Traversing the DreamscapeAugust 8th, 2007 by John Wolfe
Our nightly slumber provides far more than just physical rest; it allows us to shift our attention away from our daily lives and enter into alternate landscapes and environments. The “rules” within these environments appear to be as strict or as lax as the dreamer chooses- limitations of the imagination serve as the only law of the land. While the stuff dreams are made of seems hazy and vague at best, it’s only our recall (after the fact) that presents us with the problems of remembering the bright, vivid details. While we are actually submersed in the dream, the experience appears as crystal clear as our waking lives.
For most, dreams seem to play out without much input; however lucid dreamers have full control and access over their nightly journeys. They can plan out, alter and mix up their dreams at will. While I’ve never been much of a lucid dreamer, I have had dreams whose vividness rivaled anything I’ve experienced in my physical world.
One dream, in particular, found me being pursued through the back streets of a city in Europe, where I was cornered and shot several times in the stomach. I woke, shaking and sweating with a knot in my stomach and a very real, lingering taste of blood in my mouth- pretty intense for something that’s supposedly a product of the brain. If my brain has the capability to fool me into tasting “dream blood” then imagine what it fools me into believing that I’m seeing, tasting, feeling and touching on a daily basis.
Of course, I believe dreams are far more than gobble-dee-gook our brains are regurgitating. But since dreams do require brain activity, I feel that the brain is a very integral part of the conduit between our spiritual selves and the physical body, whether we’re awake or asleep. It serves as the go-between for interpreting reality, which enables the link up of the big three: mind, body, and spirit.
So, if our consciousness is creating our reality and the brain is the piece that is interpreting it for our physical bodies, what’s to say this same process isn’t occurring when we sleep?
Maybe we are actually shifting into a different reality each time we have a dream. Our physical bodies lay sleeping in bed, while our consciousness is free to expand into other environments, all while our brains are running relay and storing the experiences for us to rationalize away as misty fantasies or wishful thinking the next morning. I believe the dream world illustrates how mysterious and enigmatic consciousness is, making it difficult to say where the ultimate perceiver is truly stationed, in any aspect of our lives.
Now, if we truly are experiencing other forms of reality when we sleep, then what happens to the awareness of our physical body while we’re resting?
In Exploring and Creating our Reality, I spoke about consciousness being defined as awareness. As long we are aware, then we are considered conscious, but how does this play out at nighttime, in the dreamscape? We are conscious during dreams, yet we are not aware of the physical self (and what’s occurring around it) that we usually identify with. What becomes of that identity?
Obviously we can say our body is sleeping on the bed, but what happens to our actual identity? What if the you (that you identify with as your identity) that’s reading this post, right now, ceases to exist when your conscious awareness shifts away during sleep?
I believe sleep is like mini-death. Each night, as we drift into it, our consciousness withdraws its focus from our physical bodies and resumes its other pursuits. Essentially, other realities take over once we make the shift into the dream world. We are then reborn into the awareness of this physical existence (which we most commonly associate with as our true selves) each morning, when we awaken.
So, if we are dreaming these other existences into being each night or reconnecting with them, then who’s to say there isn’t another perceiver outside of us, dreaming our daily waking lives into being, while it sleeps? In other words, when we think of ourselves as dreaming, our other “selves” are active and when they think of themselves as dreaming, we are the ones that are active in our daily lives.
Perhaps the dreamscape environments we encounter are actual locations, similar to environments on the astral plane. This would appear to be a function of continuous thought energy being directed toward the idea of the location’s existence. If enough individual aspects of consciousness focus on a specific location, then it becomes tangible, whether you’re in the dream world, on the astral plane, or even in the physical environment.
This brings us to a theory that I’ve encountered- that the dream world actually resides within the astral environment. I think this is plausible, since all dreams could be considered forms of unconscious out of body experiences.
I feel that dreams, out of body experiences, near death experiences and the actual death experience all share similar traits and characteristics. Each one is a journey further into consciousness, but to very different extents and “extremes.”
Of course the life experience itself is a journey of consciousness. I don’t want to sound like other spiritual or mystical experiences are special, while life is not. Each experience is unique and special, but to suggest that life is preferential to death or the dream state is better than waking life would be incorrect. There is not one state of being that consciousness ceases to benefit from.
As we continue to acknowledge that consciousness exists in everything and everything exists inside consciousness, it becomes easier to understand why every experience is truly spiritual, mystical and beneficial.
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