The Physics of Dreams
An ongoing conversation between two advanced dreamers.
Join me in this ongoing exchange with Elizabeth about dreaming. What do dreams mean? Are they just mind stuff or do we journey to different places? Are there useful techniques for advanced dreamers?
I’ll be updating this conversation over time, so check back or sign up to my email list for updates.
I have different types of dreams. Some nights I’m simply observing a scene play out, like a movie. I am neither a lead actor nor a background talent. In others, I am a character. Sometimes I’m more than one character. Sometimes I’m me, but in whatever reality came through that night.
One of the gifts of advanced dreaming is the ability to experience different states of I-ness, or identity involvement. We are playing and practicing with our experience and understanding of self, what it means to identify with a self, what level of identification you invest into a self, and how incredibly fluid that really is.
In a dream, you can observe a scene, without directly identifying with the characters, or with what is happening. Your perspective is purely that of witnessing.
Watch the momentum in dreams. Where does it start, what is the point of generation? To what is it flowing? In observational dreams, there is no sense of personal momentum.
In waking life — a term I’ll use many times, but we’ll also investigate later if that’s even an accurate description — we often generate momentum, even when we are watching something. We generate opinions, we move away or toward something, our minds attach to a linear process and want to know what happens next, or how it ends. We can notice the constant momentum in waking life, even when we’re not technically involved.
In purely observational dreams, we have no momentum. It’s an interesting experience, even though we’re often not aware of it in the moment.
Next time you have such a dream, if possible, start to notice the mechanics of the dream, the physics. Notice how you emerge into the scene without knowing all the backstory, the linear story, and how that’s okay. Notice how the Mind does not require linear time details. Even without these details, there is no confusion. Adding these details would bring no further clarity.
This is the working of the Mind, capital M. Pretty neat, and different than the computing mind of the Synthetic Self.
PLAYING MULTIPLE ROLES
Advanced Dreamers can play multiple characters in the same dream, even non human characters such as other types of beings, animals, trees — all in the same dream scene. We don’t normally decide to do this, make a choice or set an intention to do this. It just happens that way.
In waking life, it’s hard enough just to play our single part, let alone multiple players! I wonder if it’s hard because it actually takes effort to limit ourselves, narrow ourselves down to a single part, take that part really seriously, imbue it with a kind of this is it reality.
In our dreams, when we play multiple roles, it isn’t exhausting, the effort or energy to play added roles isn’t multiplied.
When the mind is fixed onto something, it creates a kind of friction, which increases when you add more things for it to fix onto. In these advanced dream states, there is flow, not fixation. There is an open hand, not a pointed finger. There isn’t a contraction, and when there is no contraction, or fixation, look at what is possible, and how it happens naturally and without any strain at all.
In dreams, you practice this tremendous, powerful skill: the ability to move and flow through recognizable scenarios without contraction. It’s a skill, and in a way I’d say it’s similar to a kinesthetic skill. Like learning (or relearning, really) to breathe properly, deeply. You learn how it feels and you practice that feeling, rather than mentally reminding yourself about your body parts and your diaphragm, etc.
The part about doing it in recognizable scenarios is important, too. Because of course, you can sit in some kind of transcendent meditative state and release all contraction, but then what? You are an enlightened doorstop. The ability to practice the uncontracted state as things are happening, the plot is being advanced, a storyline is progressing…now that’s something.
When we wake from dreaming, or sometimes wake within dreaming, we often ask ourselves, what does this mean? That’s an important and valid question, but I would add another, equally important one: what am I practicing?
What kind of dream physics are you practicing? Everything we practice in our dreams has applications in every level, including the dream layer we call waking life.
I love that question, “what am I practicing?” It allows for a more thorough reflection when paired with, “what does it mean?” In a recent dream, I moved from first person participant to an engaged observer role akin to a movie director. The momentum was established: I knew each character’s motivations and the actions they would take next. While dreaming, I consciously understood the source of the content and why I chose to slip into a different point of view (things were getting too dramatic for my liking). I didn’t have to try to shift my level of involvement; I chose, and it was done.
When I find myself in a multi-player dream, it is simply an interesting thing to note: I am me and I am also that boy in the blue shirt. It’s not in a “we are all one” type of way…it just is. The dream carries on with a bit more dimension to it than other dreams, but I don’t get lost in the fascination of it. I am certainly not this friction-free in waking life!
