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:
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
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
Are you awake?
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