Why Dreams & Altered States Of Consciousness Are Good For Us

Written by on July 12, 2014 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living with 1 Comment
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Laura Jane | Collective Evolution

An underlined assumption in our society is that everyday waking consciousness is the truest expression of how things are in “objective” reality. We assume it to be more valid than say dream states or other forms of Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) such as visions, trance, hypnosis, meditative states or hallucinations brought on by substances such as ayahuasca.

But what if this assumption is wrong? What if the realms we visit in an ASC such as dreams, are in fact just as valid, real and important (or perhaps more so) than  everyday waking consciousness?


Evidence from perception science as well as quantum physics suggest this may in fact be the case. Furthermore, a deeper look into the ASC phenomenon itself reveals that it may be more valuable than many of us appreciate today with dramatic implications for humanity on an individual and collective level.

The Science Behind Our Experience

The brain does a lot of work behind the scenes to create a coherent, stable and predictable experience.  The following are two examples from perception that demonstrate this: Colour vision and the blind spot test.

Colour is Created by the Brain

As Sir Isaac Newton famously said:

“… the rays to speak properly are not coloured. In them there is nothing else than a certain power and disposition to stir up a sensation of this or that colour” -Sir Isaac Newton (1730).

Colour perception happens through a reaction between light of varying wavelengths that enter the eye and photoreceptor cells in the eye known as cones. Information about the wavelength of light is then sent via an electrical signal to the brain, which is perceived as colour. This process reveals a remarkable fact about our perception of reality:  There is nothing inherently “red” about an apple, apples appear red to us because of the nature of our visual system.

Another visual system could very well tell us different things about the objective world around us. In fact, the visual spectrum of light only describes the light visible to humans, the honeybee for example can perceive ultra violet light.

Filling in What Should be There

Another perception myth is that information out there comes in and is interpreted in a clean unbiased fashion. There are many examples of how this is not the case, but the blind spot experiment is a quick way to access how the brain fills in gaps continually without you even knowing it.


There is a blind spot in the middle of the eye in the center of your field of vision. This is because there is a total lack of photoreceptor cells where the optic nerve connects to the retina. How do we never notice this? Try the following demonstration:

Close your left eye and look at the square with your right eye.   Move closer to your computer. As you do so there should be a point where the red circle disappears and is replaced by a blue one.  Keep looking at the red square with your right eye, if you look at the blue square the red circle with reappear. 

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You can see here that your brain cleverly accounts for the blind spot not by merely extending the immediate surrounding (i.e. you don’t just see a white spot for instance), but actually accounts for the whole picture and interprets what is most likely missing.  This is one example of what is known in psychology as top down processing.

What I hope these examples illustrate is that although we assume our waking experience reflects the world out there, the line is less clear-cut.

Now take a look around you, the coherent integrated and seamless view before you is actually a product of your brain, which took a rough sketch of sensory input and built this scene for you.  This begs the question, could it be that the seemingly stable and predictable experience of everyday waking consciousness has merely fooled us into believing this is how things truly are?

Read the full post here.

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  1. savapenne@aol.com' Savannah says:

    When I was little I used to say my favourite colour was the purple that I can see, people would laugh & tell me everyone can see purple, but then I would say “no, only I can see my purple, y’all can see your own.”

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