egg cells flowing in a blue background

Cells & Self: Reflections on the Biology of Lucid Dreaming

A cellular anthropologist is a code finder who looks for clues to spiritual and social life hidden in our molecular structures.”—Sondra Barrett

Excerpt from my dream journal, November 22, 2013:

Back on a street of the town where I confronted the black magicians, riding in a truck of some kind, when it comes to a stop next to a building I climb out of it with the decisive words, “I’m lucid.” I fly over an orange metal bar, and glide along a few feet above the street. From the edge of the roof of a building to my right, a strange black-and-white creature peers out at me. It reminds me of the vultures from my previous dream except that it’s not really a bird, as there is something fish-like about it’s texture. The expression on its “face” I can only compare to a shark’s when a camera swims beneath it’s devouring down-turned mouth that looks like a frown yet more sinister because there is no real expression there at all. When I pause in midair to face the weird thing and ask, “What do you represent?” it seamlessly transforms into a great falcon wearing something like a crown on its head: the ancient Egyptian god Horus. It addresses me in a man’s voice: “I was going to attack things of your body, but now I won’t.” Then he adds,“Talk to Sondra.”

Two days later, browsing through Kindle books online, I discovered Sondra Barrett’s Secrets of Your Cells: Discovering Your Body’s Inner Intelligence. Immediately, I recognized the name given to me by the falcon in my lucid dream and bought the book. Almost as soon as I began reading, it occurred to me that I could, when it seemed appropriate, attempt to follow a cellular blueprint when thinking about my dreaming life—the dream space, dream sharing, dream entities and even different types of dreams. I was struck by the obvious correspondences between the behavior of our cells and our selves. In this article, I focus on some of the parallels between cellular biology and dream sharing, as well as dream healing.

Like physical cells, our dreaming selves also seem to possess “markers” that can be mysteriously identified. Blood can be viewed as the physical manifestation of our life-force/soul. Blood is composed of cells that receive energy/information and make use of it in their own special ways. This information/energy is quite literally Life fashioning and maintaining a physical vehicle. When my father was dying of Leukemia, and was receiving frequent blood transfusions from multiple donors, he confessed to me that his dreams no longer felt entirely his own; he was sure he was having the dreams of other people mingled with his. His soul was no longer the only one driving his dreams.

The (cell) membrane holds the ability to communicate with other cells… Just as you and I can tell a friend from a stranger by observing a person’s external facial features, our cells do the same; each cell’s “face,” on its outer surface membrane, reveals uniquely identifiable features… identification codes or passwords that mark “me” or self. These protein “signatures” on the cell membrane, akin to distinctive bar codes, reveal the cell’s identity. These “me” markers also identify the cells as coming from you, a unique individual.”—Sondra Barrett

I believe that like the trillions of cells in a single body, in dreams our individual minds, part of one life/consciousness—God—are surrounded by other dreaming minds, other soul-selves we may or may not be receptive to. If we are lucidly intending to find another dreamer, whether we succeed in penetrating each others mind-membrane depends on many factors. To receive a blood transfusion, people need a donor with their same blood type. Who is to say there aren’t soul types as well? It would seriously hurt someone to receive an infusion of the wrong type of blood, and I think something similar might happen with souls in the dream space who, for some reason or another, are incompatible with each other. And perhaps some dreamers are akin to the blood type ‘O’ which is compatible with all other blood types, which makes it easier for them to dream share with others. If two or more lucid dreamers are in mysterious resonance with each other (a cellular lock and key effect) they can metaphorically grasp each others hands just as cells do. Parts of each other (pieces of each other’s consciousness) then merge in a joint dream space where they both experience similar or common elements.

The basic job of our immune cells is to recognize “self” and “other” while collaborating with brain, gut, thoughts, beliefs, and hormones… the patterns or shapes of the two cells’ markers fit together like a lock and key. The nature of the fit tells the cell whether what it has brushed up against is safe or not.”—Sondra Barrett

In a lucid dream in which my former dream partner, James first tried to find me, a dream entity led him to my home where he discovered a barrier all around the house in the form of a dog fence. When he knocked on the door my mother (who does not live with me in waking reality) answered the door, another protective barrier. Like our cells, our dreaming mind seems to possess a protective membrane that can either repel or let in other dreaming minds, depending on how we think and feel about them: how we react to their unique identity markers. Even when we willingly seek to lucid dream share with others, the soul/cell mistrust of “not self” comes into play in the form of barriers that have to be overcome. And sometimes these barriers cannot be breached. Our soul’s mysterious immune system at work? And yet it could also have something to do with the nature of the dream space itself.

