Archive for category Dreams
I made a guest post on Wendy’s blog – Dream Fiction – The Hotel. Wendy writes exquisite short stories inspired by her dreams. She also provides great information on how to beat the writer’s blog through dreams.
who I am
what I am
What is worse
the not knowing
or the knowing
for the knowing brings me
to a terrible choice
Did you forget too
did you not see my longing
the music of the eternal sea
reached my soul
did you not see the waning light in my eyes
the very light that attracted you
reflection of the wildness of my soul
were you content
are you content
just to keep me by your side
and tend the fires of your hearth
Was it a dream
was there a time in another skin
that I was free
to ride the waves
to join the laughter of the waves
and dive deep into
the unknown depths
when the mournful song
from the sea did not threaten
to overwhelm me
with forgotten feelings
a fierce hunger
for something unattainable
I thought it was but
an idle dream
Now that I know
I must choose
how terrible the choice
When I first heard the ancient tale of the Selchie spouse, powerful images filled my consciousness, and I wondered about Selchie Choices. The sea of course represents the unconsciousness in mythological and dream symbology. How appropriate the story of the Selchie for choices we sometimes encounter upon our path.
Choices once seemed so simple to make; so easy to decide what is right and wrong. However, when you know the full implication of where your choice will lead it is no wonder that the Sybil are often described as with “unsmiling lips”. To see beyond the horizon; to see the unfolding patterns throughout time, can be a heavy burden. Each way you turn involve risk and potential loss, and you know that someone will get hurt, and yet you know you must make a choice, for even if you do not make a choice, a choice will be forced upon you and you will not be able to live an authentic life any longer. If up to that point you have lived an authentic life, all your gains will be lost, and the fall will be hard. If you do not choose you will no longer really be alive. Yet, whatever choice you make, you must make it with the full knowledge of giving up a part of yourself. Anyone who consciously strives to live an authentic life will encounter it.
In Jung’s “Memories, Dreams, Reflection”, the last chapter, “Retrospect,” I see a reflection of the Selchie Dilemma.
“ Knowledge of processes in the background early shaped my relationship to the world. Basically, that relationship was the same in my childhood as it is this day. As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know. Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible. The loneliness began with the experiences of my early dreams, and reached its climax at the time I was working on the unconsciousness. If a man knows more than others, he becomes lonely. But loneliness is not necessarily inimical to companionship, for no one is more sensitive to companionship than the lonely man, and companionship, thrives only when each individual remembers his individuality and does not identify himself with others…
“But if a man faced with a conflict of duties undertakes to deal with them absolutely on his own responsibility, and before a judge who sits in judgment on him day and night, he may well find himself in an isolated position. There is now an authentic secret in his life which cannot be discussed – if only because he is involved in an endless inner trial in which he is his own counsel and ruthless examiner, and no secular or spiritual judge can restore his easy sleep. If he were nor already sick to death of the decisions of such judges, he would never have found himself in a conflict. For such a conflict always presupposes a higher sense of responsibility. It is this very quality which keeps its possessor from accepting the decision of a collectivity. In his case the court is transposed to the inner world where the verdict is pronounced behind closed doors.
The man, therefore, who, driven by his daimon, steps beyond the limits of the intermediary stage, truly enters the “untrodden, untreadable regions,” where there are no charted ways and no shelter spreads a protecting roof over his head. ”
The Selchie’s choice represents for me that very aspect, of the ‘daimom’ Jung spoke of, which represents for me personally the passion of my life. Without the driving force of my passion my life looses its meaning and like the Selchie I will slowly close down all my faculties, in order to bear the pain of ignoring the call of my soul. This is why I love Mythos as an expression; it can express multiple layers of perspective at the same time. A single symbol has multiple layers of meaning, from the most mundane, to the most profound of what we can grasp, at a given time.
It is the ‘daimon’ within those of us who strive to live an authentic life that eventually leads us to find our skins, and bring us to soul choices; which we cannot deny.
I see the moon reflecting on the mirror surface of the pool. A ribbon of cloth floats towards me. What bigger piece is it from? I feel its texture with my fingertips, run it across my face to feel what it stirs in my soul. Who was the weaver of the cloth? Who spun the thread, where did the raw material feel the first ray of light to bear forth that, which in the hands of the master spinner and weaver becomes the myth of its origin? From whence this ribbon of cloth? I hold it to my face and fill my breath with its essence. I dive into a crystal clear pool, as if diving into the radiating source of light, so pure. In this source of light I feel myself purified the deeper I swim. I swim until I feel there is no more need for I will never reach the end, I allow myself just to drift, wrapped in peace. Slowly I float back to the surface. I open my eyes; the warm breeze cooling the water drops on my skin.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. – Albert Einstein
Dreams have always played an important role in my life. The mystery of them fascinated me; yet, I could sense from an early age that they held a much deeper secret than I could possibly comprehend at that age. My first inkling of dream potential came when at the age of twelve I found Joan Grant’s “Winged Pharaoh.” I was so inspired that I set about to record my dreams – which I have done ever since – as well as exploring, telepathic dreaming, dream travel, shared dreaming, dream incubation, and lucid dreaming. Even so, it was only much later that I began to master dream interpretation, and many more before dreams started to teach me about reality.
Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung
The masters of all wisdom traditions will tell you that life is like a dream, and although we may give the concept intellectual credence, very few have experiential realization of this truth. What is more, there are layers of realization, or “gnosis” of this truth. Just as enlightenment is not just a once off realization, or what some will call a one-stage evolution, but is rather a journey that begins on the surface and then proceeds deeper and deeper into the multi-layered, many splendid thing we call reality. The thousand petaled lotus rising from the dark muddy depths into the light, unfolding to reveal its golden core. To experience this, dreaming offers not only a mirror of our process, but also an evolutionary tool for expanding our consciousness. Dreams are a direct reflection of our levels of consciousness, our fears and desires. Even if we can’t remember our dreams, it still tells us something.
We all have about three or four dreams a night, yet how many do we remember? How many dreams are we conscious of? By training ourselves to remember dreams, we are training ourselves to expand our conscious awareness, for by remembering our dreams we become conscious of what is unconscious.
“What do we long for? We long for self-transcendence. ..We all need self-transcendence and, at the same time, we fervently long for it.” Sri Chinmoy
Although we fear change, we also yearn for it, for we are all seeking ways to transcend our physical, mental and psychological limitations. It is the driving force behind evolution; it is what encourages people to train and improve their physical capacities. This inner aspiration for self transcendence is an important feature of human nature. However, before we can change anything, we have to become aware of it, as such awareness is the key to all self-transcendence. In Wisdom traditions expanding our consciousness, is called cultivating a presence of awareness.
What is consciousness? Consciousness is awareness. Awareness is like the beam of a flashlight; it is a flow of illuminating light towards an object. What we perceive as reality, or what we are conscious of, is only a small fraction of what reality is. This not only relates to the reality of the Cosmos both scientific and metaphysically, but also to the reality of who we think we are. What we think we are is only a small fraction of who we are. Jung described it as a small, bright spot on a large sphere. Our normal conscious awareness represents the small bright spot, whereas what we are unaware of, our unconsciousness is the vast unexplored sphere of the universe, of the whole. We are aware of about 10 – 15 percent of our mind’s thoughts, experiences, feelings, memories and beliefs.
We can relate this to the story of the Elephant and the Five Blind men. We are like the five blind men, each thinking that we know what an elephant is, from what we are experiencing consciously. However, we are way off the mark in describing how the part we are experiencing, relates to the whole, because we have no idea what the whole looks like from our limited conscious perspective. For us then to expand our consciousness, we must become aware of what we are at present unconscious of.
In most of the ancient traditions, dreams were considered important, and were used as guides for future actions. According to the Talmud, “A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read.” Since the Nineteenth Century, the Western World rejected these “letters” as non-sense because we have forgotten how to read them. At the end of the Nineteenth Century, Freud once again brought the importance of dreams to light; however, he still had the Elephant by its proverbial balls.
There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it. – B. Quilliam
If life is like a dream, then what is a dream? Perhaps one of the most basic ways to define dreams comes from the American Heritage Dictionary, 1978, “… a series of images, ideas, etc., occurring in certain stages of sleep.”
Being asleep is exactly what the masters explain as our ordinary state of consciousness, thus our unawakened state. While you are in a dream it feels real, it is only when you wake up, that you realize it was a dream.
In explaining how we view reality, my Tzaddik, Tau Malachi, often recounts the story of a Professor explaining the distinction between neurosis and psychosis as, “Neurosis is when you build a castle in the sky, and psychosis is when you go and live there.” Using this analogy, if our experience of reality is a radiant display of our own consciousness, we have indeed, “built a castle” and gone to live in it, and we are completely unconscious that we have built it. Likewise, in the midst of this life we project all manner of unreal concepts and ideals on ourselves and the world, so that we do not know what is real in us and cannot look and see Reality as It Is.
There is an objective reality out there, but we view it through the spectacles of our beliefs, attitudes, and values. – David G. Myers, Social Psychology
It is also called karmic vision, the vision of ignorance – perception of ourselves and the reality of our experience that is entirely subjective. Our view of reality is like when we go to sleep and embark upon an apparent journey through all manner of dreams, bright, dark and in between. In reality, we have not moved, we have gone nowhere; yet in our experience the dreams become the reality of our experience. From one dream to another, through the long night, we may have been saint or sinner, and we may do many things, apparently good and evil, but when we awake, they were only dreams and we did none of these things – we remember who we really are, and we return to the awareness of the real.
Ironically, the only way we can tell the difference between a dream and waking reality, is by comparing the memories to what we know through our physical senses, and seeing some of the things we experienced in the dream are not possible in the realm we call reality. Yet, memories themselves are an imaginary process, subjective and based on our selective perception. Each time we re-member something, we literally re-imagine it. The intangible becomes tangible again. The mind makes no distinction between memories regardless of the source; whether imagined or real. For the mind, the ones that are most real are the ones with the greatest sensory impact. You can test this for yourself by observing your body’s reactions to real remembered stressful situations, and those that you saw in a movie, or dreamed of.
So how do we know what we think is reality, is reality? This is exactly question the masters want us to arrive at.
“It is only by questioning what people take for granted, what people hold to be true, that we can break through the hypnosis of social conditioning.” – Deepak Chopra
We all dream, the fetus starts to dream within the womb from about 23 weeks. Even animals dream. Why do we dream at all? From within the scientific arena there has been much speculation in this regard. It has recently been discovered that even the platypus displays rapid-eye-movement, or REM, sleep. (REM sleep in human beings is associated with vivid dreaming, and its observable symptoms.) With this information, the question also arises of whether or not dinosaurs had dreams, and whether indeed reptiles also dream.
