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I am sure that all INFPs have similarities in their dreamworld to those of other INFPs, but I think it is important to state that the internal dreamworld is a place where unique individuality transcends the boundaries of the typing system so that very few rules apply universally to the collective of INFPs. That said, I will try to paint a picture describing the workings of the INFP dreamworld.

(Mention of cognitive functions is made profusely in this writing, and for those unfamiliar with the functions it is suggested to do at least a rudimentary overview so as to understand their context in the writing. The functions are referred to with abbreviation, and a key is given at the bottom of the page that gives the full names of each abbreviated function mentioned.)

The Galactic Dreamworld

I would liken the dreamworld of the INFP to a spinning galaxy, filled with stars and nebulae, where all that is contained therein revolves around Fi. Yet, like in a whirlpool that one observes in a moving river, there are multiple vortices that form within this galaxy, where the matter of the dreamworld spins around other functions like Ne and Si, but all within the dominant realm of the Fi. These vortices allow the INFP to collect the thought matter and revolve it around other functions to develop it and focus on it. The Ne vortices are active all over in any area of the galaxy, as all considered information, both external and internal, becomes spun into Ne activity. Contradistinctively, the majoritive collective of Si vortices live nearer to the galactic center of the INFP because it is the most cherished and densely internalized experiences at the center that an INFP will tend to use Si the most, to remember the experience better, and to enrich it internally through fantasy or other Fi amplification. This is what you might call Si-Fi. I will go into Ne and Si more later.

Those dreams and fancies that are most relished and valued by the INFP are kept nearest to the central point of this galaxy where the density of dream matter is highest, and where the speed of thought revolution is slowest, so that these cherished experiences and dreams can be dwelt upon and nurtured with more active focus and clarity. The thought matter that is less cherished, understood, or developed revolves around the outside of this galaxy, all within the scope of the INFP's dreamworld, but where the speed of thought revolution is highest (racing or confusing thoughts), and cohesion of matter is less sound.

This explains why in the real world of socializing, working, studying, etc, INFPs deal with racing thoughts and lack of focus, except when these real world experiences reach in and touch a central part of the INFPs inner galactic world. When this happens, the INFP becomes grounded and can focus better as the external experience becomes incorporated into the rotational center of the INFP's value system, and imagination, fascination, and connection spring into action. Also, this density of the INFP galactic center contraposed to the more sparse, nebulous, and sporadic galactic fringe points to why in new social situations INFPs usually exhibit little emotion and share few things about their inner experience, as they are willing to open up only the sparse outer arms of their inner world to new acquaintances. But as trust develops, the trusted individual is taken in closer and closer to the center, where they will discover, often with surprise, the complexity and originality that has been fostered and developed inside their world, and to the INFP, this individual will become merged and integrated closer and closer to their center.

Now, having explained in some systematic terms the functionality of the INFP dreamworld, I'd like to also open up into more vivid examples that demonstrate what has been said so far. As I explained, everything revolves around Fi, therefore, all that develops, and how much it develops, depends on how closely it (the input or internal thoughts) aligns to the deepest Fi priorities. Speaking generally, but also through personal experience, the INFPs deepest Fi priorities tend to involve harmony and acceptance, which creates their own unique synthesis for what the INFP most desires: love. Thus, anything that spurs these desires with intensity, may suddenly be pulled deep into the INFP galactic center.

Relationship Dreamworld

Let's look at how this applies in different areas of life, first looking at the social and relationship aspect. Using the example of a male INFP, here he observes a female that he has never met before, and as he observes her he notices things about her demeanor, attitude, words/voice, and/or physical attributes that represent to him the facets that he most values and desires to experience a harmonious union with. This is where Te is needed. Te is the 4th and inferior function of the INFP, and helps to logically determine the approach of objectives, and if this is underdeveloped in the INFP, infatuation takes over, and is often undetected as being such. As a result, this male INFP, through Fi overdrive, rapidly internalizes this girl he just met straight to the center of his world, where her characteristics and attributes may be augmented to unrealistic proproportions. Because of the internal excitement and the intimate hopes generated for this male INFP, Fi prioritizes this female and places her close to the center of his galactic dreamworld. Chances are that Ne will begin to concoct many different imaginary situations in his mind - situations that are based upon the themes he most desires. Here are some examples of the themes:

1. Acceptance/Validation - A fantasy of him impressing the girl in some way and receiving her adoring and fawning reaction.
2. Closeness/Understanding - The female takes the role of gentle empathizer who holds him in an embrace.
3. Intimacy/Oneness - A fantasy of both of them together on a remote and idyllic seashore, with not a soul around, smiling softly into each other's eyes.