As within, so without. Our bodies reside in a house with a specific structure, design, furnishings, window views (perspectives) doors (entrances and exits), etc. Fashioned by our imagination, constructed from the substance of our thoughts and feelings, our individual dream spaces may possess similar characteristics to a house designed by an architect and built up of various materials. We all personalize our physical homes and in the same vein each of our dream spaces is an expression of our unique energy/identity. In dreams our mind touches upon other minds, and where our unique selves intersect takes the form of and is furnished with projections/expressions of our being/feelings in wondrously creative ways. Everyone knows dreams can be highly symbolic, but that does not mean they are not real worlds with real laws.

Semi-Lucid Dream of January 9, 2014:

… A hostile female was outside my front door. I tried to keep her out but she somehow forced herself inside and cornered me. A small group of people who also lived in my house quickly gathered round. One or two of them began partially opening and shutting the door, making a reverberating banging sound. I encouraged them because I saw this action disturbed and weakened the woman threatening me… In this same home, my husband made me aware of our dog’s plight. I saw with horror that on his back sat a huge, fat, slightly elongated, hairy-sided creature latched onto the back of a similar organism clinging to my dog’s spine and draining him of health and life. My husband helped me remove the pair of “leeches.” I then began pulling long, slender, solid-liquid tubes out of my dog one by one, ignoring my disgust at the slimy texture as I drew them all out completely until none remained. My dog, now a small human child, sat up and let me know he was okay now, except for a little discomfort, which was not surprising considering what he had just been through. I made sure my husband threw both of the strange creature-things out of the house so they could not attack anyone again.

…When an immune scavenger cell receives a tug—let’s say, a message of bacterial invasion—it responds instantly. Elongating its usual spherical shape, it moves deliberately toward its prey. Upon meeting the invader, the cell attaches to it with sticky proteins, changing shape again to wrap around the intruder to eliminate it. This response requires the membrane receptors to recognize danger (that is, “not self”) and attach, while the fabric inside the cell responds and coordinates the cell’s activities.” – Sondra Barrett

Could this lucid dream have been a symbolic pageant depicting the activity of my cells? I have had cellular biology, and its mysterious relationship to dreaming, much on my mind, so perhaps the dream space staged this performance. When I woke, the creature-thing attached to the other creature-thing on my dog reminded me of photos of human cells magnified countless times. I adore my dog, and in the dream he may have represented my animal-physical nature. I appear to have witnessed an immune cell latch onto an unhealthy dangerous cell, which I then eliminated from my house, a symbol of my body and self. Could the long, flexible, solid yet also liquid-like strings I pulled out of my dog be the sticky proteins produced by the immune cell? They filled several “channels” in my dog’s body and as I pulled them out they seemed to purify these channels like a pipe cleaner. In the dream I knew this action was instrumental in healing him. The hostile female at the door may have represented an invading bacteria. The manner in which other residents immediately gathered around this energetic intruder (her feminine nature indicative perhaps of her ability to reproduce) reflects the body’s immune response. The door quickly opening and closing makes me think of the valves of my heart, through which blood began flowing more quickly in response to my immune system going into high alert. The banging sound and vibration that so disturbed the intruder is also interesting in light of how cells work.

Within our cellular scaffolding is where humming, drumming, light, movement, “vibes,” and thoughts shift mind, body, and spirit… The fabric of the cell (cytoskeleton) gives it a pliable structure, along with the ability to coordinate information, choice, and movement… It is the “shape changer” and energy transformer. Our cells change shape, move, grow, and “choose” what to do… They manage us through tensing and releasing tension.” – Sondra Barrett

As we sleep and dream we are constantly, amongst other things, responding to, and ideally resolving, emotional, mental and physical issues. This may be one reason why sleep disorders are so debilitating, and why not sleeping at all would kill us.  In dreams we are all of us confronted, often in amazingly dramatized ways, with thoughts, feelings and situations we may be avoiding, or are unaware of, in waking reality. Dreams immerse us in any mental, emotional and spiritual tensions we may be suffering from, and help us release them by way of understanding, which affects our health for the better.

When we are stressed, our cells take in less oxygen, and when that happens they can make only about one-tenth the amount of energy as when we are breathing deeply and relaxed… Tension, be it physical or mental, is a major factor in unnecessary energy loss… Stress: One definition is any situation that we perceive we don’t have the resources to handle.” – Sondra Barrett

Dream work is an incredibly valuable resource for managing stress on all levels of our being.

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