Dream Levels


A common thought is that the dream can not be influenced by the dreamer. This is not true. The dream is a complex brain function which can be trained to a certain degree and developed into the most fantastic experiences of the night. It is enriching our lives with a new realm of experiences.

To make the inner dream development easier to understand, I have catagorized the qualities of dreams into 6 stages:

In the lowest stage the person cannot remember any dreams and is convinced to have no dreams at all.

On the second Level the dreams present themselves as chaotic and with a lack of colors. Of course these dreams are not impressive enough to be remembered very well.

The higher the dream level the more realistic and more plastic the scenery. 

We can develop a higher consciousness in dreams and a better dream quality by training. This is achieved by increasing attention and self reflection during dreaming. Higher dream levels are characterized by:

  • a higher degree of awareness
  • more intensive emotions
  • higher degree of plasticity of objects and surroundings
  • colors become more and more bright
  • higher degree of continuation of action and place
  • increasing self-reflection
  • more logical actions

The highest level of dreaming includes total dream control. The nightly dream adventures then seem to split into lucid dreams and into astral travels. Both are subjects of intense controversies, in which different paradigms collide.

Of course there are no borders separating the dream levels. What is written here is expressed as an idealized form. In reality the dreams shift from one level to the other, depending on the time of night, deepness of sleep and other factors.

1. Dream level (' no ' dreams)

This stage is characterised by a lack of dream remembrance. Some people state that they never dream. As dream research has proven, this is not correct.

In some esoteric writings at the turn of 19th to the 20th century a kind of evolutionary racism was propagated. In these statements this stage of dreaming was related to the "primitives". This is not correct at all. Highly sensitive humans are just as likely to experience lack of dream remembrance as any others. What's the reason?

  • Fatigue. Sleep after a stressed day, when one is full of exhaustion, is characterized by deep sleep with very short intervals of awakening from the REM phase and entering the next sleep period, too short to keep dreams in mind. The main interest in the awake phase is to fall asleep again.
  • Lack of interest. As a colorful dream may be considered hard brainwork, an exhausted person is not powerful enough to take on this additional work. As a result, some fading scenes are produced, which are not impressive enough to be remembered.
  • Repression In this case people deny dreams in fear of being confronted with forbidden desires or traumatic experiences.

OBE letter 368:

"[...] But the thing is now I haven't had an astral experience in quite a while and it is one of my escapes other than surfing and sports and yeah my brain teasing job. What I'm asking is why have I stopped dreaming (or forgetting the ones I have) and I am not astral travelling anymore because I definately remember them and I know you should be calm for these things to work but I am getting frustrated as I want to explore every avenue possible in dreams [...]"

Answer: That you do not remember dreams as good as years before may have different reasons:

Fatigue might be a probable reason (I do not know if this counts for you, probably not).

Furthermore remembrance and plasticity of dreams are depending from the level of emotions - you have to train your emotions like muscles. Because dreams are dominated by visual impressions you can train remembrance and plasticity of dreams by visual training like painting, drawing or looking interested at colors and forms (whatever).


2. Dream level (' grayish scenes ')

Dreams are kept in remembrance as grayish, chaoitic scenes, being disrupted after a short time by the next dream sequence. Action and reflection are at a mere instinctive level.


3. Dream level (dominated by dream symbols)

At this level dreams are colorful with interesting content, dominated by symbolic features. The dreams are no longer dominated by simple reaction patterns, but represent a complex psychic construction. These dreams deal with:

  • Conclusions about the present situation, as opposed to former situations and their results.
  • Comments on events of the past day.
  • Proposals for solutions of problems.
  • Ethic and religious justifications for actions of the day from an inner moral point of view.
  • Fulfillment of desires, diminishing psychic tensions.

The residual awareness in these dreams is higher than in the preceding dream stages. The reason for this is that these dreams now are much more interesting and therefore attract more attention of the dreamer.


4. Dream level (' magic ' abilities evolve)

In some way these dreams respond to fairy tales. The dreamer developes magic abilities, a hidden form of dream control. In this category belong flying dreams, the ability to break off a scene or to change a scene by will. Often, features can be changed by "magic" power. Altogether, these dreams are adventurous entertainment.


5. Dream level (astral travels)

The quality of the preceding dream level has now changed dramatically. Nothing reminds the dreamer of fairy tales. The surrounding seems quite normal, comparable to common life. This includes concepts of hell as well, which are also like common surroundings, except that they are desolate and are usually in twilight settings.

A curious thing is that the ability to fly, which in the previous state was quite common, has now vanished, and gravity forces our movements like in daily life. From the point of view of materialistic theory, this might be because the logic center of the brain has become active and refuses everything outside of normality. If strange things would happen, this could cause awakening, a situation which the subconscious tries to avoid in order to keep sleep continuing peacefully.


6. Dream level (astral work)

In this stage the astral traveller is no longer a "tourist in another world". He tries to help wherever he can and he tries to keep inner awareness and inner senses alive. The astral traveller is contacted regularly by his helpers and transcendent friends.


© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna)