Lucid Nightmares & Frightening Near Death Experiences

“Today I want to talk about lucid nightmares using the metaphor of frightening Near Death Experiences (fNDEs). Both of these states of consciousness are under-reported, most likely due to the taboos I explored in Part I of this series.

In general, Near Death Experiences have been compared to lucid dreams for decades. In both of these ‘altered states,’ the dreamer/visionary undergoes a conscious journey into unknown territory. The journeyer often sees white light, goes through a tunnel or vortex, and meets with ancestors or recently deceased family members. Seeing images of the divine, and having conversations with unseen ‘entities’ is also a strong pattern in both NDEs and lucid dreams.

REM Intrusion or Otherworldly Journey?

The difference, of course, is that NDEs occur after a serious brush with death. And, also, lucid dreamers interpret this class of experience as ‘a dream’ while people who have a NDE interpret their experience as ‘real.’ Interestingly, some neurologists have suggested that NDEs may be due to REM intrusion into waking consciousness. In my mind, this neurological perspective does not reduce a NDE to a biomechanical glitch.

Instead, this material layer complements the imaginal experiences. NDEs are psychologically real, and have been shown in many studies to change people’s views of reality and positively mark their lives forever, REM intrusion or not. But not everyone has a good time in their NDE. The white light, the life review, feelings of love and acceptance…. these are the most common reports, but others have decidedly frightening NDEs. Bruce Greyson and Nancy Evans Bush first collected anecdotes and established a typology back in the 1980s.”

(via The Dream Studies Portal. See also: the entire series of posts on “Lucid Nightmares”)

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