Posts Tagged consciousness

The Impoverishment of Commercialization


Enda Cavanagh

What I treasure most about humanity is the incredible diversity found among us aa it is reflected in the biodiversity nature. Life itself, in its essence, is diversity; it is only in the process of death that all becomes alike. Life as a vital energy generates diversity and love embraces the vitality of diversity. Yet, when I look around me into the prevailing culture, I smell the scent of death rather than the scent of life. The prevailing culture engenders death rather than life. Death of body, mind and soul.

In today’s world marketing is everything. At the basis of marketing lies the concept of finding a market for your product and then to apply proven strategies to capture the market so that they will buy your product and not another. Underlying this is the concept of dominion, or the winner takes all. Marketing is the final stage of the process of commercialization and is derived from the Latin word merx (commodity; merchandise, goods).

We can indeed say that the world is in the final stage of commercialization. Just as there is nothing left in this world today that isn’t polluted just so there is nothing left in this world that hasn’t been commercialized. Everything is seen through the filter of “How much is it worth?” Even the most sacred of all human qualities – love – has been tainted by commercialization.

In his essay “Love and Need: Is Love a Package or a Message?” Thomas Merton comments that we are taught within the framework of competitive consumer capitalism to see love as a business deal: “This concept of love assumes that the machinery of buying and selling of needs is what makes everything run. It regards life as a market and love as a variation on free enterprise.”

His comment gives an insight into why it is virtually impossible to find unconditional love in this world. Commercialization makes everything conditional. It breeds insincerity and mistrust. Commercialization is the framework within which we are raised and is thus so deeply imbedded into our way of thinking that it will take a lot of digging to uproot its enmeshment within our psyche.

Dana Gioia laments the state of the prevailing culture; “When virtually all of a culture’s celebrated figures are in sports or entertainment, how few possible role models we offer the young. There are so many other ways to lead a successful and meaningful life that are not denominated by money or fame. Adult life begins in a child’s imagination, and we’ve relinquished that imagination to the marketplace. But we must remember that the marketplace does only one thing — it puts a price on everything.” In a recent survey done in England vitually all the children responded to the question of what they wanted to be one day, that they wanted to be famous.

The way commercialization impoverishes our lives is that it reduces everything to what will sell best. This of course directly affects biodiversity but it also affects creative expression. A reflection of this is seen in the wine market where the wine critic Robert Parker’s particular likes in wines have global effects. “As wines rise and fall on the basis of Parker’s judgments, and as producers respond to his presence, the industry worldwide is moving in an unexpected direction, toward denser, darker, and more dramatic wines.” (Ref) The production of wines now is geared towards what will be best received by the critic.

Creative output is tailored to suit the market, not the artist’s particular vision. With the result we are seeing less and less creative work that comes from the heart and more and more creative work that comes from a marketing campaign. Creative work that comes from the heart is still out there but we are less likely to encounter it because we are less likely to pick it up in the search engines which operate in a hierarchical way. Even in the blog world that once encouraged individual creative expression we are now seeing more and more work that are produced with the specific aim to get as many hits as possible, using specific recommended marketing formulas, rather than coming from the heart. Even spirituality has become a huge marketing campaign.

Commercialization has been around in some form since ancient days of trading. The big change today is globalization. Now commercialization is tailored for the global market or more specifically for tastes the biggest market. Before globalization more diversity was allowed to flourish because brand consciousness was more localized. Now everything is tailored to reflect what is most successful on a global level. “If you sing, then you must be able to sing like the best in the world or give it up.”

On a pure economic level there are of course countless examples of the devastation that global commercialization has had on smaller economies, of which Somalia is a classic example. Michel Chossudovsky summarizes in “Somalia: the Real Causes of Famine”
“While “external” climatic variables play a role in triggering off a famine and heightening the social impact of drought, famines in the age of globalization are man-made. They are not the consequence of a scarcity of food but of a structure of global oversupply which undermines food security and destroys national food agriculture. Tightly regulated and controlled by international agri-business, this oversupply is ultimately conducive to the stagnation of both production and consumption of essential food staples and the impoverishment of farmers throughout the world. Moreover, in the era of globalization, the IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program bears a direct relationship to the process of famine formation because it systematically undermines all categories of economic activity, whether urban or rural, which do not directly serve the interests of the global market system.”

Commercialization is of course rooted in our need for survival on the most basic of levels – survival of the fittest. Yet, if humanity is to advance in consciousness we must find another strategy for survival. Up till now we have even used the same strategy of dominion to bring about change in our social environment against “hierarchical domination.”

