Sleep and Dreams - Wake Up to Yourself
"They also say that dream is a province of waking. For whatever he sees while awake, the same he sees in dream. Thus the Spirit of man becomes his own light."
"It may be that the greater part of life is made up of dreams, and that wakefulness is merely incidental as a relief to the picture. It may be, indeed, in the last analysis, that the ideal is the highest, if not the only real. For the sensible, palpable fact can, by the nature of things, exist for us only in the Present.
But, my dear reader, it is
just here, in this Present, that the tenure by which we have hold upon
life is the most frail and shadowy. For, by the strictest analysis, there
is no Present. The formula, It is, even before we can give it utterance,
by some subtile chemistry of logic, is resolved into It was and It shall
be. Thus by our analysis do we retreat into the ideal. In the deepest
reflection, all that we call external is only the material basis
upon which our dreams are built; and the sleep that surrounds
life swallows up life, all but a dim wreck of matter, floating this
way and that, and forever evanishing from sight. Complete the analysis,
and we lose even the shadow of the external Present, and only the Past
and the Future are left us as our sure inheritance. This is the first
initiation, the veiling of the eyes to the external. But, as epoptæ,
by the synthesis of this Past and Future in a living nature, we obtain
a higher, an ideal Present, comprehending within itself all that can be
real for us within us or without. This is the second initiation,
in which is unveiled to us the Present as a new birth from our own life."
"The day-time of the body is the night-time of the soul, and the night-time of the body is the day-time of the soul. The Ego, the man, the thinker, is more fully occupied, more his real self, during the dreamless slumber of the body than at any other time.
We are a continuing identity. We have passed through many changes from birth up to now, but our identity has not changed, no matter through what changes it may have passed, or may pass. When we get this fact firmly fixed in our minds we will have reached the point of understanding that there is an immortal nature in each of us; that it is divine in its essence, not subject to change; for It is changeless.
The dreaming state we enter just as we let go of the body, before we pass into the state of dreamless sleep; and on awakening is, again, the transitional state into which we return before resuming waking state in the body. We know that we have all the senses in dreams, although the body is quiescent, and the sense organs are not in use. We can see and feel, we hear, talk, and act, just as we do in waking state, without using the physical organs associated with those sensations and actions. This shows that we are conscious, alive, existent, although the body knows nothing. We know further that our identity is not disturbed by entering dream-state; it is we ourselves, and none other, experiencing that state.
Dreaming state is known to be a very short state as contrasted with the waking state. It is known that we can dream and experience through what seems to represent a very long period of time in the dream, though the state last but a few seconds by the clock. There is a portion, by far the greater portion, of the nights rest which is only known to us (in waking state) as dreamless sleep. This is merely the slumber of the body. The body is then almost as if one had left it entirely. Yet the entity must be in contact somewhere, for he is existent all the time, and is consciousthe same identity. Were this not true, we would not wake, or on awakening there would be a new being altogether. Further than these ideas as to dream and sleep Western psychologists have not gone. They do not know what was known ages ago, and what is known to some today, that the Ego, the man, the thinker, is more fully occupied, more his real self, during the dreamless slumber of the body than at any other time. So it was said that the day-time of the body is the night-time of the soul, and the night-time of the body is the day-time of the soul. When the body sleeps, the real man is most active, with the greatest degree of intelligence, but thinking and acting on another plane altogether, in a different state altogether, from any known to us in ordinary waking human existence.
But our power to see and know when awake is applied almost exclusively to external things of a material kind, so that what we call knowledgewaking knowledge is, practically, an application of all our powers to physical existence, and to that alone. When we sleep, what takes place? During that interval we know that the body is absolutely irresponsive in regard to anything external. We do not know nor feel anything that happens to our friends. The most frightful calamities might occur around about us, and we would know nothing about them until we resumed control of the body. Yet we must have been alive, conscious, with an unchanged identity. This brings our minds to the question as to why or how it is that we know nothing when awake of that activity on higher and altogether different planes during the deep sleep of the body.
We have within us in abeyance, but not forgotten, not inaccessible, all that knowledge. It is recorded, impacted, in our imperishable nature as truly as any record can possibly be madeevery thing that we have been through, every degree of experience, of knowledge, that we have ever acquired. When we sleepthat is, when the body sleepswe go back to that fountain of knowledge which is within ourselves; and wake up in the morning none the wiser.
How can it be that, possessing such knowledge, possessing the powers that belong to immortal Spirit, to divine Intelligence, we nevertheless cannot use them, are not even aware of their existence in us?
There is a law known as Karma, the law of action and reaction, which has been stated: Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. We have so thought and acted while in the body as to produce finally an instrument that is not in accord with our own real nature. We have put the power of our intelligence upon a consideration and use of material thingsthings that appertain to a lower state of being than our ownand so have become involved in them. The brain that we use is responsive almost entirely to these lower ideas; so that when we return into it, upon awakening, there is nothing in that brain which will take the slightest impression or record of those states of consciousness through which we have passed.