Recent studies and theories into the purpose of dreams, has brought to light what is called the dream expectation theory. Says, Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell in their book “Dream Reality – How dreaming keeps us sane, or can drive us mad,” The prime function of dreams is to metaphorically act out undischarged emotional arousals (expectations) that were not acted out during the previous day. By dreaming we complete the arousal / dearousal circuit so as to wake up with an unstressed autonomic nervous system and our instincts intact. (An emotion is another word for an expectation.) Stress, for example, is caused by an accumulation of arousal patterns in the autonomic nervous system that are not being dearoused by taking the necessary actions that would do so.
Thus according to the dream expectation theory, if we have happy positive expectations we have happy dreams, but, when this system is overstretched and the dreaming process cannot cope with the amount of negative expectations (as when people continually worry), sleep balance is disturbed, dreams are miserable, even nightmarish, and depression can set in. An extreme stress overload can interfere with the process to such an extent that psychotic symptoms arise (schizophrenia is waking reality perceived through the dreaming brain).
This directly reflects what wisdom traditions have been saying down the ages, that in order to achieve “the dreamless – dream state”, one has to overcome attachments and aversions. Whatever we have an attachment to or an aversion for, will cause emotional expectations, and as such create dreams from the emotional arousal. If we then relate this to the reality of our waking life, we can clearly see the cause and effect of our emotional expectations shaping our reality. Our unfulfilled emotional arousals will create situations in which the arousals can be fulfilled, whether good or bad, positive or negative. If not, we will find “recurring dreams” or life situations occurring until such arousals are either fulfilled, or resolved. It has been been found that even if during the day we experience a high level of emotional arousal, but we resolve that arousal in the course of the day, we will not find it occurring in a dream. Now if we relate this, to what is said happens after life and future incarnations, we can begin to see the heaven and hell scenarios, and the concept of karma playing itself out.
Attachment or aversions relate to our desire energy. Fear and desire for something are two sides of the same coin. We not only become what we love, but also what we fear. The sexual drive, which stems from an emotional arousal, reflects not only pure sexual energy but also creative energy and kundalini energy. Just as the creative impulse can be used to create uplifting and spiritual works, so can it be used for dark and degrading works. Likewise, the desire energy, can be used purely for self satisfaction, or elevated to lofty spiritual heights; for spiritual transformation, or metatonia, as is found in Tantra Yoga, especially in the Vajrayana wisdom tradition, and the Arayot, the mysteries of sexual mysticism in the Kabbalah, which is the upliftment of the “fire serpent”, or desire energy.
If we take it back to each of our individual conceptions, we can then see that our very conception, our very coming into being, stems from the emotional arousal of our parents, and as such we are a concrete dream born out of our parent’s emotional arousal. However, just as our dream metaphors take on a life of their own, with multiple metaphorical meaning, so do we, as offspring of our parents emotional expectations.
To take this further, our emotions, feelings, and desires are the energy; our thoughts, words, and deeds are the forms that the energy assumes. Emotion-feeling-desire and thoughts shape one another and produces images in the imagination. Now according to the Kabbalah, these images becomes vehicles in the astral planes for spiritual forces corresponding to the nature of the desires and thoughts forming them, and through our words and deeds, we become vehicles of those spiritual forces in the material plane. All dreams have a connection with the astral, whether, lower, middle or upper astral. The astral itself represents Yesod in the Kabbalah, and as such is the gateway for all spiritual forces into the earthly realm. Thus just like our emotions, feelings and desires creates our thoughts, which in turn is what we base our actions on, so we can see the reflection in our dream life. Our dreams reveal clearly the forms of our emotions, feeling and desire.
“To understand your dreams is to understand that every part of a dream is in reality a part of you.” – Joshua David Stone.
If every part of a dream is part of you, what light does this throw on reality? Just as we do not see ourselves as who we really are, just so do we not see others as they really are. We project our fears and desires onto other people. Again it is one thing to understand this intellectually but quite another to have actual realization, or gnosis of this. In this regard, understanding your dreams can bring you realization of how we view not only others in our awake lives, but also the rest of creation.
When you make a deliberate effort to listen to your own internal conversations, you begin to notice something astonishing. You may think of yourself as Peter or Mary, thus one identity interfacing with the world, but as you begin to observe, you see that actually you have several sub-personalities. If you are not aware of this, they rule your life. The real you, becomes like a weak leader, swaying between the strongest voices of opposition with no direction. These sub personalities are psychological satellites.
Roberto Assagioli who was the founder of the psychological movement known as Psychosynthesis wrote; “We are not unified; we often feel that we are, because we do not have many bodies and many limbs. And because one hand doesn’t usually hit the other. But metaphorically, that is exactly what happens within us. Several sub personalities are continually scuffling: impulses, desires, principles, aspirations are engaged in an unceasing struggle”.
This is exactly what is metaphorically acted out in our dreams. The people you encounter in your dreams are not themselves, but rather they represent beliefs you hold, just as sub personalities represent beliefs you hold.
Those evil or alien beings you encounter in your dreams are but reflections of parts of you that you have disowned.
This is also reflected in the sleeping disorder that occurs during the Hypnogogic state (transition between awake and sleep, the state of drowsiness we experience as we begin falling asleep) when some people experience what is called sleep paralysis, or a feeling of a heavy weight pressing down on the chest, often associated with “Hag Dreams” and incubus, or an evil presence. Al Cheyne, the head of the department of psychology at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, explains that during the hypnogogic phase, the muscular reflexes associated with the limbs disappear, and the sleeper is in fact, paralysed. If the unconscious realization of this penetrates through the conscious level, as during a light sleep, it is then incorporated into the dream, and one could feel paralysed. One person who suffers from sleep paralyses several times a year describes that the terror that many experience during sleep paralysis comes from losing control. “It comes from being in a situation where you don’t know what’s going to happen next, you don’t know if your breathing is going to stop or whether something otherworldly is there. In a way you’re battling against yourself and you don’t have the power to control your body.”
