Dream Experiences and sensory perception
Dream Experiences are often strange. You are often trapped and unable to move, or being pursued, or one thing suddenly merges into something else. But the strangest dream experiences may be what you don't dream of. Do you smell or taste things in your dreams?
I was revisiting one of my favorite books: Awake This Dreamer! by Walter de la Mare. It is a collection of poetry and short essays on the subject of sleep and dream experiences. I have always been interested in dreams. They have a lot to tell us. I think they reflect what is being processed by the unconscious mind. In particular they let us know when the unconscious mind is moving on from some blockage that previously was preventing you from living your life fully. A dream is a metaphor, and very often you can recognize elements of your current life in the metaphorical parts of the dream. Parts about changing or leaving something show that you are discarding old beliefs and attitudes, and replacing them with different, more flexible beliefs.
Dream Experiences haven't changed much, it seems.
One poem particularly caught my attention. It was written four hundred years ago. The author reflects on his personal dream experiences. He observed that no matter how sweet a flower might be in your sleeping mind, you never smell its fragrance. And it struck me that he was right: you don't dream of smells. I have not heard of anyone reporting an actual smell in a dream, or a taste for that matter.
I wonder if that is because the sense of smell is located in a primitive part of the brain? Perhaps only the more recent developments of the brain that deal with shape and color appear in dreams because they are located in the outer cortex. The outer cortex is accessible to consciousness. Your sense of smell and taste is located in the primitive reptile brain stem. Maybe that is why smell does not appear in dreams?
From my own personal dream experiences I notice that in dreams I always have perfect vision. I am quite short sighted, and I need glasses. But I never need glasses in my dreams. Everything is always in perfect focus.
I wonder if that applies to everyone?