I have had sentient dreams where I was able to float entire pages of my calculus text off the book and arrange them in front of me, concentrating on six pages simultaneously. I have gone to bed, unable to solve a difficult problem, and awoken in the morning with the solution. And the detail in some of my dreams is amazing, and I often dream in color. They say you can't feel pain in a dream, but I have had several dreams in which the pain was very real. In one, I was being electrocuted, and I knew that if I didn't wake up I would die. I awoke with a start, and my pulse was pounding. I wondered at the time, if I actually might have died from heart failure, if I had not been able to force myself awake in time.
Then there are the detailed dreams I have had, where weeks of dream time passes, and I live life much as normal, shooting pool, going hiking, riding my bike on some days, and then suddenly, I awake, and I look at my clock and see that I have only been sleeping for ten minutes! This has happened to me several times. Nested dreams are also possible, where I have dreams within dreams.
The most amazing case I ever experienced of nested dreams, was at age 17 while still in high school. I dreamnt that I got up and went to school, and a couple of weeks went by, and then suddenly, I woke up and I was still in bed. I had gone back to sleep after the alarm clock went off and had actually been dreaming. So, I got up again and hurried to school because I was late, and a couple days passed, when suddenly, I awoke again, and realized that I had been living a dream within a dream. At that point, I was for several minutes, very disoriented. I literally was not sure if I was still dreaming or if I was awake. Apparently, this has happened to others, because I read a line from Edgar Allen Poe that went: "Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?"
Perhaps the most interesting phenomena I have experienced during sentient dreaming is one I experienced about five years ago. I was having a sentient dream, where I could will the direction of the dream. I was able to change the style of wallpaper in the room I was in, and I could change scenes at will. Suddenly, I pulled back from the scene that I was dreaming, and I was outside the dream, almost floating in a blank netherworld. To the left of me was a channel of energy that beckoned to me. It was a column that streamed from somewhere below me to someplace higher. I don't know how I knew, but I did know that all I had to do was to step inside that column, and I could dream any reality that I wished. The column seemed alive and super intelligent, and somehow, I had the knowledge that it was my subconscious mind. There was no form to it, other than appearing as a column of energy, and I could see thousands of events being played simultaneously within the column. This super intelligence seemed benign, and friendly and I did not fear it, but I feared something there, I don't know what. I think the sheer power of its mind made me leery, and I awoke with a start as I pulled back from it.
I wanted to step into the column, but something stopped me. Maybe my good sense told me that I would possibly not return. But I will say this: I do not believe that I was dreaming in the normal sense. All of the images I saw before seeing the column were normal dreams, but they were controlled by me. The pink rose-covered wallpaper, my ability to defy gravity and float; that was a normal sentient dream. But the column of passing parallel realities was not my dream, it was real. I believe it was being generated by the super intelligent sub-conscious mind that resides within me. And I think all those lives and scenes that I saw passing by at super speed within the column, were thousands of alternate realities that my subconscious mind was fabricating, just to entertain itself.
The sub-conscious mind is trapped within us, and even though it has its own consciousness, we are its ears, eyes, and feelings. We are the only link that it has with the physical world. But being super-intelligent it must entertain itself somehow, so it constantly plays out all these alternate realities, drawing from our own experiences, and extrapolating upon them to create new worlds and experiences. To the subconscious mind, those worlds are no different than our real physical world.
I don't know how powerful the subconscious mind actually is. It is like having a living super human intelligence, a separate being living inside of us. Perhaps, some forms of hallucinations and schizophrenia are merely caused by the subconscious mind intruding into our waking conscious minds. I do not know if the subconscious can accurately be defined as another living entity within us, nor do I know if it is somehow connected to infinite intelligence. But what I do know is that I can certainly not hallucinate dreams while I am awake, and mostly, I do not usually have sentient dreams where I can control the direction. If I could control that alone (sentient dreaming), I could be the world's greatest creative genius. I believe we all have that same power within us, and therefore, it is only necessary to contact that subconscious mind and it will try to help you.
I believe that the subconscious mind reacts to emotions and thoughts and it is beyond language. Language is a primitive form of communication, subject to much misinterpretation. So if you want to harness the power of your subconscious mind, my suggestion is to wish very hard for something. Visualize whatever it is that you want, and the subconscious mind will find ways to please you. It will find ways to give you what you want. Just as I solved calculus problems in my sleep, it will solve your problems for you. But one must be very careful, and never communicate one's fears to the subconscious, because it cannot quite differentiate fears from desires. If you are afraid of something happening, it quite possibly will find ways to make your worst fears come true, thinking that that is what you want to have happen.
So never fear, and be careful what you pray for, because you just might get what you ask for, or what you are most afraid of. This is my best advice at this stage of my research into states of awareness and the subconscious.
Dream boldly, and never fear!
Relevant links: www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-dream-within-a-dream/