Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The other lives we live in dreams

Champlain Islands, Vermont

I did not want to get out of bed this morning, though the lake and sun and wind were calling, and my body was asking to go to the bathroom. Multiple awakenings, and striped light from the windows falling over my face, were no interruption to the adventures that kept me fully engaged in other landscapes while my body lay dormant. Rather, they helped me to remain fully conscious through hours of lucid dreaming that was - to my certain knowledge - more than the phrase conveys. I traveled in and out of parallel worlds, and stepped in and out of bodies in each of them.
      We live other lives, beyond the life of the present body, and sometimes our dreams are memories of continuous lives we are living else where. Last night I experimented with various ways of shifting in and out of separate lives in different realities. Quite interesting and successful was what I shall call the Button Loop Maneuver. I twisted my second body to go through a kind of loop, as you might lift and turn a button to insert it in a button loop. When I accomplished this maneuver, I came out in a splendid reality of mythic quality to enter the play of mythic creatures.

      In another episode, I saw a woman who is dear to me trying to open a door on the far side of a space like a sphere. The sphere had solid walls, but I could see through them with my dream sight. I realized that the interior of the sphere was a place where I could meet this woman - and perhaps other invited friends - outside time and space. I turned the handle of a door on my side, sending her the mental suggestion to turn the handle of her door the same way, so we could enter the sphere at the same moment. She could not see or hear me but the thought was received; we came together inside the sphere, which could be furnished according to our tastes and was larger inside than it seemed to be from outside.
    In another scene, I am with a woman who cares for injured raptors. There is a beautiful bald eagle in the room. He jumps up onto my shoulder, and I enjoy the plushy feel of his feathers against the skin of my cheek and neck. I will help to shelter and nurture him until he flies high again.
    In other episodes, I am deeply engaged in a life with a woman I loved and lost. We are living as we might have done had we made different choices, traveling together to many places. When I look at her in profile, I see she has aged with the years, as I have done, but is still beautiful. I leave this parallel life with some nostalgia and tristesse, but find that I do not regret the choices I have made.
    In yet another episode, I am living in a house I sold many years ago. Huge repairs and renovations are required and when I return from a trip, I find that several rooms on the ground level have been stripped to the base boards. I am not happy at all as I calculate the probable cost of the work that will now be required. I exit this scene very glad that I made the decision - in my current default reality - to sell that house, which had already proven to be a money pit during the period we lived in it.
     All these experiences are rich in symbolism, and could be looked at from many angles. But to reduce any of them to symbolic interpretation would be to miss the key element. Dreams can be symbolic or literal (glimpses of things that are happening or will happen in the physical world) and in both these modes, they can be tremendously helpful and guiding. They hold up a magic mirror to our everyday attitudes and actions, offering needed course correction and restoring witness perspective. They show us challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in our physical lives.
     Yet the most interesting dreams, for me, belong to a third mode. Dreams may be experiences of other realities. Dreaming, we travel the Many Worlds (of scientific hypothesis) and walk many roads. We find ourselves living in past times, future times and parallel times in versions of this world. We also travel in other worlds, including the realms where the dead are alive and at home, and where the inhabitants may be other than terrestrial. By gathering travel reports from these excursions, we grow a personal geography of the multiverse and we accumulate data on the reality of parallel worlds.
    We may rise to a very creative discovery: that we are leading many lives in many realities, right now, and that we can reach to our parallel selves and share gifts, lessons and skills. When we awaken to this, we can also stop losing ourselves in regrets over lives we might be living now had we made different choices and stayed with that former partner, or risked giving up that steady job, or moved to another country, or learned to play the flute or go hang-gliding. Want to know more? Dream on it. You'll find plenty of navigational guidance, and some alluring itineraries for dream travel, in Dreamgates, my book for frequent flyers.

Photo: North Hero sunrise (c) Robert Moss

Thursday, July 25, 2013

From frightened bunny to Kickass Solar Rabbit

Mosswood Hollow, Duvall, Washington

I have learned that any image that belongs to us can be used in the service of health and wholeness. Dreams are an amazing factory of fresh and spontaneous imagery that can be used to heal body, mind and spirit. I am not saying that all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness. We may suffer psychic intrusion or a disruptive psychic environment, and need to learn discernment, repair our boundaries and flush out inauthentic or malign influences that do not belong to us.
    When the images are own own, we may have do do a deal of work - and put in some real service - before something scary or depressingbecomes a source of power and healing. But when an image comes to us in an authentic and personal way, it is time to do that work.
    We may be required to journey back to the place of fear or blockage and confront a challenge on its own ground. This may require guts and resources beyond those ordinarily availabe; It becomes easier when we are working within the supportive energy of a circle of active dreaming, where the extraordnary becomes easy.

