Oliver Sacks, the man from Awakenings, about dreaming

“Waking consciousness is dreaming – but dreaming constrained by external reality” 
―Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks, one of my hero’s died August 29 2015. Almost all of us know him from the film ‘Awakenings‘. Using L-Dopa, a precursor to dopamine that is able to cross the blood brain barrier where dopamine is not able to do so. People up who had been in a coma for decades woke up.

But what did neurologist Oliver Sacks – the man who wakes people up – have to say about dreaming?

Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks on dreaming #1:

In the book Trauma and dreams edited by Deidre Barret Oliver Sacks wrote:
‘It is scarcely surprising that neurological disorders can alter dreaming either quantitatively or in striking and specific ways. Every practicing neurologist must be aware of this, and yet how rarely do we question our patients about their dreams. Though there is virtually nothing on this subject in literature, I think such questioning can be an important part of the neurological examination, can assist in diagnoses, and can show how a sensitive barometer dreaming may be of neurological health and disease.

Oliver Sacks
Trauma & Dreams

Working in a migraine clinic years ago, it became clear that there was not only a general correlation between the incidence of very intense dreams or nightmares and migraine aura’s but also, not infrequently, an entering of aura phenomena in dreams.
A patient who had focal sensory and motor seizures once dreamed that he was in court, being prosecuted by Freud, who kept on banging his head with a gave as the charges were being read’.

So just like Kasatkin, a Russian psychiatrist who wrote A theory about dreams, Oliver Sacks sees dreams as important for your physical health. Dreams usually give a non symbolic representation of physical problems. Probably because there is a big trauma to the body. When people start to dream in symbols again usually they are dealing with their trauma’s. Aura’s of migraine in waking live turn up as aura’s in dreams, Freud hits a man with migraine on the head (as if to say: ‘will you listen to your dreams now?’).

Oliver Sacks on dreaming #2

In a footnote in his book An Anthropologist on Mars Oliver writes:

Oliver Sacks
An Anthropologist on Mars

Rodolfo Llinás and his colleagues at New York University, comparing the electrophysiological properties of the brain in waking and dreaming, postulate a single fundamental mechanism for both — a ceaseless inner talking between cerebral cortex and thalamus, a ceaseless interplay of image and feeling, irrespective of whether there is sensory input or not. When there is sensory input, this interplay integrates it to generate waking consciousness, but in the absence of sensory input it continues to generate brain states we call fantasy, hallucination, or dreams.
Thus waking consciousness is dreaming — but dreaming constrained by external reality. Credit: gautel.net
And here science meets the ancient presupposition of Dream Yoga, that dreams introduce us to other dimensions of experience. Dreams can be seen as a form of hallucinations, with the brain deprived of sensory input and motor output.

Oliver Sacks was one of the most compassionate doctors of our time. It was his gentleness combined with his sincere care about the well-being of his patients that made him stand out from other neurologists.

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Good books on Mindfunda

good books
Photo @Iowa library

I was pregnant with the idea for Mindfunda for a while. It had to be a blog that combined research and spirituality juiced up with a little bit of mythology. About three months ago, on February 10, the first Mindfunda was published. Since then I talked with you about a lot of good books. Thank you all for your support, your shares on Facebook and twitter. You all make my job so much fun!

By the way, I wanted to let you know that there is an Amazon deal to listen to audio books for free: Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Here is a list of the most visited blogs according to our statistics:

Good books #1: 10 dream books you should read

Actually these are 10 books for the price of one! This is one of the most visited blog posts I have written untill now. The list contains good classics on the subject of dreaming and dream interpretation.
Creative dreaming by Patricia Garfield, the book that got me “hooked” on dreaming at the age of 16 (I could not stop reading it and it introduced me to lucid dreaming) is my personal number one. You can read the list here. Be sure to leave a comment in the section below if I have missed a good book that I should be reading and blogging about.