Attitude of Mind
Everything that we do in life, every result that we experience, is governed by some attitude of mind which we hold in regard to life. If one is an atheist, let us say, or a materialist, who thinks that life began with this body and will end with it, then all his thoughts and acts will be on that basis. But if he changes that idea, as he may, for the idea that he is immortal in essential nature, then that of itself begins to work a transformation.
Knowledge - Knowing the Right Things To Do
It is not what we go through that counts; but what we learn from it. Knowledge is what we should desire; not comforts nor station. We desire to know, for in knowing we perceive the right things to do, the right thoughts to hold. As we are thinking all the time, we are thinking either good or evil or indifferent thoughts; our actions are good, evil or indifferent according to our thoughts. If we begin to think aright, we give direction to that Spiritual Force which is the very essence of our nature. Let a man think aright, let him think and act unselfishly, and just so surely as he does that he opens up the channels of his brain to a greater and greater perception and realization of his own nature. When he reaches a certain point he is able to perceive that whether the body is awake or asleep or dreaming, or whether the body has passed through the state called deaththere is no cessation for him.
Supposing we were able to pass from waking to dreaming, from dreaming to sleeping, from sleeping to death, from death to re-birth in another bodyand able to go through all these states and changes without a single break of memory, so that we could not only carry the memory intact from lower to higher states, but bring it through with us from higher to lower states, through every plane, bringing back the knowledge into this or an other bodywhat would we be? Then we would know just what we are. We would know the relation of this plane to every other. We could read the hearts of men. We could help them to take a greater and higher stand. We should no longer be deluded by the ideas which impel the majority of men. We would no longer struggle for place or position. We would struggle only for knowledge, for possessions of every kind in order that we might be the better able to help and teach others. We would sojourn with Deity all the time, whether in a body or out of it.
Our destinya destiny
made by ourselves, a destiny which can only be changed by ourselves, by
the very power of that Spirit which we are.. No one can know anything
for another. Each one has to know for himself. Each one has to do his
own learning. The very fact of suffering is a blessing. Karma and Reincarnation
show us that suffering is brought about by wrong thought and action; through
our suffering we may be brought to a realization that a wrong course has
been pursued. We learn through our suffering. Life is one grand school
of Being, and we have come to that stage where it is time for us to learn
to understand the purpose of existence;"
The Life Wave
"Theosophy respecting life itself as exhibited by man, his death and sleep. It relates also to what is generally called "fatigue." The most usual explanation for the phenomenon of sleep is that the body becomes tired and more or less depleted of its vitality and then seeks repose. This, says Theosophy, is just the opposite of the truth, for, instead of having suffered a loss of vitality, the body, at the conclusion of the day, has more life in it than when it waked. During the waking state the life-waves rush into the body with greater intensity every hour, and, we being unable to resist them any longer than the period usually observed, they overpower us and we fall asleep.
While sleeping, the life waves adjust themselves to the molecules of the body ; and when the equilibrium is complete we again wake to continue the contest with life. If this periodical adjustment did not occur, the life current would destroy us. Any derangement of the body that tends to inhibit this adjustment is a cause of sleeplessness, and perhaps death.
Finally, death of the body
is due to the inequality of the contest with the life force ; it at last
overcomes us, and we are compelled to sink into the grave. Disease, the
common property of the human race, only reduces the power of the body
to adjust and resist. Children, say the Adepts, sleep more than adults,
and need earlier repose, because the bodily machine, being young and tender,
is easily overcome by life and made to sleep."
Two Lives, Two Consciousnesses - Dreams
"Man leads essentially two lives, one while he is fully awake, another while he is fully asleep. Each has its own perceptions, consciousness and experiences, but the experiences of that state, called "deep sleep," are not remembered when we are fully " awake." At the borderland between sleep and waking, where the impressions of each state meet and mingle, is the realm of confused dreams, which are usually remembered, and seldom contain any truth. This state is, however, favorable to receive impressions from the higher self, or to see the pictures existing in the astral light. In the former case the higher self may use symbolical forms and allegorical images to convey ideas to the lower self, and to give it admonitions, forebodings, and warnings in regard to future events; in the latter case faces and forms of persons that previously occupied the room of the sleeper may be seen, or his mind may wander to scenes to which he is unconsciously attracted.
There are, however, various kinds of dreams, and it would be wrong to deny that some of them may not be useful. The higher self may make use of the impressibility of the lower self during the time of half-conscious slumber to impress it with useful visions and warn it of danger, and to teach it lessons which the lower self would not be able to understand while his physical senses are fully active and the voice of intuition drowned in the noise of the struggle produced by the contending emotions.