   A recent example, from one of the trainings I am currently leading at Mosswood Hollow. In one of the exercises, our participants traveled through the chakras, assisted by shamanic drumming, to connect with living symbols, often animal spirits, in each of the major energy centers.
   One of our dreamers was saddened and disappointed that what she found in her heart center was a little frightened pink bunny asking for help. It was suggested that she could go back inside her energy map, collect power from a place inside her energy body where it was available, and journey to the heart center to see how to help the scared bunny. She succeeded magnificently.
    The frightened bunny became what she chose to call a Kickass SolarRabbit, ready to help her take on certain emotional challenges in her life. She drew this new power animal, and the drawing in itself became a wonderful source of energy, confidence, and laughter.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dream explorers in the multiverse

Since Einstein, physics has become a science of uncertainty, improvisation and wonder. It reveals that behind the seemingly solid surface of things is an incredible dance of energy, or pure consciousness. It shows us that time and space, as we experience them on the way to the office or to pick up the kids from school, are not conditions for any other kind of life in the universe, merely human conveniences (although they often seem more like inconveniences).

Today, the agreed “laws” of physics tell us the following:
·         Time travel into the future is possible.
·         Time travel into the past may be possible. (Einstein, in his time and in my dreamtime, maintains that it is not a physical possibility for a human body – but allows, in the dream version, that it could be accomplished in other ways.)
·         There is no firm separation between subject and object in the universe. The observer and the “outside world” that he thinks he is observing are enmeshed together. Indeed, at subatomic levels, it is the act of observation that plucks events from a soup of possibilities.
·         Humans have an innate ability to communicate and influence people and objects across a distance.
·         The mind is non-local. Consciousness acts outside the brain and outside space time.
·         Any event that occurs in the universe is immediately available anywhere as information.
·         Our experience of reality, like our experience of linear time, is a mental construct. Change the construct, and we change our world.

The new physics shows us a universe that baffles common sense, a universe that operates along utterly different lines from one in which the commuter train leaves at 6:05 (if we’re lucky). Yet the findings of leading-edge physics have brought us scientific confirmation of the worldview of shamans, mystics and dreamers, who have always known that there is a place beyond surface reality where all things are connected, a place beyond time where all times are accessible, and that consciousness generates worlds.
    How do we bring all of this together with our lived experience, our human needs, and our hopes for world peace and a gentle upward evolution of our species?
     By becoming active dreamers, able to follow dream clues along the spiraling paths of the multiverse, and to step in and out of alternate realities at will.
      We have the material. 
Dreaming, we swim in the quantum soup of possibilities, where the act of looking brings things into being. Dreaming, we discover the existence of alternate realities and parallel worlds – including dimensions that escape human conceptions of form – and can actively explore them. Dreaming, we confirm that consciousness is never confined to the body, and that we can reach people and objects at a distance. Dreaming, we are time jumpers, able to visit (and possibly influence) both past and future. Dreaming, we can experience the six (or seven) “hidden” dimensions of physical reality, separated from our everyday sensory perception at the time of the Big Bang, that are posited by string theory.
     As active dreamers, we can achieve experiential understanding of the multidimensional universe that science is modeling.

     As researchers inside Multidimensional Reality, we can contribute in important ways to what will be – if we are lucky – the foremost contribution of the twenty-first century to science and evolution: the emergence of a true science of consciousness
    Active dreamers who keep full and detailed records of their experiences can contribute mightily to the emergence and understanding of new paradigms in science. Here are some of the things we can contribute:

·         Case studies of interactive dreaming that will provide mutually confirming evidence that consciousness is never confined to the brain.
·         Documented and witnessed reports of dream precognition, telepathy and other psi phenomena that will establish that these are entirely natural events, and that our everyday experience is not the only engagement with time and space that is possible.
·         Serial dreams in which we return to locales where we seem to be leading a continuous life as our present selves, but with some different elements in the scene. For example: we may be married to a different person, living in a different town, following a different line of work. Serial dreams of this type may provide strong experiential evidence for the “parallel universes” hypothesis.
·         Serial dreams in which we enter the situation or perspective of people living in other times or dimensions who are clearly not our familiar selves. These experiences may be suggestive of our connectedness, in our multidimensional identity, with a vast family of consciousness in many time periods and frequency domains.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Victorian Ghost Hunter Shows Me the Spiral Castle

