someone in that terrible predicament. I imagined myself having been denied access to heaven as things currently stood--rejected by the 'good side'. Then I wondered why God had not intervened. Even as a child myself I could see that it wasn't the boy's fault. Surely the perfectly good and all-knowing God could see this and make an exception? As I grew older, doubt began to kick in, especially when I heard some adults expressing their disbelief in God, which used to upset my church-going mother. 'Adults are not sure about God's existence?' I thought. And it began to dawn on me that they had a point that seemed to make sense given God's silence. (Of course, my mother used to tell me that God stopped talking to people like in Biblical times because, despite caring about us, He was deeply dismayed with mankind.) I suppose I stumbled upon a better epistemology, too, and philosophising on the matter further begged questions such as why God would create us sinful and then censure us in order to fulfil His brand of 'justice'.

I don't remember any dreams that could pertain to my transition into atheism, not even after reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and having been impressed by his argument. I don't recall an 'Aha!' moment when I suddenly realised that there is no God. (But I have noticed that I am happier now with the fact that I no longer believe there is a Big Boss watching me 24/7 and feel free to be curious about the world and search for rational explanations without somebody ruining it by saying, 'God made it!') :roll:

Some people do remember a precise moment when they became atheists, though. Or perhaps a realisation that one is really an atheist if one is going to be honest with oneself! Such is the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an author from Somalia who escaped the murderous clutches of Islam having committed apostasy. In an essay she wrote for The Portable Atheist by Christopher Hitchens, she describes the moment which is akin to the emergence of lucidity in a dream:

'I was an atheist. An apostate. An infidel. I looked in a mirror and said out loud, in Somali, "I don't believe in God." I felt relief. There was no pain but a real clarity. The long process of seeing the flaws in my belief structure, and carefully tip-toeing around the frayed edges as parts of it were torn out piece by piece--all that was over. The ever-present prospect of Hellfire lifted, and my horizon seemed broader. God, Satan, angels: these were all figments of human imagination, mechanisms to impose the will of the powerful on the weak. From now on I could step firmly on the ground that was under my feet and navigate based on my own reason and self-respect. My moral compass was within myself, not in the pages of a sacred book.'

Prince Demitri wrote:That didn't dissuade me from a belief in god however, just in the Christian god.


I did have a period of pantheism (not the Spinoza-like atheistic kind) and once invited New Age ideas of 'higher consciousness' from which all realities arise. :lol:

Prince Demitri wrote:As you might imagine, I discovered that none of them were correct, as all of them had such obvious flaws that no all-knowing being could have founded them, or would support such flawed ideas.


What do you think of Buddhism when it's stripped of all its mysticism. How would you rate its diagnosis of the human mind, its emphasis on meditation, and its prescribed dream yogas?

Prince Demitri wrote:So then I became a deist, with the idea that "god is far greater than any religion".


Deism was the stance adopted by Thomas Paine (one of the Founding Fathers of the US) around three centuries ago. As a pamphleteer, he helped to incite the American and French revolutions with his Common Sense and Rights of Man. Later he wrote a book called The Age of Reason where he attacked religion as nonsensical, immoral, and man-made. The book was extremely unpopular at the time and when he died only six people attended his ... erm ... burial. Paine was on the money regarding religion as a business enterprise as well a source of ignorance. His deism is venial for a man of his calibre at the time. If he were alive today and exposed to the latest in physics and cosmology, he would have been an atheist.

Prince Demitri wrote:More like the Force in Star Wars, god was the power that was everywhere and within everyone and everything - the entire universe, and everything in it was a part of god.


You were a Jedi Knight! :mrgreen:

Prince Demitri wrote:I had developed the "Law of Attraction" from "The Secret" years before that book was ever published.


We've had that debate here before you arrived. I was working as a bookmaker at the time so I had a good argument against them. They still wouldn't budge and tried to make me feel like I was a spoilsport biased by 'scientism'. :-D

Prince Demitri wrote:The few dreams I did have about my realization of god were dreams where I deliberately stopped trying to limit myself in my dreams. I was a regular lucid dreamer since well before I became a pastor, and thruout all of the above. While I believed there was a god, I had a feeling of holding myself back in my lucid dreams so as "not to step on the foot of god", to avoid "playing god". I was afraid it would be a unique type of blasphemy if I did.


That makes sense. The manacles of theism reach all aspects of one's life. In my New Age days I was once approached by a group of Jehovah's Witnesses who urged me to avoid 'astral projection' because 'it's the devil's work'. :lol:

Prince Demitri wrote:When I let go of my ideas about god, my dreams expanded, as I no longer had that fear of accidental blasphemy. It changed the way I experience lucid dreams as a whole. Now I have no trouble playing a single role in my dreams and going with the flow of them, or in playing god over the entire dreamscape.