Examining this shows two things about the INFP dreamworld that I will point out in particular. In this example we see how Fi first chooses the level of priority and centricity of the social content, and then Ne engages to create possibilities, themes, symbols, and so forth that correspond to the Fi priority. Secondly, and of particular interest is that we see how the INFP has a particularly peculiar trait of being able to feel inner intimacy with an individual before they have even spent much time with them because of how the INFP can detect traits in the other individual and amplify them internally through elaborate fantasy. This can be a blessing or a curse. It can be a blessing because this ability enables an INFP to grow great appreciation for another person, and be able to recognize the person's subtly projected yet core traits. However, when the INFP uses fantasy too much, and revolves in a great deal of self-centeredness, the important balancing effect of Te is blunted, and the revered traits of the other individual actually become revered mostly because of how that person makes the INFP feel, rather than a balanced desire to know the other person. In such a case, the INFP may believe he is unselfish because he desires to do things for that person and make them happy, but the motive for making the other happy is secretly because by doing so, that person will desire and appreciate the INFP more, which rewards the INFP with validation.

For the INFP to use the inner dreamworld responsibily in relational situations, he or she must be judicious to exert at least equal effort in directly communicating with and getting to know the other person as is spent dwelling upon them in their mind. By doing so, you increase Si activity, which gives more tangible and realistic information for the mind to use. This will help to tame Fi overactivity, allowing Te to be utilized more effectively so as to approach the situation more soundly. The less real-world experience you have with a person, the more Fi will become overactive and distort the perceptions of the person, whether toward the negative or the positive.

Imagination Dreamworld

Beyond the boundaries of the external world, the INFP's imagination is capable of producing elaborate and otherworldly ideas and images. Though the INFP, as well as any other person, only has the ingredients taken from the external world to use to shape internal imaginations, the fervent desire to transcend the conventional and the basic drives the INFP to take elements of the ordinary and connect them into original and unusual ideas. To see how this works, again we are transported to the image of the INFP's dreamworld galaxy, where Fi is leading forth the whims of imagination. The basic catalyst in the INFP imagination is the theme upon which all things are created and imagined. If the imagination is triggered by an object or situation in the external, Fi determines what its value and principal theme is, and then Ne generates ideas and connections. I will present an example to demonstrate the process:

An INFP is walking in a field and notices a tree blowing side to side chaotically, which then internally resounds with a representation of struggle and strife, but not being able to escape. Such an observed theme may be registered unconsciously. Then, as the theme reverberates internally, the INFP uses Ne to produce images and ideas that will bring that theme to life. The tree takes on human characteristics, with waving arms and an upper clump of leaves creating the head with gasping face. Then an imagined downpour of rain pelts the tree, and with softening ground the tree strains to lift its roots from the earth and pulls free and lopes for cover beneath a distant grove of wise old oaks. The tree hangs its branches with some degree of shame, but a discreet old oak lowers a limb to embrace the wimpering tree and says, "Young one, I know you're scared, and the world is a hostile place, but let me tell you something; I once was just like you. I was the very first tree to grow in this spot, and as I grew I felt the wind rip through my branches, and the sun scorch my leaves, but I stood my ground, and in time the seeds from my acorns were received by the earth and up came other trees, the trees you see with me now. We share the force of the wind, and we share the gifts from the skies, and the shade we offer has brought forth the abundance of life below. Return with faith, young tree, and set your roots knowing that good will come, and you will endure." With gratefulness, the tree returns to the patch of soil it left, and pushes its roots down even farther than before, and as the wind blows the tree waves its arms in throes of triumph.

