Remembering R.E.M.

By Graywolf  Swinney

Do you remember R.E.M.?   To review, R.E.M.stands for rapid eye movement and it is associated with dreaming. But I don't mean do you remember the last dream you had, I'm referring to the early r.e.m.. It was a long time ago, in fact it was so early that you were only forming into a being.

In developing the Creative Consciousness Natural Healing Process (CCNHP) which has been discussed in several articles in the Dream Network Journal, and which uses the awake side of r.e.m. as the consciousness state for the inner journey, I noticed several interesting things. One of these was that inevitably we would return to fetal sensory memories, and in fact to the even earlier pre-fetal consciousness memories of conception in order to find the fundamental consciousness structure that held the dis-ease state. I intuitively knew that r.e.m. consciousness was crucial to attaining these memories, and to the subsequent healing dynamics that resulted from these encounters. Seems my intuition was right on, and has been verified by recent findings in science about R.E.M. More about that later.

First, however, a brief description of the CCNHP will help set the context. The Creative Consciousness Natural Healing Process is a means or process by which one can engage the homeostasis principle or the body's own natural healing propensity. Starting with a dream symbol or a symptom of the disease, one explores the sensory-consciousness patterns underlying it to its root pattern or structure, which we have labeled as the primal existential sensory self-image. This self-image contains all the consciousness structures of self, including those of our diseases.

Use of imagination is encouraged in the journeys; fantasy and attempts on the part of the client to "fix things" are discouraged. This is because it is the ego mind that wants to fix things and the ego mind covers only a limited and narrow band of the consciousness spectrum. Fantasy is also an ego-controlled process and only serves to preserve the ego's existing structure. Imagination, however, is a voice of one's creative spirit and a close relative of r.e.m.. R.E.M. consciousness provides a more sensory body and neural oriented pattern of the dis-ease, a truer and more fundamental experience of it. It further gives access to pure fundamental consciousness memories and structures. (We consider consciousness to be an energy form arising from an infinite and universal consciousness field, or implicate consciousness. Consciousness energy can take on structure to form energy and matter configurations. It is the basis of all structures, of the universe itself.)

Using the imagination, this sensory pattern is followed to the roots of the symbol or the symptom, which are really the same things. The dream is, at its base level, no matter whatever else it may also be, a manifestation of the self. All parts of the dream (no matter how strong our denials) are in reality formed by the deep consciousness structures that also form our personality, behaviors and somatic self. The dream is thus another experience of the self, except more primal and less ego controlled. At some point in this inner journey process the awake side of r.e.m. engages, and why this is important will be soon discussed.

When this root pattern or primal existential sensory self-image is reached, it is fully identified with, and taken one level deeper into transpersonal and undifferentiated consciousness. This next level of undifferentiated consciousness is at the quantum level of reality, where the stuff of self has not yet committed to being either energy (mind) or matter (body) and it is at the very edges of infinite possibility or chaos (complexity). It is also where the wave fronts that eventually become reality emerge and interact to form the standing waves that are the hologram that is self. It might also be considered to be the "implicate order" of self. The term implicate order was defined by physicist David Bohm to describe the field from which the hologram of reality emerges into space-time.

The next step is to take this image of dis-eased self into the chaotic consciousness (implicate consciousness), and in this alchemical universal solvent, the image and the dis-ease within it dissolves. Then as chaos theories predict, from the chaos or implicate order emerges a new structure, which becomes the new felt self. This new primal existential sensory self-image begins to reform our body chemistry, muscle and organ functions and our personality presentation.

 How this occurs is through changing the neural firing patterns that form and hold this disease image in the brain and nervous system. This in turn affects or changes the entire brain and nervous system, including the pituitary and pineal glands, which are an integral part of it, and thus the mechanical functioning of the body and the mind. This has been described in detail in the article HOW PLACEBOS HEAL by the author and appearing in the DNJ Vol. 16 No.4. In brief, the neural structure mirrors this consciousness process and becomes chaotic before assuming the new more healed and flowing pattern. Eventually this new image filters up to somatic and personality levels of consciousness structure and the organism recreates or heals itself from this very primal level, from the inside out. In fact this is one model of how the brain works with the body, creating images to which the somatic and behavioral self conforms. For example, in moving one's arm to turn this page, the brain creates an imaginary image of the action, which the body duplicates. Thus inner process leads outer process.