In her essay “Love as the Practice of Freedom” Bell Hooks concludes “that many of us are motivated to move against domination solely when we feel our self-interest directly threatened. Often, then, the longing is not for a collective transformation of society, an end to politics of dominations, but rather simply for an end to what we feel is hurting us. This is why we desperately need an ethic of love to intervene in our self-centered longing for change. Fundamentally, if we are only committed to an improvement in that politic of domination that we feel leads directly to our individual exploitation or oppression, we not only remain attached to the status quo but act in complicity with it, nurturing and maintaining those very systems of domination. Until we are all able to accept the interlocking, interdependent nature of systems of domination and recognize specific ways each system is maintained, we will continue to act in ways that undermine our individual quest for freedom and collective liberation struggle.”

A strategy that is based in the ethics of love rather than that of dominion is a strategy that is inclusive rather than exclusive, allows for us to live and let live. The reason humanity has not made much advancement in consciousness since the dawn of modern humanity is that we still apply the same strategy for survival as we did so many thousands of years ago. To evolve, to develop, we must first want to be different from what we are now. This is the first requirement of evolution.

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved with the same level
of thinking we were at when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

This way of survival is simply not sustainable. We have reached the zenith of this strategy. From this point on it will further impoverish us on every level, and rob us of all that we once held dear.

The worship of Mammon – Evelyn de Morgan

Advertisements

, , , , , , ,

2 Comments

Consciousness and Free Will


Across the River Styx by Nig

 

I see evolution in terms of consciousness. Whether you look at evolution of the universe, the earth, humanity or the individual person, it seems to me that it follows a particular course. Up to the point of physical, mental and psychological maturity, humans all over the world, across cultures, develop in certain areas of what constitute the human being, in a very stage specific unfolding.
After that we have a free will to consciously evolve ourselves. I call this self-evolution. For me the most important contribution that we as individuals can make to the well-being of the whole, is to evolve ourselves. To raise our level of consciousness. That is for me the primary direction of our present development as a specie. In achieving the highest of what we are capable of, we uplift the whole, and we fulfill our purpose. That which has no purpose will die out. .

Consciousness is not something you don’t have one day, and suddenly have another day. Consciousness is an evolutionary process. There are however levels of consciousness. Consciousness is an awareness. Consciousness is always about something. Consciousness is about bringing something into awareness, whether through thoughts, dreams, memories, feelings, or sensory impressions such as visual images, tastes, smells or sounds. So you can say that the more you are aware of what influences your thinking, and subsequently, your actions, the more conscious you are. The less aware you are, the less free will you have. When you are aware that something influences you, then you can use your will to decide what you want to do about it.

To develop a high level of consciousness requires an attentiveness. Attention makes you aware of what you have been accepting unconsciously. It is virtually impossible to consciously know all of what influences our thinking. Scientists are beginning to realize that we receive information, not only through our sensory perception, but there are also items entering our consciousness that exceed the range of sensory perception; they can leap, it seems, across wide reaches of space and time.

Although endless possibilities are open to us, both as humanity and individuals, we cannot know everything, be everything, and do everything in the physical time-dimension. I think all of our brains have an amazing capacity to learn, however, we do not all have the same desire to learn certain things. In general for example the male mind is better in abstract logic than the female mind. Why is this? Is it because the male brain is better than the female brain in that area? I don’t think so. From what I have observed, it has everything to do with desire. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Learning requires a need for directed attention. Attention goes where interest goes. Energy goes where attention goes. If I am not really interested in mathematical equations, or technical data, it will be very hard for me to concentrate in order to learn it. I see each human being as a window on the universe. As a specie our strength lies in our ability to co-operate with each other, to pass our insights on to others. It is through our ability to interact and co-operate that we evolve in consciousness, that we can make a leap in consciousness.

Rather than discrete things and independent events, there are but ripples upon ripples upon waves upon waves in this universe, propagating in a seamless sea. – Ervin Laszlo

Also see Inclinations-talents-and-strengths – Why do we have them and not others?

https://essorant.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/are-we-confined-to-our-mental-physicality/

, , ,

2 Comments

Which desires should we choose to act upon?


“If we choose to act upon a desire we will set in motion a series of causes and effects that will guide us to our true destiny.”

