A waking Dream

 

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When visiting the UK not too long ago I found myself one late afternoon wandering the grass-covered ruins of an ancient Abbey. A strange fog had rolled in and masked many parts of the ruins making it look even more hollow and missing in walls than it otherwise would. It was on days like these that it is said things come up from the underworld and reach out for the souls that wander these halls that are no more.

This the land of the White Monks and the Black Death sings a lonely song, but during the Spring when the grass is cut it lays like a carpet across the floor of the great nave ready for the grand noble entrance of Kings and Queens once more. I could hear them walking past, the swishing of their robes, the clank of a Bishop’s Crosier striking the pace against the stone floor through the hall, and the smell of incense riding the foggy swirls descending from high in the roofless ceiling.

For one brief moment I was there, witness to what was and is no more. For one brief moment I transcended the veil of time. A coldness crawled up my back and I shook my head vigorously to dispatch the errant visions, then stood chilled and still, hearing echoes of a past I never knew, yet somehow they had followed me here and lay amongst my own memories forever more.

Magic: Just for a moment step through the door between your perspective and the cosmic mind.

 

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Carl Jung the 20th century Swiss psychoanalyst suggested that there’s a place between the conscious mind and the soul called the dream–it is a hidden door into the cosmic mind he said. It is something that exists in the twilight, the limen if you will, between the “out there” and the “in here” of our brains. This is the threshold upon which the shaman works his magic, where the healing takes place.

To the Iroquois dreams are a representation of the desires of the soul. To some tribal cultures they are messages from the ancestors, or from the spirit world. To many Christians and Muslims they were and in some ways still are seen as messages from God.

Jung thought that dreams were part of the Individuation process where we each become more fully human–where the “I” is created. Perhaps we dream to create the self? But what is this dream?

One night I thought that I had awakened from my sleeping imaginarium and attempted to manipulate the lingering images so as to get back into it when I realized that I was still dreaming. So I asked myself while in the in the dream, “What is being awake? If I am still in this dream, but think I’m awake, am I really dreaming?” It came to me then that perhaps I wasn’t awake in the rest of my life, but only dreaming. “Am I a dream, dreaming I’m awake, or am I awake dreaming I’m dreaming?”

That was my first lucid dream experience, though at the time I didn’t recognize it as such, but it did shift my perspective a little about what I had been calling consciousness. Dreams then took on a different meaning for me when I realized that they were an in-between state of realities that may actually all take place within an even greater dream–the dream of God. If as Edgar Allan Poe quipped, “Are all we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream?” do we also dream God into reality and if we are dreaming him, is he also dreaming us?

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In the Australian Aboriginal cosmology the Rainbow Snake god created the Earth that then created mankind, who in turn recreated the Earth, and all was done within “The Dreaming.” To them this Dreaming continues to this day and in this perspective we are the dreamer and the dream at the same time.

Every story of every creature creates. And according to the physicist Fred Alan Wolf, just as reality is affected by the surrounding energy field, dreams are not made by the dreamer alone either, but by the surrounding field, which in this case can be seen as the people around us. We are all involved to some degree in each other’s stories. When dreaming, we may be writing our own script and in this way each of us is but one dream story of the Dreamtime.

Perhaps we are all standing on the threshold of consciousness and in a lucid dream so to speak–where being awake and being in the dream are superimposed. It may be here that we create what is. We do not devise the objects of reality, though we do beget our experience and meaning for what is there. But because we can only know what we perceive-what we project; we don’t really know what exists outside our own heads.

The Mandala is for me an excellent metaphor for the dream within a dream concept where at the center of its concentric circles lie our selves. In it we are both the center and the rings around it–it represents the whole self, the conscious and unconscious striving for unity. Upon every boundary one stands and sees him self, forward and backward, in and out, above and below, creating and being created. Reality is derived from the center and then collapses upon itself as it becomes ever more aware.

