According to the 3rd century Chinese philosopher Chuang-Tzu, who one night: “I Dreamed I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, content with my lot. Suddenly I awoke and I was Chuang-Tzu again. Who am I in reality? A butterfly dreaming that I am Chuang-Tzu, or Chuang-Tzu imagining he was a butterfly?”
As we move into a most significant time in history, there is an invitation to be of service as an agent of change in the world. The paradox is that change requires doing nothing. There is no need to change anything in your life. Change requires a simple stopping; a change in perception, a change in how we see the world. Are you the dream or are you the dreamer? We perceive the world through a lens formed from our prior experience, our world view, a bundle of beliefs formed over a lifetime that become a filter and distort how we “dream reality. “True power requires waking up to a “lucid perception of reality, the singular vision of the Shaman—Healer—Sage.”
Living the Lucid Dream is the path of power. Native cultures practice rituals and rites of passage, non-psychological processes that close the door to the distortions of ego-bound ways and open the door to Conscious Living and Lucid life; a new accountability. “Lucid Living” requires closing the door to one way of perception and opening a door to another. The deepest level of consciousness is common to all men and women of whatever race, creed or cultural background. The concept of the collective unconscious for me is a living reality.
It is a choice as to how and where we focus our attention. Collectively, we appear to have reached a consensus agreement prior to this physical existence, to encapsulate ourselves in a singular, yet collective vision; a story of a stable physical universe in which effect follows cause with unyielding persistence. We appear hopelessly imprisoned within a habitual energy field which is supported by our whole society and beliefs. Our expectancies are rewarded by substances. And the very habitual mold into which we fit our view of the universe appears to prevent us from seeing it any other way. We can allow ourselves to see the energy fields, the underlying structure, the organizing intelligence of reality or we can see the illusion that is the result of these energy fields; material form.
We are boundless energy, but have become strangely encapsulated in a virtual image of reality with boundaries that we have created. We are imprisoned within our own description of reality. Our own personal judgments hold the system immutable and in place. Through the commitment to ongoing dream work and the investigation of the unconscious processes there is a way to free ourselves from these self-imposed bonds, this consensus hypnotic trance.
It seems as if the collective unconscious, which appears in dreams, has no consciousness or awareness of its own contents. The collective unconscious, moreover, seems not to be a person, but something like an unceasing stream or perhaps an ocean of images and figures which drift into consciousness through the vehicle of our dreams or through dreamlike altered states. It is as if all events, all beings, all of time is contained within us. It is as if there is no one out here, it is as if all potentiality is “in there!”
If it were permissible to personify the unconscious, we might call it a collective human being combining the characteristics of both sexes. Transcending youth and age, birth and death, and from having at its command a human experience of one or two million years, almost immortal.
If such a being existed, it would be exalted above all temporal change. The present would mean neither more nor less to it than any year in the century before Christ; it would be a dreamer of age-old dreams, and, owing to his immeasurable experience, an incomparable prognosticator. It would have lived countless times over the life of the individual, of the family, tribe and people. And it would possess the living sense of the rhythm of growth, flowering and decay. It would know all ages, all cycles of all life as the collective of all unconscious.
Complexes are personal psychological structures, survival strategies, filters, put in place by the ego, composed of archetypes, that evolve out of our life long experiences. These complexes are energetic bundles formed by the ego from what people and situations represent to us, these are distortions of both reality and of archetypal figures.
When enough rejections come in a particular framework or with regard to a particular person, the memories of those hurts and failures become associated in a common bundle of experience; known as a complex or self-definiton. When a child has repeated experiences of pain or fear in regard to a certain situation, person or place, the energy of those negative experiences becomes associated around that situation, person or place, to form a kind of bundle of negative energy, a complex or “hangup.” If a child had repeated idyllic experience with a parent, which became idealized – a positive or god-like mother or father complex is formed. In later years it may become difficult for them to accept normal human beings in their life; “How can I hang out with a mere being?”
The psychologist Carl Jung said that the goal of individuation is to bring the ego to surrender to the self, that is, to find its true strength in relationship to that higher and greater source of being. Jung proposed that the culmination of the individuation process leads to the (lucid) dream state in which man’s conscious and unconscious minds are made finally one.
The fullest sense of self-realization takes place when the conscious part of us, the ego, learns to observe a complex, rather than identify with the complex; it then identifies with a higher aspect of self, steps aside and is informed by the unconscious and grows by receiving from consciousness the inner truth, the voice of the true-self that lies hidden in the unconscious. Jung felt, as do I, that this process is the ultimate realization of human destiny.
When we flee from something, we give it our mental energy in addition to its own. If, however we turn and face our enemy, the shadowy parts of ourselves that we have disowned, the enemy usually turns into a friend. We are most afraid of, judge, and react to what we have not yet integrated within ourselves, according to Jung, when the ego intentionally accepts aspects of the shadow, it moves toward wholeness and healthy psychological functioning.
One of Jung’s interpretative techniques was to invite his patients to enlarge on the events of their dreams, to take them further, to invent conclusions to them. This, he believed could lead to a revelation of their meanings. Jung felt that dreams not only indicated, but also, to some extent, corrected the state of balance between an individual’s conscious and unconscious attitudes.
Jung found the unconscious to be open to unlimited depths, to the individual unconscious and to the collective unconscious. Dreams come, or seem to come, from the depths of our psyche, we receive them without inviting them. Dreams proclaim the “hidden parts of ourselves.”
In each of us there is another whom we do not know. He speaks to us in dreams and tells us how differently he sees us from the way we see ourselves. Dreams may come from an unknown realm of wisdom, either divine or from the human unconscious. Dreams for the most part, come unbidden, with a mind of their own. They possess a wisdom and knowledge that often amazes us. There is a power in dreams, something that possesses a wisdom and purpose beyond the conscious mind. Dreams help us understand the symbolic nature of outer situations.
The intention of this process is a state of “complete individuation”, uniting the opposing conscious and unconscious poles of personality, bringing all that the unconscious will give into the business of conscious living; individuation.
What the conscious part of us, the ego, remembers, receives and acts upon, by integrating it into conscious life, becomes the map – the pattern for our journey to wholeness. Only what is apprehended, received, and integrated by the consciousness benefits ego growth, what is forgotten, denied, or unused is lost. When dream symbols are accepted and assimilated into consciousness, they transform the ego aiding in its self-understanding. A new energy is added. A new or enlarged attitude or experience of self is evident.
Jung said, “Man’s task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious. Neither should he persist in this unconscious, nor remain identical with the unconscious elements of his being, thus evading his destiny, which is to create more and more consciousness. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness.”