The Hostile On Top Of Me

predator cloak

By Douglas McElheny

In my last blog I gave an example of a dream where I feel I had an actual encounter with a hostile being, that is, a being of conscious darkness. I have another example I wanted to share in this post.

This dream happened quite a number of years ago when Donny and I were living in Cusco Peru. We stayed there for a span of months and shortly after arriving we befriended a group of holistic doctors there. Two of these doctors, Carlos and Luis, had a small apartment in Cusco, but on the weekends went to their homes and families in the small town of Urubamba nearby. Donny was a frequent weekend guest at Carlos’ house, and I went less frequently to stay with Luis. Luis had four children who were all teenagers or in their early twenties. One of them was a daughter, Chani, if I remember her name correctly.

The first few times I stayed with Luis and his family, I slept on the floor in an unused dental examination room. On one of those early visits I had a dream I was there on the floor in that room and Chani was on top of me, but fully clothed. She lowered her face to mine and we started kissing, but the experience was rather unpleasant, as she was moving her tongue around rapidly and violently in a circle. I opened my eyes and instead of Chani there was a being like the alien from the movie Predator in the sense that it was transparent, but I could still make it out and see its features to some extent. It was humanoid, but more bizarre and alien looking than anything Hollywood has ever managed to come up with. What I remember most clearly about it though was a small beak like thing it had for a mouth that had a tongue like thing that was circling around the outside of the beak the same way it had been doing in my mouth just few seconds before. Then I woke up and it was either still dark out or dawn was just beginning while in the dream the room had been fully lit.

If I remember correctly I came to the conclusion pretty quickly that the being I was kissing and that had appeared to me in Chani’s form was a hostile vital being. I also realized I had probably been in the cataleptic state back in my body, yet still in the dream state when the encounter occurred. The whole thing made a strong impression on me and I’ve never forgotten it over the years. I’ve also had other dreams where I was kissing someone and there was something unpleasant about it, -usually it’s something they’re doing with their tongue, but sometimes their mouth has a really gross taste- and I’ve wondered if at those times I was kissing another one of these beings in disguise. I honestly don’t know though nor do I know if it’s possible to have intimacy in a dream with one of these beings and have it be marvelous. I just know what I experienced that one time.

Both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have spoken at length about these types of vital beings in their talks and writings. According to their experience there seems to be a whole spectrum of them from fallen divine beings to small mischievous entities that like to cause accidents. And some classes of these beings it appears are actually spawned from our own lower desires while we’re still alive or from parts of our own vital makeup after we die.1 And for all these types of vital beings their food is the energy we give off during lower vital movements such as lust, anger, depression etc., and they’re pushing our buttons and setting up situations both in dream and waking life to get us to give off these types of energies. My feeling on the matter is that if our eyes were suddenly unsealed and we saw how pervasive their influence is, how much they’re pulling our strings, not just individually but collectively, we’d all be in for one hell of a shock. In his epic Savitri, Sri Aurobindo speaks about their pervasiveness in a very striking passage. He tells us:

Their whispers come, an inarticulate force,
Awake in mind an echoing thought or word,
To their sting of impulse the heart’s sanction draw,
And in that little Nature do their work
And fill its powers and creatures with unease.
Its seed of joy they curse with sorrow’s fruit,
Put out with error’s breath its scanty lights
And turn its surface truths to falsehood’s ends,
Its small emotions spur, its passions drive
To the abyss or through the bog and mire:
Or else with a goad of hard dry lusts they prick,
While jogs on devious ways that nowhere lead
Life’s cart finding no issue from ignorance.
To sport with good and evil is their law;
Luring to failure and meaningless success,
All models they corrupt, all measures cheat,
Make knowledge a poison, virtue a pattern dull
And lead the endless cycles of desire
Through semblances of sad or happy chance
To an inescapable fatality.
All by their influence is enacted there.2

Now I think it’s necessary to point out that in this passage he’s describing their action and influence in the vital planes or the ‘Kingdoms of the Little Life’ as he puts it. As the passage continues however he goes on to point out they’re doing the same thing here in our material world.

Nor there alone is their empire or their role:
Wherever are soulless minds and guideless lives
And in a small body self is all that counts,
Wherever love and light and largeness lack,
These crooked fashioners take up their task.
To all half-conscious worlds they extend their reign.
Here too these godlings drive our human hearts,
Our nature’s twilight is their lurking-place:
Here too the darkened primitive heart obeys
The veiled suggestions of a hidden Mind
That dogs our knowledge with misleading light
And stands between us and the Truth that saves.
It speaks to us with the voices of the Night:
Our darkened lives to greater darkness move;
Our seekings listen to calamitous hopes.
A structure of unseeing thoughts is built
And reason used by an irrational Force.3

Discussing this article with Donny, he pointed out again something we’ve talked about before, and that’s how the knowledge of how much these ‘crooked fashioners’ are involved in our lives and in all the harm that’s done on this planet is something that has to come out on a societal level and be looked at squarely in the face if we’re going to effectively deal with human wrongdoing and evolve to a state beyond these hostile influences. In science fiction there’s the common theme of humanity uniting to face a common alien invasion, and I can see how this knowledge of hostile forces and beings manipulating and controlling us could serve as a catalyst, or one of them at least, that will give humanity a reason to unite and a common enemy to fight against. This would be a battle of a different kind though since the fight would to free ourselves from their influence, the kingdom conquered our own purified nature and we would all be allies trying to help each other win that personal and at the same time collective war. I honestly don’t expect to see this sort of shift in my lifetime, but I do think it’s coming. How it will all be played out though remains to be seen.

Notes and References

  1. One place where the Mother discusses this particular type of vital entity is in Questions and Answers 1950-51, pg 192
  2. Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, pg 152-153
  3. Ibid, pg 153

The Hostile Behind Me

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The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli

By Douglas McElheny

For a number of years now I’ve been living with chronic pain in my lower back and my knees. There’s not a whole lot I can say about it other than it was a major life change that came on suddenly, and one that took a long time to even begin to adjust to. As you might imagine I’ve been searching for answers via my dreams as to what’s actually caused these disorders and preventing healing, since I suspect it’s something deeper than just physical injury or wear and tear. I hope one day to be able to know and be able to share insight into the deeper causes of my physical state, be they emotional, mental etc., but I can’t do that now with any kind of certainty. One thing though that I’ve suspected for years is that a hostile force (and by that I mean a force of conscious darkness) may be a factor involved in aggravating the pain, and maybe also in preventing its resolution, and I recently had a dream that for me verifies this.

Before I share the dream let me say that I had an actual injury to my lower back from a fall almost eighteen years ago that healed after a few weeks, and which I believe was a manifestation of the same causes that have brought about the chronic pain.1 The chronic pain itself didn’t begin until about eight years ago. The knee pain is more mysterious, and began suddenly about a year and a half after the back pain started, and was so intense for a while I didn’t feel the back pain very much. Some other pertinent details to know is the back pain started while I was staying at Nilambe Meditation Center in Sri Lanka, and that there was an Israeli man, Adi, who was giving me massage to help and actually succeeded in eliminating the pain for a couple of days before it came back.