Many a difficult problem has been solved during sleep, and the terrestrial world is not always without any reflex of the light from above. The mind of the sleeper during the sleep of the body may come into contact with other minds, and pass through experiences which he does not remember when he awakes. Man, in his waking condition, often has experiences which he afterwards does not remember, but which he, nevertheless, enjoyed at the time when they occurred, and which at that time were real to him.*
* Man has not only a double consciousness, but he leads two lives which are separate and yet one. Each of these lives has its own experiences, and if while in one state we do not remember the experiences of the other state, this does not disprove the truth of our assertion. A man may live and undergo certain experiences in a certain place, while his body is asleep, or unconscious, or half-conscious in another place ; and if the physical body returns to its normal state, it may or may not remember what happened to him while he was in the other state. But there are some exceptional cases, in which the consciousness of both states may become blended, and then the person may remember where he had been and what he had been doing while in that other case.
One of such extraordinary cases is mentioned in A. P, Sinnetts * "Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky." Speaking of her sickness in Tiflis Madame Blavatsky says, that she had the sensation as if she were two different persons* one being the Madame Blavatsky whose body was lying sick in bed, the other person an entirely different and superior being. "When I was in my lower state," she says, "I knew who that other person was and what she (or he) had been doing; but when I was that other being myself, I did not know nor care who was that Madame Blavatsky." It is therefore very well possible that Madame Blavatsky's "Transcendental Ego," with all its consciousness, acuities, and powers of perception, in fact, her real self, was consciously and really undergoing certain mysterious experiences in Tibet, while the physical instrument, which we call "Madame Blavatsky," was sick at Tiflis; but such an explanation will be incomprehensible to those persons who imagine the physical body of a person to be the whole self"
A mixture of the various states of sensations and perceptions produces the normal consciousness of man. Man feels in himself at least two sets of attractions that come to his consciousness, the " earthly " and the " fiery " elements. One set drags him down to earth and makes him cling with a firm grasp to material necessities and enjoyments, the other set, lifting him up into the region of the unknown, makes him forget the allurements of matter, and by bringing him nearer to the realm of abstract ideas of the good, the true, and the beautiful, gives him satisfaction and happiness.
The greatest poets and philosophers have recognized this fact of double consciousness, or the two poles of one, and between those two poles ebbs and floods the normal consciousness of the average human being.
Goethe expresses this in his '' Faust" in about the following terms:
"Two souls, alas are conscious
in my breast
One attraction arises from
Spirit, another from matter. By the power of Reason Man is enabled to
choose which way he will follow, and by the power of his Will he is enabled
to follow his choice. He may concentrate his consciousness entirely on
the lower plane, and sinking into sensuality, become entirely unconscious
of the existence of higher aspirations, or he may live entirely in the
higher planes of thought and feeling, grow to realize fully the beauties,
realities, and truths of the spirit, and become dead to the attractions
What is a Dream? Astral Plane Dreams
"Now well take at once the following we will consider a phase of deep sleep. The serious obstacle facing us is our limited consciousness (Higher I AM). First, it is limited by three dimensions. If you suppose the idea that there are also other dimensions, it will be easier for you to understand what the dream is. Secondly, the consciousness is described by the level of development. The animals have no consciousness, but dreams are inherent in them. Any person can even go beyond the limits of the dream in general, but we are still far away from it. The third fact is the consciousness is described by purity of the motives of the person, his ego, emotions, desires, thoughts.
The dream is much more than just simply a rest on the physical plane. A man is not only just a physical body, but also we have a soul and a spiritual body. Each body has its own brain. During the sleep, the physical brain is resting, it cannot exist without a rest. And the dream is not in the physical brain. The dream in general is nowhere, the dream is another dimension. During the sleep, we in our thin body get into the next dimension into the astral plane or the mental plane; or into the first layer of the spiritual world - a causal plane. «And many individuals living on Earth do not even think about the fact that there is another reality, a world which is inaccessible to our physical sense organs». Everyone looks at his surroundings, through his aura, a «glass» created by himself with the help of his habitual thoughts and motives, which settle in the subconsciousness (the human soul). He looks at the world through this environment and sees all arround tinted by his colors and his own vibrations.
... What should we say about the astral plane, where every desire of the person and his thoughts, immediately grow into an astral being, which comes to life. We see that, every thought creates a double effect - an emitted vibration and a floating form. Any image created by human imagination does exist in the astral plane. That's why the astral plane is also named as a plan of desires.
It has already been mentioned that each body has its own brain, in addition, between bodies there is a subtle connection. The purity of this connection between bodies depends on the lifestyle of the person and accordingly the ability to conduct information without distortion, from the thin environment into the thick one and the ability to objectively look at the surrounding world.