Al Cheyne presents an even more illuminating insight. “The emotion of fear accompanies threats and dangers. When you activate fear you activate a whole set of strategies to deal with danger. If you consider the fact that the part of your brain responsible for fear (the limbic system) is active at the same time that you’re awake and paralysed and helpless, this would tend to aggravate the condition. Essentially your brain strains to find clues to understand what it perceives as a threat. The sound of the fan becomes a whispering voice, a creak becomes a demon climbing on the bed, and when the brain doesn’t have a stimulus, it makes one up”.
In this we see a direct reflection of how humanity reacts when encountering the unknown. It has often been said that humanity fears the unknown. However, if you do not know something, then you are also not afraid of it. There might very well be a threat to your life around the corner, but if you are unaware o this, you are not going to be afraid of it, conversely, you might very well think there is a threat around every corner and live in fear. As soon as we encounter the emptiness of the unknown we project our fears onto it, just like the coat in a dark room becomes a monster, until you turn the light on. This is also reflected in the teachings of the Christian Kaballah in regard to Da’at. Da’at means ‘knowledge,” yet many will call Da’at the abyss; this is because Da’at just like the unknown, has a mirror-like nature – the nature of the mind – and assumes an appearance relative to the one who approaches it. Thus akin to a mirror in which one sees oneself. Depending on your state of consciousness you will see something divine or something dark and demonic, thus facing the Jungian “shadow.”
According to the teaching of all wisdom traditions, we are in reality all one; all separation is “a radiant display”, and all that you experience is a reflection of inner realities. We see the same principal reflected in the Tibetan Chöd practices.
“What common folk think of as a demon is something very, very big, and coloured deep black. Who ever sees one of these is truly terrified and trembles from head to foot”, said Machig Labdrön. Nevertheless, no such demons really exist apart from the mind! The truth of the matter is this: Anything whatsoever that obstructs or limits the attainment of Liberation is a demon. Even our loving and affectionate relatives can become “demons” for us, if they are obstructing our spiritual evolution. Thus the greatest of all “demons” is actually the Demon of Ego, which is your own sense of a permanent, independent self, separate from all others. If you do not slay this clinging to a self, then good and bad spirits (lha-dre) will keep lifting you up and letting you down.”
In the famous story of Milarepa, when on returning to his cave, he found the demoness of the rock had entered his cave and had assumed five utterly terrifying emanations. Milarepa was so amazed to see these demons in his cave that he couldn’t even step into the doorway. He was filled with terror and began reciting the mantra of his meditational deity as fast as he could, and this made it worse. The demons got bigger and greater and then he began meditating upon self nature as the deity and it got even worse. Then he started wrathful mantras and this also didn’t work. Finally, in desperation, he remembered the instructions given by his lama – that all phenomena arise from the mind and that all appearances are just one’s own projection. Then he entered into the awareness of the nature of emptiness, the nature of mind, and immediately they were gone – vanished – no more. Until we realize that phenomena are the projections of our mind, then we can expect that wherever we go, there will always be demons, spirits and problems.
Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare. – H.F. Hedge
Just realizing this can have a profound effect on one’s life. When you start to realize that every character from your dreams is a part of you, whether owned or disowned to the degree that it becomes a demon, it becomes incredibly empowering. You no longer react to every situation as a victim of fate but start to look at every situation in your life, as to what it reveals about the patterns at play in your life. If each demon you encounter in your dream reflects an aspect of yourself disowned, then the opposite applies as well. Those godlike qualities you find in a character in your dream, displays aspects of yourself that you have disowned, waiting for you to own as your own. It is called the bright shadow.
As a Sophian Gnostic, one of the primary objectives is to become fully lucid in all states and levels of consciousness. To become aware that you are dreaming while in a dream is called Lucid dreaming. However, before you can lucid dream, you must be able to remember your dreams, or to become conscious of what you are unconscious of. One of the most common practices to induce lucid dreaming is to ask yourself every time you do a simple task, say for example, boil a kettle, “Am I dreaming.” While you are doing this you will realize just how often you forget to do it, thus that you are unconsciously swept away in the events of life. When we are living an unconscious life, we identify with momentary sensations, emotions and feelings. I am this, I am that. We are swept along from one emotion to another. You can only become lucid in a dream by practicing being lucid in your daily life.
Dream work requires patience and discipline, before it starts to bear fruit. It is interesting that research has shown that most people, who experience unintentional lucidness in a dream, will do so during a nightmarish dream. In our awake lives, it is often only a crisis that can induce us to wake up from our dreams, and force us to re-look at how we view reality.
The reason I have found that so few people do any dream work, or even attempt to do lucid dreaming, is because they become discouraged, when they do not have immediate results.
“Dreams are a reservoir of knowledge and experience, yet they are often overlooked as a vehicle for exploring reality. When you realize that everything is like a dream, you attain pure awareness. And the way to attain this awareness is to realize that all experience is like a dream.”- Tarthang Tulku
We live in a world of instant gratification. There are many these days who offer instant enlightenment. Chungya Rinpoche, founder of Naropa University, writes in his book Dharma Art, about spiritual materialism as a danger for the seeker of higher consciousness. The collecting of sublime or ‘spiritual’ insights can be a trap similar to having must have designer brands, the best car, or coolest electronic device. Thus you can say we might go looking for Spiritual Experiences like we go power shopping at the mall. This is not at all something most want to hear about, yet it is the truth. The process of enlightenment, or pure awareness, is not an instant affair, and there are many layers of enlightenment, just as there are levels of lucidness in dreams. Yes, you can instantly be more enlightened than you were yesterday, but it is just a beginning. We have to prepare and cultivate the soils of our inner being for the ability to perceive the multiple layers of reality, just as it requires patience and discipline in dream work.