So having given a little background here is the dream:

I’m at Nilambe. I’m in my room there, and it has amenities like a small refrigerator and microwave as well as a coffee maker. There is also a TV and DVD player. Outside my room I can see some people having a drum circle, and I’m thinking about how much this place has changed and become like a Rainbow Community2. I leave my room and go into the new library but am shocked to see only something like 25% of the books are there, and I’m wondering what happened to all the others. I figure they must be in a room somewhere else. I talk to Upul (the leader at Nilambe) a little bit, and at one point I’m outside by the dining area. I’ve got a motorbike I’m going to use to drive back to my room. I start driving, but then I’m walking, and I become lucid and don’t remember exactly what happened after that, but at one point I find myself lucid again and am laying in a bed lying on my side in the dark. Behind me I sense a disquieting presence and can sort of sense its form without actually seeing it. It’s humanoid, but very strange with some appendages on it a normal human body doesn’t have that come from the front of its trunk and are of different lengths. The appendages are stiff and wood-like but flexible at the same time and have blunt ends. I turn and start to struggle with the creature calling on the Mother as I do so. One of the appendages is attached to my lower back and I knock it off. Now the light is on in the room and I’m on top of the creature, which has changed into a blond woman. I’ve got her by the throat with both hands and am trying to choke her to death. I can’t seem to kill it, but I leave it on the bed in a seemingly incapacitated state. Now though it’s a brunette woman. Then I’m talking to Adi about what happened.

I can’t report the back pain being resolved or even greatly relieved on that day, but the dream did finally offer some proof to my suspicion that a hostile being or force is involved in the pain. The Mother speaks about this in her Questions and Answers, pointing out that sometimes behind an illness there’s also “an attack, a pressure from adverse forces who really want to harm you…encouraging the illness to become as bad as it can be.”3 I imagine her statement is also applicable to disorders like chronic pain syndromes, and she goes on to say that the right spiritual force can remove or destroy the adverse force “if you have this Force at your disposal or if you can ask for it and get it.”4

It was this passage in Questions and Answers that planted this idea in me some time ago, leading me to suspect that this was the case with me. So even before having this dream I’ve been asking for this Force to act and remove the hostile influence and also asking to be shown and to get help to change whatever mental, or emotional elements there might be that have given rise to this. I believe there might also be some kind of blockage or resistance in the body consciousness itself, and so I ask for help with that, help with making the body plastic and receptive. I also try to exercise regularly and stay as active as I can.

Ultimately what’s hard for me is letting go of getting any results, to ask and aspire for healing, but to put whether or not that happens in the end in divine hands and to try to keep my focus on doing the sadhana, on the goal of surrendering completely to the Divine in order to gain release from ego consciousness. But I’ve come to believe you even have to let go of whether or not your sadhana bears any kind of fruit as well, but yet still make the effort and aspire. It’s a level of sincerity I’ve yet to reach. A few days ago I read another passage of the Mother’s in a later volume of Questions and Answers that I’ve been trying to take to heart and would like to share since it spells out what the right attitude needs to be. It’s a rather long quote, but one that I think ought to be read in its entirety:

As with everything in yoga, the effort for progress must be made for the love of the effort for progress. The joy of effort, the aspiration for progress must be enough in themselves, quite independent of the result. Everything one does in yoga must be done for the joy of doing it, and not in view of the result one wants to obtain…. Indeed, in life, always, in all things, the result does not belong to us. And if we want to keep the right attitude, we must act, feel, think, strive spontaneously, for that is what we must do, and not in view of the result to be obtained.

 As soon as we think of the result we begin to bargain and that takes away all sincerity from the effort. You make an effort to progress because you feel within you the need, the imperative need to make an effort and progress; and this effort is the gift you offer to the Divine Consciousness in you, the Divine Consciousness in the Universe, it is your way of expressing your gratitude, offering yourself; and whether this results in progress or not is of no importance. You will progress when it is decided that the time has come to progress and not because you desire it.5

 Now THAT’S sincerity.

***

When I originally started writing this article I considered leaving the first part at Nilambe out, but decided to keep it in for two reasons. One, it seems significant because that’s where the chronic problems started and two, because of something that happened at Nilambe a couple of days before the chronic pain commenced. Let me explain.

Since Nilambe is a mediation center, I was obviously doing a lot of daily meditation as well as yoga classes in the morning and afternoon. One day after the afternoon meditation I found that I was very peaceful and relaxed and also had a very pleasant feeling throughout my body. I found it was a physical joy just to move as long as I moved slowly, and a walk up the hill to the lookout which normally took less than five minutes, took more like fifteen as I enjoyed the experience. After that I seem to remember the experience faded. Then like I said a couple of days later during the afternoon yoga class the pain started up. Given this I’ve had to wonder if there’s a connection between the two things. I’m unsure what that connection would be if indeed one exists, but one possibility that occurred to me is that the positive experience in the body may have been brought on prematurely by all the meditation and asana, and the result was that a resistance in the body which could have been worked out more slowly and less traumatically by the progression of the sadhana was brought up in a very abrupt way. There isn’t this kind of correlation of a nice bodily experience with the commencement of the knee pain, but following my neurologist’s recommendation, I was doing a lot of physical exercise at the time including two weekly one-hour power yoga classes when that pain started up. Maybe overdoing it with exercise, especially asana, brought up more resistance in the body. It’s hard to say, but it seems possible.

Now I’m not sure as to what symbolic meaning the part of the dream with Nilambe may have had. The dream did prompt me though to look up their website and see what was going on with them. When I was at Nilambe it was a fairly open place and you could show up and stay just one night if you wanted to and long term stays were also possible, though most people were backpackers who would stay for a few days or a week or so. At some point though since the last time I was there in 2010 they have changed things considerably and are only running seven day retreats that you are required to attend for the whole seven days. My dream showed an even more bohemian and unstructured arrangement than when I was there and not a more structured one, so this dream doesn’t seem to reflect those changes. This leads me to believe it perhaps had more to do with where I was at in my life at the time of the dream. Our house here is pretty bohemian as far as things go with the young people that live or visit here, none of whom have any interest in the spiritual life and just want to get as much vital pleasure out of existence as they can. There’s a freedom here in our house for young people that probably doesn’t exist anywhere else in Pondicherry, though nearby Auroville has a more western and free atmosphere throughout the whole community. I can see how the dream might represent the state of our house which for Donny and I at least is our ashram in the midst of life, but overlaid with the vital atmosphere of our young people.

I will say however, if I can get up on my soapbox for a moment, something that Donny suggested, and that is that my dream might more truly represent the spirit of Nilambe, which is actually stunted by all this added structure. There of course was a daily schedule when I was at Nilambe, and people were expected to participate as well as maintain the Noble Silence, but if you slept in and missed the 5am meditation one day no one gave you a hard time about it. I missed that particular mediation often during my stays there. People would also do things like go into the woods to get high or even for romantic/sexual liaisons, and even though that was against the rules, the staff didn’t try to crack down on it much. I would guess there is a lot less tolerance for that sort of thing there now. I do think that Nilambe is a retreat center, and you can’t just let it be a free for all, the same way Donny and I can’t let the unregenerate vital just run riot here and completely rule the house. I imagine the purpose of these changes at Nilambe is mainly to change the clientele, so that even if backpackers show up, they’re serious about doing a seven day retreat. It also probably makes things easier on the staff there since the retreats are done one week on, one week off. I have to say that I do understand why Nilambe has made these changes, to do things dynamically requires more work, and it’s easier to just lay down hard and fast rules. I have to wonder though if the center’s lost something of the magic it had by being ramrodded into something like a vipassana.6 Nuff said.

