Electric Dreams

An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange
Lucy Gillis, Editor

Are You Awake?

Robert Waggoner

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Waggoner, Robert (2004 February). Are You Awake? (An Excerpt From The Lucid Dream Exchange, Lucy Gillis, Editor.) Electric Dreams 11(2).

This month LDE co-editor Robert Waggoner shares a thought provoking lucid dream experience he had recently while on a business trip..

As a small child, did you ever wander into your parent's bedroom, walk up to the bed and stare intently at them for what seemed like hours? And then, when something stirred in their sleeping awareness and their first bleary eye opened to look at you, did you questioningly ask, "Are you awake?"

That sort of thing happened to me a few weeks ago in a lucid dream. I was sleeping alone in a hotel in Rancho Cordova, CA on a business trip. About 3:30 in the morning, I awoke and told myself that I would have a lucid dream, and then I felt the "feeling" of being lucid. Roughly an hour later, I experienced the following:

I sense something. Someone is there. I can feel someone there.

Visually, I have only the "gray state" that seems to exist as the intermediary state between visual dreams. Yet something, some presence, I sense. At that point, I realize, "I'm dreaming."

Now, I feel with certainty that someone is watching me. I am momentarily confused, seeing only gray -- but then lucidly, I decide to simply open my eyes. I open them.

Staring at me intently, less than a foot away, I see a man's eyes looking soulfully into mine. I sense from him the thought, "Are you awake?", and then see his realization that I am lucid, awake in the dream.

I see his full face and expression. He looks familiar somehow, as he gazes into my eyes -- then, "I" seem to see from his eyes - wait, his eyes are "my" eyes!! Suddenly, some awareness awakens within me - I get excited and wake up in physical reality. I ask myself, "Was that my inner self?"

Who sees through these eyes?

While, waking we assume that deeper aspects of our self lay dormant in our psyche. We assume that our anima, our animus, our archetypal selves - they sleep, while we are "awake". Our wise old woman, our heroic self, our inner child, our creative genius, our daemons - do they slumber all the day long until empowered by the spark of dreaming?

As I head toward my third decade of lucid dreaming, I am beginning to wonder (by virtue of lucid dreaming) about the nature of identity. Less and less each year, do "I" seem to be a lone "me." More and more, do I begin to thinkthat the actual "I"- or the actual "me" - is a community of aware selves. While I routinely and unthinkingly group the various aspects of my self under the designation of "I," it appears that I may be more accurately a"group self", a psychological construct - in some sense, I am an "Aware They".

This community of aware Selves may be consigned to "back room" functions by the ego, or allowed out only at dream recess, or deeply felt imaginings, or battled into submission by chemical warfare when deemed "unruly" by the ego or cultural conventions, but this community of aware selves is here. It is now. It is alive.

If awareness was the sole province of the ego, then there would be no dreaming. Think about that.

If the "ego" was the only awareness, then when the ego was finished with the day, exhausted and asleep - "awareness" would end as well. And then when the ego awakened in the morning, "awareness" would awaken as well.

The fact is that awareness is apart from the ego. Awareness continues - the ego sleeps. When we come into dream awareness, as the ego sleeps, obviously some part(s) of us (some part of this community of aware selves that seems to be the actual state of our being) accepts that mantle of awareness, that cloak of perception and functions quite nicely in the dream state.

In lucid dreams of mirrors, we often consciously see that the "face" staring back at us is not the physical face laying in the physical bed -- it may not even be the same race, the same gender, the same age. As we consciously explore, lucid in our dreams, we routinely receive notice that the "I" is not one, but many. Though we may spend our waking hours, unaware of the community of selves that seems to compose our larger being, the psychological flexibility of the dream state shows our true situation - we are many.

While waking, we often fail to be aware of those moments when we suddenly act "uncharacteristically". Similarly, we rarely consider the history of our "self", which examined thoughtfully in many cases, would show distinct changes in thoughts, behaviors, moods, interests and states of being over the years (if not in one day alone).

Though the ego could be said to captain the ship of Self, the ego exists with a larger crew - and if nothing else, they influence the captain, the direction of the ship and the inner workings - even if the captain remains blissfully unaware of their existence. In case of multiple personalities, however, one can see evidence of a mutiny on the Ship of Self -- whereby another powerful aspect from the community of aware selves takes over perceptually and appears, topside, in waking reality.

So as you go about your day, and your night, and your life dream and your night dream, don't only ask yourself, "Who is the dreamer?", but dig a little deeper and search a little broader, and ask instead, "Who are the dreamers?"

Are you awake?

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