A meat diet, alcohol, smoking, drugs, coffee, all egoistic desires, impure thoughts, a lack of love in the heart of course are a strong obstacle to an objective perception. The communication between the bodies becomes coarse, a person doesn't remember what he did during his night sleepy journey, the information, which he received in the etheric octaves highly distorted and perceived wrong by the physical brain.
In a dream, there is an ocean
of thoughts of other people, which is immediately realized to images and
the astral brain is in much stronger connection with these mental streams.
The man always thinking about one and the same or susceptible to non-stop
waves of desire naturally falls in similar situations in the dream. Similar
thoughts are attracted to each other. Scientists find themselves in a
world of science, the sexually preoccupied fall under the adverse influence
of various astral entities. All depends on the level of our consciousness
as well as what surrounds the man during the sleep. It is not only the
people and their aura, but the walls of the room which keep a lot of secrets.
All that surrounds a person has its effect on the dream. "
Natural & Supernatural Dreams
"The thoughts of great minds remain for ages like stars on the mental horizon of the world."
"There are two kinds of dreams natural ones and such as come from the spirit. It is unnecessary to say much about the former, because they are known to all. They may be caused by joy or sadness, by impurities of the blood, by external or internal causes. A gambler may dream of cards, a soldier of battles, a drunkard of wine, a robber of theft. All such dreams are caused by the lower principles of such persons, which play with their imagination, heat their blood, and stimulate their phantasy"
* But there are supernatural dreams, and they are the messengers from God, that are sent to us at the approach of some great danger. Ananias, Cornelius, and many others bad similar visions, and such supernatural dreams take place sometimes even among the present generation; but only the wise pay attention to them. Others treat them with contempt, although such dreams are true, and do not deceive."
"The dream in the Gabal
plays with that which is in man, and that which the dream shows is the
shadow of such wisdom as exists in the man, even if during his waking
state he may know nothing about it; for we ought to know that God has
given us all wisdom and knowledge, reason, and the power to perceive the
past and the future; but we do not know it, because we are fooling away
our time with outward and perishing things, and are asleep in regard to
that which is real within ourself. If one appears to have more talent
than another man, it is not because he has been especially favoured by
God, but because he has more than the other sought of that which God has
given to each."
"It sometimes happens
that the Evestra of persons who have died perhaps fifty or a hundred years
ago appear to us in a dream, and if such an Bvestrum comes to us in our
dream and speaks with us, we should pay especial attention to what it
says ; for such a vision is not a hallucination
"... " When men are asleep their bodies are like those of animals or plants, for animals and plants have also their elementary and their sidereal bodies; but the divine spirit can only become active in man. During sleep the sidereal body, by which man is connected with the inner nature of the Macrocosm, becomes free in its movements, and it can then rise up to the sphere of his ancestors, and converse with the stars (thoughts) ; that is to say, the processes taking place in the intellectual sphere of the Macrocosm will throw their reflections into his soul and come to his inner perception. Dreams, visions, and omens are gifts given to the sidereal man, and not to the elementary body."
of the corpora is the night for the spiritus. When the bodies cease their
labour, the spirits (in man) begin their work. When the body of man rests,
his spirit begins to become active ; and when the spirit rests, the body
resumes its work. Therefore is the waking of the body the sleep of the
spirit, and the spirit's sleep a waking for the body. They will not sleep
or operate together; one acts, while the other reposes"
"But dreams will be pure or impure, wise or foolish, rational or irrational, according to the position which man occupies in his relation to the light of Nature. Prophetic sights are caused by the circumstance that man has a sidereal body, related to the substance of the Universal Mind, and the former confabulates with the latter whenever the attention of the sidereal body is not, needed by the requirements o the physical body. That is to say, all that takes place in the outer world is mirrored forth in the inner world, and appears as a dream. The elementary body has no spiritual gifts, but the sidereal body possesses them all. Whenever the elementary body is at rest, asleep or unconscious, the sidereal body is awake and active, because the latter needs neither rest nor sleep ; but whenever the elementary body is fully awake and active, the activity of the sidereal body will then be restrained, and its free movements be impeded or prevented, like those of a man who is buried alive in a tomb."
educates the body (the internal the external man), and may seduce it to
commit sins, for which the body has to suffer; but the body can neither
instruct nor seduce the spirit. The body eats and drinks, but the nourishment
of the spirit is faith. The body perishes, the spirit is eternal. The
body is subdued by the spirit, but not the spirit by the body. The body
is dark, the spirit light and transparent. The body is subject to disease
; the spirit remains well. Material things are dark to the body, but the
spirit sees through everything. The body (mind) speculates ; the flpirit
(the will) acts. The body is Mumia, the spirit is balsam. The body belongs
to death, the spirit to life. The body is of the earth ; the spirit from
heaven and God" (Phil Tract., iv,).
