you awake?

during dream, the limbic system (the part of the brain that governs emotion) is extremely active, reacting to dream content as though it were processing real events; the prefrontal cortex (which governs “higher” functions such as logic and planning), on the other hand, has its activity decreased dramatically.

the average person has enough difficulty keeping his emotions in perspective when she is awake; it’s no wonder, then, that we almost always take for granted the extremely odd events in dream and respond to them as if real.

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if a waking person responds automatically to emotions, without active feedback from the prefrontal cortex, he is in a state similar to dream. one of the major goals of undoing is to give the prefrontal cortex more control over emotion by generating the growth of nerve fibers from the prefrontal cortex to the limbic system and brain stem. this results in a greater degree of “awakeness” in daily life; it can also lead, by the same function, to lucid dreams.

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the other night may car broke down, and I had an anxiety dream about it falling apart, piece by piece, while i drove it. for some reason, i suddenly remembered that, in reality, only my radiator was damaged, and there was no reason for my car doors to be falling off…so i thought, “i must be dreaming.” i grabbed the wheel, drove the car off a cliff, and flew around ecstatically until I woke up. what had happened? my prefrontal cortex had kicked in and i simply noticed something was odd, deduced that i must be dreaming, and decided there was no real reason to feel afraid.

now think about how that might work in waking life……………………………………….

-riley