From this, I think it's fair to infer that religious belief is--or can be--detrimental to the practice of lucid dreaming.

Prince Demitri wrote:Ironically, it's like the bible says, "Then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."


Yeah, they got that part right! :mrgreen:

Prince Demitri wrote:One thing I did notice, is that when I finally "let go" of the idea of god and my fears about such a being, the number of lucid dreams I experienced doubled; and I honestly think that's one reason I have so many of them now. I've let go and allowed myself to be free of those ideas. Ideas have so much power, but they're like gravity... They seem fairly weak until you consider the bigger picture.


Interesting ... :shock:

Prince Demitri wrote:What about you? Did you have a moment of realization, or dreams that went along with your deconversion?


I used to have lucid nightmares as a child. By the time my lucid dreaming practice really took off, I was already an agnostic strongly leaning on total disbelief. But I guess I didn't enjoy killing sprees in my lucid dreams until I was a full-fledged atheist. :twisted:

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- Padmasambhava

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Re: Studying EFPs

Postby Prince Demitri » 08 Jan 2016 16:51

Thanks for the awesome reply!

I remember wondering why the other kids didn't seem to experience the empathy I felt for someone in that terrible predicament.

I've often wondered the same thing; both when I was a child, and thru to present day. I have a sneaky suspicion that religious institutions are sociopath factories; using praise and punishment to encourage an us-versus-them type mentality, along with teaching how to dehumanize others. The combination of this type of conditioning makes the journey from normal empathetic children to sociopath a smooth and easy one.

I think the same thing is taught (to a less severe degree) by our educational system (at least on this side of the pond); not implicitly, but just from the educational structure itself, combined with the attitudes of some instructors and their curriculum.

Of course, my mother used to tell me that God stopped talking to people like in Biblical times because, despite caring about us, He was deeply dismayed with mankind ... begged questions such as why God would create us sinful and then censure us in order to fulfil His brand of 'justice'.

As soon as I read what your mother said (which my mother also said to me when I asked the same type of questions), I immediately thought, "So did God actually want us to be perfect, or was he being sick and twisted by deliberately creating imperfect beings? Or is God not powerful or perfect enough to create something that is also perfect?" I think I was 6 when these questions first went thru my mind.

Then I read the last line of what you said and nodded to myself, thinking, "I'm not the only child that had those same thoughts." :) It was some years later that I revisited these questions and attempted to find satisfactory answers to them. To this day no good answer has been forthcoming.

The interesting thing is that when I was a pastor, I had members of my congregation that would ask me these types of questions, which had been asked of them by their children. They were hoping I would have a good answer for them to give their children. The best I could do was dazzle them with other morality stories from the bible and talk about free will and the "gift of choice". (The same kind of stuff apologists say when they reply to these types of questions.)

I don't remember any dreams that could pertain to my transition into atheism, not even after reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and having been impressed by his argument.

I haven't yet read The God Delusion, but I intend to. It's interesting how many theists seem to think that it was atheist literature that led to my deconversion, when in fact, the bible itself was the biggest influence in that regard.

But I have noticed that I am happier now with the fact that I no longer believe there is a Big Boss watching me 24/7 and feel free to be curious about the world and search for rational explanations without somebody ruining it by saying, 'God made it!'

I echo that sentiment! If you think you already have the answer, then you stop looking for an answer. It's kinda like that silly question, "Why are my keys always in the last place I look?" Umm... "Why would you keep looking after you found them?" :?

Concerning Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
I hadn't ever considered the emergence of lucidity in a dream to the clarity of deconversion, but now that you bring it up, there is a very strong resemblance there! I do experience significantly more clarity, a feeling of personal empowerment, and far less confusion since deconverting compared to when I was faithful; much like becoming lucid in a dream.

This comparison has the wheels in my head spinning. (I love this feeling!) :geek: :mrgreen:

What do you think of Buddhism when it's stripped of all its mysticism?

I've frequented many Buddhist temples and attended many of their meditation practices. When stripped of mysticism, it's a good atmosphere for learning how to meditate. That said, once the mysticism is stripped away there's nothing in Buddhism that necessitates Buddhism itself. So I approach it as a place with a nice atmosphere for meditating, and that's about it.

How would you rate its diagnosis of the human mind, its emphasis on meditation, and its prescribed dream yogas?

I don't know if I agree with its diagnosis of the human mind. There are some points I agree with, but I have followed discoveries in the neurosciences as well as psychology breakthrus, and done a significant amount of first hand research over the years, and some of the conclusions I have come to are mutually exclusive to some of the Buddhist concepts.

