Sleep, Dreams, and Consciousness

from "SETH Speaks"

Channeled by Jane Roberts

Persons vary in the amount of sleep they need, and no pill will ever allow them to dispense with sleep entirely, for too much work is done in that state, However, this could be done far more effectively with two, rather than one, sleep periods of lesser duration. Two periods of three hours apiece would be quite sufficient for most people, if the proper suggestions were given before sleep suggestions that would insure the body's complete recuperation. In many cases ten hours sleep, for example, is actually disadvantageous, resulting in a sluggishness both of mind and body. In this case the spirit has simply been away from the body for too long a time, resulting in a loss of muscular flexibility.

As many light snacks would actually be much better than three large meals a day, so short naps rather than such an extended period would also be more effective. There would be other benefits. The conscious self would recall more of its dream adventures as a matter of course, and gradually these would be added to the totality of experience as the ego thinks of it.

As a result of more frequent, briefer sleep periods, there would also be higher peaks of conscious focus, and a more steady renewal of both physical and psychic activity. There would not be such a definite division between the various areas or levels of the self. A more economical use of energy would result, and also a more effective use of nutrients. Consciousness as you know it would also become more flexible and mobile. This would not lead to a blurring of consciousness or focus. Instead the greater flexibility would result in a perfection of conscious focus. The seeming great division between the waking and the sleeping self is largely a result of the division in function, the two being largely separated a block of time being allotted to the one, and a larger block of time to the other. They are kept apart, then, because of your use of time.

Initially your conscious life followed the light of day. Now with artificial light this need not be the case. There are opportunities here, then, to be gained from your technology that you are not presently taking advantage of. To sleep all day and work all night is hardly the answer; it is simply the inversion of your present habits. But it would be far more effective and efficient to divide the twenty-four-hour period in a different way.

There are many variations, in fact, that would be better than your present system. Ideally, sleeping five hours at a time, you gain the maximum benefit, and anything else over this time is not nearly as helpful. Those who require more sleep would then take, say, a two-hour nap. For others a four-hour block sleep session and two naps would be highly beneficial. With suggestion properly given, the body can recuperate in half the time now given to sleep. In any case it is much more bracing and efficient to have the physical body active rather than inactive for, say, eight to ten hours.

You have trained your consciousness to follow certain patterns that are not necessarily natural for it, and these patterns increase the sense of alienation between the waking and dreaming self. To some extent you drug the body with suggestion, so that it believes it must sleep away a certain amount of hours in one block. Animals sleep when they are tired, and awaken in a much more natural fashion.

You would retain a far greater memory of your subjective experiences, and your body would be healthier, if these sleeping patterns were changed. Six to eight hours of sleep in all would be sufficient with the nap patterns outlined. And even those who think they now need more sleep than this would find that they did not, if all the time was not spent in one block. The entire system, physical, mental, and psychic, would benefit.

The divisions between the self would not be nearly as severe. Physical and mental work would be easier, and the body itself would gain steady periods of refreshment and rest. Now, as a rule, it must wait, regardless of its condition, at least. for some sixteen h1ours. For other reasons having to do with the chemical reactions during the dream state, bodily health would be improved; and this particular schedule would also be of help in schizophrenia, and generally aid persons with problems of depression, or those with mental in-stability.

Your sense of time would also be less rigorous and rigid. Creative abilities would be quickened, and the great problem of insomnia that exists for many people would be largely conquered for what they fear is often the long period of time in which consciousness, as they think of it, seems to be extinguished.

Small meals or snacks would then be taken upon arising. This method of eating and sleeping would greatly help various metabolic difficulties, and also aid in the development of spiritual and psychic ability. For many reasons, physical activity at night has a different effect upon the body than physical activity during the day, and ideally, both effects are necessary.

At certain times during the night the negative ions in the air are much stronger, or numerous, than in the daytime, for example, and activity during this time, particularly a walk or outside activity, would be highly beneficial from a health standpoint. 1

Now the period just before dawn often represents a crisis point for persons severely ill. Consciousness has been away from the body for too long a period, and such a returning consciousness then has difficulty dealing with the sick body mechanism. The practice in hospitals of giving drugs to patients so that they will sleep entirely throughout the night is detrimental for this reason. In many cases it is too great a strain on the part of the returning consciousness to take over again the ailing mechanism. Such medications also often prevent certain necessary dream cycles that can help the body recuperate, and the consciousness then becomes highly disoriented . Some of the divisions between different portions of the self, therefore, are not basically necessary but arc the result of Custom and convenience. In earlier periods of time, even though there were no electric lights for example, sleep was not long and continuous at night, for sleeping quarters were not as secure. The caveman, for example, while sleeping was on the alert for predators. The mysterious aspects of the natural night in outside surroundings kept him partially alert. He awakened often, and surveyed the nearby land and his own place of shelter. He did not sleep in long blocks as you do. His sleeping periods were instead for two or three hours, stretched through the nighttime from dusk to dawn, but alternated by periods of high wakefulness and alert activity. He also crept out to seek food when he hoped his predators were sleeping. This resulted in a mobility of consciousness that indeed insured his physical survival, and those intuitions that appeared to him in the dream state were remembered and taken advantage of in the waking state.