When we first have a spiritual experience, it is like a blind person who can suddenly see, just as when you have been in the dark for a long time and then go out into the light. You are blinded by the light and cannot see any distinctions of what you have seen. It takes time to adjust your eyes. In the Sophian Gnostic Tradition, it is called the perfection of non-dual realization, the “highest rung,” or Pure Radiant Awareness, Supernal Da’at (direct knowing). To have sudden pure awareness, to see reality as it is, would be like looking straight into sun after being in the darkness. I am reminded of St. Paul’s conversion – Saul on the road to Damascus – “And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink”. St. Paul had a radical experience of enlightenment, which is rare indeed, yet even after this, he spoke of himself as the least of the disciples. He wrote later in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” This gives us a clear indication that to see reality as it is, or ourselves as we really are, will take preparation.
“How long must we sit, limited in our own selves?” – Idra Rabba
This is also corroborated by what is now seen as the function of REM sleep. Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell found that, the REM state is the mechanism that connects us with reality – a reality generator; it is constantly running in the background, searching out at lightning speed the codes needed to match metaphorically to whatever is meaningful in the environment, and thus creating our perception of reality. In the dream state, when REM is at its most obviously active, sensory information from the outside world is ‘shut off’, the templates searching for their completion scan the brain and make metaphorical images from whatever they call up from memory. (This is also seen when people access memories that evoke strong emotions: rapid eye movements occur even when their eyes are open.) It is active when we dream but also when we daydream. It is seen when people go into focused states of attention (trance) and when strong instincts are aroused. It is associated with hallucinations and hearing voices. The dream contains these metaphorical images and, while we are in it, becomes the reality we are conscious of, or the paradigm of our reality.
A paradigm is basically perceptual concepts through which we perceive the world and as such form the boundaries of our imagination. It can also be called a conceptual matrix through which we experience the world. It is this conceptual matrix that shapes the form of our ego. The word ego means “I”. The ego is simply the carrier of what we think we are, and it is through what we think we are, that we relate to the world around us. The ego basically carries our identity, or what we imagine we are. This is clearly reflected in our dreams.
In our dreams each particular metaphorical image contains multiple levels of meaning, because the job of the dream is to deactivate emotional arousals and it can do that with several streams of arousal through the same image at the same time. This also why our waking reality is quite different – it is dramatically toned down. It has to be because, if we always saw multiple levels of meaning in everything, we wouldn’t be able to make sense of, or operate within, our environment. We would end up totally confused in a psychotic state. To deal with this problem, the neocortex of the brain, the rational part of our awake mind, inhibits multi-meaning.
Because we are unable to experience and understand all of reality at once, we must take ‘bites’ of reality the size we can ‘chew’. We then form an image based on this as to the nature of the whole ‘elephant’. The image formed is much like a map of poorly charted territory. We use this map to navigate the events and situations encountered in the world, just as an explorer uses a map to find their way through a jungle they have never previously encountered.
All the impressions, images, thoughts, events and situations the individual has experienced come together in that person’s mind. There they interact with each other to create an internally consistent, dynamic image of the world that provides the individual the means to cope with the environment. Even though the map will be generally internally consistent, it may or may not be consistent with the external world it is attempting to navigate. Sometimes the map will be accurate and reliable, while at other times, the map will not provide the necessary accuracy. The underlying fears and distress that had been allayed will re-emerge.
You can say that in order to map “reality as it is”, we he have to develop the internal software first before we can see “face to face”. According to theories we actually dream to forget, to integrate what we have experienced during the day, giving our systems a chance to upload new programs, and make space for new learning. Although we wish to suddenly be a fully realized and enlightened person, we would go mad without the preparation to see reality as it is. It takes time and integration, to upload new programs, in order to incorporate our wider sense of awareness, or indeed multiple levels of consciousness.
As we have seen the same applies in meditation. Meditation calms the surface consciousness – those parts of the mind that deal with the actual and material world in our ordinary consciousness. Thus, our imagination, our reverie, stops and all idle chatter of the ordinary mind is brought into silence, cessation – a state of mental and vital repose comes into being, and in that repose our consciousness opens to higher and more refined levels of mental consciousness – higher aspects of the mind that are intuitive and sensitive to things of the upper or spiritual worlds, and through which we can contact spiritual forces and experience parapsychological phenomenon. This is why through regular meditation individuals often experience heightened parapsychological phenomenon of various kinds; through meditation individuals may gain sight into the future or sight into things far removed from them, and they may become conscious of contacts with spiritual beings-forces that typically remain unconscious in most ordinary individuals – they experience an opening of consciousness to metaphysical dimensions and spiritual worlds.
Essentially, the imaginative faculty translates the spiritual and supernal experiences of the soul into recognizable imagery, giving form to that which is abstract and formless, as though clothing it in garments – and this is the experience, the dream, or vision in dream, which the incarnate soul may know and understand, and speak about. However, in truth, it is only an interpretation of spiritual and supernal experience, and the interpretation may be more or less pure or impure, more or less clear or distorted.
This, of course, is very deceptive – whether in sleep and dream, or in meditation, because when a person’s mind is not completely clear, perfectly pure, the spiritual or mystical experience is going to be translated into whatever inane thoughts or strange desires are in the mind – this is why in authentic spiritual traditions, training requires such extreme self-purification of the mind, heart and life, and indeed the consciousness of the spiritual aspirant.