This previous storyline is meant to illustrate the process the INFP imagination takes. Starting with the Fi generated theme of struggle and strife, Ne brings the theme to life by connecting the elements involved with other related elements and giving them meaning and continuance. The meanings and ideas that emerge from the Ne process reveal more fully the Fi sentiments. In this example, the INFP relates to struggle and strife and wants to escape, but is not content to wallow and give up, but desires superior counsel to discover how to seize the rewards of hope and persistance.

Behind the scenes Si is receiving the external information and comparing it with other stored information and memories for Ne to utilize the creation of connections with, and for Fi to choose which emotions are most relevant. Lastly, if the INFP is utilizing Te, he or she will examine this imaginatory production and learn from it by evaluating the information that was produced and recognizing what the content says about self, and will look to find a practical use for the understanding. Occasionally during an imagination session a coherence in ideas and images will activate Ni, and will result in a moment of, "Yes! I understand!" where instead of the Ne presenting expanding branches of ideas and possibilities for Te to chew upon to gain understanding, Ni takes the entire picture and distills it down to its core meaning. Even though for the INFP the Ni is a weaker function, because the imagination is so oft-used and so many themes and ideas are produced, Ni moments may actually be fairly frequent.

Conclusion

Of worthy mention in this writing would be the subject of night dreams. The phantasmogarical creations of the nighttime dreamworld often have compelling effect to the INFP. Dreams are not just odd images and stories that happen at night, but are sometimes intimate experiences that may dominate the emotions for some time. The process of the dreams and their recollection upon awakening follows the same process as the aforementioned processes. Fi is ultimately responsible for the themes, and the subject matter may be more or less dictated by Fi preferences, depending on how heightened the mental activity is. Because the brain has developed patterns for producing ideas and images during daytime conscious thought, it is apt to produce similar patterns at night. This is merely theory, but I believe it is observable. Whereas the vivid effect of a dream for some MBTI types may have more to do with what was acted out, seen, or accomplished in a particular dream, it is the "feeling" or "aura" experienced within the dream that particularly stirs the emotions and fascination of the INFP, and may linger with some intensity long after waking.

To offer an example, I have had many, many dreams where I have flown through the air, and as far as I can remember they were all enjoyable for the most part, but some impacted me more intensely than others - not necessarily because I did things that were more exciting in some, but rather because of the underlying, unspoken theme and the feelings exuded by the nature of the surroundings in some of the dreams may stir deep melancholy, freedom, childhood, etc. It is because of the manifestations of these mysterious emotions that certain dreams may pique the mind and/or heart of the INFP and drive them to seek interpretation or resolution. At night there is no way for the INFP to suppress their emotions, and during this time the emotions may spill forth intensely, and when the emotions have particularly strong resonance for the INFP, he or she may desire some way to recapture the feelings experienced in that dreamworld.

The INFP dreamworld is a busy place, filled with complexity, but resonating with a desire for simplicity. Fi is continually at work, trying to make sense of and find use for the tides of emotions and inner values by soliciting the other cognitive processes to explore the connections of the world outside and the stored memories and experiences inside. The catalyst need only be very simple to send into action the wild and relentless imagination of the INFP. Just a "feeling" that is experienced when looking at something, hearing music, or smelling the childhood nostalgia of pine sap, and the galaxy spins in another revolution of introspective caprice.

Fi = Introverted Feeling
Ne = Extraverted Intuition
Si = Introverted Sensing
Te = Extraverted Thinking
Ni = Introverted Intuition
 

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oh my goodness. you have captured in a single post the inner workings of dreams (would love to know your sources ;-) i have amazing dreams that feel so real...i can relate to your thoughts, especially the one about how the feeling or aura experienced within the dream that stirs our emotions and feelings. For example, yesterday, I dreamed that my whole family died in a car crash. It wasn't the crash per se that affected, it was the feeling of loss that came with it. After I woke up, my whole day was messed up, as that strong feeling of loss lingered. I'm still feeling the feeling of loss, even though nothing has happened. Sometimes i wish my Fi would just leave me alone!
 

