Friday, February 27, 2009

More than the sum of our parts



Zen Biology Lesson for Enlightenment from Jarett on Vimeo.


I struggle ceaselessly with the aspect of myself that clings to the fragile comfort of words and sentences. Our familiar Western mode of thinking -- purged of intuition and leery of experiences not reproducible in written form -- is like a clear membrane stretched taut around our senses, but no less insidious in its seeming transparency.

Lately, especially, it seems as if my real life unfolds in the narcotic oblivion of sleep; my dream-world, for all of its ominous vistas and intimations of cataclysm, exerts an inexplicably nostalgic allure. For whatever reason, I feel oddly welcome strolling the ruined hotels and depopulated suburbs that have come to dominate my sleep. There appears to be coherent, if tenuous, logic to this silent and jaundiced realm -- arguably more so than what greets me while awake and rational.

I've come to tentatively identify with the role of the shaman. Upon waking, my mind feels ponderous with ideas seeking escape; a portal has been opened, but a portal to where, exactly? And what, if anything, should I do with this freight of unsolicited weirdness?

My dream-world grows less diffuse -- more palpable -- with every visit, recalling the idea that powerfully envisioned thought-forms can assume fleeting physical existence. If such an alchemical process is indeed at work, the repercussions for my "real" existence are troubling. Maybe the only way to break the feedback cycle -- to decisively sever the ouroboros that my psyche's inexorably becoming -- is to opt out of the wide-awake domain of language, syntax and the necessarily diminishing fiction of "either/or."

20 comments:

RRRGroup said...

Mac...

Just what exactly are you putting in your coffee?

RR

dad2059 said...

Excellent opening paragraph Mac!

Terence McKenna would've approved!

Anonymous said...

"One day I'm going to wake up, I'm going to follow my dreams."

Michael

Bruce Duensing said...

The challenge of putting into words what transcends them is not an easy row to hoe, but you certainly captured the sense of mystery that we are all entangled within. There was some discussion as to my meaning when I named my blog Intangible Materiality but you described the cartography beautifully, a dream within a dream.

Mac said...

@RRRGroup

Just what exactly are you putting in your coffee?

;-)

Bsti said...

In Vita Somniere! So well put into words, Mac.

Anonymous said...

These four paragraphs, this "freight of unsolicited weirdness", is the reason why this blog is in my list of must read daily material.
-anonfan

Mac said...

Thanks for the kind comments, everyone.

Row, row, row your boat... said...

"Once upon a time, I, Zhuang Zi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zi. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things."

On the other hand, a dream is still "just" a dream, not waking reality. Why we dream what we dream can be for many reasons, and while it is an aspect of unconscious reality, perhaps the lesson is, when noting intense or more than usual active dreaming, it suggests a transition, need, or desire for some kind of change on the part of the psyche, in the real world.

Sometimes, I have noticed myself, when in times of stress, routine, or ennui, one's dreams can become more interesting or seemingly active, both in ideation and implicate significance, than even real life may present.

The key is to remember that the reflection in the mirror, even if distorted by dreaming states of mind, is not the real thing being reflected, but a transmutation, which is derived from life. Perhaps an aspect of mind, reflected in dreams, is urging you to change some aspect of your waking life. Or am I just dreaming that idea?

moxie said...

There is often beauty and comfort in abandoned things, such ruined hotels and abandoned suburbs whether in a dream or waking life. Love your blog!

Intense said...

"Maybe the only way to break the feedback cycle -- to decisively sever the ouroboros that my psyche's inexorably becoming -- is to opt out of the wide-awake domain of language, syntax and the necessarily diminishing fiction of 'either/or.'"

That sounds like it might be good advice--how we think, the language used internally, and the cognitive or interpretive processes involved can at times be self-limiting and thus need revision and intentional modification. It may also reflect a maturation of outlook or changing perspective as one grows older and experience dictates.

Interesting that you would precede that quoted sentence with some qualms about the possibility of tulpas emerging. Let us know if that happens. 8^}

Seriously though, and in view of the Zen-ish video included in this post, although I can only speak from personal experience, I'd suggest that perhaps the message is to try and "get out of your head" to some greater degree, to not become entangled in intellect to such an extent that you are less in the moment of simply being and experiencing reality directly, and with less judgement or evaluation. Vivid dreams often connote some 'disturbance in the life force,' if I can paraphrase that Star Wars canard.