Whatever or whomever you believe, the ancients and those in different cultures also propose similar interesting concepts.
"Buddhist contemplatives have found that the only limitation on the malleability of dreams is the scope of ones own imagination. Moreover, as one gains deeper insight into the nature of dreams, one discovers that nothing in a dream can harm one. Everything is simply a manifestation of ones own mind, and even the most horrific images and events are no more dangerous than mirages or reflections in a mirror."
But in some ways, waking consciousness
and dreaming are more similar than we might expect. As Stephen LaBerge
"Instead of escaping the messy human condition by going to the monastery, I actually discovered the full human condition. What I discovered was that the divine transcendence I was seeking was not found outside the human, but was found precisely by going more deeply into it and embracing it fully.
Francis suddenly experienced what he has come to call, a radical perceptual shift in consciousness, in which he discovered the ever present presence of spacious, pure awareness. He came to see that this awareness is actually the unchanging essence of who he really is and always has been; the Supreme Self, talked about by many sages and saints from many spiritual traditions down through the ages. He also came to see simultaneously, that this vast, infinite sense of presence at the center of his being (and at the center of the being of everyone else on the planet) is actually not at all separate from the presence of God, which he had been looking for during his many years as a monk and spiritual seeker."
The difference between samadhi, sleep, death, and meditation is only a fine line of demarcation. In. meditation you do not allow your consciousness to drift. If we add up the time spent in sleep throughout our lives, we find that we sleep for the equivalent of twenty years. Can you imagine a person being dead for twenty years? Why do we say that death is terrifying, when we do not think that sleep is terrifying? We want to sleep; should we not also want to die? The differences between these two experiences should be understood. Sleep is always used for ignorance; one who is asleep is in a deep state of ignorance. This ignorance is one in which you completely lose awareness of both sides-awareness of eternity, and awareness of the world. You gain only rest; you are merely obtaining sleep so that you can wake up. That is the only benefit sleep provides. Sleep relieves you from all pains; sleep gives you rest and energy, so that you can again cope with situations-but sleep does not make you intelligent; it does not give you knowledge. So the sages said, "Let us overcome this. Let us meditate." tate." They practiced a state called "sleepless sleep." Samadhi means sleepless sleep in the modern language. The sages found a way of going into that state in which they are sleeping, yet they remain awake. There is a Sanskrit word about this that can be interpreted in many ways.
... So we ask if there is another way that we can attain that bliss in which there is no pain. If two people repeatedly edly make experiments in life, doing all these pleasurable things, collecting things, owning things, and enjoying all these pleasures, they will finally decide that this world has no capacity to give them eternal joy or eternal bliss. The day they understand that, they go beyond the three states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping, and then they attain the fourth state, from which they can see all three states separately. They can see themselves sleeping; they can then see themselves dreaming; they can see themselves selves waking. Yet they are still there. The fourth state is a state of enlightenment.
... Use that life-force to attain the final goal. Do not waste your time! Wake up from the ignorance of sleep." The waking state is definitely nitely higher than the sleep state, but when you wake up, do not dissipate yourself and your energy. You want to go to that which is beyond, to attain turiya, the fourth state. You can attain that state.
... We are discussing a particular method that leads you to conscious, deep sleep, and yet you remain awake in that state. That state is very beneficial; cial; it is very close to samadhi. To learn this method you need to have a definite time set aside, so that you can practice at the same time every day. You need to regularly devote this time to these practices. This is a key point.
... Learn to put yourself into silence. Your normal habit, your training, and your education is to go to the ocean of the external world and become lost in the sounds. Learn instead to go back to the Source.
... Just as there are different seasons in the year, so also are there seasons in the mind. Sometimes the mind feels joy, sometimes not. You can also learn to create a joyous state of mind by the technique of applying sushumna before you meditate.
... Through expansion of the waking state you can attain turiya. Expanding means you are making use of the waking state.
... Let your dreaming state become the waking state and your sleeping ing state also become the waking state, with the help of the technique of yoga nidra, and thus attain turiya, the state beyond."
Dreaming & Evolution
"If evolution is still ongoing, we should also ask ourselves, what role does dreaming play in the evolutionary process? ...
"Evolution is not merely an ascent from a lower to a higher state. It is also an integration of the higher with the lower ones. This means when a higher principle emerges, it descends into the lower ones causing a transformation of them. Thus when Mind emerges, not only does a new principle appear on the scene, but the lower principles of matter and life also undergo a transformation, so that they become different from what they were before the emergence of this new principle. "
intimates that dreams contribute not only to self-knowing but also to
self-realization. Some types of dreams have profound spiritual impact
and strong transformative qualities. But an important question remains
open: Can dreams give us a preview of the next phase of our evolution
at all levels?"
Dreams - HPB
"Q. What are the "principles" which are active during dreams?