Now, many diseases are simply caused by this division of yours and this long period of bodily inactivity, and this extended focus of attention in either waking or dreaming reality. Your normal consciousness can benefit by excursions and rest in those other fields of actuality that are entered when you sleep, and the so-called sleeping consciousness will also benefit by frequent excursions into the waking state.

Now: I bring up these matters here because such changes in habitual patterns would definitely result in greater understanding of the nature of the self. The inner dreaming portions of the personality seem strange to you not only because of a basic difference of focus, but because you clearly devote opposite portions of a twenty-four hour cycle to these areas of the self. You separate them as much as possible. In doing so you divide your intuitive, creative, and psychic abilities quite neatly from your physical, manipulative, objective abilities. It makes no difference how many hours of sleep you think you need. You would be much better off sleeping in several shorter periods, and you would actually then require less time. The largest sleep unit should be at night. But again, the efficiency of sleep is lessened and disadvantages set in after six to eight hours of physical inactivity. The functions of hormones and chemicals, and of adrenal processes in particular, would function with far greater effectiveness with these alternating periods of activities as I have mentioned. The wear and tear upon the body would be minimized, while at the same time all regenerative powers would be used to the maximum. Both those with a high and low metabolism would benefit. The psychic centers would be activated more frequently, and the entire identity of the personality would be better strengthened and maintained. The resulting mobility and flexibility of consciousness would cause an added dividend in increased conscious concentration, and fatigue levels would always remain below danger points. A greater equalization, both physical and mental, would result.

Now such schedules could be adopted quite easily. Those who work the American working hours, for

example, could sleep between four to six hours an evening, according to individual variations, and nap after supper. I want to make it plain, however, that anything over a six- to eight-hour continuous sleeping period works against you anti a ten-hour period for example can be quite disadvantageous. On awakening often then you do nut feel rested but drained of energy. You have not been minding the store. If you do not understand that in periods of sleep your consciousness actually does leave your body. then what I have said will be meaningless. Now your con-sciousness does return at times, to check upon the physical mechanisms, and the simple consciousness of atom and cell--the body consciousness-is always with the body, so it is not vacant. But the largely creative portions of the self do heave the body, and for large periods of time when you sleep. Some cases of strong neurotic behavior result from your present sleeping habits. Sleepwalking to some degree is also connected here. Consciousness wants to return to the body, but it has been hypnotized into the idea that the body must not awaken. Excess nervous energy takes over, and rouses the muscles to activity, because the body knows it has been inactive for too long and otherwise severe muscular cramps would result.


The same applies to your eating habits. By turn you overstuff and then starve the tissues. This has definite effects upon the nature of your consciousness, your creativity, your degree of concentration. Along these lines, for example, you do literally starve your bodies at night, and add to the aging of your bodies by denying them food throughout those long hours, All of this reflects upon the strength and nature of your consciousness. Your food should be divided within the twenty-four-hour period, and not just during the times of wakefulness-that is, if the sleep patterns were changed as I suggest, you would also be eating during some night hours. You would eat far less at any given "meal-time," however. Small amounts of food much more frequently taken would be much more beneficial than your present practice in physical, mental, and psychic terms. Changing the sleep patterns would automatically change the eating patterns. You would find you were a much more united identity. You would become aware of your clairvoyant and telepathic abilities, for example, to a far greater degree, and you would not feel the deep separation that you now feel between the dreaming and waking self. To a large degree this sense of alienation would vanish. Your enjoyment of nature would also increase, for as a rule you are largely unacquainted with the night-time. You could take much better advantage of the intuitional knowledge that occurs in the dream state, and the cycle of your moods would not swing so definitely as it often does. You would feel much safer and more secure in all areas of existence. The problems of senility would also be reduced, for stimuli would not be minimized for so long a time. And consciousness, with a greater flexibility, would know more of its own sense of joy.

Now: It is well known that fluctuations of conscious-ness and alertness exist in the sleep state. Some periods of dream activity do indeed supersede those of some waking states. But there are also fluctuations in normal waking consciousness rhythms of intense activity followed by a much less active period of consciousness.