So to sum things up I haven’t been able to provide any answers regarding my physical problems in this article. I do feel though some kind of victory is possible in this situation, whether that would be healing for the body, or reaching a state of consciousness where I’m free inwardly from what’s going on with the body, or some combination of the two remains to be seen. I do think though if the influence of the hostile being could be removed or negated I wouldn’t have as difficult a time, but to do that seems to be something beyond my personal power and would require grace. In the end, it seems what I need to do is carry on persistently with the sadhana as sincerely as I can. There’s one particular quote of the Mother I call to mind frequently to help during trying times and will share to end this article. Very simply she says:

To the most stubborn goes the victory.7

Notes and References

  1. At the time of the accident I was experiencing a very joyous state brought on by an acid trip and was wondering why I couldn’t remain in that state. I guess the accident or what it represented was my answer. For those who are interested, I have incorporated a more detailed description of that joyous state in my short story Slumdog Epilogue which is posted here on our old blog The Chipmunk Press. Scroll down a little to read.
  2. Here I’m referring to the Rainbow Family that puts on the Rainbow Gatherings not the LGBT community.
  3. The Mother, Questions and Answers 1953, pg 185
  4. Ibid.
  5. The Mother, Questions and Answers 1957-58, pgs 316-317
  6. If you want to read my account of what Nilambe used to be like follow this link to The Chipmunk Press and scroll down a little to read.
  7. The Mother, The Mother’s Agenda Vol 1, entry January 28, 1960 pg 235

 

A Hidden Resource Guide

http://rebrn.com/re/minimalist-falling-into-blue-1714149/

by Donny Duke

In my mid twenties to early thirties the inner doors were flung wide open. Especially intense were the 3 and a half years immediately following a spiritual experience that happened when I was 28, and I was able to consciously explore not only dream and transition states between waking and sleeping (hypnagogia and hynopompia) and the trances such as the cataleptic (sleep paralysis) that sometimes accompany them, and consequently too the out of body experience often resulting from such a trance, but also dreamless sleep. There in the deepest most hidden place inside me, in my center, way beyond or behind dream, I entered into the realm of soul, just a short baptismal shock, but in that journey, a very involved inner journey that took a number of stages and a week or so, I took my conscious, that part of me that thinks and feels and dreams, down into my center and connected it to the soul, and why I call it the soul is the spirit of this article.

I understand now that such an opening of the inner consciousness is unusual, where you can consciously explore the inner life with as much conscious awareness and will as you have in waking life, where you have lucid dreams most every night, or frequent cycles of that, can learn to go from waking to dreaming consciously, from dreaming into the states between sleeping and waking (twilight I call them), from twilight into the cataleptic trance, and from there out of the body, but my list isn’t to suggest OBE is the direction of the exploration. For me this opening was temporary, and it slowly closed, not completely, but the unusual degree of opening I’m describing, especially the last two items, cataleptic trance and OBE, were the first things to go and in the ensuing years to become rare events.

I suspect in a future humanity such a metaphysical opening to our inner consciousness will be the norm, a spiritual opening as well, but for now it’s rare to experience even a short period of this, more common to have a smaller opening, where things like lucid dreams and OBE’s happen a couple of times a week, using those two inner experiences because they are now the most talked about net-wise, interest in sleep paralysis notwithstanding, but even this more common smaller opening is not yet common in humanity.

If you find yourself experiencing such an opening, large or small, and many are today, though not enough to light an inner revolution in humanity, not even enough to make the nightly news, you have a rare opportunity to experience firsthand what most everyone else does secondhand. You can know and not only believe that consciousness transcends material process, a knowledge that can transform your life if you understand what it means. To see it firsthand, however, involves conscious inner exploration, which is more than awakening within dream and trying some technique like looking at your hands or some trick to manipulate the dream more. In other articles, such as “The Epic of Man”[i] and “You’re like Wow, That Really Was Enchanted With a Rock”,[ii] I try and give a sense of what inner exploration is and where it can lead to in relation to its transcendence over material process. Here my direction isn’t towards the outer world or inner worlds but inside to the well of soul, our center.

The following inner journey took place around 1989 when I was 28 I believe, some months after the spiritual experience I mention above, before the net I might add, and before I aligned myself with any spiritual tradition or teachers, when I was exploring on my own and not a part of any group involved with spirituality or dreaming. It took place over the course of a week.

It’s night, and I’m alone on the football field I played on in junior high school, and I become lucid. Since I have an avid practice in waking life of meditation and pranayama, I decide to try it in dream, and so I begin to sit down in a meditative posture, but as I do a monster jumps at me out of nowhere, it’s eyes wide gyros spinning madly. It scares the hell out of me, and I wake myself up.

During the next day I got the suspicion that the monster was trying to prevent me from meditating, and so I resolve in my next lucid dream to follow through with it no matter what I may encounter to try and prevent me. I was just exploring dream and didn’t even have a destination in mind, at this point just trying to find doorways of dream to go deeper.

I’m in a huge motor pool, in a part of it where there aren’t many vehicles parked, and I see in the distance the buildings of the motor pool change colors, one color just following another, and the anomaly triggers lucidity, as an anomaly in dream often can. I remember my intention and sit down to meditate, but as I do I hear a blaring horn and seeing coming directly at me a mac truck. I settle into my resolve not to be scared out of the sitting and continue to settle into meditating. When the truck gets to me, up until that point being everything that looks and sounds real enough to run me over, it vanishes, doing that over me, its form rapidly turning into nothing as my eyes close and I see nothing. Instead of going into another dream or waking up in my bed as often happens when a dream goes blank, I remain in the blank but have a sense of falling. This blank falling state I’ve known many times, since it so often occurs in transitions from one dream to another or to waking consciousness. The difference here is that I see I can stay there, am not being captured by another dream image or by waking. I remain in that falling place for perhaps a minute or more, and then I open my eyes and am awake in bed, the falling state itself being so close to waking all you have to do is open your eyes.

I thought about that falling place for a couple of days or so, during which time I encountered a phrase in an English translation (prose) of Hesiod’s Theogony that speaks of a hammer that takes nine days to reach Tartarus, and while I didn’t believe that falling place I had found led to Tartarus, I believed Hesiod talks about inner journeys in-between the lines sometimes, using symbol imagery to describe it. The phrase led me to the idea that the falling place led to a destination, but what that was I had no earthly idea. I made the determination next time I became lucid in dream to get into and remain in that falling place until I arrived somewhere.

I don’t remember the context of the dream the next time I was lucid within one, only that I get into the falling place via meditation and remain there, knowing if I just open my eyes I’m awake in bed. Something happens to my sense of time, and I don’t how long I’ve been falling in that blank space. I almost reflexively open my eyes, and become cross with myself for not continuing onward. I decide next time to count as I travel in that blankness.

The next lucid dream, which doesn’t happen that same night but does the next night, I again get into the falling place and began counting the seconds like I learned to do out loud parachuting out of aircraft in the army, counting then to only 4 seconds until the chute opened, or was supposed to. I count to know how long I’m falling, but here the counting goes on and on, and again I lose the sense of time, losing count as well, and, though I resist the strong sense to open my eyes, I cannot shake the growing sense of terror that’s welling up inside me, like I’m falling into a bottomless pit from which I shall never again return. Then I hear both my mother and sister as though they’re standing over me, pleading with me in voices I know are their most fearful and most sincere, to open my eyes because I’m being tricked, and I’m in the hospital in a coma. The sense is that if I don’t listen to them I will never return to them, or the outer world either for that matter. It so happens that my greatest attachments at that time are my mom and sister, and my greatest fear is going into a coma during inner exploration, not to some never ending dream-state experience but to a blank alone like this darkness. I open my eyes and am not in the hospital in a coma but am simply awake in bed, nobody there but me. I see quickly that I’ve been fooled and resolve next time to go all the way until I get there, still not knowing where there is but more assured it’s somewhere significant because something very smart is trying to keep me from getting there.