We noticed when we first began using this journey process that our clients were creating very profound healing in themselves, both somatic and psychological in nature. Among the more notable remissions reported were: diabetes, cancer, scoliosis, chronic back problems, fibro-myalgia, schizophrenia, multiple personality, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and a host of other partial or less dramatic remissions. The question of how this process aided in these remissions became my quest of the past eighteen years. It has led to the ancient Aesculapian Dream Healing practices, (Dream Network Journal)  as well as into Relativity, Quantum and Chaos theories (Dream Network Journal Vol. 13 No's 1&2). Most recently it has also suggested Holographic theory which is currently being investigated. However through all this I was intrigued by the fact that the Journeys took place in the awake side of r.e.m. consciousness, and unless this state was involved, the depth and integrity of the healing was diminished. Recently data about r.e.m. consciousness has been put forth, which provides hard data supporting the CCNHP, the theories about its probable mechanisms, and the role of r.e.m. in it.

To begin, Dr. Allen Hobson. a noted sleep and dream researcher, states that, "r.e.m. may stimulate immature brains while they're in utero."  It has also recently been suggested by Dr. Mark Manhowald of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorder Center that:

"The fetus is in R.E.M. consciousness during most of its term in utero. Because the new baby's brain begins development with only the basics, like a new computer, the life process, [R.E.M. ], programs the brain with capabilities in each developmental stage and continues doing so after birth."

My view is that it is probably an entrainment phenomenon that is the mechanism for this. Entrainment is the phenomenon in physics in which two periodic wave systems close in frequency to each other, soon become synchronous; that is, they oscillate with completely the same frequency. It is the principle behind the automatic fine-tuning on an F.M.. receiver, by which if you get close to the frequency of the sending signal, the tuner automatically tunes in to it exactly.

However that may be, this data offers much food for many interesting speculations.

First: This means that if we want to reach the fetal memories which are so important in the development of both our body's physical and personality structures, then our best shot at reaching them is in the consciousness state in which they were fed or programmed into our being. R.E.M. consciousness is critical then to the remembering of these earliest experiences.

Dr. Stanley Krippner and Dr. Montague Ullman, while at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory, showed in their work there that the [r.e.m. consciousness] was a psychic state. They, for example, demonstrated that two people in r.e.m. were capable of picking up on, or sharing dream experiences, even when separated from each other by walls and space. So from this we can postulate that a fetus in r.e.m. is quite probably capable of picking up on mother's dream states, and quite possibly father's, even while separated. Since dreams are also known to be necessary in dealing with waking traumas and events, the fetus is exposed to all of the experiences of the mother's and father's waking life through their dreams. Thus the earliest programming of the fetus is very much determined by both of the parents, their life styles, emotional conditions, and events occurring in and requiring dream processing from their waking lives. This is, of course, in addition to the physiological conditioning through the chemical environment created in the womb by mother's experiences. In a very large sense, through r.e.m., the fetus is tapping into co-consciousness with the parents and perhaps even into the collective consciousness of the species for programming its earliest fetal development. This, as suggested by Dr. Manhowald, continues on after birth.

One very poignant example of this is offered from a client suffering from multiple personality disorder. Her mother also suffered from this disorder, and my client's experiences as a fetus were of having no set personality model from which to program her personality, nor of a stable chemical environment in the womb. The mother was also having love affairs, which the father knew of, and he was greatly disturbed by them. The mother had been raped prior to my client's conception, and was still affected by this. In working with my client and hearing the stories about her own early life and experiences, it was apparent that she had literally come forth from the womb already afflicted by this disorder. We had to go back well into the earliest fetal and pre-fetal consciousness structures for her to release and heal her disorder rather than merely putting a superficial fix on it. She carried both her parents' burdens into birth and to her present. Reaching these mechanisms through r.e.m. consciousness and the journey process was critical to her being able to reach, release and transform them.

