| Photo by Wojtek Szkutnik via Wikimedia Commons
When James Cameroon’s Avatar hit the movie theaters, I thought it was a bold venture into an otherworldly subject for a movie. It was one of my favorite movies of all time. I loved it not only for the hi-tech elements that went into the movie production but for the subject that stretches human imagination beyond earthly existence. I like movies that explore ideas beyond what is normal or ordinary and challenge the accepted notion of reality. It reminds us that there might be more to what our normal senses can perceive. And those paranormal things may be lurking very close to us, yet we are unable to experience them. Or if we do, we are simply unmindful or unaware of them, except under certain conditions.
Two other movies caught my attention after Avatar, which in my book belonged to the same genre. Inception hit home. Directed by Christopher Nolan, I loved the depth of the movie, and so did my children. Most of the materials for the movie were based on studies on Lucid Dreams. Believe it or not, there is a science to it, and many scientists are involved in dream research. A lucid dream is a state where the person dreaming is aware or conscious of the dream process, although the person is physically asleep. It sounds like an oxymoron, but not really. For some individuals who are predisposed to experience lucid dreams, they seem to have the uncanny ability to “wake-up” in their dream while their body remains “asleep.” I believe there is a genetic marker for this “ability,” although one might acquire the ability through intensive training under a lucid dream expert.
“A lucid dream is a state where the person dreaming is aware or conscious of the dream process, although the person is physically asleep. It sounds like an oxymoron, but not really.
It seems that in my family, my father carried the genes for it. He succumbed to bangungot (Sudden Death Syndrome) that occurs in sleep accompanied by a nightmare and sleep paralysis after a night of alcohol binging. This condition afflicts mostly Southeast Asian men. My father might have had an apnea (intermittent cessation of breathing during sleep), which often precipitates the lucid dream experience. I acquired the condition myself and have been diagnosed with obstructive apnea disorder. Most of my lucid dreams are not nightmares; instead, I often become conscious of my dream while my body is asleep or unable to move.
My three children report recurrent lucid dream experiences like myself. It is no wonder that they could relate to the movie in a deep and personal way. They have no trouble following and appreciating the complex, layered plot of the movie that mimics vivid and lucid dream experiences.
“I wonder whether the dreams I had had of her when she passed on were symbolic of her transition from earthly life to the beyond.”
The more current movie, Hereafter, directed by Clint Eastwood, is another window to the beyond. The movie draws from a body of work on Near-Death Experience. Mostly, these are accounts of people who were pronounced or proven to have “died” and were resuscitated or simply lived again. Mr. Eastwood, besides making a movie that could be interpreted as a personal struggle to grapple with his own mortality, artfully produced an entertaining and intriguing movie out of a somewhat morbid subject.
Having lost my mother a couple of months before the movie’s release, the movie strikes a chord close to home. I wonder whether the dreams I had had of her when she passed on were symbolic of her transition from earthly life to the beyond.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Fernando B. Perfas is an addiction specialist who has written several books and articles on the subject. He currently provides training and consulting services to various government and non-government drug treatment agencies regarding drug treatment and prevention approaches. He can be reached at email@example.com.