He receives challenges from dragons, help from angels, and battles with aliens. He ticks off high strangeness experiences like foods on a grocery list. These are all real experiences, he says, and yet he prefaces his life adventures by telling me that dreams are very important to him.
She, on the other hand, will tell you of her encounters with aliens going bump in the night without any preface. These things happened. But when pressed as to whether these were dreams she says, “Dreaming… awake… it’s all the same thing. These things are real, you know that.”
Does discernment matter in this life of illusion? There are so many answers to that and all of them are, yes. Let’s shed some light on the typical reasons that normally go unspoken.
It Matters To You
It matters to you, the dreamer. If it didn’t matter to you, you wouldn’t hide it in clever preambles or outright omission. It matters to you because you know you’re lying to yourself to cover whatever it is you don’t want to look at. Perhaps it’s as simple as boredom with your life. Perhaps it runs deeper to feelings of inadequacy or even as a coverup of trauma. Whatever the reason, it matters to you, psychologically, in that your sense of identity is wrapped up in a fantasy.
It’s A Misunderstanding of Other Cultures
Most, if not all, non-Westernized peoples place an emphasis on dreamtime. Dreaming has been important to them from the beginning. You could say, to put it in Western terms, that indigenous societies have built up schools of science around dreamtime involving real observations and real abilities to move through dreamscapes and commune with other intelligences. They’ve developed real discernment as to different types of dreaming and various functions of the dreamer.
When we don’t have to talk to ourselves in dreams, we may talk to others through them. Non-Westerners don’t repress their nature in the ways Westerners do and so their dreamtime isn’t consumed with shedding light on those personal issues. Hawaiians, for example, didn’t have a word for “depression” until contact with the West. Surely, that alone gave them a great head-start in forgoing personal dreams for transpersonal.
When Westerners hear people from these cultures talk about dreamtime with their untrained ears, what they hear is, “All dreams are real.” They ignore the fact that they practice discernment, which took years of apprenticeship with their elders to understand, because Westerners want so desperately to be them or to “have” their “power.” Western culture is a consumer culture and that includes consuming other cultures. But a hand turkey is a hand turkey and a Picasso is a Picasso. Just saying, “I’m an artist, too,” because you listened to one speak doesn’t make your hand turkey a Picasso.
Misinterpreting Life As Illusion
Life is an illusion, but the illusion is real. Perhaps a clearer way to put that old trope is, The real is actually the imaginings of Spirit being. Wait, no. That’s clunkier. Nevertheless, it’s the truth. The word “illusion” is used here to indicate that all of everything, everything, everything is consciousness manifesting. This is a discovery that has as much practical application as the discovery that on the subatomic level, all things are one energy. Great to know, but you’re still going to stub your toe on that chair. Both of these discoveries point to our oneness and the nature of substance, but they don’t negate separation and substance. It’s all Spirit. Therefore, Spirit is you. It’s all as important as that.
The Transpersonal Doesn’t Exist Without The Personal
The atom is an alive system unto itself that is transcended and included within the molecule, which is also a whole system unto itself. The molecule is transcended and included within the cell, which is also a whole system unto itself. However, take away the atom and the molecule no longer exists. Neither does the cell. These living systems within systems fall apart because they are interdependent.
Likewise, we have the personal, which is transcended and included within the transpersonal. (At least until such a moment as the transpersonal becomes the person.) To deny that the likeliest thing dreams are is you talking to yourself is to deny how reality works. And if we stumble on that first step, we will never be able to discern messages by ourselves from messages by others, or lucid dreaming within our own mindscape from transporting to someone else’s, and so on. If we treat every dream as if they hold the same weight and conform to the same dimensionality, we will never translate them clearly when we wake.
Discernment matters because learning to communicate in dreamtime matters. Understanding when we’re talking to ourselves and when we’re talking to another matters. And where that other resides matters, too. These are not the only points that matter, and there are other states of consciousness besides asleep/awake, but this is a start.
And there’s no better starting point with waking up than being honest about how we sleep.