My experiences with Psychedelic, particularly with Ayahuasca for over a decade of regular usage, led me to return to academia and get a Masters in Transpersonal Psychology a few years ago. Altered states of consciousness from entheogens (Plant Teachers) allows me to experience directly visual information whether my eyes are open or closed. I find it fascinating to “see” the energetic and geometric overlays to Reality. No aphantasia during these states!
You are on to something with your quest for understanding and exploring dreams! What might help you gain a different perspective is to realize that the “process” of Consciousness is the EXACT SAME THING for waking and sleeping. We make an artificial distinction due to the duration of our “blinking”. Fast blinks, you are “awake”-real slow blinks and you are “asleep”. All of sensory input is “imagined”. When I teach Psychology at University, I challenge the students with the statement; You NEVER hear me, see me, or touch me! All of are sensed based data which is imagined. There is NO direct conduit for information or sensation to enter the brain-pan. Example; If I was actually “touching” these key as I type this there would be small nuclear explosions as the atoms from my fingers interacted with the atoms of the keyboard. Instead, I am registering the repellant energetic fields of both and creating the “illusion” of touch. When you “hear” someone speak, the acoustic waves of their voice has literally travelled THROUGH every molecule of air between you and then uses the tympanic membrane to transfer these waves into the water in the inner ear and these waves vibrate two bones and this vibration is imagined/translated into “sound”. But you NEVER hear the person in a true sense-that is why your voice sounds different to you when it is recorded and played back. I share this to allow you to realize that due to the “processing time” of sensed based information-we are NEVER “present” in the moment with regards to waking-time. We operate from the “past” then when we are in waking consciousness.
When we “dream” during sleep-this processing time is not required. Our minds can ‘imagine” in the “present moment”-or at least closer. This shift in relationship to TIME is critical in understanding dreams better. A fifteen minute nap according to linear clock-time allows you to experience a dream that spanned days during this 15 minutes. When you ask others about their dreaming and they report little or nothing-it is because they are not giving that aspect of consciousness attention like you are. Part of the reason you are attracted to Psychology. I have been mentored on “watching” my mind for 30+ years. For decades I made a note EVERY hour on what I was thinking and feeling (the feeling/emotion part is more important than the cognitive-but psychology focuses on cognitive because it is impossible to quantify or qualify LOVE or FEAR). During this, I also keep a dream journal next to the bed and record them in the dark and before “moving” because aphantasia makes it hard to recall them. This journaling of waking and sleep is used to accept greater responsibility for my thoughts and feelings. To actualize the concept that NOBODY can make you angry or happy-that you CHOOSE the emotional state-is very empowering!
If you really want to plumb the depths of your psyche-after you integrate your dream for Jungian meaning-ask yourself the NEXT real question; “Of all the dreams to have, WHY did I create this one?”. This will take you down the Rabbit Hole for sure. If you can manage it, look at waking Reality as a “dream” and integrate/process it like you do a dream. After all, the process of “waking” and “dreaming” both follow the same parameters. Sort of like the parable of Lao Tzu wondering if he dreamed he was a butterfly or is he a butterfly dreaming he is a man.
You are on the right track-just you are making false or arbitrary distinctions that are muddying the waters. If you care to engage more, let me know. You can email me at; firstname.lastname@example.org