As for meditation: I find the right type of meditation to be very useful. That said, not all mediation styles are useful at all. There's loads of useless meditations out there. I commented at length about meditation in another post. (Hopefully today I'll be able to collate many of the things I've said, which I think are useful for people that come here, into a single thread in the General Lucid Discussion section for easy reference.)

As for the prescribed dream yogas... Umm.. :?

I don't place much value in them. I've developed a system that seems to work very well for me, and has had an impressive amount of success for those who have used my methods. As a result, I think the dream yogas are too... (what's the term I'm looking for here?) ... unnecessarily complicated? ... too involved? ... impractical? ... time consuming? It's something like that. They seem like a lot of "busy work", with a long-view toward getting good results.

I wouldn't discount them completely, but they are based on old understandings, too much tradition, and don't mesh as well with the current lifestyle of today's world and the average person living in it.

Paine was on the money regarding religion as a business enterprise as well a source of ignorance. His deism is venial for a man of his calibre at the time. If he were alive today and exposed to the latest in physics and cosmology, he would have been an atheist.

I agree.

You were a Jedi Knight!

In many ways, I still am! My mental kung fu is strong! :mrgreen:

I'm fairly sure that has much to do with my many studies into psychology, clinical hypnosis, and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) too. My fascination with the mind, behaviors, and dreams have a long history, and I've studied for years in an attempt to understand as much about them and how they relate to each other as I can. Of course my studies are ever-ongoing. Whenever I hit the limit of what is known, I try to form new hypotheses as derivative ideas from combining what we already know. The current result is mental kung fu on the level of Jedi Knight! 8-)

We've had that debate here before you arrived. I was working as a bookmaker at the time so I had a good argument against them. They still wouldn't budge and tried to make me feel like I was a spoilsport biased by 'scientism'.

"Scientism" :roll: *groan* That is the most ignorant term for things related to science that I've heard, and yet, this isn't the first time I've heard it. Whenever I hear that term I can't help but to think, "What moron thought up this ridiculous nonsense?" Whoever it was, is intelligent enough to influence lots of others to start spouting ignorance too, but not intelligent enough to do any form of fact checking.

(For anyone else reading this: "Scientism" is a nonsense word that has absolutely no meaning. Using it just identifies you as an uneducated person. So if you don't want to look stupid, don't use it.)

The funny thing about those that try to make such statements, is that "The Secret" is (supposedly) backed by science. So if you're speaking from a scientific perspective, why would they have an issue with that exactly? Of course, they used the word "scientism" so there's a good clue right there - they have no idea what they're talking about; they're just feeling butthurt that you don't subscribe to their nonsense.

My mother is an atheist as well, but she's only partially a skeptic; as a result, she currently believes in the "Law of Attraction". Her basis for belief? "It's been working for me, so that's evidence that there's something real to it!" *sigh* :cry:

From this, I think it's fair to infer that religious belief is--or can be--detrimental to the practice of lucid dreaming.

I'd certainly say it "can be". My current hypothesis is that it is, but the number of people that have been lucid dreamers (or attempting to lucid dream) prior to leaving their faith (in favor of a more reliable epistemology, as opposed to relocating their faith) seems to be a small study group. So far I've met only a handful. That said, 100% of them report that their lucid dreaming has become much easier to do, and lucidity happens more frequently (averaging ~1.8 times as often as before), since rejecting the idea of faith as having any value whatsoever.

Interesting ... :shock:

I would like to hear more of your thoughts about this. (RE: Ideas having immense, but subtle, power until one considers the larger picture.)

I used to have lucid nightmares as a child. By the time my lucid dreaming practice really took off, I was already an agnostic strongly leaning on total disbelief.

Nightmares... I've only ever had 5 nightmares, and they were all themed together in a series of consecutive dreams, over the course of 3 nights. I might actually tell the story about them at some point, but not in this post, as it's long enough already. :P

But I guess I didn't enjoy killing sprees in my lucid dreams until I was a full-fledged atheist. :twisted:

LMAO! I laughed so hard when I read this I started choking on my own spit! :lol:

I wonder if any believers out there are going to take that seriously, or recognize it as the joke it is? :lol:

Cheers! 8-)
Oneironaut experience: ~28 years
Average LDs per month: Usually 16 to 30 (depending on whether or not I want to)

I enjoy helping others and answering questions. 8-)

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Summerlander
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Re: Studying EFPs

Postby Summerlander » 09 Jan 2016 00:36

Prince Demitri wrote:Thanks for the awesome reply!