Whether it’s the next night I fall again I’m not sure, but it’s very soon after the above dream, though it’s not exactly a dream but inner travel, and I don’t remember the process of becoming lucid or getting into the falling state, only that I’m there and determined to go all the way. I lose sense of time again, but there is no welling terror, or any real fear, and no intelligence trying to stop me. I have no idea how long I fall, but it’s a long time to my notion of time. Suddenly with a great shock I arrive somewhere. It’s like I’m immersed in a limitless ocean of a whole other order of existence, one formless save for identical small objects sparsely floating around that appear somewhat like half-notes or arches, and though they appear to be objects, I feel them as beings. Outer space would be a way to give some picture of what this ocean is like, but there are no celestial bodies or blackness, though it is dim. It’s lit but with a different kind of light than we know here, giving the space a glow that’s now glowing in me, and I feel the warmest and safest I’ve ever felt, and this place is so familiar to me, like I’ve been here many times but only have forgotten about it. An immense force is rushing through me, and I feel its intense vibration in every part of me, but it’s so comfortable I only want to bask in it. It seems there’s a sound to the place, which I feel in me as well as without, but it’s not sound as we know it that you hear with your ears. It’s like the sound silence would make if it made any sound if that makes any sense. I see myself floating towards one of the little arches, and I unwillingly go through it, hoping I don’t harm it by doing that, but I see it on the other side of me unchanged. Then, as abruptly as I found myself there, I find myself out, and I come awake in my bed and marvel at how I could come up immediately from such a deep place, although I am still glowing from its warmth and power.

This experience did not change my life, was only significant in that I knew I’d reached some place of spirit in me because the experience there was so different than anything else I’d ever experienced in existence, making spirit the only word that fit. At the time I didn’t think of it as the soul or its well in us, was not at the time even considering the soul as something that existed in us, didn’t even feel I’d reached the innermost place inside me, my center. That interpretation was to come years later, as this inner journey came to be more important and singular to the results of my inner exploration, the destinations, it taking stages, days,  to complete, wasn’t somewhere I got to in one go, was somewhere I had to overcome my greatest attachments and greatest fears to get to, was somewhere something[iii] very intelligent that knew me like a book, something hostile and tricky, was trying to stop me from going to, was somewhere where I went out of this existence in another kind of being, into spirit.

What put this experience and others I was to have that followed into a context of finding of the soul, were the teachings of Mother and Sri Aurobindo, that I was to encounter and immerse myself in, starting on a visit to Auroville, India, in 1995. I’m not speaking of just the writings and talks they’ve left behind, but of inner contact with them and with my soul (or psychic being, who they point you to more than they point to themselves as your guide) when I’m speaking of their help in putting this inner journey into a context of a stage in the journey of finding the soul, help I’m getting in the writing of this article[iv], which has gone through a major rewrite based on their criticisms of the first draft, which had to do with, among other things, not clouding this journey over with descriptions here of experiences that didn’t happen during it but relate to it, things I’ve written about elsewhere or will write at some point.

In an earlier article, one actually published and not just posted on my blog, I describe other experiences in relation to the soul and put the above journey in the cosmology of the Integral Yoga and as well the cosmology of science if it would ever consent to see beyond the material envelope and the cosmos, but the article’s not just a regurgitation of their teachings. It’s based on descriptions of personal experience that confirm, for me at least, the yoga’s cosmology.[v]

If in this inner journey I describe I did indeed reach my soul center, I by no means experienced its full scope and depth, and I imagine we can go much deeper into it than I did in that very brief baptism. It’s the way with me; I get a taste usually and not a full course dinner. Be that as it may, I didn’t go anywhere anyone else can’t if they have the inner opening to make such journeys, and not everyone does, probably not even most. Though we all have the right to be treated as human beings equally, we are not equal in everything, especially in the most important thing, which is the development of our soul, and we are all at a different stages of soul development, and it depends on  how developed your soul is, your psychic being, as to whether you have an opening of the inner consciousness to make such journeys as I describe. If you don’t, you probably aren’t too interested in making them anyway, since your soul isn’t at that place of contact with your surface self, your ego, and pushing you to.

I will speculate though, whether your soul’s nudging you some from behind the veil or not, whether your psychic being is mature enough to do that, that you’ve made this inner journey many, many times, especially when you were a child, make it now though more rarely, but have no recollection of it at all. It’s difficult enough just to remember our nightly dreams. How much more so what we experience in dreamless sleep. You’ve made the journey when you wake up feeling like you slept like a log, like you’ve been replenished, like you had your batteries recharged. It would stand to reason that, if it’s true we are souls that have put on this material envelope akin to the way a deep sea diver dons a diving suit, or however you want to look at it, we’d need to come up to the surface every so often to get more air and sustenance, what we do when we go down into our center, the well of soul.

When you make journey consciously, however, you connect your conscious with the inmost deeps, make the hard link whereby your soul can come out more from behind the curtain of thoughts and dreams and be your guide on the way. On the way to God the soul would say.

 

[i] https://acollaborationwiththeunknown.wordpress.com/the-epic-of-man/

[ii] https://harms-end.com/2016/07/31/youre-like-wow-that-really-was-enchanted-with-a-rock/

[iii] I was to meet this intelligence face to face some months after, not its true form but one it wore in its manipulations of me as a small child. That experience I describe in an article posted on our blog: https://harms-end.com/2015/11/19/breaking-silence/ I’ll only mention here that it was on that first visit to Auroville that I met its true form, a story I have yet to write.

[iv] Writing this I was reading Notes on the Way, a compilation of talks by Mother. Though perhaps only a disciple would see this as a synchronicity, I feel it’s no accident I read the following immediately after making the revisions: “The other day when Z read to me his article, it was neutral (vague gesture at mid-height), all the while neutral, than all of a sudden, a spark of Ananada; it was this which made me appreciate it.” It might add to the possibility of synchronicity if I said that Douglas had just bought me the book that morning in our weekly sitting at their Samadhi. Notes on the Way, courtesy of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1980, 2002.

[v] http://www.shift.is/2015/03/whats-bigger-than-the-universe-hang-on-whats-bigger-than-everything/http://www.shift.is/2015/03/whats-bigger-than-the-universe-hang-on-whats-bigger-than-everything/

A Primacy of Dream

 

by Donny Duke

A couple of months ago I was dreaming I was sitting down against a building in a field waiting for my mom to come and pick me up, and I became not only lucid but aware of myself in my bed, that place where if you just open your eyes you’re awake, twilight I call it. As I heard her car stop at the road some 100 meters from where I was, I got up, and on the ground in front of me there took shape a very beautiful mandala with the words “I love you” on it, made with many colors. It was made in a way that had my mom all over it, that is, it captured the essence of the way she made things, the colors and shapes, and I felt the strong presence of her as I saw it and read her message to me, understanding that this was a message to me from beyond death.

A few nights ago the following scene occurred in a dream, with another member of my immediate family, though one not deceased:

I’m driving my sister’s pickup truck down a highway, and she’s riding shotgun. We are going from a town where she lives to where I have my jeep parked, a distance of a few of miles. We talk on the way, or rather, I do, telling her of my current plans to move to the mountains. She lets me out at the parking lot I’m living in for the couple of days while I’m in transition from my former living situation to the one in the mountains. After she drops me off I think that she could have invited me to dinner or even stay the night at her house, and I wonder over why she didn’t.

A couple of nights ago I dreamed this scene with another family member, who’s also still alive:

My dad has taken me and some other hitch hikers to a gas station and is dropping us off. I’m on my way to Houston, a distance of about a 100 miles. As the others leave to go hitch, he tells me to put my suitcase in the truck, and I know that means he’s going to take me to Houston so we can spend some time together, and the dream ends. I hear a few lines of muse about the dream as I come awake completely in bed.