"Go up on the mountain," said an inner voice I have come to know as I lay under the sheet, preparing to let my body sleep. "Meet me there."
    I knew that voice, and smiled because it echoed something my dream double had said recently to a friend in a green valley, far away. He told her that he could not spend time with her because he had to go up on a mountain to meet his elder brother, who had sent him a message that he wanted to share an important secret. I have no brothers in ordinary life. I suspect that my elder brother on the mountain, in my friend's dream, is a second self who lives just above my world, able to read patterns that escape me. I often think of him as my Double on the Balcony.
    So around 2:00 a.m. I relaxed, and enjoyed the sense of slipping free from the body, the noise of the fan, and the muggy heat of the town. I arrived at a castle on a rise that did not seem to be a mountain, but may have looked mountain-high to medieval travelers or besiegers. The castle was entirely constructed of red brick, in northern "Brick Gothic" style.
    I now had a companion. He did not look like my Double on the Balcony, and if there was a family resemblance I suspect it would be shared interests. He looked like one of the Victorian ghost-hunters who intrigue me and are quite often the theme of my studies and sometimes my dreams. He had a dark, full beard and wore a frock coat.
    He was eager to show me the design of the castle. It had been constructed and expanded in three phases. The core of the castle, its inner keep, combined the oldest and the newest part of the structure. The builders had worked out from this center, in an expanding spiral, and then returned to the center in the final phase, spiraling back in. From the air, the spiral pattern was clear.
    I had no idea, until now, that a castle could be both strong and so fluid. As my guide escorted me around the walls, he was almost skipping as he helped me to understand the spiral patterns. I clapped my hands with delight. He showed me there were friendly pubs and cafes in each of the three sections of the castle, and that I could take a break whenever I liked.
    I returned to my body from this excursion full of good cheer and confidence, quite sure that certain issues of structure and construction I've been facing in a current book project will be easily resolved, if I hold to that spiral design. I don't remember how my traveling self got to the castle. The red bricks remind me of castles I have visited in the Baltic, especially Trakai and Kaunas in Lithuania, and there will be more about my adventures in Lithuania in my new book.
     The Victorian-style gentleman reminds me of 
W.T. (William Thomas) Stead, the newspaper editor, radical reformer and eager psychic researcher. Along with F.W.H. Myers, Stead is a great favorite of mine among the Victorian ghost-hunters; he was well acquainted with Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry James and William James.
    I was reading a collection of essays by Stead just before going to bed last night, so I may have invited his attentions - or encouraged one of my own doubles to do some Victorian dress-up. Stead was fascinated by "ghosts of the living": by the possibility that, wittingly or unwittingly, all of us are capable of projecting astral doubles or rather tangible "thought forms" that can interact with others. 

    He came to think that we may be leading continuous lives outside our present physical bodies, and that dreams can be memories of those other lives. In his essay "The Ghost That Dwells in Us", Stead reports the case of a man who claimed that whenever he closed his eyes he woke up in another body in a life that was completely different from his ordinary reality. He enjoyed both lives, but preferred the one he was living while his body was asleep.
     Stead speculated that "it is not impossible to conceive the possibility of a continuous series of connected dreams, which would result in giving us a realizing sense of leading two existences." I think this is exactly right. If we fail to notice this, it is because of our imperfect memories. In our dream situations, we forget what we are in the world of the sleeping body. When we return to the body, we forget most of what we experiences when we were out of it, or living in other bodies in other realities. But when we acquire a "realizing sense" (in Stead's quaint and attractive phrase) of what may be going on here, we may start to remember more of what it means to be alive in the multiverse.
    By the way, Stead gets around. He was renowned for his personal psychic gifts when he was alive. He communicated with an assistant by pure telepathy, beaming thoughts to her and then letting his hand record her responses - which were usually quite specific and accurate - through semi-automatic writing. Before he went down on the Titanic, he had promised to report on conditions on the Other Side after death. He kept his promise. He returned (via a medium) to give one of the best and (to my mind) most reliable accounts of what happens after death in a marvelous little book published as The Blue Island.