Those aspiring to see reality as it is, must learn how to discern between every possible nuance and gradation of spiritual and mystical experience – and they must have a very thorough spiritual education, providing their imaginative faculty with a very large and consistent symbolic vocabulary through which various gradations of experience may be discerned and through which a truer translation of spiritual and supernal experiences may occur. Basically, the images of a luminous dream or vision are created totally by one’s own mind, and therefore what appears is completely dependent upon one’s state of consciousness and knowledge at the time of the experience, and whether that mirror is hazy or clear, impure or pure. One can say, unless the proper vehicle is formed in consciousness, (the proper software is developed), and the consciousness itself is purified and refined, the higher grades of enlightenment, or awareness, are impossible to attain, a fit and pure vessel must be fashioned to receive it.
Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions. – Edgar Cayce
When you dream you have your five senses available to you. You may well ask how this can be when you are sleeping. When you are dreaming you are utilizing your five inner senses of the subconscious mind. Our inner senses are subtle counterparts of your five external senses; inner sight (clairvoyance), inner hearing (clairaudience), inner smell, inner taste, and inner touch. As many of us have experienced, our subconscious mind can also reach out and connect with minds of others, resulting in telepathic dreams; and it can reach into the past and into the future, unearthing information we did not think we knew, sometimes leading to precognitive dreams.
Here we must ask what is precognition, what exactly is prophesy? It will also be interesting to note that in the ancient past, almost all prophesy occurred through dreams. To be able to experience a prophetic state while awake, would be similar to being lucid while in a dream. The boundaries between dreams and reality become thin. Some of course would call it being psychotic, but the difference is whether it is achieved through conscious discipline, or unconscious internal conflict. Thus the aspect I mentioned earlier preparing in a disciplined way to see multiple layers of meaning in waking reality. So how can we define prophesy?
Prophecy is insight into the play of spiritual forces within and behind what transpires, and insight into things that will transpire on account of that play of spiritual forces; likewise, it is insight into souls, the spiritual forces moving with them, and their tikkune -healing. – Tau Malachi
Say we have a dream and what we saw in the dream comes true. What is it actually saying? If we look at the dream expectation theory, it will look like this; we have been observing certain patterns at play in life, and subconsciously or unconsciously we have come to a conclusion that certain events will transpire as result of the interaction of those patterns at play. If we do nothing to change those patterns the event will occur and the dream will be considered as precognitive. You can look at certain patterns at play in your life and make predictions as to where it will lead. However, most of us are not aware of all the patterns playing out in our lives, so the clearer your conscious understanding of what patterns and forces shape your life and those elements around you, the greater your ability to predict future events. As most of us are only conscious of about 10 – 15 percent of all that shapes our lives, it is no small wonder that life seems so utterly chaotic and unpredictable, with us at the mercy of fate. This in itself should be an urgent incentive for us to take note of our dreams as in reality each dream we have is precognitive if we observe closely what it says of the patterns at play in our lives of which we are unaware.
This reflects the very nature of the spiritual life – consciously responding to whatever transpires in a positive, creative and uplifting way. In all things this is the choice we have and the choices we make will determine our experience and the outcome of things.
To take this further, just as I must be careful in how I re-tell my dreams, I must be careful how I view my memories of my life experiences, and past-life memories. Just as I could look at my nightmare dreams from a positive learning angle, so I can view my nightmarish experiences in life. The past is often called “dream-like” and looking into the nature of memories we find this to be true – yesterday’s experience is like last night’s dream, both now existing as memories. Whether dreams or experiences of the past, there is “prophetic” power in how we speak of them, whether for good or for ill – instead of living in reaction we want to live in conscious response, exercising our co-creative capacity to draw out the sparks of blessings from all our experiences, even from those that may seem “inauspicious” or “dark and hostile.” While we may not be able to avoid certain circumstances, situations or events, and may not be able to go back and change the past, nevertheless we can choose how we relate, think and speak of them and choose our reactions.
Dreams are one-sixtieth the power of death, and are a direct reflection of the nature of the afterlife experience. – Kabbalah
“Every morning is a fresh beginning. Every day is the world made new. “We have heard this expression often, as well as “Live today as if it were your last.” Yet, how do we apply this in practice, since most of us get carried away by the sensations of the day, and the worries, and troubles it brings. How often do we not fall into a fitful sleep, carrying all our worries, troubles, and often anger into our sleep? Then to wake up in the morning, carrying all these worries, troubles and feelings like a hangover from the previous day into the new day? Each night when we go to sleep is like dying – we die to one reality, and enter another reality, and awake each morning to a new life. This can indeed, be related to what happens when we live an unconscious, unaware life.
We begin each lifetime, carrying the hangover of the previous life into our new life.
As a child when I read “Winged Pharaoh,” one passage made a strong impression on me.
“I had a little cylinder of stone with which I smoothed the wax before I slept, preparing it for the morning, just as I must smooth all thoughts of Earth from my mind, so that it would be free to record those things I did and saw away from it.”
What one does in the evening before going to sleep is a large influence on one’s dreams. Therefore, if one seeks vision in dream or more luminous dreams directing one’s mind to spiritual and luminous things is a good practice. Although we may have been carried away during the day, it is essential that before we go to sleep, we release the energy of the day and let go of the world as you prepare to go into the dream-time. Thus we clear the mind and bring resolution to the issues of one’s day – clearing oneself of all links formed (especially those that are negative). Reading spiritually uplifting scriptures and especially meditation before sleep is a very good practice to establish yourself in.
