What is a dream? A dream is a very special condition that happens on the nonphysical plane, when consciousness is temporarily released from the physical body. They are made by you, using your energy and experiences, as your consciousness expresses itself on the various planes of existence: etheric, astral, mental, spiritual.
What is the purpose of dreaming? The physical body for consciousness is like a confined space. It keeps consciousness focused intently on the physical plane, so that the immersion can be complete and potent. The soul incarnates into the physical body to learn certain lessons and these lessons trump all else during the time the soul is incarnated.
However consciousness is too powerful to be contained within a physical body for long periods of time. It is far too creative. It yearns for experiences that go beyond what physical reality can provide. Sleep allows consciousness its creative freedom, so it can roam the cosmos, be free to create, to experience the things it cannot while it is encased in flesh.
So what happens when you fall asleep? Well the first thing that happens is a release of consciousness into what I call the Vast Sea. The Vast Sea is just a place where various dreams meet and intersect. It is a place created by consciousness for the purpose of choosing what dream to enter. Here, in this place, all consciousness' most deeply wanted experiences lie. Here is where you choose what dream to enter first. Once the choice is made, you enter that dream and experience it. When you leave that dream, you can either wake up, or go back into the Vast Sea to pick another one.
What happens, typically, is you will spend 20 to 40% of your initial time sleeping in this area, choosing dreams to experience, until the onslaught of built up creative energy is burned away. Afterward, consciousness will go on to the other areas of creativity, like the mass reality arena, the probability arena, etc that is needed to help maintain its focus within physical reality.
But where are these dreams? Where do they fall in the landscape of the nonphysical plane? In other articles I have spoke about the various planes of energy: physical. etheric, astral, mental, and spiritual. These reality planes are stacked up on top of each other, with each one existing at a higher rate of vibration. It is like a radio. You have all these stations in the bandwidth of the radio. You tune the dial to the station you want and you hear that station. You do not hear all the other stations. Why not? Well because your frequency does not match that of the other stations. Your radio frequency is tuned to that one station.
The idea to get from this example is that all the stations are contained in one place. You do not have to go anywhere to change a station. Just change your focus on the radio dial. These various planes of existence are the same way. They exist all together, but it is your vibration or focus that determines what plane your consciousness will find itself on, in any given time.
There is no exclusive dream universe. In my article on dreams in Reality Creator II, I liken it to a conduit that runs through each of these reality planes: etheric, astral, mental, spiritual. The kind of dream experience that you have will be directly related to what level of reality that you are currently tuned too. For many people just entering the first stage of sleep, that will be the etheric plane, as it is on that plane that the most physical like experiences can be found.
How can I tell what level of reality my dream is from? The easiest way to do this is to see what capabilities you have.
Can another another person see another dreamer's dream or enter it? Yes they can and it happens all the time with shared dreams.
Can you be dreaming and interacting with others who are not dreaming on these planes of existence? Yes you can, and this too does happen frequently. Various things may happen here. From the outside looking in, the dreamer may seem drugged or not focused and may even see things the non-dreamers do not. The dreamer may be able to converse with the non-dreamers but only on a limited fashion. To the dreamer, the non-dreamers may be part of the dream but because they are not inside it, they cannot understand what is going on and their responses may seem whimsical or not make any sense. To the dreamer however, everything makes perfect sense, as it is a dream of their making: a true creative product of their consciousness unchained and set free.
How would one go to enter another person dreaming, if they came across them? Some dreams are locked by the dreamer and only a master or guardian would be able to enter those. However if it is not locked, then all you have to do is approach the dreamer (while in your own nonphysical body) and as soon as you came close enough, you would pass into the boundary of the dream. The scene around you may change drastically, as you would be inside the dreamer's created reality. Special care should be taken if it is an Etheric plane dream, as these are very potent in terms of psychology, and it may be very hard to continue being self-conscious while you are there. In other words, there is a good chanced you will get caught up in the dreamer's dream and become part of it.
You say dreams are like rooms. Do they exist after I leave them? All dreams continue on after you leave them. Once something is created it continues. I liken dreams to rooms as it is easier to see how you can have a room in a place and it is also separate. You have a bathroom in your house for example. When you enter it, you are no longer in the living room. The same is true for dreams. If a dream exists on the etheric plane and you enter that dream, it is like walking into a new room. When you leave the room, the room still exists and continues on with the way you left it. You can revisit that room again on another night and pick up where you left off, or see what has transpired since you left. Some dreams will continue without your participation, others will freeze themselves until you return. Locked dreams are often frozen dreams but they can be of the other type as well.
Is there more to know? Of course there is much more to know. I have only touched the surface of the dream landscape. However, what I have put here will get you started in understanding dreams and dreaming. The best way to learn about the dream world is to explore it for yourself. Get that dream recorder by your bed and start recording your dreams as you remember them. In time, you can become very proficient in dreams, and dreams are always useful in helping to solve your everyday problems.