A. The "principles" active during ordinary dreams which ought to be distinguished from real dreams, and called idle visions are Kama, the seat of the personal Ego and of desire awakened into chaotic activity by the slumbering reminiscences of the lower Manas.
Q. What is the "lower Manas"?
A. It is usually called the animal soul (the Nephesh of the Hebrew Kabalists). It is the ray which emanates from the Higher Manas or permanent Ego, and is that "principle" which forms the human mind in animals instinct, for animals also dream. (The word dream means really "to slumber" the latter function being called in Russian "dreamatj." Ed. ) The combined action of Kama and the "animal soul," however, are purely mechanical. It is instinct, not reason, which is active in them. During the sleep of the body they receive and send out mechanically electric shocks to and from various nerve-centers. The brain is hardly impressed by them, and memory stores them, of course, without order or sequence. On waking these impressions gradually fade out, as does every fleeting shadow that has no basic or substantial reality underlying it. The retentive faculty of the brain, however, may register and preserve them if they are only impressed strongly enough. But, as a rule, our memory registers only the fugitive and distorted impressions which the brain receives at the moment of awakening. This aspect of "dreams" however, has been sufficiently observed and is described correctly enough in modern physiological and biological works, as such human dreams do not differ much from those of the animals. That which is entirely terra incognita for Science is the real dreams and experiences of the higher EGO, which are also called dreams, but ought not to be so termed, or else the term for the other sleeping "visions" changed.
Q. How do these differ?
A. The nature and functions of real dreams cannot be understood unless we admit the existence of an immortal Ego in mortal man, independent of the physical body, for the subject becomes quite unintelligible unless we believe that which is a fact that during sleep there remains only an animated form of clay, whose powers of independent thinking are utterly paralyzed.
But if we admit the existence of a higher or permanent Ego in us which Ego must not be confused with what we call the "Higher Self," we can comprehend that what we often regard as dreams, generally accepted as idle fancies, are, in truth, stray pages torn out from the life and experiences of the inner man, and the dim recollection of which at the moment of awakening becomes more or less distorted by our physical memory. The latter catches mechanically a few impressions of the thoughts, facts witnessed, and deeds performed by the inner man during its hours of complete freedom. For our Ego lives its own separate life within its prison of clay whenever it becomes free from the trammels of matter, i.e., during the sleep of the physical man. This Ego it is which is the actor, the real man, the true human self. But the physical man cannot feel or be conscious during dreams; for the personality, the outer man, with its brain and thinking apparatus, are paralyzed more or less completely.
We might well compare the real Ego to a prisoner, and the physical personality to the gaoler of his prison. If the gaoler falls asleep, the prisoner escapes, or, at least, passes outside the walls of his prison. The gaoler is half asleep, and looks nodding all the time out of a window, through which he can catch only occasional glimpses of his prisoner, as he would a kind of shadow moving in front of it. But what can he perceive, and what can he know of the real actions, and especially the thoughts, of his charge?
Q. Do not the thoughts of the one impress themselves upon the other?
A. Not during sleep, at all events; for the real Ego does not think as his evanescent and temporary personality does. During the waking hours the thoughts and Voice of the Higher Ego do or do not reach his gaoler the physical man, for they are the Voice of his Conscience, but during his sleep they are absolutely the "Voice in the desert." In the thoughts of the real man, or the immortal "Individuality," the pictures and visions of the Past and Future are as the Present; nor are his thoughts like ours, subjective pictures in our cerebration, but living acts and deeds, present actualities. They are realities, even as they were when speech expressed in sounds did not exist; when thoughts were things, and men did not need to express them in speeches; for they instantly realized themselves in action by the power of Kriya-Sakti, that mysterious power which transforms instantaneously ideas into visible forms, and these were as objective to the "man" of the early third Race as objects of sight are now to us.
Q. How, then, does Esoteric Philosophy account for the transmission of even a few fragments of those thoughts of the Ego to our physical memory which it sometimes retains?
A. All such are reflected on the brain of the sleeper, like outside shadows on the canvas walls of a tent, which the occupier sees as he wakes. Then the man thinks that he has dreamed all that, and feels as though he had lived through something, while in reality it is the thought-actions of the true Ego which he has dimly perceived. As he becomes fully awake, his recollections become with every minute more distorted, and mingle with the images projected from the physical brain, under the action of the stimulus which causes the sleeper to awaken. These recollections, by the power of association, set in motion various trains of ideas.
Q. It is difficult to see how the Ego can be acting during the night things which have taken place long ago. Was it not stated that dreams are not subjective?
A. How can they be subjective
when the dream state is itself for us, and on our plane, at any rate,
a subjective one? To the dreamer (the Ego), on his own plane, the things
on that plane are as objective to him as our acts are to us."
