Sunday, March 29, 2020

Do Not Let Your Mind Fall: On the Practice of Anamnesis

“The whole of world history often seems to be nothing more than a picture book which portrays humanity’s most powerful and senseless desire – the desire to forget.”
- Herman Hesse, Journey to the East
Active Dreaming, as I teach and live it,is a practice of soul remembering: reclaiming the knowledge that belonged to us on the level of mind and spirit before we came here, and our relationship with the collective odyssey of our kind and with all that is alive and conscious in our world. When I was a boy, one of my invisible friends was a wise teacher who appeared as a radiant young man who seemed to come from the eastern side of the Mediterranean. He told me that the most important things I would ever know would come by way of anamnesis, which literally means "remembering" but has the deeper meaning mentioned above. This is perhaps the most important teaching I have ever received and I seek to live by it. Anamnesis is a way of direct experience. Growing your dream recall is excellent everyday practice in the art of soul remembering. You wake up to the fact at all times you are present in many worlds. You realize that you are never confined to the body or to linear time except by your lack of courage or imagination. Learning to journey to the place between lives - to where you were, let us say, a little before conception and a little after death - is vital practice. It will give you first-hand confirmation that consciousness survives physical death, which may enable you to see the dramas of current life as part of a divine comedy. Recalling that you may have come to this world on an assignment is an essential part of anamnesis. I was once jolted awake at 3 in the morning by a knock on the door of my house. When I went to the door, I found a smiling young man, under bright moonlight, who introduced himself by saying, "I come from my father's house." He then shocked me by asking, "What is your contract with God?" I now came out of the dream, knowing that the visitation was entirely real, and hugely important. If I had a contract with God, how could I have forgotten it? Though the question was not couched in my usual language, it set me the task of revisiting choices I made before I became Robert in this life. This reopened direct links to personalities in other times. For the Pythagoreans, anamnesis specifically involved mental communication with other members of a reincarnational lineage of initiates. The Neoplatonist Proclus, who consulted with Plutarch in the middle of the night, saw that great moralist and biographer as a previous incarnation of his own essence. As I explored my own connections with my counterparts in other times and other dimensions I came to the conclusion that from the perspective of a Greater Self, it is all going on Now. We are not simply engaged in reincarnational dramas, but members of a multidimensional families whose actions affect each other across time. Anamnesis, in the history (past and future) of our kind, requires us to master the arts of what I have called dream archaeology. We have the ability, as shamanic dreamers,to enter the living experience of our kind in other times and other circumstances, to learn from this,and even to communicate, mind to mind, with people who are connected with us in those situations. We can do this within our own lives.We can journey to a younger self to act as the mentor and cheerleader she may desperately need in a tough transition. We can journey to a possible older and hopefully wiser self to gain perspective from what she or he has lived, beyond what we know.
For humans, anamnesis involves more than remembering all that it means to be human, part of the odyssey of our species on a blue planet orbiting a medium-size star, joined in a common ancestry that starts with an ancient Eve in Africa or someone before her. It means remembering that we live in a fragile ecosphere on the skin of Gaia with responsibility for all that shares life with us on her body. It means remembering that we are made of seawater and the dust of a distant star, and that our knowledge of our full identity and purpose may depend on remembering the experience of another world. The First Peoples of the area where I live - the Onkwehonwe, or Iroquois - say that our world began when Sky Woman fell from another world, called Earth-in-the-Sky. to dance our world into being on Turtle's back. They say that we fall into the Dark Times when we forget the life and the knowledge of that other world. In Mohawk, a language I had to study because of my dreams, when you tell someone to remember you say Tosa 'sasa' nikon'ren. This literally means, "Do not let your mind fall." In other words: Remember the higher world where your life and purpose have their source. I wrote a little poem about

The Art of Memory

Dreaming, waking or in between
in any part of the multiverse
in any body, in any life
you are invited to play
a memory game.

Whatever world you are in

the trick is to remember
the other worlds you inhabit
where you are dead and more alive

and the self that is dreaming you.

Picture: Ziggurat abode of the Moon god Nanna at Ur

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