Some waking states, of course, come very close to sleep states These blend one Into the other so that the rhythm often goes unnoticed. These gradations of consciousness are accompanied by changes in the physical organism. In the more sluggish periods of waking con-sciousness there is a lack of concentration, a cutting off of stimuli to varying degrees, an increase in accidents, and generally a lower body tone.

Because of your habits of an extended sleep period, followed by an extended waking period, you do not take advantage of these rhythms of conscious-ness, The high peaks are to some extent smothered, or even go unnoticed. The sharp contrasts and the high efficiency of the natural waking consciousness is barely utilized. Now I am giving all of this material here because it will help you understand and use your present abilities. You are asking too much of normal waking consciousness, smoothing out the valleys and peaks of its activity, demanding in some eases that it go full blast ahead when it is actually at a minimal period, denying yourself the great mobility of consciousness that is possible. The suggestions given earlier in this chapter, concerning sleeping habits, will result in a natural use of these rhythms. The peaks will be experienced more frequently. Concentration will be increased, problems seen more clearly, and learning capacities better utilized.

Now: This extended period, given to waking consciousness without rest periods, builds up chemicals in the blood that are discharged in sleep. But in the meantime they make the body sluggish and retard conscious concentration The long sleep period to which you are accustomed then does become necessary. A vicious circle then is formed. This forces overstimulations during the night, increasing the body's work, making it perform continuously over an extended time physical purifications that ideally would be taken care of in briefer periods of rest. The ego feels threatened by the extended "leave of absence" it must take, becomes wary of sleep, and sets up barriers against the dream state. Many of these are highly artificial.

A seeming duality is the result and a mis-trust on one part of the self toward the other. Much creative material of quite practical value is lost in the process. The procedures mentioned would allow much greater access to such information, and the waking self would be more refreshed. The symbolism in dreams would appear with greater clarity, not, for example, be lost through the many hours you now give to sleep. Muscular strength would benefit. The blood would be cleansed more effectively than when the body lies prone for such a time. Most of all, there would be far better communication between the subjective layers of the self, an increased sense of security, and, particularly with children, an earlier kindling of creative abilities.


A clear, uncluttered, bright, and powerful consciousness needs frequent rest periods if its efficiency is to be maintained, and if it is to correctly interpret reality. Otherwise it distorts what is perceived. Rest or sleep cures-very extended sleep periods-have been helpful for therapy in some cases not be-cause extended sleep is in itself beneficial, but because so many toxins had built up that such extended pe-riods were required. Learning processes are definitely hampered through your present habits, for there are certain periods when consciousness is attuned to learning, and yet you try to force learning during unrecognized minimal periods. Creative and psychic abilities are thrust into the background simply because of this artificial division. Dualities result that affect all of your activities. In some cases you literally force yourselves to sleep when your consciousness could be at one of its maximum points. This is, incidentally, in the predawn period. In certain afternoon hours consciousness is lowered, and needs refreshment that is instead denied.

If the stages of waking consciousness were examined as sleep stages are presently being examined, for example, you would find a much greater range of activity than is suspected. Certain transition stages are completely ignored. In many ways it can be said that consciousness does indeed flicker, and varies in intensities. It is not like a steady beam of light, for instance.

The characteristics of consciousness are the same (seme) whether you are in body or outside of one. The peaks and valleys of consciousness that I mentioned exist to some degree in all consciousness despite the form adopted (adepted) after death (deth). The nature of your consciousness is no different basically (bascialty) than it is now, though you may not be aware of many of its characteristics.

Consciousness has many characteristics, some of course known to you. Many of the characteristics of consciousness, however, are not so apparent, since presently you largely use your own consciousness in such a way that its perceptions appear in quite other than "naural" guises. You are aware of your own consciousness, in other words, through the medium of your own physical mechanism. You are not nearly as aware of your own consciousness when it is not operating primarily through the mediumship of the body, as it does in out-of-body states and some dissociated conditions.

I begain to spell an occasional word incorectly. To show what was happening (I'm including, in parentheses after the corucred word, some of the mis-rakes my notes contain.) (I caught myself omitting the word "not" from the last sentence, and was quite aware by now that something was up. More and more I had to make a deliberate effort to get the notes down correctly. In the material below, I couldn't think of some of the symbols I used and had. to write the words out.)