Falling Asleep in Hades
"It is universally agreed, that all the ancient theological poets and philosophers inculcated the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments in the most full and decisive terms; at the same time occultly intimating that the death of the soul was nothing more than a profound union with the ruinous bonds of the body. Indeed, if these wise men believed in a future state of retribution, and at the same time considered a connection with the body as death of the soul, it necessarily follows, that the soul's punishment and existence hereafter are nothing more than a continuation of its state at present, and a transmigration, as it were, from sleep to sleep, and from dream to dream."
Heracleitus, speaking of souls unembodied: We live their death, and we die their life.
And Empedocles, deprecating the condition termed "generation" beautifully says of her (generation):
The aspect changing with destruction
And again, lamenting his connection with this corporeal world, he pathetically exclaims:
For this I weep, for this indulge
Plato, too, it is well known,
considered the body as the sepulchre of the soul, and in the Cratylus
concurs with the doctrine of
"that whatever we see when awake is death ; and when asleep, a dream.";
But that the mysteries occultly signified this sublime truth, that the soul by being merged in matter resides among the dead both here and hereafter, though it follows by a necessary sequence from the preceding observations, yet it is indisputably confirmed, by the testimony of the great and truly divine Plotinus, in Ennead I., book viii.
"When the soul has descended into generation (from its first divine condition) she partakes of evil, and is carried a great way into a state the opposite of her first purity and integrity, to be entirely merged in which, is nothing more than to fall into dark mire ...
The soul therefore dies as
the body, to descend into matter,* and be wholly subjected by it ; and
after departing thence to lie there till it shall arise and turn its face
away from the abhorrent filth. This is what is meant by the falling
asleep in Hades, of those who have come there" as it is possible
for the soul to die : and the death to her is, while baptized or immersed
in the present"
The Three Planes of Human Life
Every theosophist who is in earnest ought to know the importance of these three states, and especially how essential it is that one should not-lose in Swapna the memory of experiences in Sushupti, nor in Jagrata those of Swapna, and vice versa.
Jagrata, our waking state, is the one in which we must be regenerated; where we must come to a full consciousness of the Self within, for in no other is salvation possible.
When a man dies he goes either to the Supreme Condition from which no return against his will is possible, or to other states — heaven, hell, avitchi, devachan, what not — from which return to incarnation is inevitable. But he cannot go to the Supreme State unless he has perfected and regenerated himself; unless the wonderful and shining heights on which the Masters stand have been reached while he is in a body. This consummation, so devoutly desired, cannot be secured unless at some period in his evolution the being takes the steps that lead to the final attainment. These steps can and must be taken. In the very first is contained the possibility of the last, for causes once put in motion eternally produce their natural results.
Among those steps are an acquaintance with and understanding of the three states first spoken of.
Jagrata acts on Swapna, producing dreams and suggestions, and either disturbs the instructions that come down from the higher state or aids the person through waking calmness and concentration which tend to lessen the distortions of the mental experiences of dream life. Swapna again in its turn acts on the waking state (Jagrata) by the good or bad suggestions made to him in dreams. All experience and all religions are full of proofs of this. In the fabled Garden of Eden the wily serpent whispered in the ear of the sleeping mortal to the end that when awake he should violate the command. In Job it is said that God instructeth man in sleep, in dreams, and in visions of the night. And the common introspective and dream life of the most ordinary people needs no proof. Many cases are within my knowledge where the man was led to commit acts against which his better nature rebelled, the suggestion for the act coming to him in dream. It was because the unholy state of his waking thoughts infected his dreams, and laid him open to evil influences.By natural action and reaction be poisoned both Jagrata and Swapna.
It is therefore our duty to purify and keep clear these two planes.
The third state common to all is Sushupti, which has been translated "dreamless sleep." The translation is inadequate, for, while it is dreamless, it is also a state in which even criminals commune through the higher nature with spiritual beings and enter into the spiritual plane. It is the great spiritual reservoir by means of which the tremendous momentum toward evil living is held in check. And because it is involuntary with them, it is constantly salutary in its effect.
In order to understand the subject better, it is well to consider a little in detail what happens when one falls asleep, has dreams, and then enters Sushupti. As his outer senses are dulled the brain begins to throw up images, the reproductions of waking acts and thoughts, and soon he is asleep. He has then entered a plane of experience which is as real as that just quitted, only that it is of a different sort. We may roughly divide this from the waking life by an imaginary partition on the one side, and from Sushupti by another partition on the other. In this region he wanders until he begins to rise beyond it into the higher. There no disturbances come from the brain action, and the being is a partaker to the extent his nature permits of the "banquet of the gods." But he has to return to waking state, and he can get back by no other road than the one he came upon, for, as Sushupti extends in every direction and Swapna under it also in every direction, there is no possibility of emerging at once from Sushupti into Jagrata. And this is true even though on returning no memory of any dream is retained.