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oh my goodness. you have captured in a single post the inner workings of dreams (would love to know your sources ;-)
I'm glad it was of value to you. To be completely honest, I don't actually have sources for any of this. These ideas came about through scattered study and analysis of cognitive functions, self-analysis, and observation of others. With enough applied thought everything started to make more sense, and the ideas seemed to become more coherent, so I felt motivated to attempt writing it out. I didn't approach this with the same fine-toothed comb approach of a scientist, and I'm sure there are loose ends, and not everything applies to all INFPs, but I felt like the ideas had a good amount of soundness and breadth of application.
i have amazing dreams that feel so real...i can relate to your thoughts, especially the one about how the feeling or aura experienced within the dream that stirs our emotions and feelings. For example, yesterday, I dreamed that my whole family died in a car crash. It wasn't the crash per se that affected, it was the feeling of loss that came with it. After I woke up, my whole day was messed up, as that strong feeling of loss lingered. I'm still feeling the feeling of loss, even though nothing has happened. Sometimes i wish my Fi would just leave me alone!
Well, when Fi and Ne work as they should, you'll feel FiNe. ;)
 

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The INFP and Lucid Dreaming

The INFP and Lucid Dreaming

Upon further thought, this topic could never be complete without an excursion into the ethereal world of lucid dreaming.

For those who are unfamiliar with what lucid dreaming is, it is when a level of consciousness is achieved during the dream state, so that the dreamer is aware of being in the dream, and may have the ability to take conscious action within the dream to alter it or to explore it. Purposefully entering and maintaining a lucid dream can be very difficult. The level of this consciousness ranges from the vague observation that what is happening is a dream, to a strong awareness that involves a sensory experience that some might describe as being even more vivid and expansive than waking consciousness, and the ability to manipulate the environment in any imaginable way.

The reason it is interesting to consider the connection between the INFP and our cognitive processes as they relate to lucid dreaming is because in such a state we are indeed conscious, and make observations and decisions on a conscious level, but at the same time consciousness is very different, and certain aspects are greatly amplified, while others are minimized. These are worth noting and considering.

Fi's Role in Lucid Dreams

The Fi preference is the central preference to an INFP's daily life, but how does it apply to lucid dreaming? First let's view its role in the induction of lucid dreams. Because dreams hold great emotional weight to the INFP, conscious dreaming can be an even more intense experience. The filters and methods of suppression an INFP uses during the day to reduce emotional reaction are mostly inactive in lucid dreams, and so the emotional significance of everything in a dream becomes involved. When an INFP begins to develop consciousness in a dream, there is typically a reaction of excitement and a sense of the emotional quality of the experience and the scene that floods the consciousness.

This sudden consciousness activates Fi, which is responsible for this emotional deluge. The images and what they emotionally represent to the INFP include activation of Si which helps determine which emotions revolve around the Fi. It is because of this emotional excitation that the novice INFP lucid dreamer will be prone to losing consciousness, as the beta brainwaves intensify and the body's excitation responses prompt the mind toward wakefulness. If this does occur, there is no need to despair, because rarely does one completely awaken from this. Often false awakenings (the sensation of being back in one's bed, observing the room) result from this, or a fading to black of the dream that ties into the next dream. If consciousness is to be maintained, it is important to consciously accept the loss of the dream scene and wait for the next change, or focus on a simple image that will spur the mind to restart the dream visualization process.

Ne's Role in Lucid Dreaming

If dream consciousness is maintained long enough to observe the surroundings, Ne begins its work. The dreamworld begins offering numerous possibilities for Ne to sort through, and this in itself can be overwhelming and can potentially trigger one into wakefulness. Fi determines the highest priorities that result from Ne generation. Though the individual is conscious and can make decisions, these decisions are mostly deep instincts that involve very little deliberation, because the mental state is not conducive for Te activation which would be used to make logical decisions and consider consequences of actions. So if the individual spends emotional energy and time during the day thinking about a special person, Fi may instinctively drive them to search the dream for that person. Or the continual sensation of being trapped in daily life may instinctively drive the INFP to try to fly.

Learning from the Lucid Dreams

The results of our lucid escapades can teach us a lot about ourselves. They may give us vivid representations of our Fi priorities, and a view of our problems. I will use the two previous examples to showcase this. Suppose the INFP is looking for this special valued person in the dream, and no matter where he searches or how hard he tries to manifest the person, they do not appear. Interpreting this requires little stretch of the imagination because it is rather straightforward. It represents the struggle in connecting to and experiencing closeness with this individual they value. There may be much chasing after this in the mind, but clearly there is not an inner acceptance and peace about it.