On his way to the Archipelago (in the book The Archipelago of Dreams) Robert crossed this limen between worlds and entered the world of the dream where reality is created. In it he was confronted by the archetypes of his race and was forced to reconcile with them. Beyond the veil he discovered the reality of creation and was forced to grow up in its embrace. Robert learned of the dream within the dream and feared awakening within his slumber. This was his ultimate shadow that had stalked him all his life and would end his life as he had known it.

And the world seems right

 

 

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Arthur Rackham ~ The Fairies of the Serpentine ~ 1906

 

 

“Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”

–William Butler Yeats

 

On my meditation walks I am often moved by the life going on about me– boys and girls with hockey sticks and skates battling street pucks at dusk, flocks of screeching Crows nesting in trees, the smile of the crescent moon with the wink of Venus below her, on a warm night crickets and barking dogs, on a cold and crisp one nothing but silence and the sound of my own footsteps. Sometimes a breeze whips through the branches and rustles the leaves and I hear the raucous laughter of a party just seen through the picture window of the house across the street.

And the world seems right.

But on other nights my mind is disturbed with its thoughts and whirls like a demented vortex and I hear nothing but my own voice. It’s a boring voice droning on and on about inane this’s and that’s and burying the peace of the night in rubble.

And nothing in the world seems right.

I long for the magic I’ve so often felt on so many earlier sojourns through the dark, but tonight it’s not to be. This is when I cry out to the dark denizens of the netherworld, “Come oh magic creatures of the imaginal and entertain me. Bring to me your mystery, your awe, your wonder, and your hidden treasure– make it better than it is.”

That night’s dreams brought me headstones and skulls, darkness and gray empty fields– a reflection of the mood carried back from the earlier journey. And then I ran across the poem by Yeats and I thought, ‘It’s not the fairies of the land he is calling to, but those of the inner soul who are entreated to crawl out from the rubbish and dance with me once more’.

And the world seems right again.

Dreaming yourself into existence: Become lucid within your waking dream

 

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“I am going to teach you the first step to power,” don Juan said, beginning his instruction in the art of dreaming. “I am going to teach you how to set up dreaming.”

“What does it mean to set up dreaming?”

“To set up dreaming means to have a precise and practical command over the general situation of a dream. For example, you may dream that you are in your classroom. To set up dreaming means that you do not let the dream slip into something else. You do not jump from the classroom to the mountains, for instance. In other words, you control the view of the classroom, and do not let it go until you want to.”

“But is it possible to do that?”

“Of course it is possible. This control is no different from the control we have over any situation in our daily lives. Sorcerers are used to it, and get it every time they want or need to. In order to get used to it yourself, you must start by doing something very simple. Tonight, in your dreams, you must look at your hands.”

–Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda in “The Art of Dreaming”

 

Of course the shaman (or sorcerer) Don Juan was alluding to the phenomenon of lucid dreaming i.e. becoming conscious within a dream and being aware that you’re still dreaming. In this state one can actually direct the events and outcome of the dream.

But he could just as easily have been talking about what you and I call the ‘waking state’ dream, the every day activity that we call reality.

Most Psychologists believe that we all project our thought images (ideas, desires, expectations, judgments, feelings, fears, etc.) onto the events and images of the world around us– there’s a world of objects and events and then there’s what we make of those, what meaning we give them and how we then respond to that meaning.

Basically we make up our own reality, it’s true! Research on the accuracy of witnesses has shown time and again that what was seen is often not what was actually there i.e. the mood, attention, and past experiences of the witness affects what is reported.

Even the choice of words to describe an event is affected by the witness’ past experience with those words. Ones experience about another persons ethnicity, age, size and physical features all contribute to the reality seen and the reality reported.

Unless properly trained in the art and science of observation we create our own reality and even then such things as unconscious motivations and undetected prejudices will affect the reality created.

