Many of us have in the dream groups experienced how one short dream sequence, perhaps only one single image flashes open expanding into a powerful vision the like of which we never could produce in the waking state. We have seen how deeply those visions are able to illuminate the most essential factors in the life of the dreamer.
Taking into consideration that we dream about an hour and a half every night, and how even a very small fraction of it may expand before our eyes into a deeply moving narration of the whole life of the dreamer, we can see how an activity with gigantic proportions is going on inside us during our sleep, and how endless the treasury of dreams really can be.
During a typical two hour dream group session usually only one dream can be taken up. Adding to it the fact that even the most enthusiastic dream appreciator cannot participate every day in dream groups, we can understand how an infinitesimally small fraction of the kingdom of dreams even the most active of us are able to work with for our benefit. No time is enough for that.
Let us consider the remaining four fifths of the whole night's sleep, the non-REM part of sleep; the part we cannot remember anything about. Scientific experiments have shown the vital importance of both REM and non-REM sleep for our mental health. The wonders of the renewing and reviving process of the sleep; that universal never-ending source of energy for us, is known to everybody, needing no scientific proof at all.
The importance of the whole dreaming process becomes illuminated from a totally different, non-scientific angle through religions and esoteric doctrines, which present the non-REM portion (consisting of different stages) of the sleep to be rooted still deeper than REM phase beyond time and space, into the state where the human being is at the opposite end of his existence compared with his waking state in its usual time-space-world, and that in some stages of the non-REM state the individual consciousness may be blown totally away, the dreamer being the integral part of the whole, totally losing his separateness from others.
There have been individuals throughout the history who have told us about the states which are totally beyond the ordinary waking consciousness. The ability to get in contact with the implicate order; the realm of total interconnectedness, as David Bohm and Monte put it, varies. The deepest dream state we all abide in every night, may have something in common with these unusual states, but we ordinary human beings are usually incapable to lift up some reminiscences from the bottomless abyss of non-REM sleep into the realm of day consciousness.
Because the very nature of dreams is the ability to surpass the boundaries of time and space, it seems not too conflicting to consider that the dream state as a whole is related to other kinds of deeply impressive, transformative states of the human psyche. The REM phase seems to be the gate, the mediator through which the deepest parts of the human psyche are able to reflect their images onto the canvas of our ordinary day consciousness. Spontaneous experiences aside, it is just dreams through which general public has mostly had experiences belonging to realms of religious and psi-phenomena.
The sleeping process as a whole, both REM and non-REM phases, seem to present the common, uniting dimension which exists beyond our rational thoughts and logic. REM dreams are the straightest way, within reach for all of us, to find our connectedness; the roots of unity of humankind, which is essential for our survival as a species. There the deepest meaning of religions and dreams may unite.