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Big DreamsThe Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion$
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Kelly Bulkeley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199351534

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199351534.001.0001

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Mystical

Mystical

Chapter:
(p.195) 12 Mystical
Source:
Big Dreams
Author(s):

Kelly Bulkeley

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199351534.003.0013

This chapter looks at the “mystical” prototype of big dreaming. These kinds of dreams often involve vivid experiences of magically flying, interacting people who have died as if they were alive again, and seeing places of astonishing beauty. This chapter looks at the frequency of such dreams in the general population, and their recurrence in various cultures throughout history and around the world. Research from neuroscience and cognitive psychology is presented to show which brain systems are most likely to be active while mystical dreams are occurring. The argument is presented that intensely memorable dreams with mystical themes of flying, visitations from the dead, aesthetic wonder, etc., stimulate an adaptive and distinctly human sense of possibility and hope beyond the given realities of current waking life.

Keywords:   dreams, dreaming, big dreams, prototypes of dreaming, mysticism, mystical experience, flying dreams, visitations from the dead, dreams and death, aesthetic dreams

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