“If you google the word dreams you will get millions of hits for websites devoted to dream interpretation. Are any of them worth a visit? Very likely not. Why not? Because there is no scientifically supported system of dream interpretation. What you will get if you look at dream interpretation blogs, sites, pages, and the like will be garbage pure and simple. Or they will be the writer’s own idiosyncratic interpretation of dream images and that typically is not very interesting at all.”[i] The quote is from an article in Psychology Today. It’s not suggesting that dreams are meaningless, but that any attempt to interpret dreams until science cracks the dream code and provides a system to interpret them is garbage or at best so boring as to not be worth your time. But the ignorance of science isn’t the measure of our knowledge of dreams or our ability to interpret them, and why should its ignorance be the holdup in dream inquiry? Because science can’t interpret dreams, does that mean we can’t?

Rather than give some formula or system to interpret dreams, something you can plug any dream into and know its meaning if such an undiscovered formula exists because dreams have so many variables, and not all are actually dreams but something else, Douglas and I have been taking individual dreams and visions, including the inner voice, and interpreting aspects of them that can be shown to have some relevance to our daily personal lives and that of humanity in general, focusing on linking dream movements to ones in waking life and discussing dreams that reveal an inner connection between human beings, ones that suggest we live in a field of consciousness rather than in our own private inner world unconnected to the inner lives of others, which is the view of science.

In the most basic sense, dreams show us what’s going on with us, what’s on our minds, in our hearts, what we say with our mouths and do with our hands as we move through life, sometimes acting as a proving ground for personal movements not in our best interest, allowing us to see they indeed aren’t, or sometimes just simply being a gestalt, the dream itself being an meaningful experience that isn’t necessarily representing anything about our waking life, and dreams are not only about our personal symbols: study and tell us about other dreamers as well. But in this basic explanation of dreams I’ve not by any means exhausted their purpose and scope. And while dreams focus mostly on our present, they not only use images of our past to show us our now but also use our future too, but they not only focus on our present; sometimes they are almost exclusively about the past or future.

Dreams and visions are like a looking glass revealing the ins and outs of our life movement in itself and as it interacts with that of others and with the world and universe at large. That they do this in representative terms, telling a story about our story, about the story of others, and that they can be seen to have not only the past in them but also the future, the more of which you see, in little pieces, the more you can actually interpret them, suggests creative intelligence within us but beyond ours telling the story, intelligence that can see the whole picture, not only of our whole life past, present, and future, not only what’s going on with ourselves, but also what’s going on with everything and everybody we significantly interact with, are connected to, intelligence that can see through the walls of time and form.

I’ve come to believe this intelligence is the soul, what in us that transcends the material envelope[ii], which doesn’t create dream actually but is the is influence on it shaping it along our own personal evolutionary lines, influencing the organization of all the various elements that present themselves from whatever quarter in the making of any given dream into something that has meaning for us. The quality of people’s dreams vary widely I’ve found, and not everyone has storytelling dreams. For many they are just an incoherent barrage of sound and image, the reason I suspect many label them just random things coming up from the subconscious or from our active memory of the day’s events, or what’s pressing on us as we sleep. The more coherent your dreams are, the more they tell a story, and the more you can see yourself in them making decisions based on judgment and reason, the more your soul has a hand in shaping them, and, consequently, the more they can be used as guidance, as a road map that not only shows where things are and the direction we need to go, but also what’s obstructing us and what’s aiding us in getting there.[iii] Where ‘there’ is depends on you, the direction of your life’s movement, its purpose to put it more meaningfully, but, if you are able to put the inner eye on the outer world to the degree you see the underlying unity of all things and all people, what comes more and more into focus as you do see the outer world through the inner lens, regardless of where you’re headed to personally, you’ll see you and I, all of us, are moving to wholeness in our relations with ourselves, each other, and with the world at large, working out oneness.

The above dream scenes show this process at work, but, in what what might be called the catch 22 of dream, I can’t contact any of my family members to verify inner contact with them, since my mom’s been dead some years, and neither my sister nor my dad will speak to me. It’s a catch 22 because so often dream, when it’s seeing beyond the physical senses, shows us things in shadow, or shows us the shadow side of things, what we or others don’t want to admit, what we want to keep a secret, and so we are often unable to verify the dream with waking life. Although the case here isn’t something bad being hidden, is just I can’t verify the dream because the people involved are either dead or won’t speak to me, it appears to me things like clairvoyance, which these three dream scenes are examples of, each a different aspect of it, happens all the time among us, but it doesn’t get verified, or even usually mentioned, because it shows things we don’t want others to see. In a rather rebellious and somewhat illicit earlier piece on my personal blog, “Under the Graffiti”, I point this out in a way that might bring it closer to home:

“It’s happened so many times not only in my own personal experiences of anything to do with clairvoyance and the senses seeing past their physical range, but also with many others I’ve talked to who’ve related to me their experiences, ones that they really couldn’t tell someone else about (I got these ‘I know I’ve been bad’ ears, so you don’t have to worry none), or at least not the whole story, because it revealed their shadow side, so much so and in so many instances I’ve come across that it seems to be part and parcel of the process, that the ESP’s not only to give you that sight but more to try and wake you up out of your animal cravings, get you to get up, evolve, and that’s the number one reason I’d bet we don’t hear about these things as much as they occur among us: they show our bad that we don’t want others to see.”[iv]

I think anyone intensely involved in working with their dreams with others they physically share daily experience with, who’s had a lot of experience being part of such a dream group, would be inclined to agree with me in regards to the above, would see the shadow in that light, but that our dreams (in fact our lives) are working out oneness takes an inner depth of seeing that goes beyond the scenes of the world, contact with the soul, and I can only tell you that you really have to look for it to see it if you don’t, but once you begin to see it, you wonder why in the world everybody can’t see it it’s so present and apparent.

The three examples I give are showing a process of reconciliation ongoing between the members of my immediate family and I, those three people perhaps the most commonly recurring characters of my dream life, and I suspect it’s the case with most of us; we dream all our lives about who were the most significant people in our formative years, whose womb we came from, whose genes, who we shared that womb with, if, that is, they were actively there as we grew up. If not, it’s the people that most filled those roles. My muse once told me that the more one we are with someone, those most like us or close to us, like a brother or sister, or a neighbor, the more likely we won’t get along with them, and if you look at the world and its conflicts, that’s often the case.

Before my mom died she had little to do with me, and we didn’t communicate often. She carried that enmity into death, and it seems that on the other side she realized some things, the need of reconciliation for one, and so she sent me a clear message of love, her first from the other side, in the form of that colorful mandala, and it came in the context of a longer dream I was having with her, not her I should point out but a representation of her my dream maker had made, and this is an important point about dream: most often when we dream of someone it’s not actually them in the dream, not a dream sharing experience, or only extremely rarely, but our dream maker making their image so as to represent some inner or outer interaction with them. The message was well placed in my life, came when I needed that declaration of love from her.

It’s not yet accepted human knowledge that we continue on after we die, much less that the dead can communicate with us, but we’ll get there before long, since these kinds of communications from departed loved ones are so common to human experience. It’s often like it is in this dream scene, they give us some message or sign rather than seeing them face to face, and when it is actually meeting them, the meeting is quite short and comes most often in the representative mode of dream, like you and they doing some activity together, not as you and they able to just chat a moment.

With my sister Gwen reconciliation is still some ways away, if it’ll even happen before one of us dies, and then it’s inevitable, but it is in process, as the dream of her taking me some distance in her truck shows. In the scene I was driving it, which would indicate that for some time during her day, a day close to my dream, I drove her life vehicle for a little while, that is, I was driving her thought and feeling for some distance, a few miles the dream shows, and that it was in broad daylight and on a major highway shows this was conscious on her part, not on a side road under the shadow of trees. She carried me in her mind and heart for some distance, but, as the scene also shows, she went no further, didn’t take me to dinner or to spend the night. Since she’s made it very clear she wants nothing at all to do with me, it’s probable she keeps me out of her mind as much as possible, but with someone as close to you as your brother, that’s just not possible to do all the time, and sometimes the heart wins out, as is the case here.

