Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to remember and record dreams

I forgot to put this up before. Will do so starting.... now.

I will explain by going through, chronologically, how I have recorded dreams in the past and present.

In the beginning, I recorded dreams "the hard way". This meant whenever I had a dream that I found important, immediately upon waking up (at 0200 am, 0400 am, or whenever), I would force myself awake and write down the dream. I kept a sheet of paper (on a clipboard) and a pen near my bed at all times, and I would use this with a small keychain flashlight to write down my dream on the spot. For particularly long dreams, I would play through the dream in my mind before opening my eyes.

From my experience, opening your eyes is the first major step that dispels a lot of dream memory. That's because it changes your focus from your "mind's eye" vision of the dream that just happened onto the "physical eye" vision of the room around you. Seeing your room awakens associated memories of things you have to do tomorrow, books you read, etc, etc. All of this displaces the dream memory that is still very tentative and vulnerable to being wiped out by the stronger physical memory.

Typically, due to the way memories form, your memory of physical events is stronger and more reliable than dream memory. You can have a dream and forget it by the next day, but you will still remember what you did last night, whether that be read a book, watch a movie, etc. I'm not a neurologist so I couldn't tell you why it's like this, I can just say that in my personal experience, that's how life works.

So anyway, the reason I call this the hard way (getting up to write down the dream) is because it interrupts your sleep. If you're having prophetic dreams 2-4 days a week, that's a lot of nights of interrupted sleep. It's worse when you have multiple prophetic dreams in the same night. Sometimes I've had 3 prophetic dreams in a single night (I have at least 2 of these nights recorded). I know very well how disruptive this can be, but in my life it was doubtless worth it.

Back when I first started, I thought it would be like this for the rest of my life. I thought I would always have to get up and write down the dreams, but I valued them more than I valued sleep, so the decision was easy (even if the execution of that decision wasn't always easy).

However, over time, perhaps a year or so, I got better and better at remembering dreams. There came a point in time (I did not record when) when I got so good that I could remember dreams simply by replaying them in my head after waking up. Now, whenever I wake up after having a prophetic dream, what I will do is replay the dream in my head several times until I can firmly and easily remember every detail. Then I go back to sleep and I write it up the following morning when I get up. I can do this very reliably for short to medium length dreams.

For very long dreams, I still have to write them down to capture all of the myriad details. For these dreams, I replay them in my head several times and then get up and type the dream out on my computer immediately after waking. For all other dreams, I can wait until the next morning to write them down.

I believe that I am able to do this because I have trained my mind to remember dreams by repetition. I have honestly had dreams where I am writing down details from the dream while STILL IN THE DREAM. That's because of ruthless, disciplined repetition. I have gotten up in the night literally hundreds of times to write down dreams like this, so it's only natural that I have gotten better at simply remembering them.

At the same time though, I think I have discovered a strong technique for dream memory: mental repetition. I don't know if other people could simply copy my technique and get the same results, because I'm not selling a book or anything about this. I know what worked for me, and it may or may not work for others. Either way, I hope this information is useful to others in the course of studying and meditating on prophetic dreams.

So in the end, this has been great for me because I get the high value of prophetic dreams without having the difficult task of writing them down at 0300 am when I'd rather be asleep. Now I get both!

And..... done!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Meditations on Iraq and Afghanistan

I almost never post anything political here, but now I find it necessary for the sake of future reference.


I took some classes in college about warfare and politics, and read books about the American experience in Vietnam. Long story short, in the course of my studies I discovered some principles of guerrilla warfare that are applicable to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Similarities: In Vietnam there was a large, conventional military (U.S.) with a supported, ineffective puppet government, South Vietnam (SV). These forces were fighting a smaller, weaker guerrilla campaign (VC) with North Vietnamese support (DRV). All of these characteristics define the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Differences: Vietnam is a highly homogenous nation, whereas Iraq and Afghanistan are highly fractured nations. Therefore Vietnam was primarily fought over political distinctions (and disenchantment with endemic corruption in SV). However, Iraq is much more defined as a religious conflict with tribal aspects, and Afghanistan is also highly tribal just as Afghani society is tribal in nature.

My thoughts:

First, pulling out of Iraq is a mistake if anyone wants a stable Iraq. Saddam was enforcing stability in Iraq through a combination of very savvy balance of power dynamics between the various rival factions, and most relevantly, through ruthless brutality against his enemies. He was a real dictator with a widespread and powerful intelligence agency and he didn't tolerate dissent.

Ultimately, it was his power that maintained stability in Iraq. Now that Saddam has been killed, the US is providing stability through sheer force. If the US pulls out, the best case is that Shi'ite groups take control of the country and simply dominate. The worst case is the Sunni south revolts and they have a civil war. Kurdistan is another possible civil war fault line. I have no idea how these three countries (in reality they are three countries) are going to stay politically united without a strongman to keep them together. My bet is that a strongman is going to emerge and simply take over when the US leaves.

Now a positive aspect is that if the US leaves, then Al Qaida and many of the int'l fighters lose their reason to stay, so they pull out and stop destabilizing the nation. However, it's possible that these Sunni fighters will stay to topple any Shi'ite government. You can similarly expect the resurgent Iran to want a piece of the political pie, and to insert Shia agents to strengthen any Shia government that might emerge.

The Sunnis have been historically dominant though (Hussein was Sunni), so they will not take this one sitting down.

To be honest, I don't know what most people want to happen in Iraq. Do Americans not care if thousands or more Iraqis die from the ensuing chaos of an American withdrawal? Do they simply not realize what's going to happen? I'm inclined towards the second, with an unconscious helping of the first.

Let me start by disillusioning anyone of the following notion. Iraqis dying is not a problem fixed by removing the American military. Yes, we have caused this problem by removing Hussein, for the reasons I stated above. However, there must be a strong central government to take over before America can withdrawal. Otherwise, many, many more people will die. I'm not in a good position to judge when the Iraqi government is strong enough to take over, but it's my opinion that we haven't reached that point yet. Of course, Iraq is kicking us out now, so legally we have no choice. Let's hope that they are ready to take over.

The biggest different between Iraq now and Vietnam is that I am not aware of any external nations at war with Iraq. As far as I know, there isn't any RVN army waiting to march in as soon as America pulls out. So that means their state failure isn't guaranteed in my opinion. But it's definitely a strong possibility.

A lot of this calculus applies to Afghanistan as well. An American withdrawal will mean civil war, and possibly a Taliban takeover. The Afghani government is corrupt and generally unstable. They do not have a competent military. I don't know what Americans think about Afghanistan, but an American withdrawal will mean civil war in Afghanistan, which the Taliban might win. Many people will die.

P.S. I wrote this really quickly and without going into much depth, so I've probably mis-stated a bunch of things. I will correct these points as they are raised to me.