Using the awake side of r.e.m. was crucial to the process for several reasons. Her dreams were superficially not about either these earliest memories or consciousness structures. Dreams, on the surface level, most often reflect recent experiences and only through deeper work in the structure of the dream itself touch on the earliest consciousness structures, which in turn determine our reactions to these recent experiences. Thus to work at the surface level only, as for example, with dream interpretation or analysis (which operate mostly at intellectual levels) or gestalt dream work (which works at the emotional-experiential levels) or lucid dreaming (which works at ego-experiential levels) is insufficient to reach the early experiences and structures needing release and transformation.
In awake r.e.m. consciousness, using the imaginative sensory nature of the journeys and with the help of a mentor, she was able to reach the primal consciousness that formed the basis of her multiple personality structure. The ego minds (there were twelve in all) were able to follow the process without directing or controlling it to allow the eventual emergence of one whole self. This was necessary in order to transform the coping mechanism of creating other personalities when in pain or threatened.... the coping mechanism she had been programmed with in the womb.

Second: R.E.M. consciousness is associated with womb experiences such as the generation and development of the nervous system and tissue formation. The nervous system and personality development, we know, are very susceptible to the mood and experiences of the organism. These are the matters with which much of psychiatry and psychology deal. And tissue formation is also associated with mood and experiences. As examples, Dr. Carl Simonton demonstrated this in relation to the development of cancer and its remission. In one example, he demonstrated that many if not most cancers developed within two years of a major loss such as death of a spouse or loss of one's career through retirement. He also demonstrated that remission of the cancer was very much facilitated by visual imagery combined with other informational and therapeutic psychology.  Norman Cousins demonstrated that healing could be induced through genuine good feeling such as laughter and peace of mind, and positive attitude. He healed his own cancer in this way.

We know from chaos theory that any complex system is very much influenced by minor perturbations or differences in its initial conditions. This is known as the "butterfly effect."  The human organism is certainly a very complex system, and is very influenced in its development by events in its earliest developmental conditions. Thus in these early conditions of r.e.m. consciousness in the womb, our future physiology and personality are greatly influenced by our experiences as a fetus. Our future illnesses are quite probably programmed into our consciousness structure, and thus also our neurological and tissue structures, during these sensitive initial conditions. Return to these consciousness structures in r.e.m. consciousness could very well allow us to rewrite our past, and to do so in the state that is associated with the formation of the nervous system and tissue development. Since this consciousness is associated with the development of new tissue and the nervous system, it stands to reason that we can most probably also regenerate them from this state. Further evidence of this is that this is the consciousness state in which we have noticed such profound self-healing in the CCNHP journeys with our clients.

We also have validation of that from dream deprivation studies, which clearly show that the mind, the nervous system and eventually the body and physiology deteriorate when the organism is deprived of r.e.m. sleep. It has long been an observation in medical therapy that sleep is regenerative, and that people recovering from illness need more sleep and thus r.e.m. than usual. This further points to the importance of working directly in r.e.m. consciousness.

Third: Several pieces of data from various sources suggest the use of awake r.e.m. consciousness allows us to fully experience the transformative experience and affects our long term memory. It is known that while in r.e.m. consciousness, the muscles are buffered from the nervous system, that is we can be running in our dream yet the leg muscles may only twitch slightly. This allows the brain, then, to input much inner information without engaging us in outer activity. It has also been postulated in the field of Neuropsychology that one's physiology is incapable of distinguishing between dream experiences and outer experiences. We note here that it is our experience that programs us, and becomes the neural circuitry that shapes both our personality and body chemistry (through the pineal and pituitary gland, both of which are part of the brain's structure.)   Dreams have very little impact on long term memory, however the awake side of r.e.m. consciousness, as used in the CCNHP, does impact on long term memory.