It’s not possible, as I said, to verify this inner communication with my sister, or rather me picking up on her thinking of me with enough emotional force to register in my inner life, but I’ve seen this play out in dreams enough times to know it’s the interpretation of the dream scene. It came in the context of a longer dream that had nothing to do with her, but since the dream took place near where she lives, she appeared in it. I’d probably picked up the inner communication some time before, and it waited in my inner being until such time a dream appeared that could represent it. As I’ve suggested, dreams are composed of many different elements that come from various places within and without us, and they are organized together to form a dream.

The dream scene with my father happened at the end of a longer dream I was having with him, and though it would also show inner communication between us, or rather what we each are thinking of the other, it’s this scene that shows more clearly reconciliation happening, or that he’s now willing to give me some time in his heart and mind at the very least. The scene ends where I’m about to drive with him to Houston, a couple of hours away, where we’ll be alone together and can talk. Upon awaking from the dream the scene ended, my muse suggested that he was going to read (or have read to him, since he can’t see very well now) a long story[v] about the Duke family I wrote and made a copy of and had mailed to him snail mail, and that might be what the suitcase represents he told me to put in the trunk, the suggestion that he’ll read it at some point in the near future. I can only speculate if that’s the case, but, although I can’t verify he’s going to give me some time focused alone time in his thoughts and feelings, I know very well that’s what the dream’s showing.

It’s this very thing many people, especially from science, object to at bottom, God and soul being objections based more on this overriding viewpoint rather than on being impossibilities in their own right: knowing something to be true that the physical senses haven’t verified or really can’t verify. I’d suspect the author of the Psychology Today article I quoted has this fear at heart, and all who think like him in regards to dreams being unintelligible things, and that their interpretation is something we ought not to bother other people about on “blogs, sites, pages, and the like.” That fear is that reality won’t conform to material science, and they’ll have to remarkably shift their worldview, significantly change their lives, and maybe even lose their jobs, though as they experience it, it’s the fear that superstition will take the place of knowledge or greatly hamper its pursuit as it’s done in the past, as it’s doing now.

Today, however, superstition, the kind that’s holding up knowledge about ourselves and our world, isn’t so much religious, although religion definitely points a gun at knowledge and sometimes even shoots it. It’s the ignorance of the people with their hands on the world doorknob of knowledge, your average mainstream techno-culture scientists, who have their hands on the way we define the world, the research cash to investigate it, the news media to cover it, the arts and literature to symbolize it, that keeps us in the dark about the most basic things about us with their dogmatic insistence on the primacy of matter, the most basic of those things being we have a soul, and we share not only a field of consciousness together but one also of identity. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s the darkness of fear.

I’ve suggested many times now our next revolution in knowledge with be the one that occurs when we turn our attention to inner exploration, the investigation of consciousness and the inner life, one that’s already begun not only on “blogs, sites, pages, and the like”, but also in our hearts and minds, though not yet as a revolution, the big one we’ve all been anticipating in one form or another (just not yet inner), one that will turn society as we know it on its ear, change our most basic social institutions, change even being human. Many if not most feel technology’s what it’s about, it being our human endeavor, and we measure our progress more by our advances in technology than by a growing and greater sense of our shared humanity.

Dreams are the most common and available doorway into the inner life, the subliminal life we live deeper than conscious thought, and talking about them in a public space quickens the inner revolution in society, since dreams can show us to be more than a mere physical body that has somehow engendered its own separate bubble of conscious awareness, and such knowledge really turns you on.

By showing our dreams and visions here at Harm’s End, Douglas and I hope to demonstrate that we are so much more than some separate spume of matter floating on a shoreless sea in meaningless infinitude. Far from being garbage or so boring you’re wasting your time, blogs about dream and inner exploration such as this one, and the thousands like it on the net, on social media, are slowly but surely lighting the world with the inner fire, whether they’re right on about our interpretations of inner experience or not. Ours is the attempt to light the inner fire in the world, and we fumble a lot as happens when lighting a fire from wet material, but once that fire starts, no power on earth can put it out. Even now, on more than one page, truth is staring back at us, truth being not some religious or scientific formula but what’s actually happening with us in our seemingly brief little lives.

 

[i] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dream-catcher/201307/the-folly-dream-interpretation

[ii] Our inner being, or dreambody, since it is open to the universal, also can see into the inner life of others and into the future (to a limited extent), but it’s the soul behind it that’s ultimately the intelligence in us shaping our life.

[iii] I’ve greatly over simplified the making of dream, skipping over a tremendous amount of inner process and going directly to the soul, which to become conscious of you have to become conscious of that inner process, but I’ve done so because it’s not God behind all shaping our dreams and as well our life movement in general as we tend to believe if we do believe there’s higher intelligence behind it; it’s our individual soul, as it’s God’s delegate in humanity, and the more conscious we are of our soul the more it can do that more directly.

[iv] https://acollaborationwiththeunknown.wordpress.com/auto-biographical-sketches-a-letter-and-a-comment/ (You’ll have to scroll down to the graffiti story.)

[v] https://harms-end.com/2016/08/05/minor-attraction-on-rock-hill/

 

Blah Blah Blah Blockchain.

Recently as a favor for a friend I gave a talk on blockchain technology at a conference he was holding at a resort near Mamallapuram here in Tamil Nadu. He and a business partner are trying to get their own cryptocurrency off the ground and need to get people not just using, but also mining the currency.  So one of the purposes of the conference was to get people interested in buying the hardware and software needed to mine this type of cryptocurrency. I didn’t really know anything about cryptocurrencies (other than the fact that they existed) before preparing for this presentation, but what my friend was interested in was to have a native English speaker give the talk. There were actually three of us giving the presentations. Two were native English speakers and the third was not, but she was quite fluent.

The last dream I had that morning before I got up to get ready to go to the conference, I was watching a music video of this alternative rock band. They were singing normal sorts of lyrics up until the end where they literally starting singing, “Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.” When I told Donny about the dream he laughed and said he thought that was indicative of what I would be doing that day at the conference, and it was true. Though I tried to speak clearly and slowly while giving the presentation to my all Indian audience, I was giving a lot of technical information and I’m sure for a lot of the attendees it was like me going, “Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah” or like the way adults sound in Peanuts cartoons if you’ve ever watched those. I kind of felt like a rock star too afterwards when myself and the other two speakers were besieged by people wanting to take group photos and selfies with us. When I decided to leave I actually had a big muscular security guard escort me out through the crowd in case anyone tried to accost me further.

No real lesson here. This is just another example of how dreams present things, which is often in a humorous or ironic way. I think you could also call this dream an example of prevision. Blah Blah Blah Bye!

Picking Up On The Stanley Cup.

2017 Stanley Cup logo

In some recent blog posts I’ve been looking into the phenomenon of outer events that I’m unaware of in my waking life making an appearance symbolically in my dreams. Rather than restate things I’ve said elsewhere I will refer the reader to both of these older posts if they want some background for this post.

My Name Is Joe. G.I.Joe.

I Volunteer A Dream

I will reiterate however that I’m finding that the occurrences making their way into my dreams relate to significant developments with things that my vital has an interest in such as movie and sports franchises. I’m going to share another example of this with this dream:

 I’m watching a lead in for the World Series where Bob Costas is talking about all these different pitchers for this one team. He’s talking about one pitcher that got benched during the semifinals, but that he was very supportive when his teammate pitched a shut out.

