A Continuum of Consciousness in Sleep
What is Meditation? An Technique to Access Pure Consciousness.
Some of the individual difference variables associated with the practice of meditation have also been found to be true of individuals who frequently dream lucidly while controlling for dream recall frequency. These include field independence (lucidity: Gackenbach, Heilman, Boyt, & LaBerge, 1985; meditation: Pelletier, 1974; Jedrczak, 1984), creativity (lucidity: Gackenbach, Curren, LaBerge, Davidson, & Maxwell, 1983; meditation: Orme-Johnson & Haynes, 1981); lower anxiety (lucidity: Gackenbach et al., 1983; meditation: Alexander, 1982); absorption (lucidity: Gackenbach, Cranson, & Alexander, 1986; meditation: Alexander, 1978; 1982); and private self-consciousness (lucidity: Gackenbach, et al., 1983; meditation, West, 1982). (The meditation findings are reviewed in Alexander, Boyer and Alexander, 1987 while the lucid dreaming findings are reviewed in Snyder and Gackenbach, 1988). A strong finding in both the lucidity (for review see Snyder & Gackenbach, 1988) and meditation (Reed, 1978; Faber, Saayman & Touyz, 1978) literature’s is that both are associated with enhanced dream recall despite decreases in REM time as the result of meditation (Banquet & Sailhan, 1976; Becker & Herter, 1973; Meirsman, 1989).
Finally, and particularly noteworthy, is that the waking practice of meditation is associated with the frequent experiences of lucidity in dreams (Sparrow, 1976b; Reed, 1978; Hunt & McLeod, 1984) even when dream recall differences are controlled (Gackenbach, Cranson, & Alexander, 1986; 1989). Further, reports of consciousness during deep sleep are related to clear experiences of transcending during meditation (reported in Alexander, Boyer & Alexander, 1987) as well as to breath suspension during meditation, the latter is thought to be a key physiological indicate of the experience of “pure” consciousness (Kesterson, 1985).