Because of my research into after-death-communication in dreams, I often hear reports from people who believe they have been visited by a loved one. Often they will say: “But I wasn’t asleep when she came into the room, I was just drifting off.” Or, “I was lying in bed for a few extra minutes because it was the weekend, and I know I was awake, not dreaming, when this happened.”
SOULFUL INTERVENTIONS: But Dream-Related Visions are not only related to communication with the other side. They seem connected to meaning in our lives in much the way dreams are, yet with an element of the supernatural.
One man who was about to leave his wife had a vision as he drifted off to sleep in which a being of light came to him and told him he was making a huge mistake he would always regret. There was something about the experience that was not only “more real” than a dream, but that was also “more real” than being awake. He changed his mind and worked things out with his spouse. They have been together for more than 20 years now, and have raised three children. He believes the being of light was a spiritual being, who literally “saved” him from making a terrible mistake when he was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated in the early years of his marriage.
Another man, who was struggling with addiction, had a vision that his long-dead father came to him and told him that if he didn’t straighten up and straighten out, that he would very soon be joining him on the other side. The young man could actually smell his father’s cigar smoke in the room while the vision was taking place. He sought help for his addictions and has remained sober for decades. He credits the vision and his father’s advice with both helping him, and shocking him into making the necessary changes.
Many years ago, when I was considering marrying a very attractive but manipulative man, I heard a voice in my bedroom when I was just waking up. The voice said loudly: “If you marry him, he will ruin your life.” That was enough to jar me into taking the little signs of trouble more seriously, to give credence to my peculiar “sick feeling” that sometimes arose in his company. Instead of committing to the relationship, I managed to extricate myself from what had become a sticky web of control. I have always been grateful to that voice, because it not only woke me up that morning, it “woke me up” to the dark side of a situation that had great external trappings, but was extremely toxic and would have been a disaster for me.
DEFINED BY MEANING: Much has been written about the twilight state between waking and sleeping, in part because this is when so many reports of visions occur, and also because this is when many paranormal experiences take place. Some researchers have referred to these twilight experiences as hypnogogic hallucinations. I find the term hallucinations a bit pejorative, reducing the validity and importance of some experiences that arise in these states.
This is a time when many people have telepathic experiences, see “beings” they cannot explain, hear sounds they cannot explain, or even have haunting experiences or waking nightmares. Possibly this is one reason why the term hallucinations has been chosen to reference these experiences. But Dream-Related Visions tend to be more mystic experiences, sometimes frightening because of a warning they contain, or because they simply come as a shock. Some personality types seem very prone to these experiences, and when the subject arises during a classroom discussion or presentation, they can recount numerous incidents throughout their lifetime.
I believe it is important to make a distinction between the types of experiences we have based on the experience rather than the brain state in which it occurred. That is why I refer to the personally beneficial and meaningful twilight experiences as Dream-Related Visions.
Over the years, I have heard stories from mothers who have been warned of danger to their children, business-people who have been cautioned about upcoming deals, numerous people who have experienced visitations from departed loved ones, and many others who believe they have been visited by angels, spirit guides or religious figures during these Dream-Related Visions.
KEEP A JOURNAL: It is important, perhaps even vital, to keep a record of your dreams if you possibly can. In that record, you can and should record these Dream-Related Visions and make it clear that you had the dreamy experience during this twilight state. The more you attend to these numinous experiences, the better you will recall them and benefit from them. We do not need to wait to pin down the origin and mechanism of these experiences in order to accept the gifts they bring. Judge their merits on your own sense of truth, your own safety and well-being, and what you believe to be important and even sacred in your own life. Many times these visions and voices arise as a kind of permission-giving, as a way to touch and accept what we already know to be true on a deep level.