Now the ordinary non-concentrated man, by reason of the want of focus due to multitudinous and confused thought, has put his Swapna field or state into confusion, and in passing through it the useful and elevating experiences of Sushupti become mixed up and distorted, not resulting in the benefit to him as a waking person which is his right as well as his duty to have. Here again is seen the lasting effect, either prejudicial or the opposite, of the conduct and thoughts when awake.
So it appears, then, that what he should try to accomplish is such a clearing up and vivification of Swapna state as shall result in removing the confusion and distortion existing there, in order that upon emerging into waking life he may retain a wider and brighter memory of what occurred in Sushupti. This is done by an increase of concentration upon high thoughts, upon noble purposes, upon all that is best and most spiritual in him while awake. The best result cannot be accomplished in a week or a year, perhaps not in a life, but, once begun, it will lead to the perfection of spiritual cultivation in some incarnation hereafter.
By this course a centre of attraction is set up in him while awake, and to that all his energies flow, so that it may be figured to ourselves as a focus in the waking man. To this local point — looking at it from that plane — converge the rays from the whole waking man toward Swapna, carrying him into dream-state with greater clearness. By reaction this creates another focus in Swapna, through which be can emerge into Sushupti in a collected condition. Returning he goes by means of these points through Swapna, and there, the confusion being lessened, he enters into his usual waking state the possessor, to some extent at least, of the benefits and knowledge of Sushupti. The difference between the man who is not concentrated and the one who is, consists in this, that the fast passes from one state to the other through the imaginary partitions postulated above, just as sand does through a sieve, while the concentrated man passes from one to the other similarly to water through a pipe or the rays of the sun through a lens. In the first case each stream of sand is a different experience, a different set of confused and irregular thoughts, whereas the collected man goes and returns the owner of regular and clear experience.
These thoughts are not intended to be exhaustive, but so far as they go it is believed they are correct. The subject is one of enormous extent as well as great importance, and theosophists are urged to purify, elevate, and concentrate the thoughts and acts of their waking hours so that they shall not continually and aimlessly, night after night and day succeeding day, go into and return from these natural and wisely appointed states, no wiser, no better able to help their fellow men. For by this way, as by the spider's small thread, we may gain the free space of spiritual life." W. Q. Judge
Proofs of the Hidden Self Through Dreams
THE dream state is common to all people. Some persons say they never dream, but upon examination it will be found they have had one or two dreams and that they meant only to say their dreams were few. It is doubtful whether the person exists who never has had a dream. But it is said that dreams are not of importance; that they are due to blood pressure, or to indigestion, or to disease, or to various causes. They are supposed to be unimportant because, looking at them from the utilitarian view-point, no great use is seen to follow. Yet there are many who always make use of their dreams, and history, both secular and religious, is not without records of benefit, of warning, of instruction from the dream. The well-known case of Pharaoh's dream of lean and fat kine which enabled Joseph as interpreter to foresee and provide against a famine represents a class of dream not at all uncommon. But the utilitarian view is only one of many.
Dreams show conclusively that although the body and brain are asleep - for sleep begins primarily in the brain and is governed by it -- there is still active a recollector and perceiver who watches the introspective experience of dreaming. Sorrow, joy, fear, anger, ambition, love, hate, and all possible emotions are felt and perceived in dreams. The utility of this on the waking plane has nothing to do with the fact of perception. Time all is measured therein, not according to solar division but in respect to the effect produced upon the dreamer. And as the counting of this time is done at a vastly quicker rate than is possible for the brain, it follows that some person is counting. In all these dreams there is a recollection of the events perceived, and the memory of it is carried into the waking state. Reason and all the powers of intelligent waking man are used in dreams; and as emotion, reasoning, perception, and memory are all found to be even more active in dreams than in waking life, it must follow that the Hidden Self is the one who has and does all this.
The fanciful portion of dreams does not invalidate the position. Fancy is not peculiar to dreaming; it is also present in waking consciousness. In many people fancy is quite as usual and vivid as with any dreamer. And we know that children have a strong development of fancy. Its presence in dream simply means that the thinker, being liberated temporarily from the body and the set forms or grooves of the brain, expands that ordinary faculty. But passing beyond fancy we have the fact that dreams have prophecy of events not yet come. This could not be unless there exists the inner Hidden Self who sees plainly the future and the past in an ever present.
“It must follow that the Hidden Self is the one who has and does all this,” he says.
Mass Dreams of the Future
"Wambach discovered she could also progress people to future lives. Indeed, her subjects' descriptions of coming centuries were so fascinating she conducted a major future-life-progression project in France and the United States. Unfortunately, she passed away before completing the study, but psychologist Chet Snow, a former colleague of Wambach’s, carried on her work and published the results in a book entitled Mass Dreams of the Future."
Ecc 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.