Oh absolutely; I realize quite often I’m in the middle of a dream. Last night I had a whole series where I drifted in and out of these different theme dreams; (aware that sometimes I was watching while I was actually in them; other times I’m merely an observer from the outside). The series last night; around 4 or 5 dreams; revolved around a symbolic commercial healthcare company which was trying to fight against the corruption of the government to control quality; (usually the other way around in normal life right?). I would wake up every so often and do a restroom trip and then go back to sleep and this symbol would pick right back up and another scenario would start. I’ve been experiencing a lot of political animosity lately concerning the spread of toxic behavior for the coming election; so that may explain why it was a political dream. So this one was a bit unusual.
Sometimes I will have dreams which revolve around a theme like traveling through something like buildings or rooms and ending up somewhere before I wake up; sometimes there will people I will interact with; sometimes not. But my actual awareness of consciously having a choice to interact to determine it’s outcome is not usually present; (in other words most of the time I’m observing from the outside; the dream gets to a certain place and then I awake).
At any rate sometimes like the other night something symbolic will appear and I will wake up; or the dream will just resolve itself and I will become aware that it’s morning and organize my thoughts for the coming day. However; there are many times something will bring me to semi-consciousness and I will purposely play out different scenarios of the dream sequence to get at it’s meaning. Much of my sleeping patterns vary widely from a few hours in several series of varied scenes; other times longer more storied versions lasting 5 to 6 hours or more. (It all depends on what I’m processing at the time and if it has intense emotional significance for me or not.)
My awareness and participation within these different situations varies also. Sometimes I will get up and look up something on the computer I’ve just dreamed about; go back to sleep and pick up something similar in my dreams again; or other times I will just jot something down on my note pad about it so I will remember it for the next day to go over it. (I have a big pile of these notes I go over all the time to get a sense of what’s at work on me internally. But to your questions; I try to keep track of these things and analyze what they may be telling me; and emotions of course play a part in the processing. This was one of the reasons the “archetype and core complex” configuration rang me like a bell when I first came across it. (All the Mario Jacoby material deals a lot with this type of complex/theme based approach.) I hope this helps.