You're quite welcome, sir! Thank you for the awesome incentives. You remind me of another great member of this site who goes by the name of deschainXIX. He is very intelligent. :-D

Prince Demitri wrote:I have a sneaky suspicion that religious institutions are sociopath factories; using praise and punishment to encourage an us-versus-them type mentality, along with teaching how to dehumanize others. The combination of this type of conditioning makes the journey from normal empathetic children to sociopath a smooth and easy one.


Religion certainly impels good people to do crazy things. The men responsible for 9/11 thought they were the good guys doing God's work. They weren't crazy ... just deluded.

Prince Demitri wrote:As soon as I read what your mother said (which my mother also said to me when I asked the same type of questions), I immediately thought, "So did God actually want us to be perfect, or was he being sick and twisted by deliberately creating imperfect beings? Or is God not powerful or perfect enough to create something that is also perfect?" I think I was 6 when these questions first went thru my mind.


We must be related to Epicurus: :mrgreen:

'Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?'

Prince Demitri wrote:The interesting thing is that when I was a pastor, I had members of my congregation that would ask me these types of questions, which had been asked of them by their children.


It's a terrible meme. In the God Delusion, professor Richard Dawkins likens religion to a misfiring byproduct of a once useful thing in evolution. He brings up the analogy of a moth's biological compass: it used to work really well as their antennae evolved to navigate under the light from celestial objects; then, some intelligent apes (us) invented artificial lights (something evolution couldn't have foreseen) rendering the moth's 'compass' useless and misguiding them away from their habitats--hence the spiralling towards our luminous devices. Religion might have been useful in the making of tribes and communities ... but eventually it also leads to war and self-immolation. :geek:

Prince Demitri wrote:They were hoping I would have a good answer for them to give their children. The best I could do was dazzle them with other morality stories from the bible and talk about free will and the "gift".


And this 'gift' doesn't even exist. Free will is absurd and inconsistent with our deterministic universe--ergo, if the god of scripture existed, he'd be a liar. The sense that our will is free is an illusion. It only takes a moment's reflection for this liberum arbitrium to fall away. This subject has been discussed at length here:

http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=15086

Prince Demitri wrote:I haven't yet read The God Delusion, but I intend to. It's interesting how many theists seem to think that it was atheist literature that led to my deconversion, when in fact, the bible itself was the biggest influence in that regard.


You will love The God Delusion. And if you want to marvel at Dawkins's descriptive power of the beauty of evolution, I recommend The Blind Watchmaker. It's one of the best books I've ever read. A while ago a member averred that churches are the most prolific 'atheist factories'. I'm not sure but it seems to me that many famous atheists, including Dawkins, had to brook unrelenting indoctrination during childhood. :shock:

Prince Demitri wrote:Concerning Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
I hadn't ever considered the emergence of lucidity in a dream to the clarity of deconversion, but now that you bring it up, there is a very strong resemblance there! I do experience significantly more clarity, a feeling of personal empowerment, and far less confusion since deconverting compared to when I was faithful; much like becoming lucid in a dream.


That's what I thought when I read her essay, anyway. I find her particularly interesting as an ex-Muslim who now advocates secular humanism and fights for women's rights. Her family tried to kill her after she had escaped to Holland. She then befriended filmmaker Theo Van Gogh (a descendent of Vincent) who was murdered by Islamists for criticising the treatment of women in Islam in his 'Submission'. The murderer attached a message to the body with a knife. It read, 'Ayaan Hirsi Ali, you're next!' Ali moved to the States and continues to write and speak out against unreason. You can watch her in action here after the Hitch's hilarious speech: 8-)

https://youtu.be/lCHTHJZxAcU

Prince Demitri wrote:I've frequented many Buddhist temples and attended many of their meditation practices. When stripped of mysticism, it's a good atmosphere for learning how to meditate. That said, once the mysticism is stripped away there's nothing in Buddhism that necessitates Buddhism itself. So I approach it as a place with a nice atmosphere for meditating, and that's about it.


That's what I thought. It's a shame that meditation ostensibly connotes religious association for many people when the truth is that the practice can be mentally and physically beneficial and does not require a belief in the supernatural. I tend to have a daily dose of Vipassana (mindfulness in the West) which sometimes culminates in Dzogchen (where self-transcendence--or no-self--is possible). For more on this:

http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=16533

I am currently reading a book by atheist anchorman Dan Harris called 10% Happier. He is a great memoirist! He describes his family; his friends; his intramural competition for air time with work colleagues; his battle with drug addition and his messy mind; his job assignments which included covering 9/11, interviewing the Taliban in Pakistan and chasing a Bin Laden running away from warlords on America's payroll in southern Afghanistan; and finally researching religious figures in America--including pastor Ted Haggard who hypocritically had homosexual affairs whilst condemning gay people as a Christian. :mrgreen:

Harris also recounts a panic attack he had on national TV and how meditation helped him to manage his 'noisy' mind. :-)

Prince Demitri wrote:I'm fairly sure that has much to do with my many studies into psychology, clinical hypnosis, and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) too. My fascination with the mind, behaviors, and dreams have a long history, and I've studied for years in an attempt to understand as much about them and how they relate to each other as I can.