Putting these data together, we can in r.e.m. consciousness, re-experience our very earliest trauma's from a virtual reality like perspective without involving our musculature, and also experience very deep shifting of our energy and consciousness structures while retaining this in long term memory. So the journey process can permanently effect the brain and its neural firing sequences and thus the operation of the pineal and pituitary glands, and we can retain the memories of these healing and transformative experiences as new neural patterns.

Forth: From studies in the field of Neuro-feedback, and the interface of chaos with the brain and its role in its functioning, a number of researchers have reached some conclusions.

Although measurements of brain waves have resulted in division and categorization of them into certain frequencies or states such as the alpha state, the delta state, etc., and this appears ordered, such is not really the case. The frequencies of the brain waves vary randomly within a given state, that is the distance between peaks is highly variable and disordered. When these frequencies are used to program a fractal program (the mathematics describing chaos theory) it becomes possible to measure the degree of chaos or complexity in the brain's functioning. These degrees of complexity are known as dimensions and the higher the dimensionality, the more complex or chaotic are the firing patterns of neurons in the brain. The highest dimension of complexity measured in the brain has been nine.

Lower dimensionality is associated with illness and dysfunction of the brain, for example epilepsy, comas and strokes. (Some forms of meditation are also associated with lower dimensionality or linearity.)  Similarly dysfunction such as obsessive compulsive behavior may be also be associated with linearity or lower dimensionality. On the other hand high dimensionality is associated with healthier brain functioning. The highest levels of dimensionality are associated with processing and assimilating new information, and creativity.

Chaos theory itself implies that the more complex a system is, the more self-correcting it is. This is because disruption to a linear system will throw the whole system off course, but only affects a portion of a complex system, which soon adjusts to "fill in the gap."  In a way this is the reverse of the butterfly effect and operates in the complex system once it is past its initial conditions, and emphasizes the need to deal with illness at its formative level, i.e. in the organism's initial conditions. However, the important data to note here is that the highest level of dimensionality measured in the brain, that is a dimensionality of nine, occurs only in r.e.m. consciousness!

In the CCNHP journeys we observed that chaotic or complex consciousness was the state in which the healing transformations occurred to the primal existential sensory self image, or at the initial conditions of the system, and that r.e.m. consciousness was necessary to the process. (As noted previously: unless this state was involved, the depth and integrity of the healing was diminished.) This has been reported in several previously mentioned DNJ articles by the author.

In even more general considerations, this gives reason or in part implies the mechanisms through which dreams do their healing and regenerative work. Chaos is always associated with change but is usually seen as an aftereffect. This information implies that chaos, as we have maintained, is actually the mechanism of the change itself. R.E.M. consciousness is the most chaotic or complex state of dynamics measured in the brain. It is this state that best supports self-correction or the homeostasis effect and the natural state of any organism is healthy flow. It is a state that supports profound self healing.

So do you remember r.e.m.?  You should!  It could change your life. It could be the basis of your healing and evolution. It is possibly the most important and yet one of the most undervalued consciousness dynamics available to you. And it is with you every time you go to sleep. It is the force in every dream you have.

Suggested Readings:
The Holographic Universe: by Michael Talbot.
Implicate Order: by David Bohm.
The Journal of Mind Technology: Using Chaos to Control Brainwaves, by Michael S. Heffernan.
Dream Telepathy Experiments in Nocturnal ESP: by Montague Ullman and Stanley Krippner.
Chaos, The Making of a New Science: by James Gleick.
Getting Well Again: by Carl and Stephanie Simonton.

Graywolf Swinney is a dream therapist, consciousness mentor, author, lecturer, scientist, and the founder and director of ASKLEPIA FOUNDATION and THE INSTITUTE FOR APPLIED CONSCIOUSNESS SCIENCE. He operates Aesculapia Wilderness Retreat in Southern Oregon and offers work and training in the Creative Consciousness Natural Healing Process there. He spends part of his time every month in the Puget Sound area offering the same. He is also a whitewater river guide on the lower Rogue River. He can be reached at: P.O. Box 301, Wilderville OR 97543. Phone: (541) 476-0492. E-mail: asklepia @budget.net