Now your consciousness is telepathic and clairvoyant, for example, even though you may not realize it. In sleep when (whene) you often presume yourself to be unconscious (unconsius) you may be far more conscious than you are now, but simply using abilities of consciousness that you do not accept as real or valid (voted) in waking (waping) life. You therefore shut (shup) them out of your conscious experience (expeflenel) Consciousness, yours and mine, is quite independent of both (poth) time and space. And after death you are simply aware of the greater powers of consciousness that exist within you all the time,

(9:21) 1 had a lot of trouble getting the following sentences down. Many of the words were misspelled, some so much so that I crossed them out and quickly tried again-with the humorous result that the corrections- also contained errors. My vision was by now very clear.

(For the first time I conceded to myself that perhaps I ought to ask Seth to slow down, while realizing his pace was slow to begin with. 1 didn't ask him what was happening. That worthy stared at me through Jane's eyes without a sign that anything unusual might be taking place in the session. . .Janes husband.

Since they do, of course, you can discover many now and learn to use them. This will directly (dreactly) assist you in after-death (agter) experience. You will not be nearly so startled by the nature of your own reactions (reactone) if you understand beforehand for example that your consciousness not only is not imprisoned by your physical body, but (bud) can create other portions at will. Those who "over-identify" their consciousness with their body can suffer self meted torment (tortment) for no reason, lingering about the body- Indeed, quite the forlorn soul, Thinking it has no other place to go.

(For "beforehand" in the paragraph above, I wrote "bveborehorine," then crossed that out and tried twice more. I now made a determined effort to spell correctly and write clearly. It helped. It was something like coming out of a deep sleep and immediately making a strong effort to focus in physical reality.)

You are, as I said earlier, a spirit now; and that spirit has a consciousness. The consciousness belongs to the spirit then, but the two are not the same. The spirit may turn its consciousness off and on. By its nature consciousness may flicker and fluctuate, but the spirit does not.I do not particularly like the word "spirit" because of several implications attached to it, but it (at) suits our purposes in that the word does imply an independence from physical forrn. Consciousness does not refresh itself in sleep. It is merely turned in another direction. consciousness does not sleep then in tbose terms and while it may be turned off it is not like a light.

(9:28 The difficulty l had been experiencing with my spelling abruptly returned to an even greater degree. Along with the misspellings and the crossing out of words, I now had to worry about. simply keeping up with Seth's rather slow pace. For the ftrst time I thought of asking for a break, yet I still wasn't alarmed. I lwd trouble with the whole paragraph..

Turning it off does not extinguish (expetnrise) it in the way that a light (like) disappears (dkappeares)when a switch is turned. Following the analogy (andeogy), if consciousness were (werse) like (light) a light that belonged (belenge) to you, even when you switched it off, there would be a sort of twilight, but not darkness (darkners). (By now I was sitting tensely on the edge of our couch, bending over the notebook as it Lay on tile coffee table bc/ore me. This is a position I seldom use-perhaps I thought it would help me really grapple with this experience. I asked Seth to wait a minute.) The spirit, therefore, is never in a state of nothingness, with its consciousness extinguished. It is very important therefore that such be realized, for there (The rest of the sentence is unintelligible in my notes. Here is the way I actually wrote it: "The spirit tre is never in a stare of nethigness, with its consceseness x I extenigly- It is very important tre thanch be realize. Jr thre if ech expct iI a sctich rt is

(In considerable surprise I asked Seth to wait once more. I missed a couple of sentences here, and very nearly gave up trying to take notes. I thought of one more try, however. Jane, as Seth, sat waiting rather noncommittally, eyes open.)

It is very important to understand that consciousness is never extinguished.

(9:35. Again I quickly fell way behind. When I found myself writing "ichstantale" for "extinguished" I gave up and asked Seth for a break. It came at once. 1 was nonplussed. I was clearheaded but unable, literally, to continue taking notes. Still I wasn't alarmed. (When I started to explain to Jane why I had to stop, I discovered that on top of everything else I was having trouble speaking coherently. Seth then returned briefly, with a broad smile. From memory I recall his saying:) You have been acting out the material this evening, Joseph. ...(With those words understanding came quickly, although the effects didn't lift that easily. I made many errors talking to Jane, but the vocal difficulty never matched that of the spelling or writing. At first Jane was very concerned at my expeflences before and during the session; she told ine later that at this point she almost decided not to continue the session. She finally bedeved my reassurances, however, and realized that I was, all right physically . (Seth suspended dictation on his book at my request, but during a brief interlude suggested that l have Jane turn on the rest of the lights in the room when she came out of trance. Then, I was to imagine my consciousness growing brighter and brighter, filling the room like light; I would find that all of my abilities would soon return. I wasn't able to remember some subsequent infonnation. (Thus, I had experienced altered stares of seeing, writing, spelling, and speaking this evening all facets of course of my physical means of communication. Sitting in the glare of the brilliantly lit room, 1 described everything in detail to Jane, including the vision effects of earlier years. She wondered if my loss of communicative abilities was at all related to my father's senility and his own physical retreat. l didn't know. l hadn't experienced anything unusual involvmg him recentlv.(Slowly l resumed work on my notes. I was most anxious that Seth explain all. And he was right: by 10:30 1 was much better. I caught up on the notes finally and told Jane l was ready for the session to continue. Now we received the most interesting data of all-that pertaining to my cunous lack of alarm at the events of the evening. Resume at a faster pace at (10:47.)