In tandem with this, when you awake the next day, whether your dreams were dark or luminous, you have the opportunity, to interpret your dreams as guides to establish what your focus should be. But what is more, just as you would decide what garments to wear for the day, you can decide how you want to clothe that which you call “I”. Will you “dress” yourself as a victim of fate, or as the co-creator you were born to be?
The idea that dreams are “less real” than waking consciousness is a serious misconception according to the Kabbalah. In truth, this world is akin to a collective dream, versus our apparently individual dreams, and both are equally “real” in their own dimension and context. According to the Zohar, consciously working with our dreams we can bring about positive and powerful changes in our lives in the waking consciousness and be better prepared for a conscious transition through the experience we call “death.”
Your body has arisen from living cells that are as old as life on this planet. Your body, mind, emotions and imagination are the screen upon which ancient life can project its wisdom and experience. What arises from the ocean of mind within you depends on who you are, what you are, what you need (not necessarily what you want) and what you seek. Although, the possibility to see reality as it is may seem too lofty an aspiration to entertain, only for the advanced masters, unless we open our minds and hearts to the greater possibilities of being human, we cannot become conscious of them and realize them. In a manner of speaking, we create the neuro-nets in our brains and the channel-ways in our soul or consciousness by talking about such mysteries that might allow us to enter into this mystical experience. It’s a matter of skillful means opening the way.
You already have all the tools at your disposal, all you need to do is become aware of them, and learn how to use them. You can use language just to swear and curse, or just to express your basic desires, or you can use it to bring love, wisdom, and beauty into the world. You have the tools for transcendence at your disposal; it is your choice to take the next step in awareness.
16th-century woodcut by the Bettmann Archive “Man Looking into Outer Space
“When you accept that your “here and now” is forever shaped by what went before, why resist those memories and insights of what went before as a part of your process of transformation in a life lived here and now, even if, as you say, all the worlds and realms of the inner planes exist in the same space at the same time, here and now? “
I agree, what we were very much influence us in the here and now. I do not resist my memories of the past lives, any more than I resist memories of this life, or my dreams. When they come I let them rise, and learn from them what they reveal. I see them very much like dreams, sometimes a present experience spark a memory, vision or a dream of a past time. Indeed if you are open to them they reveal much about the present. I have found that one remembers the ones that reveal your present wounds, in other words that which has direct relevance to your present conditions. The ones I remember in most detail clearly shows me where my present resistances, and blockages comes from. It is also reflects directly why I find myself in my present situation, what it is I must go beyond and transmute. Some say we could have lived thousands of lives, just like we have thousands of memories, not all are directly relevant to the present, neither can we remember them all. Thus when the student is ready, the master will be there. When we are ready to deal with lessons we have to learn, what you need to know is revealed. Sometimes our egos are not mature or balanced enough to deal with past traumatic events. I therefore find it vitally important to cultivate the right conditions in the present so that I may move beyond old karmic conditions and gravity.
Tau Malachi said the following on dreams;
According to the Zohar dreams are very important – from them we are meant to take guidance in life, for they reveal the influence of spiritual forces within and behind what transpires. Likewise, it is said that dreams are 1/60th the power of death and are a direct reflection of the nature of the afterlife experience.
Every night, the Zohar says, our soul goes on a journey apart from the body and only a vital link of soul-energy remains in the body. Potentially, the soul can ascend to commune in its Source, the Light, though often times souls become distracted along the way and bound to lower and less luminous realms. What our dreams reveal is what is going on in our consciousness on a psychic and spiritual level, and thus our dreams empower us to a conscious response. If our dreams are bright and luminous and uplifting, it is an indication we are on the right track and connecting with positive influences. If our dreams are dim or dark, then it is an indication of a need for correction and self-purification. In other words, based on watching our dreams we can consciously direct our spiritual practice as necessary, responding to what is happening outwardly in our lives as well as in our interior lives.
The Zohar teaches that regardless of whether or not we experience a luminous and uplifting dream or one that is dark and dreadful, nevertheless we should always interpret dreams in a postitive light. Essentially, the influence of a dream will depend upon our interpretation of it, and when we speak our dreams, or even think of them, it is a very powerful act, akin to self-prophecy. Thus, even an inauspicious dream interpreted in an auspicious way can become a positive invocation.
Here we may give an example. Suppose you dream a very dark and frightening dream. When you awaken and remember your dream you could interpret it as a call of the Holy Spirit to engage in self-purification and banishing, not only for yourself alone, but for the sake of the people and the land; hence an invocation of the action of a spiritual warrior. Acting accordingly, what otherwise would be an ill-omen becomes completely positive.
This reflects the very nature of the spiritual life – consciously responding to whatever transpires in a positive, creative and uplifting way. In all things this is the choice we have and the choices we make will determine our experience and the outcome of things.
The Zohar also tells us to be careful to whom we speak our dreams, that they should only be spoken consciously, and only to those who are our real friends and have our best interest in mind. In other words, dreams should be dealt with as very intimate and personal and, moreover, as sacred and holy. They are private and not public, and should be guarded against ill-will and negativity.
This view on dreams reflects the two most important points of spiritual practice in our day – morning and evening. Morning practice is the exit of dream and evening practice is the entrance, and how we shift between dream and sleep, and waking consciousness, is considered very important, especially at the point we are working with Transference of Consciousness practices.