Good books #2: Dream from the Cosmos

Anne Barring was introduced to me while I was talking with Patricia Garfield about good books written about the Goddess. Anne Baring had written, together with Jules Cashford The myth of the Goddess. At home I purchased it and I dived into their phenomenal knowledge about the Goddess principle.
Dream of the cosmos had an even more alluring sound to it, because it discussed the myth of the Sekhina: the dwelling part of god on earth.

good books
Dream of the cosmos

You can read my blog about it here, in the blog is a link to my interview with Anne Baring. My first interview, with such an educated lady. You will definitely look at the world in a different way after reading/digesting it. You will see how things are connected, you will be able to feel the tiny lines of the web of Indra that connects all.

Good books #3: The woman’s book of dreams

Connie Kaplan wrote a book about how the moon affects dreams. It is something we are all aware of. Dreaming during full moon is usually more intense. Somebody told me, right before I had to do a dream workshop for some pregnant ladies that in the book of Connie Kaplan you will find a method for group dream work that is very useful. And indeed, the night before I had to do the workshop I dreamed about going downstairs and getting her Woman’s book of dreams out of my bookshelves. You can read my post about it here. In the blog the link to my interview with her is included.

good books
the Woman’s book of dreams


Good books #4: Theory of dreams by Kasatkin

As a young girl I had a near death experience caused by a diabetic coma. Being ill for a long time, the doctors could not find anything wrong with me and dismissed it as “growth”. Meanwhile I was getting thinner and thinner and finally my fat supply was gone…

Ever since I have been very interested in health. I did some research about dreams and health, I started a rather unsuccessful questionnaire that not many people responded to. But I had this notion that your dreams follow the process of your disease and that you in fact can incorporate them to heal yourself.

I was not the first with that idea. A Russian psychiatrist, Vasily Kasatkin gathered data from all his patients in several hospitals in Russia. He analyzed the data and published a book called A theory of dreams.


good books
A theory of dreams

This book was never translated. I sent an email to a German military library asking for a copy and I got it. Then I had to translate it. This was a problem: I don’t speak Russian and I did not have the money to have it translated for me. I dd actually find someone who withdrew because Russian was not her native language. But she promised me to help whenever I got stuck in a sentence. And boy did I need that help! My husband, the invaluable invisible force behind Mindfunda helped me to scan the documents in a way that permitted me to cut and paste it into google translate. Then I had pieces of text that I had to re-write and remodel into proper English. I wanted to update the insights of Kasatkin (which where remarkable modern for his day and age) and put in a lot of footnotes referring to modern research in the areas he mentioned.
It was a labour of love.  Read all about dreams and health here.

Good books #5: Lucid dreaming plain and simple

Robert Waggoner wrote another book together with Caroline McCready. His first book Lucid dreaming Gateway to the inner self is on my favorite dream book list for years.

Good books
Lucid dreaming gateway to the inner self

With his remarkable talent of analysing Robert waggoner always finds an interesting edge in your road to self discovery. His newest book is filled with tips, techniques, loaded with information, and the two writers have gathered dreams from the most skilled lucid dreamers. You can read my bog about it here, in the blog is a link to my interview with him.

good books
Lucid dreaming plain and simple

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Dreaming of the heart


 heart high blood pressure


I am in a room when all of a sudden a man dressed in black came running towards me and bumped hard into my chest. The bump was so hard that I had to recover from the pain and the dizziness. I tried to regain my balance while I clutched his chest and started to look into his eyes. To my surprise they where kind...

Heart disease is the number one killer in the world.


This dream is a typical dream that points at problems of the heart. Can you tell why? Astvatsaturov, Russian neurologist, believed ,,that during dreams with elements of fear of death, ending suddenly by awakening, indicate cardiovascular disease even in the absence of other objective data.
You can read all about how a dream can help you guard your health and that of your loved ones in “A theory of dreams” written by Russian psychiatrist Vasily Kasatkin.