I’ll often have lucid dreams; sometimes I change things, sometimes I just take mental notes. I’ve had the same dream back-to-back in the same night and played things out slightly differently in take two.
Friction. I like this term, it really does describe something critical about this experience or mode we call “waking life.”
I touched on this in the Hooks & Cords course, in a topical discussion called Distorting Reality. It’s this friction, Elizabeth, that we can learn to release in the Waking World Mode, we can teach ourselves to do this and it has incredible results.
In Dream World Mode, as you pointed out, you experience a fluidity, you call this friction-free. Investigate this. What is the mind not doing in Dream Mode that allows this friction-free movement through that space?
The Mind in Dream Mode notices things, but it doesn’t catch, if that makes sense. That activity of the mind catching and stuttering on details, rather than noting them and moving freely — what is that? Can you notice it in Waking Life Mode? First notice when it’s happening, and then release it.
The trick is to integrate. That’s such a boring word because we hear it all the time and it’s just blah blah blah. But this is pure alchemy. It’s damned exciting. Bring elements of the Waking Mind into the Dream World and elements of the Dream Mind into the Waking World.
Space for miracles
When I move from the Dream World to the Waking World, it’s really just like moving from one dream to another. Consciousness is a 24/7 gig!
I wake. This requires I go through a kind of dark, nothing state between. This happens when I move between dreams and also when I wake into the Waking World. It’s the same.
This dark nothing space is wonderful, so relaxing. Nothing.
Then I’m moved into a Something space, but there are no details at all yet. It’s blank, but not the same as the Nothing space.
Here, the system has to load, to boot up the details of whatever world I’m now going to move through. I don’t know anything yet, but I can feel things spinning up and then…the first details come through, ie: I have some kind of body, the awareness that I’m coming into the Waking World, I’m in a bed, and then…my name, and so on.
In this initial spin up, in the Waking World, a set of rules is loaded, plus some kind of weird mind grid. The rules…goodness, so many rules. Way more than in any of the Dream Worlds I’ve played through. These rules define all the things you can’t do, and for the things you can do, the limited ways in which you can make them happen.
The Nothing space is always here, in the Waking and Dream World. It’s interlaced throughout, penetrating all worlds. I have a Dark Twin, or…a Shining Twin — I view it both ways — an indescribable Self that inhabits the Nothing space. Which is a bedeviling paradox, since there is nothing in the Nothing space.
She (it?) moves through all spaces with perfect fluency. She sees and participates (through me) in all spaces, but she is not subject to the rules of any of them. She’s free.
In the times I am able to disregard or override the mind grid of the Waking World and reintegrate with my Dark Twin, well…things happen, the rules bend.
The more I do this, the more space opens up for what we call miracles, and what I often refer to as The Anomalous. The fluidity of the Dream Worlds seeps into this Waking World, and it seems the rules are not absolute after all.
Revisiting Dream Worlds
There are many ways in which we can re-enter a Dream World. Sometimes it is sequential: you replay the same dream back to back, altering the trajectory at some point to play a different outcome. I’ve done this for many years, and it inspired me to include it in one of the Mastery course lessons — though not as a dream practice, but as a practice to alter your past.
Remember, what are you practicing? The things we do, the skills we use and take for granted in Dream Worlds aren’t limited to those spaces. You can think of them as practicing skills and perspectives in environments with less density and friction, so that we can eventually move them into our Waking World. It may be more challenging here, but believe me, these skills are transferable.
I also have Dream Worlds that I go back to, year after year. I have entire lives in these worlds, that I’ve returned to for decades. I don’t do this intentionally, I don’t set my dream compass to any of these destinations, but I am called back to them again and again. It’s a very strange feeling, when I wake into this world after spending what might seem like years in the other one.
I have family and friends, community and…well, a life. In each of these worlds I return to, I have a full life. And I’m also someone else. I’m not Amara, in another life. I’m someone else.
So how serious is it, being a Self? I have so many of them, not sequentially, but consecutively. I’m deeply engaged through each of them, I celebrate each of them. But one is no more “me” than the other. I play through the selves, and I love them, but I’m not the selves. This isn’t an intellectual position, but rather the way I’ve come to experience myself through having these fully developed dream lives, running concurrently.
It’s strange, when I wake from one of these dreams, I miss my other life. As it’s receding and this matrix is spinning up, in those moments when I’m in between, there’s this bittersweet farewell as I leave it behind…until I return again.
But since I never return again on purpose, I never know when that will be, or even if it will be. I never know if this was the last time.
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