For more on Stead and the Victorian psychic researchers, please see The Dreamer's Book of the Dead.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

In the treasure cave

I am writing about certain passages in my life - in which I learned essential things about the nature of the multiverse and how to operate within it - in a narrative style that I hope will grip the reader of my next book while being true to my experiences. This involves reading, transcribing and harvesting from my journals over many decades. There are fantastic dramas here, mythic trouble (and delight) and tremendous trans-temporal adventures in which sometimes I enter the situation of my counterparts in other times, and sometimes they join me in mine. We bring each other gifts and challenges, allies and adversaries from other times and other worlds.
     I feel sympathy and compassion as I monitor how younger Roberts tried to make sense of all this while lacking any really helpful mentor in this reality, and how they struggled to keep body and soul together on the roads of this world. I wonder, as I consider how “past” and “future” aspects of myself looked in on each other and sent each other mental texts, whether my present acts of observation are changing things in, say, 1987-1988.
     That thought quickens my interest in these journals that are not really old; they confirm the idea that the only time is always Now and that all our pasts and futures and probable reality are accessible in the moment of Now, and can be re-visioned and revised for the better.
     I am in a treasure cave. But as in the Indiana Jones type of adventure where the floor gives way and the roof starts to fall when you touch a precious object, there are rather strict limits to how long I can safely remain in the cave, and how much I can bring out, on each visit. So I move softly and slowly, tiptoeing around the floor in a kind of hopscotch rather than plodding up and down, taking a little from the chest over there, then something from the one on the other side. A hawk feather, a cylinder of light, a Celtic cloak pin, a flying carpet.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lion around

The rhythm of many drums and vibrating instruments being played by members of my workshop is deep and thrilling. It is carrying everyone smoothly and easily into rich group experience in deeper levels of consciousness and reality. As I move from room to room where many people are stretched out for shamanic journeying, I realize I can seize the opportunity to stretch out myself.
    I hand my
drum to a friend, signaling that she should carry on. I enjoy the feel of the lion skin I am wearing. I look out through the eyes of the lion head into pleasant gardens. I call to my friend that she should take my picture. The flash goes off like an old-camera.

I rose happy from this lion dream during a nap on this steamy July 4th afternoon.

I shared the dream with my friend. She told me she was napping around the same time and sent me this report of her own experiences:

In my dreams I was talking with you. Nearby hung two of my bear costumes, one brown and one white. I am telling you that I was not wearing either one of them. I explain that I was just dressed as I am in regular street clothes. I am showing you a photograph of a lion and happily explaining to you that I put my arms around him and leaned my head against him so that I could hear his heartbeat. I told you, "I heard the rhythm of the lion's heartbeat."

Dreaming is social as well as individual. I love this simple example of interactive dreaming, with the lion.

P.S. I suppose this dream could also be placed in the Dream Wardrobe Department, which I wrote about recently here

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A novelist finds his island by getting lost

In order to find what we are really seeking, we may first have to get lost. As I wrote in The Three “Only" Things, this is the cardinal navigational law of serendipity: You can only get to the magic kingdom by getting lost. You get there when you think you are going somewhere else and fall off the maps. Here’s a current literary example.

David Mitchell relates that around Christmas in 1994, in Nagasaki, he got off at a wrong tram stop and stumbled upon “a greenish moat and cluster of warehouses from an earlier century.” This was his first encounter with Dejima, a trading factory of the Dutch East India Company built on a man-made island in Nagasaki harbor. For two and a half centuries, when Japan was closed to the outside world, this was the sole point of contact between Japan and the west.
    Twelve years and much research after alighting at the wrong tram stop, Mitchell published his extraordinary historical novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, in which most of the action unfolds on or near to Dejima at the end of the 18th century. The novel  richly deserves its tremendous critical and commercial success. Mitchell succeeds in transporting us into the mental and physical worlds of two very different peoples in a very different time. He is a master of what he amusingly calls “Bygonese”, conveying how people thought and talked in an earlier time in a way that never seems labored or antiquarian. 
    Mitchell's vividly realized characters will linger in the reader's memory.Some of their statements stir and sear the soul, as when Orito, the selfless Japanese midwife, says near the end of the story:

When pain is vivid, when decisions are keen-edged, we believe that we are the surgeons. But time passes, and one sees the whole more clearly, and now I perceive us as surgical instruments used by the world.

Dejima, the invented island, is indelible among Mitchell's huge cast.  And the author found it by getting lost.