 The morning after this dream I found out via my mother that the Stanley Cup finals had started while I was sleeping, and that Pittsburgh had won the first game. Now I was neither aware of the finals starting nor that the Penguins were in it for the second year in a row. I’m a lover of all things Pittsburgh when it comes to sports, so even though I never watch hockey, I had tuned in some to the Stanley Cup finals the year before just because the Penguins were in it. And of course my vital got a thrill out of their winning the Cup.

But you might point out that I dreamed about the World Series and not the Stanley Cup. My answer to that would be that if you have any experience with dreams you know that this is how they operate a lot of the time. Things aren’t always or even usually exact, just approximate or analogous. I did come to discover later though, that for at least the first two games of the series one of Pittsburgh’s top players, Carl Hagelin, was benched due to poor play during the post season, and, before game 3 when he was asked by Pittsburgh Post Gazette reporter Sam Werner about being benched, his response was “When you find out … you’re pissed off. But it’s the Stanley Cup final. It’s not about me, it’s about the team.” So if you can accept the analogous nature of dreams I think you can see I was picking up on what was going on with the Stanley Cup final and this particular player even though it was all presented in the garb of the World Series.

As in my last two articles I’ll take a stab at a personal interpretation for me in this dream since, as Donny pointed out while we were discussing my first draft of this article, one could assume the dream builder has a reason for weaving these events into the dream. One also has to ask if the appearance of something you love in a dream, like Transformers for example, always correlates with a significant outer event happening close to the time or at the same time as the dream. I have to admit I haven’t found that to be the case so far, but I do think I can say it’s the case sometimes, and for the moment I’m going to assume it’s going on even when you aren’t looking for it, and not just once you become conscious that it’s possible.

So getting back to the personal interpretation I would point out that this dream took place a week before I got about a two-week break from my life in India. That life involves dealing with a household of maturing youths in their late teens and early twenties and all the difficulties and responsibilities that entails. The first week was more or less a complete break, as I went to Sri Lanka by myself on a visa run, and then in the second week Donny and I left our charges here and went for a few days to stay in a quiet area near the holy mountain Arunachala not far from Pondy. There we were still in contact by phone with the house back in Pondy and were periodically checking up on things. Perhaps like me you can see how that final week before my break could be shown as going into something like the World Series, capping off a process. And even though the break was short, it may have been long enough that I was able to process things a bit and ‘start a new season’ so to speak when I returned, one not the same as the preceding season, at least as far as myself and my dealing with it are concerned, a bit of a fresh start to some degree. At the same time though, something like the World Series is quite significant, implies perhaps that I was being tested or challenged at that time. If I had snapped to this idea at the time I had the dream, I may have been able to connect it to something going on during that week before I left, but I didn’t, so I’ll just have to put that idea out there as speculation.

And if you didn’t already know the Penguins did take the cup for the second year in a row.

A Dark Day In The Driveway

sore loser

In Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem Savitri there’s a series of cantos where the heroine, Savitri, journeys inside of herself to reach her soul. This, however, is more than just a story, but Aurobindo’s presentation of a significant step in the process of the integral yoga. A few years ago I started aspiring to try and remember to use my instances of lucidity in dreams to try and reach my soul. Though I have not yet succeeded in doing so, along the way I have had dreams where I think I have made some progress toward that goal. I want to share my most recent example of a dream like this, but I need to physically describe where the dream started which was in the driveway of the house I lived in during high school.

driveway house in Richmond

I was able to find this picture of that driveway on the internet. What you don’t see that’s important is a descending terraced path that runs along the left side of the driveway down to the back yard. The path was gravel and each terraced step was about five to ten feet long or so and ended in a railroad tie turned sideways to hold the gravel and that particular step in place. There are also railroad ties running along the side of the driveway all the way to where it meets the house. Where the latticework fence is there’s about a 12 foot drop to the back yard. That fence was not there when I was living in this house. There was also a basketball hoop over the middle garage door, and we often played basketball in the driveway.

So having set the scene let me share the dream:

I’m in the driveway of my old house in Richmond, and I am looking at some improvements the new owners have made. The rail ties that run along the edge of the driveway are covered with something smooth and white like the cement in a skateboard park and decorated with rows of something like painted stones or pottery. The pieces are circular and of all different colors. The path that goes down to the yard is also paved and decorated like this. The whole thing is very beautiful to look at. Right at the curve of the driveway a piece of the rail tie has been removed, and it’s possible to go down a step and reach the path here rather than where the path starts. In the dream though it was only a foot or so down to the path at this spot, whereas in waking reality it’s almost the full 12 foot drop. I walk back up the driveway toward the street, and I’m with a couple of other guys. Then I realize I’m dreaming. I jump up into the air and start being taken up by a force. I ask the Mother to take me, and I’m going up fast as things fade to black. I move through the blackness for a long time and see some different vague images and patterns. I remember some five pointed stars and also a sun either setting or rising. There’s one part where the space I’m in seems constricted like I’m moving through a tube or something. Then I notice I’ve come to a stop, and I open my eyes and I’m lying in a bed. The bedspread has been pushed back and is rumpled at the end of the bed. It’s a light blue color if I remember right. Lilo, our yellow Labrador, is at the end of the bed, but it’s strange, like she’s melded with the bedspread. I’m still lucid, but I start losing the dream and have a false awakening.

So what I believe happened here is, as in other dreams I’ve had, I was journeying toward the soul and reached a waypoint, a deeper level of dreaming. Some of these deeper levels of dreaming can be kind of weird like this one with the dog strangely melded with the bedspread. I’m not sure what that might mean, but on one level maybe it’s showing something about my relationship with the dog who sleeps in my room frequently, though I don’t allow her on the bed. The light blue color of the bedspread, if I’m remembering the color correctly, would probably have some spiritual significance since blue, according to Sri Aurobindo, can represent the spiritual consciousness that lies above the normal human level of consciousness. It’s possible I was actually in my bed in the cataleptic state, but I don’t think so, as the usual sensations I have of a sort of numbness in the body and difficulty moving were not present.

Regarding the events of the dream before I went into the blackness, I would guess that the beautifully decorated descending path to the backyard represents the journey towards the soul since that’s where I went as soon as I became lucid. Donny suggested though that the path might also show the light getting down into the lower levels of my being as part of the process of sadhana. I think it may have that meaning as well for reasons I’ll explain later. The gap in the rail tie with the step down at the curve of the driveway (basically a shortcut) is maybe showing a way is open to some of these deeper levels of dreaming, showing that if you reach there once, the way is clear to get there again, though you may not find yourself there frequently. So maybe in this dream I reached a level I’d already been to before and didn’t actually go any further. It’s hard to say because I’m quite far from being any kind of expert on how to differentiate between these different dreaming levels.

Now in the first part of the dream I only observed the beautiful downward path but didn’t actually go down it. Everything I did took place in the driveway, and before this dream I’d never given any thought to what a driveway might mean as a symbol. Though I think there’s much of dubious value in dream dictionaries, I do consult them online frequently because I’ve found they can be quite insightful at times. So when I looked this time I found a couple of sites saying a driveway represents the end of a journey. That interpretation would make sense and fit in this case I think, even though I didn’t reach the end of the journey and actually arrive at the soul. And a driveway of course leads to a garage or in this case a three-car garage. Donny has come to believe that a garage1 represents your dream life and if that’s right that would fit into things too, even though I never went in the garage, nor were the garage doors up. All of this would be enough to explain why my dream builder chose this particular location to represent where I am in the process of completing the journey to the soul, but I think there may be another reason why this particular driveway was chosen, and it relates to something that happened there in waking life, something that was a manifestation of a major character flaw of mine. Let me explain.