It is good to pay attention to what one does before going to bed. It is best to clear the mind and bring ressolution to the issues of one’s day – clearing oneself of all links formed (especially those that are negative). What one does in the evening before going to sleep is a large influence on one’s dreams. Therefore, if one seeks vision in dream or more luminous dreams directing one’s mind to spiritual and luminous things is a good practice. In the tradition, once one is well established in spiritual life and practice, there are even practices that can be done while one is shifting into sleep and dream to become conscious in one’s dreams.
The idea that dreams are “less real” than waking consciousness is a serious misconception according to the Kabbalah. In truth, this world is akin to a collective dream, versus our apparently individual dreams, and both are equally “real” in their own dimension and context. According to the Zohar, consciously working with our dreams we can bring about positive and powerful changes in our lives in the waking consciousness and be better prepared for a conscious transition through the experience we call “death”; hence be empowered to experience the Risen Savior and the Ascension in the afterlife states.
In refection of this, I was contemplating the relationship between dreams and physical life experiences, and how awareness in one affects the other, when it dawned upon me … The relationship between dream re-telling and memories. Just as I must be careful in how I re-tell my dreams, I must be careful how I view my memories of my life experiences, and past-life memories. Just as I could look at my nightmare dreams from a positive learning angle, so I can view my nightmarish experiences in life. I presented my insight Tau Malachi, and this is the reply I received:
In the teachings the past is often called “dream-like” and looking into the nature of memories we find this to be true – yesterday’s experience is like last night’s dream, both now existing as memories. I believe your insight is right on the mark, for whether dreams or experiences of the past there is “prophetic” power in how we speak of them, whether for good or for ill – instead of living in reaction we want to live in conscious response, exercising our co-creative capacity to draw out the sparks of blessings from all our experiences, even from those that may seem “inauspicious” or “dark and hostile.” While we may not be able to avoid certain circumstances, situations or events, and may not be able to go back and change the past, nevertheless we can choose how we relate with it and, as you have said, we can choose how we think of it and speak of it. Truly there is great power in our view of things and how we think and speak of them, as we see in the practice of affirmation and creative visualization and the manifesting power that comes into play.
In teachings on “Perfect Success,” as given in Living Gnosis, when we speak of remaining completely positive, it includes the past, as well as the present and future – all “three times” as the Buddhist would say.
At the outset of such a practice we may find that it is not exactly easy, first because of our own habitual patterns of negative thought, speech and action, our own karmic continuum; however, we will also encounter a greater downward and backward pull of karmic gravity in this world – a dampening field of psychic and spiritual energy, as it were, that attempts to keep us bound up in fear and anger, and various forms of negativity. In fact, when we speak of “liberation” on the most basic level we are speaking of breaking free of the karmic gravity of this world, or the karmic gravity of the realms, worlds and universes of the Entirety. As much as the steps of Perfect Success may be applied to any endeavor, within and behind those teachings we are actually speaking about the ultimate perfection and success, the enlightenment and liberation of the mind or soul-stream.
This “little thing” of remaining completely positive is no little thing – it is everything, really. Quite naturally it requires the cultivation of the presence of awareness, for on account the dampening field of psychic and spiritual energy we can easily fall into forgetfulness, becoming bound up in negativity. Along with the cultivation of the presence of awareness, letting go of attachment and aversion becomes essential, for as long we are attached or averse we are bound to reaction and cannot enact a conscious response. In this we see the virtue of the practice of the silent witness and primordial meditation and how it may serve to empower other practices in our spiritual life.
Of the struggle to stay completely positive, however, we can say that it is a truly noble and worthwhile effort, for if there is to be a change in the world we must first bring about that change in ourselves; to the extend that we are able to be completely positive we become a force for the greater good in the world.
Having been a Gnostic practitioner for thirty six years or so what strikes me most is the struggle to ground and integrate our spirituality in the mundane sphere of daily living. It is relatively easy to have peak spiritual and mystical experiences, the real work is embodying the truth and light in our thoughts, speech and actions. It is so easy to speak of our peak experiences in consciousness, but then find our thoughts, speech and actions contradicting the truth and light revealed in our experiences.
Quite naturally, how I view and relate with my past, how I view and relate with the present and how I envision the future must change as I undergo the spiritual death and rebirth and enter into the path of conscious evolution – for it is the womb of Sophia giving birth to Christ in me. If there has been tumult and suffering, surely it is as the labor pains of the Divine Mother giving birth to us as the Risen Christ.
I believe the idea of a positive view and relationship with our past, regardless of what darkness and tumult may lay in it, is an integral part of the wisdom in the Sophian Gnostic legends of the Holy Bride in Babylon. How did she emerge from such darkness to embody so great a Light-presence and Light-power? While it may well be a play in myth and legend, nevertheless it speaks a truth in our own experience; however deeply we may have become entangled in the ignorance and darkness, there is always the potential for our enlightenment and liberation – and, of course, the experience of our past is transformed by the enlightenment experience.
It is not always possible to know all the sources for our present negative reactions in our conscious minds. There is a wonderful practice suggested by Serge Kahili King in dealing with such negative reactions, it is called Blanket Forgiveness. Forgiveness is basically a process of deciding that whatever happened is no longer important or it doesn’t matter anymore.
First you assume that in any current condition of pain or discomfort there is some anger involved, even if you don’t know what it is all about. Then you touch the area of your body that is in pain or discomfort with the fingers of either hand and say, “Whatever this is related to, I forgive it completely and it doesn’t matter anymore.” Most of the time you will experience at least some instant relief, and often complete relief, but if not keep doing it for one full minute with the full focus of your attention.
Often with the relief memories might surface which relates to the pain or discomfort.
One may awake in a dream, but not from the greater dream.