Dreams are like this as well. They are the images, feelings, and symbols of our unconscious mind playing out in our unconscious sleep state and the unconscious attributes of ourselves that creates a reality within the dream. To interpret them in the waking state requires a conscious understanding of ones inner symbolism and how that is projected onto the outward reality. This is not an easy task and very often requires the aid of observers outside the mind.

Dreams are all about symbolism, the meaning projected onto each image, each event, and each person, or animal in the dream. This is also the reality of our waking state in that we almost never see reality for what it is.

In short, you and I “dream” our reality into existence. We may actually always be dreaming.

And just as with the lucid dream within the sleeping dream one can create ones meaning and outcomes beyond those that the waking dream seems to be presenting. For example, if you don’t like the current events of your waking dream life, then change them, create another reality, dream another response set to the reality about you. In other words, become lucid within your waking dream– start noticing that you are indeed asleep, then wake up!

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For more on Lucid Dreams try this link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-superhuman-mind/201212/lucid-dreaming-and-self-realization

 

 

 

 

A letter from a Querent

 

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Q: Do you think there is something like a magical person, Bob? Are some people really magical or is it an illusion we create?

A: There are mystics, who seem moved by the spirit of something ineffable and there are those who are so integrated with the world around them that they seem to make things happen. There are also those who have the unexplainable* show up in their lives at a greater frequency than normal. There are those people who seem to exude magic as though there is some unseen source of energy about them as well. There are yogis, gurus, shaman and just ordinary people who can do phenomenal and extra-ordinary things. I don’t think there are Harry Potter wizards and witches with wands and broom sticks, but there are those who seem to wield a form of magic.

One of my favorite writers of this kind of magic is Carlos Castaneda who wrote about a Yaqui shaman named Don Juan who I believed after three books was a real magician. Though the character was fictional, Castaneda wrote from what he knew and what he knew was truly magical and extra-ordinary. I have tried a number of the lessons taught in these books (they are novels not self-development books) and have found them useful both in my practice and in everyday life.

And this would be my definition of “magical”, the ability to produce and perform the extra-ordinary. Some people are very adept at that. Some are able to see things that the rest of us do not and are able to use what they see in extraordinary ways. Some have phenomenal talents that they are able to boggle the mind with. As you know I believe that within all of us there is a magic waiting to be unleashed. Some are closer to it than others, meaning they have fewer obstacles to its expression. What I write about is how to deal with and overcome some of the obstacles.

Keeping in mind my definitions and caveats, in my nonprofessional opinion my answer to your question is “yes” there are probably magical people e.g. people who wield magic.

*I use this word whenever I come up against a phenomenon that appears real, but is without any scientific corroboration, or explanation.

Good to hear from you again,

Bob

Magic: Prayer, incantation, meditation

 

A reader recently commented on a posting from The Dark Knight of the Soul Blog. He noted that the reduction prayer I had used at the end of the post looked very much like a 13th century magical incantation from the Liber Medicinalis (Book of Medicine).

 

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT

BE STILL AND KNOW

BE STILL AND

BE STILL

BE

From the posting on Real Magic 

 

 

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magical incantation from the Liber Medicinalis

 

Accident? Coincidence? Not really, both the incantation and the reduction prayer act pretty much like mandalas in that they focus the mind inward towards its center. It is in this center that the wisdom of our soul lays. It is from this place that magic can happen.

 

 

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Typical mandalas

These incantations, prayers and meditative practices tend to focus on the centers of our being while removing the outward directed conscious mind that is restricted in its perception of reality and opens a door to a whole new way of being and perceiving.

This is just part of what it means to wield magic. The following is an excerpt from the Dreaming Wizard website:

12 Laws of Magic:

So what have we discovered so far about magic that might allow us to practice being in it and thus allow for a different creation within our lives?

1) Magic is all around us; we are already in it.

2) Magic cannot be controlled; in fact, we must release control in order to wield it. Magic is about “being” not “doing”. Magic cannot be understood, or controlled, because the process itself is a “doing”. Magic arises on its own and not through your manipulation.