For the INFP who is trying to fly, she may become filled with elation and attempt to take off from the ground, but as quickly as she jumps upwards, she comes back down. A feeling of desperation settles in and she tries leaping as hard as she can and flaps her arms like a hummingbird, but as she is looking down she sees herself falling back to the ground again. Again, the interpretation of this is straightforward if a small measure of effort is given to do so. This INFP finds herself trapped in some way in life and wants to feel free and alive, and because of this her Fi seizes the idea to fly. But as she tries to fly, she struggles to become airborne. Her response is immediate desperation, indicating her lack of trust in her ability to achieve. As she continues again, she puts in a lot of effort, but her focus is on the ground, because she is constantly trying to measure her success and is worried she won't get anywhere. The lesson to her is to jump to the air with head up and eyes aimed to the distant sky, because where she focusses, there she will go.

When these lessons are learned upon later contemplation, further lucid dreams can be used to practice and ingrain these lessons. The INFP who struggled to connect to their special person can resolve with calm focus to accept and trust that they will locate the person as they attempt in their next lucid dream. The experience of many has shown that the belief that someone that is being searched for in a dream will be right around the corner is the best or only way to make it so. Same with real-life relationships. If we do not trust and believe that we can connect with and experience closeness with others we will inevitably push them away, or distance ourselves.

The INFP who tried to fly can in her next lucid dream choose to relax and fix her eyes on the destination she would like to fly to in the distance and leap skyward with unwavering belief. The experience of lucid dreamers also shows that when trying to fly, if the mental focus is designated to the desired destination or outcome, and not truly on the possibility of failure, the mind produces the desired outcome. Seeing this result in a lucid dream can instill confidence in this INFP that the same will result if she applies these principles to her waking life.

Using the INFP Cognitive Processes for the Better

An INFP's experience with lucid dreams can exhibit many things about the nature of their own cognitive processes. As we looked at earlier, the strong activation of Fi and the augmentation of it through Si's subjective inferences, and the reeling searching of Ne causes the emotional state of the lucid dream to become very turbulent and the valuable experience can be lost. Could it be that the same emotional turbulence of daily life comes as a result of the overactivation or misuse of these processes at the expense of others? The key to stabilizing a lucid dream and enabling one's self to engage and explore the surroundings more fully is to utilize...Se! (Dramatic sound byte)

Se allows the individual to engage with and experience the immediate surroundings and enjoy the value of what is there to experience in that present moment. In the lucid dream the INFP may become so engrossed in fulfilling Fi instincts, searching around for ways to accomplish things with Ne, and using the surroundings through Si to subjectively emphasize the Fi experience, that the value of Se experience is lost. Knowing this offers the INFP the opportunity to treat the lucid dream differently. Instead of taking a frenetic and emotional approach to the lucid dream, the INFP can consciously choose to experience things through Se. Look around, see how things appear in this state, notice the sensations that the dreamworld offers. Are the clouds different than usual? This approach stabilizes the dream, tames Fi, lends satisfaction, increases the sensory vividness, and prepares the INFP to pursue lucid dream activities in a more satisfying way. And guess what...you guessed it! This very same approach to waking life produces the same results.

Conclusion

If you are one who has lucid dreams or is pursuing the ability to lucid dream, there is much to experience, and the lessons learned can be valuable. By using some of the aforementioned in-dream techniques, you are making decisions at the border between the conscious and subconscious that can help to reshape your approach to conscious life. Whether in a lucid dream or in waking life, take time to use your Se capability, and you will Se life more clearly!
 

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I now recognize that writing a thread this long would have been better suited to the INFP Articles section rather than the general forum, but I am hoping to hear responses from those of you out there about how your dreamworld operates. This kind of feedback will help me be able to chisel away and refine my theories and understanding better. Extra viewpoints is important to me.

Both INFP responses and responses from other types welcome. Actually responses from other types are encouraged, because it will help me draw distinctions between the imaginations of INFPs and other types.
 
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