I’ve been searching for a way to “wake up” as they say in philosophy since my mom turned me onto Zen Buddhism back in the seventies. What does that mean? Well life as we experience it can be lacking in real meaning. Most people accept the reality of life even though it’s illusion. Like those poor actors trapped in the Matrix films. I’ve read everything from Dan Millman’s “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” to the journeys of Castenada to “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and I’m still clueless.
In frustration I tried different approaches to spiritual enlightenment -then I heard about the strange phenomenon of lucid dreaming. This is the contradictory state of dreaming and knowing your dreaming. Which according to traditional scientific thinking is impossible. You can’t be conscious while your unconscious. Lucid dreaming simply demonstrates that there are many levels of consciousness. Ironically, I read about this concept from clinical scientist Stephen LaBerge who studies it in the laboratory but doesn’t equate it to anything metaphysical like the out of body experience. Hmm this has promise.
I dutifully practiced the techniques for triggering awareness while I was asleep. I looked at my hand several times a day and asked if I were awake or dreaming. The idea being when I’m sleeping and dream begins I will be able to identify this state of consciousness when I look at my hands. I would see my hands holding an object or see my hands buttoning my shirt and the dream guys would yell wake up stupid that’s your cue! to no avail.
The dream guys is the name I give to that part of the unconscious whose job is the creation of dreams. They are the dream police the group Cheap Trick sang about. They are the guys the comedian Jake Johannson did a whole routine about. They are the night crew of the mind.
When I finally managed to wake up in a dream I would spoil it by trying to take over direction of the dream (one of the purposes of the technique according to LaBerge) or after the excitement of realizing I was having a lucid dream I would ask “Ok now what? “ and that just pissed off the dream guys and I’d really wake up. How embarrassing.
The last time I found myself doing this in la la land I made the mistake of questioning reality itself and felt it slipping away from me in such a vivid way that I woke up in terror. Well, I won’t be doing that again, I decided. Thereafter I would allow my conscious self to be minimally aware of dreaming so as not to interfere and annoy the dream guys.
This exactly how I feel about the search for the meaning of life. I kinda, sorta feel it like seeing something out of the corner of my eye but try not to turn my head and look at it directly or it’s gone.