In this book you will read lots of impressive dreams that saved the lives of the people who dreamed them. Vasily Kasatkin was a remarkable researcher that was the first to be collecting data about this subject. In this book you will read about the dreams that belong to a certain type of illness. From acute bronchitis to toothache and from illness of the heart to eczema.

Another article that might help you recognize that a dream is about health is this one: 7 symbols that tell you your dream is about healthYou can listen to more information about A theory about health, Vasily Kasatkin and the relationship between dreams and health in my presentation “Can a dream safe your life?”

The person that dreamed this took my advice and had her heart checked. Her blood pressure was indeed very high. She started with adjusting her food: less salt. She started to eat more salicylic food like apricots, berries, pineapple, almonds, carrots, pine nuts. She took magnesium supplements (500-100 mg)

Magnesium supplement

and added some vitamin C with rose hips because that enables the uptake of the vitamin in the body. High blood pressure puts strain on your veins.

Vitamine C with Rose hips

Magnesium and vitamin C keep your them more elastic. Within two months her blood pressure was down again: she had looked the intruder in the eyes and smiled at him.

A disease is a disturbance of the homeostasis. Illness is the search of the body gone wrong. A dream is a way of helping you solve the need of the body to restore the balance. Make sure that you are able to help your body!

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3 Secrets about synchronicity

The term synchronicity was coined by Carl Jung to describe “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events.” (source Wikepedia).
Living a life by synchronicity will change you. This blog will give you six easy steps to master the art of synchronicity, for it is an art. With a side effect: it will make your life more fun.

Secret #1 about synchronicity:
Pay attention to odd coincidences.
There are symbols that occur in my life and when they do I know I have to pay attention. For instance: in 2011 at the Conference of the IASD in Rolduc, I got an envelope from Rita Dwyer. Rita Dwyer once was research chemist at Thiokol Chemical Corp. in Denville, N.J. (source: Washington Post). She owed her life to a dream. Edward M. Butler saved her life because he had this recurring dream about saving her from a fire.
I had to deliver the envelope to somebody in my hometown, someone she met in a dreanm circle. So back in 2011, I got to his house, rang the bell, but got no answer. I left the envelope in the mailbox and forgot about it.
In 2014 I translated a Theory about dreams from Vasily Kasatkin:


A theory about dreams

Now a few days ago, this man came to my house. He said to me: “I want to buy your book, I have been searching my whole life for a translation”. I told him that I did not translate all of the book because it took up so much of my time. But it seems to me like the universe is telling me that translating the whole book is a very good idea.

Secret #2 about synchronicity:
Pay attention to dreams.

Carl Jung was convinced that dreams are containers for synchronicity, nce you know how to decode their message. He wrote several good books about it. This is one of the best: learn from the master himself.

Synchronicity: An A causal Connecting Principle Carl Jung


Secret # 3 about synchronicity:
Let nature speak.

We are energy. We live in a field of energy. We exchange information with our environment without even being aware of it and vice versa.
Stones are very good containers of energy. In my dream group we use a stone.
We hand it over from person to person and the stone helps us to listen to our inner nature. We use a specific stone. Pink Lepidolite. It helps you reconnect with mother earth and stimulates synchronicity in your life.






And then he gives me a smile that just seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me.” 
Suzanne Collins, the Hunger Games


Today I will share an inspiring Ted talk by Ron Gutman. Ron Gutman is a personal inspiration for me because of his work on health and well being. At Stanford University he created a program called BeWell for students. Health depends on so much more then the body alone. We are connected with our environment in so much more ways then we realize. Click the link and enjoy. Ron’s talk is about how healthy smiling is for you. How you can predict the length of the life of a person on a photo judging by his smile. Smile as much as you can and feel the endorphines make you stronger and feel better…

After finishing my work on the connectio between dreams and health I was more aware then ever that my personality and my interpretation of things that happened to me affected my health. Listening to my dreams, like Vasily Kasatkin suggests in his book “A theory of dreams” helped me very much.
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