So-called waking dreams (possibly what is today sometimes called "zoning out") differ from daydreams and fantasies in that for a few moments one is totally engrossed in what is taking place in a dream and is no longer aware of outer reality. In this they also differ from visions, hallucinations and Jung's active imagination. They differ from "drifting off to sleep while driving" in that they occur suddenly. They are also not the same as when one is convinced one is awake while one is still asleep and in a dream. There may well be some sort of kinship with all these forms of mental activity. For an in-depth look at the relationship of waking dreams to these other forms of imaginal functioning I highly recommend Waking Dreams by Mary Watkins (Spring Publications, 1984).
They can occur while one is occupied with a boring activity (like ironing) and, when a waking dream happens, one is just absent for a moment or two (i.e., while still standing, for instance) (i.e., one does not sink to the floor, swoon or faint). In the one I remember having I was very impressed with the amount of energy that was invested in that other reality. It was like I was also living a totally different life in a very different place, but one that I -- in my normal consciousness -- was totally unaware of. And the interlude was over just as suddenly as it began -- like curtains quickly closing -- and I was back doing what I was doing and absolutely baffled about what had happened.
As was said in the "Dreaming is continuous and independent of REM phases" section in the previous chapter, an important consequence of such a waking dream experience is that it shows us that the dream-producing part of ourselves, the unconscious, seems to be doing its work during daytime hours as well as at night. During the night, our awareness of outer reality is withdrawn and we are aware of the dreaming activity taking place. During the day, sense impressions are normally so strong and varied that what we may be dreaming is drowned out, so to speak.
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