Dutch plan of Dejima c1825

Dream Wardrobe Department: Putting On the Bearskin

Last night, I visited a friend in England. We agreed to take a spin around the countryside, and I decided to change. I put on the uniform of a Guards officer, complete with the red coat and the high bearskin hat. I was pleased by how well this outfit suited me. In the bearskin, I looked incredibly tall and strong.
    I woke from this dream feeling refreshed and re-energized. I had been suffering from travel fatigue and the oppressive humidity in my home neighborhood. I was struck by how, in the dream (more than during my recent visit to the U.K.) I seemed to be claiming something of my ancestral identity. I smiled at the memory of a Guards costume, complete with fake bearskin and wooden sword, that I wore to a dress-up party when I was about eight years old in Australia.
   I was especially struck by the importance of the bearskin hat. They were originally designed for grenadier regiments in Europe with the design of making the soldiers look impressively tall and strong, to cheer allies and deter adversaries. 

    I am grateful for the energy boost that came from a change of clothes in last night's dream, in which - I remember - I was also practicing Gaelic phrases, and was delighted to find that when I got some of them right, they opened portals into mythic landscapes that the boy adventurer in me loves.
    And I am thinking of how ingenious the beings who run my Dream Wardrobe Department have been over the years. Perhaps the most important of all my dreams of changing clothes is the one I recorded juts after my birthday in 1988, when I was in the midst of a crisis of shamanic initiation that led me to transform my life. 

    In that dream. quarter of a century ago, I found myself in the rooms of a tailor in Manhattan. I asked to see the fabrics he had available. I wanted to have a new suit made, but did not like the fabrics he had in stock. When I left the tailor's shop, the city was different. There was the sense that hidden things were pulsing behind the scenes. Still bent on new clothes, I entered the menswear section of an upscale department store. I pulled a suit off the rack. It fitted perfectly and the price was right. It seemed to have pinstripes. When I looked at the label, it read “Shamanic”. 

    I examined the pattern more closely. The “pinstripes” were actually minute designs, a magical language I could not yet translate.  The collar was unusual. I realized it was animal fur. My first impression, of a pinstriped "power" suit, was an illusion. I had chosen a power suit of a different kind: a shaman’s outfit, of skins and furs with magical charms. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Test Vote Dummies and Beth Airlines: Monitoring a Strange Election Campaign

I am in the audience, waiting for a female presidential candidate to arrive for a speech in an American town, somewhere in the middle of the continent. The whole thing is being televised, including a song-and-dance act onstage that is a commercial for Beth Airlines. The performers are dressed in old-fashioned Western style – check shirts, bandannas, boots – as if for “Oklahoma”. The song is outrageously commercial, with the date of a sales event. I think, as I observe this, that it really may be true that corporations run American politics and that an election is a choice between corporate advertising strategies.
    I observe two test voters. These are dummies with featureless facers that can be molded like clay. They are called “pannequins”, evidently a play on “mannequins”. Behind the apple pie-sweetness the stage show is meant to project, there is clearly a very cynical, controlling agenda. This is confirmed when I sit with some of the party strategists. I am appalled by the racist views of one of the men; he speaks of almost every ethnic group with foul-mouthed contempt. I call him to order, telling him he is talking like “a racist redneck Jew”. This doesn’t faze him.
    My role here is entirely that of an observer – though I lose my objectivity when disgusted by the commercialism and the racism at play in this scene. I feel, inside the dream, as if I have been landed here not only from another time (there’s a 1950s feel to the scene) but from another world.

I woke from this dream at 3:33 a.m.

Feelings: Neutral, curious.

Reality: I have never heard of “Beth Airlines”. I know a few women named Beth, but none of them is likely to run for high office. Maybe the name of the airline is a clue to the identity of the woman running for president in the dream. I heard her name in the dream but it is gone now; I don’t think the candidate is Hilary Clinton.
    I'm not sure of the location. Oklahoma is possible. I was there once, decades ago.
    There is a period feel to everything here, as if we are in the 1950s. But I suppose things could be staged – or simply unfold – in this style anywhere in the United States between the right coast and the left coast. The creepy “pannequins” (dummy voters) are creepy, especially if they reflect emerging technologies of control.
     In regular life, I am unlikely to be monitoring an election campaign, though this would certainly have been possible during my “past life” as a journalist. Have I stepped into another alternate reality?

Was it another of my parallel selves who was monitoring that strange election campaign? Many campaigns try to treat voters as dummies, but are those "test vote dummies" also a creepy technological possibility? Who is behind Beth Airlines? Why am I in this dream on the first full night home after nearly two weeks in the U.K.? Is it some kind of homecoming?