3) Magic is a way of living and not separate from everyday experience.

4) The consciousness can open to Magic when the soul is allowed to express freely.

5) We have access to magic when we don’t place limits upon our expression.

6) To know magic, watch children at play.

7) Maintain authority over your expectations/standards by remaining at choice with your behaviors and self-expression. Be what you are, not what someone else wants you to be.

8) Magic becomes available when one dissolves the separation between ones opposite aspects and recombines them into a more functional whole e.g. dissolve the internal gender differences. Aspects of the assertive, decisive, thoughtful, creative, compassionate, emotional and intuitive can exist side by side within all of us.

9) Call out your shadows and your demons, do not suppress them. Note: you are not your negative aspects; you have negative aspects, but are not them.

10) Quiet the mind. Stop thinking things to death. Magic cannot come from the “thinking” mind. Live at least some of your life in the incomprehensible.

11) Magic does not come from the rational.

12) Magic grows from the secret orderliness of chaos. Allow yourself to be confused. Thinking that you know something about what is real can be very limiting to living what is real.

 

 

“It [magic] opens spaces that have no doors and leads

out into the open where there is no exit.”

–Carl Jung

Real Magic

 

tumblr_mftv2hFCaA1ric07zo1_400.gifMagic, or at least the image of magic is showing up everywhere. There are several new TV shows that take place in magical kingdoms or libraries and magic and wizards show up in the mainstream cinema several times a year. I’ve written an entire chapter on magic in the Dreaming Wizard website and spent several chapters in the book The Dragon’s Treasure on the subject.

In our dreams magic often symbolizes the need to shift a point of view or to approach something from a different angle. It also can symbolize wonder and awe. A magician in a dream might be saying that some problem is trickier than you thought. Through the Magus, or Magician, it is thought that one can perceive their origin, their eternal nature. Often he is an archetype for a wisdom guide.

But is there really magic?

There is a place where magic and enchantment exists, a place where all potential lies in waiting to be manifest. It is the space between your thoughts– that still quiet place where the essence of human kind resides. It is beyond the ego i.e. the personality, in a place where there is only stillness and pure awareness without judgment, or categorizing, contrasting, labeling or analyzing. If you could be in this place where you strive for nothing, where you let go of trying to control, or get power, where you let go of fear i.e. have it when you do but don’t become it, then this is where you can find magic, real magic.

In order to access the magic one needs to expand the space between their thoughts, let go of judgments and just ‘be’. Take just a moment and be still and be neither beneath nor superior to anyone. It is here that you will experience your true nature.

Try doing this when looking at another person. At first you will see the mirror to yourself. All your judgments about them are merely a reflection of you and your relationship that you have with yourself. But eventually when you allow the mind to be still, you’ll begin to see who they really are at their core and in that moment get a glimpse of yourself at your own core.

 

“Be still and know that I am God.”

–Psalm 46:10

 

Being still is not easy, the mind is constantly chattering away, judging, labeling, analyzing and the world requires a constant inner dialog as a means of handling our fear, our anxiety, and our loneliness. But the chatter masks a profound background within which the soul resides with the wisdom of the world.

The “voice” in your head, the thing that is talking to you all the time, the thing that’s saying “what voice?” right now, is of the ego that is an object-based, fear-based construct that masks the sound of the real power of the soul beneath. Don’t be fooled by the loudness and forcefulness of your mental voice because the loudness doesn’t mean power, it’s there to hide power. Real power resides beneath, between, and behind the chatter of your personality. Real power is the scriptwriter behind your actor, it is your core self, it is what you want to be in relationship with.

You want to perform magic? Be not the voice and know what you are.

 

“Sit, be still, and listen,

because you’re drunk

and we’re at

the edge of the roof.”

–Rumi

 

 

Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I

Be still and know that

Be still and know

Be still and

Be still

Be

–a reduction prayer, meditation, into silence (try it! Say it slowly)