As a child and a teenager I was basically skinny and a wimp as well as fairly unathletic, though not to the point where I had the unenviable distinction of being last kid picked for kickball. But I more or less always found myself on the losing end of any individual contests in sports, video games as well as the wrestling matches that boys often engage in. You could imagine that was very frustrating in a culture that places so much value not just on athletic prowess, but also being strong and tough. What made matters worse though were some things that had to do with my brother who was fourteen months younger than I. Despite the age difference Rick, who was very strong and a star athlete, could basically whup me from the time we were small children, and that was a bitter and humiliating pill to swallow, since the big brother is supposed to be able to whup the little brother. In addition to that, since he was my brother there was sibling rivalry, and the fact that he was so much better than me at sports was very frustrating for a couple of reasons. One was just competitiveness. I wanted to be as good as him at everything and got very angry about the fact that I wasn’t. The other was the fact that his athleticism won him the approval of my father, who wasn’t so interested in the things I was good at like theater. Another thing about me I should mention is that I didn’t like losing in general, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to do something like flip a board game over in frustration if things weren’t going my way.

So with that as the psychological backstory let me tell you what happened in that driveway in Richmond, Indiana. It was a winter day, but it wasn’t too cold, and there was no snow on the driveway. I was sixteen or seventeen. I was playing one on one basketball with my friend Jeff. As usual I was on the losing end of things, and there was some roughhousing on both our ends, though nothing unusual for boys playing sports. As Jeff continued to best me, I got more and more angry and frustrated. At one point on the crest of it Jeff and I were both going for the ball near the edge of the driveway, but near the top of the downward path where the drop was only a few of feet. As we went for the ball I didn’t outright shove him, but leaned hard into him knowing that that would be enough to send him over the edge. And it was. I’ll never forget the utter horror I felt as I saw Jeff fall back flailing over the edge as the more reasonable part of me kicked back in. Fortunately as I said, the drop was only a few feet, and Jeff landed flat on his back on snow-covered gravel, his fall further cushioned by the winter jacket he was wearing. So he jumped up unhurt to my great relief, and we continued playing. The way I had done things had been quite sneaky, and just appeared like normal roughhousing. If Jeff had noticed or sensed that I had purposely tried to hurt him he didn’t give any indication.

Now while I had had plenty of tantrums and outbursts over losing, I had never done anything quite like this. And unlike a lot of descriptions of people’s reason being unseated by the vital, I didn’t have the sense that I was watching myself do it or that it was like I was another person. It was more subtle and insidious than that, but it was still an act that went beyond my normal ethical boundaries. Fortunately it didn’t end in a way that would have haunted me for the rest of my life, because even though it was a short drop, Jeff still could have been seriously hurt or killed if he had landed on his head or hit one of the railroad ties. I think there may be more people out there than we realize who could relate an instance like this and who through luck or grace were spared a lifetime of regret or even imprisonment. And then there’s the cases where things didn’t turn out so well, people who, even if they’re not sitting in a prison cell over what they did in the heat of a moment, are sitting in an inner prison of guilt and regret wondering how in the world they could have acted that way and wishing very much that they hadn’t.

One thing it seems obvious we’ll have to do in order to evolve as a species is we’re going to have to start bringing these sticky and unsightly things into the light of day and start talking about them. If enough otherwise ‘good’ people came forward and admitted they’d been temporarily taken over in the way I’ve described here, we could perhaps start to realize that we aren’t the masters of ourselves that we think we are, and that in the right conditions many of us are open to what for a lack of a better word you could call temporary insanity. And it’s not just on the level of the individual, but also in groups, as the examples of angry mobs and Nazi Germany will attest. Understanding this would be one of the things that would get us on the way to a right way of dealing with harm and wrongdoing, forgiving others for the hurt done to us, and forgiving ourselves for the hurt we do to others. Punishment would eventually be taken out of the equation, but that wouldn’t mean you still wouldn’t have to try and take responsibility for harm done even if it was done in a genuine moment of temporary insanity. There couldn’t be any fixed formula though for how you would take responsibility, since for whatever reason it might not be possible or appropriate to help the person you wronged. If you were open to it though the universe would present you with opportunities and situations to balance the harm done by helping or being involved with other people that had nothing to do with the original harm, or even just having to endure a difficult trial or situation as a way of balancing things out. It would take a very plastic society with spiritual growth as its aim to implement this sort of thing, and it would be hand in hand with many other changes. The time where we’re doing this as a global society seems to still be a ways off, but a beginning could be made now on a small scale in small organizations or communities. This was a bit of a digression here, but one that I think was worth taking the time to make.

Getting back to me though, how does this event from my teenage years relate to the dream. Well as I said earlier Donny suggested the dream was showing the light getting down into the lower parts of my being. That interpretation makes sense since this competitiveness in me is a major stumbling block. Perhaps this particular locale was chosen to show not only that this character flaw is something blocking me from finding my soul, but also that I’ve made progress with it. Some aspects of this weakness I let go of many years ago. I no longer get really bent out of shape about losing for example. The only area it really comes up is with the only thing I really value or have a strong interest in anymore and that’s spirituality. And it’s mainly something that comes up in my relationship with other seekers I’m around which most of the time is just Donny. With all the spiritual experiences he’s had and the mountains of muse he’s had come down on him, it’s hard not to feel that I don’t measure up, since I’ve no ‘big’ spiritual experiences I can talk about, and what I get from the muse is hardly a trickle, which I often can’t interpret. And while my mind can see that all Donny’s grace is one level a sort of compensation for a difficult issue in his vital, my vital, like everyone’s, is an irrational creature and has more difficulty grasping that. Nor could my vital grasp when I was a boy that I had talents and abilities that were more developed than Rick and be content with that. Ultimately I think feelings in the vital of inadequacy or lack or not measuring up are what usually underlie most movements of competitiveness or jealousy, and it’s also a lower movement, though perhaps it’s more legitimate because it’s emotional pain. It’s still egoism though and has to be dealt with. One thing too about competitiveness I’ve found, is it breeds on proximity, and if I didn’t know Donny and wasn’t close to him, and just read about his experiences online or in a book, and never saw him or had anything to do with him, it might still hit that painful inadequate spot and produce jealousy, but it would be much less significant. But because he’s close to me I compare myself to him, and also since our work is side by side online I don’t like feeling like I look like a second fiddle.

Some people might be shocked at what I’ve divulged here or wonder why I’d be willing to admit to such a thing. As I said though we need to start talking about these things so I’m talking about them. What it boils down to is that all of us still living in ego consciousness are dysfunctional to one degree or another, and that’s a key truth to see: that ego consciousness itself is intrinsically flawed. The other key and complimentary truth is that there’s the possibility of getting out of ego consciousness2. Understanding these two truths can provide a framework in which, as I’ve suggested, small groups and communities and eventually all of society can safely talk about and work on integrating our darkness. This is what Donny and I are trying to do on a very small scale here at Harm’s End, with basically just the two of us at the moment, though other people live here. We hope though that in the future more like-minded people will join us here and take part in the endeavor, and that eventually we’ll have a little model here that other people can use as starting point for similar undertakings. Anybody interested?

Notes

  1. Dream symbols often have a simple logic to them, so I asked Donny what he thought might be the logic behind a garage representing your dream life. He said that a garage is where you store things, and also where you work. He also said it’s not where you live. You don’t spend as much time there as you do in the rest of the house.
  2. I don’t know this from personal experience, but I’ve read a lot of accounts of people who’ve made this leap, and in a few cases even spoken to people who had had glimpses or permanent realizations beyond ego consciousness. So I’m convinced enough that I feel comfortable saying the potential to go beyond ego consciousness is a truth.