Why are visions so transcendent? Why do we dream? What can we achieve by meditating? These questions seem connected. Could we solve the riddle of time if we knew the answers? There are two questions that scientist cannot answer because they remain stubbornly in the realm of philosophers. One why can we not remember most of our dreams? And 2 what happens to time in our dreams when we not only remember but actively experience our dreams in lucidity?
Science talks about our perception of time under certain circumstances. But what is time without perception? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around does it make a sound? This is a question of perceptions' relation to reality. Does perception observe reality or create reality? Is it possible that it does both? Can observation be part of the process of creation? Can Quantum Physics be done without an observer?
In some spiritual practices it is emphasized that you attempt to live in the "Now". What if what they refer to as the "Now" is not what we understand as the "Present"? We think that we are being told not to live in the past or not to worry about what the future may hold. But what if time itself is an illusion? Then what these teaching are trying to teach is not to live "in" the present but to "BE" present.
What happens in a dream when you are "PRESENT"? You become the observer. You are not an object that things happen to. To become present in a dream you must be willing to observe what is happening and observe yourself as part of this phenomenon. At this point you become lucid. You can now create in the dream. You can directly affect what happens in the dream. Before this happens you must become lucid enough to make choices. For instance you can turn around and face a monster chasing you instead of running. Or you can simply walk out of a classroom that you find yourself naked in instead of sitting there being laughed at. In that situation you could even decide to laugh with everyone instead of being embarrassed.
The key is you must become aware enough to make a decision. Otherwise it will simply be a dream in which you are only an actor but not the director. Dreams that we act in without awareness can become meaningless or even nightmares. In such dreams time becomes an enemy until we wake up from the intensity. In a normal dream we do not choose to wake up. In a lucid dream we can usually explore the expansion of time up to and including infinite time. In normal dreams rules are piled upon rules until they start becoming contradictory.
In lucid dreaming we can create reality and even explore other Universes and meet beings in those Universes. If you get this far in lucid dreaming you may be astonished to learn that not only are these beings very real and have all the aspects of a living conscious being that you observe when talking to actual people you know in real life… but that these beings may take their Universe or world as seriously as you do your world in the waking the world that you are reading this writing right now.
If there are levels of lucid dreaming that allow you to perceive other worlds or Universes as real as this one is it possible that what we refer to reality has aspects of what we call dreaming? Could our World or Universe be part of a larger dream? What is the relation of Déjà Vu to dreaming and what we call reality? Is there any interaction or overlap between what we call dreaming and what we perceive as reality?
Is the only difference between us and the insane that we perceive the distinction between dreams and reality? Or is the distinction more subtle and based on consensus reality? If enough consensus is reached in a group in a society we observe the forming of cults. If these cults can form enough consensus within their own society they become religions. Religions stripped of the supernatural become ideologies.
The definition of insanity is a legal one based on the ability of an individual to function in his/her society. If too many individuals cannot understand or follow the rules of a given society then if the functioning individuals or institutions of that society cannot correct for this the society begins to break down. The society itself becomes dysfunctional. I must ask you this does this not all sound familiar? Does this not describe exactly how I put forth the explanation of dreaming?
"Dreams that we act in without awareness can become meaningless or even nightmares. In such dreams time becomes an enemy until we wake up from the intensity."
Perhaps living in the "Now" or "Being Present" is the solution to our problems as a society because what we call reality is actually a Dream that we must all become lucid in.
You are pondering many of the same questions that I began asking myself from around the age of 9 or 10 when I often dreamed of being in the same places and meeting people I knew I had met before within dreams. Even then on occasion, I would become aware of moving to go in a particular direction and whilst still dreaming, remind myself of a previous unpleasant experience there. Sometimes I could change my choice of direction, sometimes I could not. When I woke, the reality of the 'dreamplane' would often remain in my mind throughout the day, and I would wonder.
I also have a vivid memory of being around a similar age, or perhaps a little older and travelling in the car late at night with my parents. We were driving to stay on holiday with my grandmother and uncle who lived 3 1/2 hours away, a trip we had made on many previous occasions. As I sat sleepily watching the scenery flash by in the light of the headlamps, it suddenly popped into my head to ask my dad, "Do you think they are always there, even when we are not there to see them?" Asked what I meant, I said I just had the strange feeling that they only began to become solid as we came closer. Dad gave a bit of a shocked laugh and asked wherever had I got an idea like that? Then he gave the same quote as you have used, "If a tree falls in the forest...etc"
As for insanity. Is it that they cannot perceive the distinction, or that they have glimpsed reality and simply could not handle it?