I never got into NLP. What is your current view of it? Do you still use it? How effective is it for you? 8-)

Prince Demitri wrote:"Scientism" :roll: *groan* That is the most ignorant term for things related to science that I've heard, and yet, this isn't the first time I've heard it. Whenever I hear that term I can't help but to think, "What moron thought up this ridiculous nonsense?" Whoever it was, is intelligent enough to influence lots of others to start spouting ignorance too, but not intelligent enough to do any form of fact checking.

(For anyone else reading this: "Scientism" is a nonsense word that has absolutely no meaning. Using it just identifies you as an uneducated person. So if you don't want to look stupid, don't use it.)


Don't worry, I set the record straight about that word before. (It's somewhere in the off-topic section.) Just don't let SeanEE and some guy called Snaggle see this. :mrgreen:

And come to think of it ... Desert was buying into it. (I know you like him from first impressions. Maybe he's evolving!) :shock:

Prince Demitri wrote:My mother is an atheist as well, but she's only partially a skeptic; as a result, she currently believes in the "Law of Attraction". Her basis for belief? "It's been working for me, so that's evidence that there's something real to it!" *sigh* :cry:


:-D LMAO!

It could be worse. Mine is a blend of Christianity, Spiritualism, New Age, and, being from Angola, she also buys into mediums and voodoo dolls. :-)

Prince Demitri wrote:I would like to hear more of your thoughts about this. (RE: Ideas having immense, but subtle, power until one considers the larger picture.)


People tend to think, even today with everything that's going on involving religious wars and pseudo-liberals, that beliefs and ideas are irrelevant to how an individual behaves and how a society should function. But the truth is that, unbeknownst to perceivers of the world, what one thinks--and how one thinks--can make all the difference. Our minds may be manacled and chances are we are completely unaware.

For instance, me and you could combine our intellectual powers to write up a disquisition on what we think is the best brand of morality ever, only to discover in years to come that our set of ethics is outdated as our futuristic grandchildren point out the aspects in our thesis that they find barbaric. Imagine their horror when we tell them that a psychopathic dictator such as Saddam Hussein was given the capital punishment for his crimes when their generation has accepted that there is no free will (thus no real culpability) and neuroscience can easily rectify brains incompatible with society.

Where is the sense in punishment when it's not Saddam Hussein's fault that he was given such monstrous hand in life? Of course, as old timers, we can argue that we didn't have effective means to reverse sociopathy, or guarantee results through therapies, and thus for many people a bad seed was as good as dead. (Or a life time of harrowing incarceration to give victims a sense of retribution--a kind of anthropic justice, tit for tat.) I may not have provided the best example but I sometimes wonder how many ideas that we believe to be sensible are really harmful in the long run, and, like the moth's biological compass, be jettisoned in the future pending some drastic, technological and cultural changes. I feel like recapping The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris, now! :-D

Prince Demitri wrote:I wonder if any believers out there are going to take that seriously, or recognize it as the joke it is? :lol:


Well, they can believe I really did do that in my lucid dreams, but such ventures were more inspired by having watched 'Dexter' than anything else. (Certainly not atheism!) :-D

It's comical when believers claim that without God and religion there are no morals. Most haven't really thought about what they are saying--if they did, they'd realise the oxymoron and the insult to themselves. Apparently Josef Stalin killed en masse and was such a despot because he was an atheist--not because he subscribed to a disfigured brand of Leninism in order to take advantage of a credulous and servile nation. (Also employing Lysenko's pseudoscience in order to exploit the populace and make them grovel for food via the decline of agriculture.) This isn't atheism; it is simply a display of psychopathy and tyranny. 8-)

Stalin's dream EFPs: his bare hands strangling Leon Trotsky (who would have turned the USSR into a truly Marxist nation had he succeeded Lenin); his bare hands strangling Hitler for having the gall to invade his territory; his bare hands strangling Churchill for being such a hero; his bare hands choking Roosevelt, usurping the Oval office in order to have an empire as vast as the British and Mongol combined. :twisted:

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava


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