One can truly see the Divine Trickster’s hand in our desires. It is through our choices that we have free will, and free will in turn is the agent through which consciousness is developed. When we were young children; we feel a desire and act upon it. We would then have seen certain effects swing in motion. Some of the effects would have pleased us, other effects would have been better to avoid.  We desire to touch the flame and it burns us, so we learn to be careful about flames and fire. Yet we also learn what flames and fire is. We can appreciate its beauty from a distance or use its heat for practical purposes. Then depending on your individual inclinations, some youngsters might for example desire to experiment with fire. Some might use it to cook with, some might use it to create art with, and yet others might experiment with its destructive qualities. This will in turn lead to further educate the experimenter of both the inherent qualities of fire and the inherent desires within him or herself, thus revealing to us more about our true desire.

However, say some boy one day decided to burn some dry grass to see how it burns. What he was not aware of was that there was a wind blowing and a lot of other dry grass around. Innocently he lights the fire. The wind picks up some of the burning pieces of grass and ignites the dry grass in the surrounding area. The fire gets out of hand and causes destruction that he could not have imagined.  Whatever the effect his innocent acting upon his desire had, it will effect his future life. How he reacts on the unfolding events will reveal his particular destiny.

As we grow older, our desires become more unique. We might all desire to appease our physical but each one of us will have unique preferences as to what particular type of food we hunger for, if we have a choice, which further reveals more about who we are as individuals. Each time we choose we set in motion both desired and undesired effects, because we cannot know everything. We can act only from what we know, which is always limited in vision. What we know is what we are aware of. Awareness is like the beam of a flashlight; It is a flow of illuminating light towards an object. 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 consciousness awareness represents the small bright spot, whereas what we are unaware of, our unconsciousness, 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. Although we are unconscious of 85 – 90 percent of our thoughts, feelings, experiences, memories and beliefs, they do shape our lives.

Each time we feel a desire we must choose whether to act upon it or not. The effects of our choices are going to contain reactions stemming from both elements of what we are conscious of and what we are not conscious of. The Trickster uses effects of the elements we are not conscious of, to further educate our awareness and steer us towards our destiny.

Sometimes our choices may lead us to places where there seem to be no way out, and it appears as if we are left with only Selchie choices. Yet, those situations in itself will contain aspects that will help us to unfold our souls, as those situations would never be situations that we would willingly choose. Yet, in retrospect we can see no matter, how hard it was it was necessary for our evolvement as human beings. In those situations it may appear to us as if we are achieving nothing, that in fact we are regressing, but deep below the surface radical changes are being effected on our being in becoming.

It may appear unbearable to us, as every solution we can think of cannot bring satisfactory solutions. In those situations we find ourselves as conscious beings within the womb. All we really can do is learn to float in the womb’s ocean. We have to partly surrender in trust; that we can float and partly participate in staying afloat, until the process of our unfoldment is complete.

In those situations we reached the limits of our imaginations; all the answers seem to lie beyond the horizons of our imagination. We have reached the state where we must surrender to the processes of our enfoldment. That which we think we are needs to undergo a radical change in order to embody a new consciousness which will contain the answer to our dilemma. It will contain the capacity of an expanded imagination, well beyond our previous horizons.

How long can we expect to be in such a state of liminal floating? That depends upon divine grace, and we cannot tell the duration of time. It may not even occur within the present lifetime, or it may only provide answers to the next generation. Our very quandary however, will provide questions that will lead to answers for either ourselves or the next generation. There is a solution to every challenge, we must first however, develop the capacity of consciousness to receive the answer and to comprehend it.

Desire is the cause that impregnates the seed of our unfolding. Within the embryo of our unfoldment is contained possibilities generated by past generations’ desires which in our unfolding form might come in fruition, or develop further, so that in future generations it can come into fruitition.

Whether we choose to act upon a desire or not, it will have an inner or outer effect.

(Scientific studies found that genes can be turned on and off by environmental signals – including thoughts, feelings and emotions – from outside the cell. )

Enclosed within
the smallness of a seed 
the potential of the universe

Wthin the smallness of a seed
the spark of life awoke
ensouled

feeling
thinking
expanding
commanding
forces of creation

 Related; https://essorant.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/the-selchies-choice/

https://essorant.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/prelude-to-a-dream-%e2%80%93-do-caterpillars-dream-2/

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Dreams as a means of exploring reality and consciousness


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.

http://www.sophian.org/
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.

 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9402EEDE143FF935A25751C1A961958260
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).

http://www.why-we-dream.com/remstate.htm
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”.

 http://www.radionetherlands.nl/features/cultureandhistory/041119vh

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.

 http://www.bodhicitta.net/Chod.htm
 

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.
man looking at outerspace

16th-century woodcut by the Bettmann Archive “Man Looking into Outer Space

, , , , , , , ,

1 Comment