Wizard Smoke is so dreamy!

It is interesting that on the edge of sleep, one can perceive a little further than in usual waking life. In fact, I’ve encountered comments by gurus and meditation teachers about how their most awesome formless experiences have been on the edge of sleep. Big deal, I know. But my point is that the edge of sleep is almost like a lucid dream, or some kind of lucid dream-meets-astral projection. In this phase we’re subject to the wandering mind’s imagination, but we’re still aware of our body’s environment and the subtle influences around it. A typical way this kind of perception works is if, say, the phone rings for you while you’re napping and right before waking up you get the subtle awareness of who is calling. Sort of like the caller’s intent comes through to your subconscious.

It’s reasonable to assume that ghosts and spectral beings are more accessible during sleep states. In fact, it’s a large part of religious myth and history in almost all cultures. Jacob wrestling the angel or Moses and the burning bush, the famous Yagyu battle/transmission with the Tengu, the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark-type tales which involve someone seeing an old friend, only to hear from other people that the friend died some time previously. There’s a pretty good example of this in the famous Chinese novel, Dream of the Red Chamber. One of the female characters appears and talks to her friend, whom is sleeping lightly, and gives her an important message. The sleeping friend is suddenly awakened by a servant to be told that the character she dreamed of talking to has just died.

Dreams are interesting experiences in themselves. I feel like everyone who thinks they’re special or profound at some point starts to keep a dream diary. This can help one maintain lucid awareness during the sleep cycle, but I’ve never found it to be terribly important as a practice. Obsessive nutjobs like Freud thought there was serious stuff to scare up out of analyzing dreams. If you’ve read his work, you’ll notice that he thought dreams were all sexually driven. That’s funny when you consider that for monks or other people who have taken vows of sexual abstinence, a wet dream or sexual dream indicates a lingering form of lust. Those who give up sexual desire entirely do not entertain it even in dreams. So I guess, according to Freud, any dreams at all indicate lingering sexual desires.

Dreams can be useful since the lazier portions of our mental habits reveal themselves in dream time. Not that we can see where what they are, because we’re usually blind to those habits we’re lazy about controlling. And not that I’m saying these things don’t appear in our daily life; they do but we tend to see less of what happens in waking life as an exclusively personal experience. Overall I’d say the lazier a person’s mind is, the less control they have over dreams and the less thoughts and events in the mind they are prone to remember during the sleep cycle.

I’ve heard of martial artists who supposedly could not be ambushed even in their sleep. This was probably a result of vivid awareness of the body at all times. It’s tied into what I was saying about the phone call: outside influences or intents in the environment start to abruptly appear in one’s dreams or sleep-state right before they occur. So… if one can always be aware of one’s environment during waking life, eventually one becomes mindful even while physically unconscious.

Ah, but at the end of the day, dreams are really just hallucinations, aren’t they? There’s nothing particularly mysterious about dreams. Just our mental phantasms and wandering thoughts in their purer mental forms, without the constant bombardment and distraction of the physical senses. Like, sometimes dreams can seem mysterious because they send clairvoyant messages, omens, visions, and so on. But it’s no more mysterious than waking life, it just happens in the unconscious moments — it’s less distorted by physical experiences.

Guys like John Lennon or whoever else openly calls themselves a dreamer — they’re full of baloney aren’t they? When people have some kind of ambition, or fantasy, or romantic view of themselves or other things — they’re just dreaming. They think these thoughts they follow in their head are real truisms. Of course, if everything is just a dream, where does that leave people who actually do see reality? I mean, is there any view or opinion that isn’t a total illusion or dreamworld?

What a headache.

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4 Responses to “Wizard Smoke is so dreamy!”

  1. No mention of Zhuangzi? Seems like the first guy to go to regarding dreams.

    Speaking of which, Hans-Georg Moeller gives an interesting interpretation of his Butterfly Allegory. The point of the parable isn’t simply that we cannot tell the difference between this world and the dream world. Rather, according to Moeller, the lesson is that we must equally affirm our presence in any world we happen to find oursleves in. If I’m a butterfly: so be it! If I’m Zhuangzi: so be it!

    At least it sounds better than the standard hippie interpretation of Zhuangzi, I think.

  2. wizardsmoke Says:

    Ahaha, I didn’t even think of Zhuangzi/Chuang Tzu when I wrote this! What’s the typical hippie impression? That every manifestation is as equally a dream as any other?

    I like that Hans-Georg Moeller impression though. Next time I’m a butterfly, I’ll be the best damn butterfly there is!

  3. The typical hippie impression is more or less one of those “mind blowing” types of things spoken of in-between bong hits…usually something along the lines of “Man, like, how do we know we aren’t always dreaming, man? What if we’re in the Matrix?!?!”

    So yeah, Moeller’s a little better than that, I think. His “Daoism Explained” and “Philosophy of the Daodejing” are pretty awesome, IMO, although it probably wouldn’t be anything new to you.

    On a side note, you prefer Wade-Giles over Pinyin? Why fo’ come?

  4. wizardsmoke Says:

    Oh, I don’t prefer nothin’. But I often see Zhuangzi spelled in the Wade-Giles format since so many translations of him are over 40 years old.

    As someone over one of my favorite blogs once wrote, what’s so funny about that movie, The Matrix, is that even after Neo and company woke up from the matrix, they were still stuck in samsara! Hahaha!

    Of course, we’ve all heard the claims that The Matrix was originally written by a black woman as an allegory for slavery, right?

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