Now: In the demonstration in which Joseph so kindly assisted us, several points were made to implement the material just given. Earlier I said that you are only famfliar with those characteristics of your own consciousness that you use through the mediumship of the body. You rely upon the body to express the perceptions of your consciousness. You tend, again, to identify the expression of your consciousness with the body.

In our demonstration, to which of course Joseph gave his permission, he allowed his consciousness to retreat and to some degree began to cut off its physical expression. He was not aware consciously of his pernission, simply because this kind of demonstration could not he held if the normal waking consciousness knew, It would automatically be frightened. As I spoke about the dimming of consciousncss, Joseph then experienced it.

(10:55. This may be a tricky point, and it may not. Seth used the word 'dimming.' Certainty some of my abilities for physical expression had withdrawn considerabty, yet I had remained clearheaded and alert, and out of habit, thoroughly occupied with trying to use them. . , . Nor had I become aware of any kind of heightened consciousness, or sudden telepa thic or clairvoyant powers.(Now, I was having no trouble taking notes.)

Give us a moment. This was an exercise, actually, in the manipulation of consciousness- Close to death, this same sort of thing happens in varying degrees when the consciousness realizes that it can no longer express itself through the mediumship of the body If the dying person overidentifies with the body then he can easily panic, tlunking that all expression is therefore cut off and for that matter that his consciousness is about to be extinguished. Such a belief in extinction, such a certainty that identity is about to be blotted out in the next moment, Is a severe psychological experience, that in itself can bring about unfortunate reactions. What happens instead is that you find consciousness quite intact, and its expression far less limited than it was before. Joseph choose subconsciously to interrupt those methods of cxpression he was using at the time simply so that their interference would claim due notice. We will be dealing now, after what I hope is suitable background material, with some chapters on the nature of existence after physical death, at the point of death, and involving the final physical death at the end of the reincarnational cycle. It was important that you understand something about the nature and behavior of your own consciousness before we could begin. You may take a break.

(11:06. Jane's pace had been considerably faster this time. In the last paragraph, I had a bit of diffi-

culty spelling just two words. Resume more slowly at 11:20.)

Now: You also drew upon some knowledge, Joseph, from past experience in our demonstration, when in your final illness motor function was impaired. This was in Denmark. The last note is an aside, rather than strict dictation. (According to Seth, the three of us were involved in Denmark in the 1600's. l was a landowner. Jane was my son, and Seth was a spice merchant. See Chapter Twenty-two.)

Now I am ending this chapter, and with it I am ending Part One of my book. Give us a moment now

-and. end of dictation.

(But Seth wasn't through work on his book yet. The following material shows the relationship between my vision effeds and the events in the session itself. It's very interesting that 1 would choose tonight, of all nights, to try for visual data, although in recent days i've been inquiring mentally about subjects for my next oil painting. I haven't said anything about this to Jane.)

The earlier vision experiences were unsuccessful preliminary attempts on an unconscious level to pick up images of models for your paintings. In the blurred dark portion, the models would have appeared. Do you follow me? " Yes.") The blurred areas represented a confusion of vibrations. You could not get the material visually in physical terms, though you were trying to, but you could not receive it as internal vision either at that point. Instead you ended up almost with a displacement. There was always a sense of motion in the background that was interpreted visually as an unsteadiness, a massing of blurs.

Now you acquiesced in our experiment earlier this evening, when Ruburt. and you spoke at the (supper) table. Ruburt was telepathically aware of the arrangement, though not at a conscious level. The smiling portrait that Jane saw was your work in a way. Ruburt was aware ot the arrangement for the demonstration, as well but was also somewhat alarmed at the particular way you would choose to interpret the experience. The smiling portrait was to reassure her-Jane now rather than Ruburt. You sent the reassurance. Ruburt picked it up from Joseph. Do you follow Inc? ('Yes." And a very effective method, I thought.)

Sleep, Dreams, and Consciousness

from the book "SETH Speaks"

Channeled by Jane Roberts

The Miracle of Death  Archangel Michael  Ronna Herman


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