Dreams can be a form of mental release valve for the mind--the question is what and why is there a need for release, or why might the unconscious mind be seeking some kind of equilibrium to daily reality, if that's what's actually going on. The difficulty here is how one may interpret their dreams meaning or significance--it may be a form of personal evolution by which the mind recycles and transforms everyday experience and which, if found wanting, results in compensatory dreams that are more complex, colorful, and may seem more meaningful.

This, however, is where you need to be careful, as the only known or well-documented function of dreaming is related to how the brain stores and records memories of experience, both real and imagined (or a kind of sorting process where significant motivations or experiences are summarized, converted, and stored while less important or meaningful experience is both subsumed and/or discarded), so caution is advised, to avoid over-interpretation or excessive intellectualism--stay open, assume nothing, and permit emotional intelligence a role in deriving subsequent emerging meaning, if any, that might resonate on some level.

Since most dreams are so evanescent, and begin fragmenting upon waking, perhaps you might find some use in temporarily maintaining either an audio or written dream journal, to record the various elements of your dreams, particularly the recurrent ones, as best as you can recall when noting them down, for later review and exploration of thematic elements. That may seem counter-intuitive, as it would be an intellectual, word-based process, but considering the liminal nature of the source, you might find by more formally taking note of your dreams some realizations and ideas, as to their meaning and purpose, might emerge as a result. That could be both enlightening and healthy. Stay loose.

Oh, and maybe cut back on the coffee somewhat, if only to see if it modifies your current dream patterns. 8^)

Anonymous said...

I noticed your most recent comment on Twitter, about dreaming last night about hanging out with Jacques Vallee--do you recall the nature of any dialogue or interchange with the dreamed Vallee?

Mac said...

@moxie

Thanks! And I agree with you: there's a strange beauty in abandoned structures, which I joking call "entropy fetishism."

@Intense

Vivid dreams often connote some 'disturbance in the life force,' if I can paraphrase that Star Wars canard.

Precisely. On the same token, synchronicity seems to be a trigger signifying a catalytic psychical process. Your advice is well-taken.

@Anon.

Re. the Vallee dream: We didn't discuss anything of "cosmic" importance" that I can recall, although we did talk (fairly superficially) about UFOs. It was a rather brief and cryptic dream, and, unfortunately, difficult to remember in its entirety.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Damn! Now I feel like a by-product of this creaky body

Anonymous said...

Wise words, as usual, from Intense.

Many years ago I took part in a dream study with a number of people, some who said they didn't have any memory of their dreams at all. Part of the study required that each person keep a pad of paper and pen or pencil bedside and when you awoke you were to record, if only briefly, anything you could remember concerning the dream. This needed to be done the instant you woke, and yes, even before you stumbled to the bathroom. Surprise to some, everyone was dreaming.

Over the years I have found the dream state to be quite rich in imagery. The more I concentrated on remembering the dreams the more I started to recall.

It would be interesting to know if our dreams are an evolutionary aspect of our climb toward intelligence, a human adaptation, or simply a by product.

Michael

Anonymous said...

If you dreamt of Vallee did he tell you to read Passport To Magonia?
If you haven't read it then please do so.
As to your dreams of devastation, just hope there are no oneiric terminators prowling the wasteland of your dreams!

Mac said...

If you dreamt of Vallee did he tell you to read Passport To Magonia?

He didn't need to; I've read it. Great book.

As to your dreams of devastation, just hope there are no oneiric terminators prowling the wasteland of your dreams!

Well, I haven't seen one yet! I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

зеленый лазер
электрошокер
товары мини камеры
товары народного потребления

transcription services said...

There was some discussion as to my meaning when I named my blog Intangible Materiality but you described the cartography beautifully, a dream within a dream.

asif ifteakhar said...

very simply explained. It is indeed an art to read & stop new visitors with your attractive writing style. I am really impress from your posted information.

facebook cover
fb cover
facebook covers
facebook profile covers
timeline cover
create facbook cover
collage cover
create cover
facebook photocover
best facebook cover
love facebook covers
best timeline covers