Waking As Dreaming

In the process of living, I often incubate a dream to get information. So, in keeping with the current Dream Network theme, I turned to dream incubation to give me additional understanding about the experience of living one's life as if it were a dream.

My incubated dreams are often quite understandable so I was expecting to get some quick and easy to understand information. Instead, I got a middle-of-the-night dream about a family that had been getting light over a period of years. The meaning of light as well as other dream elements, however, all lacked clarity. The dream itself seemed to be more like the waking process of ‘brainstorming’ often used to generate ideas.

After jotting down the dream, I had to use the bathroom. Without turning on any lights, I walked into the bathroom and saw a star through the window, beautifully framed by an opening in the surrounding tree branches. I realized that the light of the star could in some way be a continuation of the focus on light in my dream. As I turned from the window, my attention was caught by a lighted wall switch. The thought occurred to me that seeing lights could be the beginning of a waking nightmare experience if I allowed it to be. That realization triggered more thoughts of lights before I was able to bring the train of thought to a close.

I began walking back to the bedroom without switching on any lights that might disturb the sleep cycle. Even so, my eye caught the lighted switch in the hallway. Then, upon entering the bedroom, the lighted switch on the electric heater caught my attention. The realization came that if I didn’t jot down the unusual waking experience of noticing/seeing these lights, the recall might drift away in dream like fashion. So, I groped for my flashlight, and realized that I was faced with still another light.

Possibly the awareness of the parade of lights in my nighttime waking moments had been initiated by the dream theme of collecting light. The experience was not particularly pleasant. To eliminate the unpleasantness, I considered the more comforting thought that when we see “the light,” we’ve gotten the answer. Conflicting with that idea was a bunch of nighttime scribbles in my dream journal that contained no simple answer about waking as a dream. As the disappointment became clear, I heard a still small voice say, “Wonderful.” At hearing the voice, my resulting excitement blocked out whatever was supposed to be so wonderful.

So, I turned off my flashlight to go back to sleep. As I did so, I saw the glow from the digital display of my clock that I had carefully covered so I wouldn't see the light. Agh, more light. I figured that there must be a message here somehow about seeing the light. Next, I realized that I’d forgotten to put in my mouthpiece to avoid nighttime teeth grinding. So, I got up again and had difficulty finding it because the night-time glow built into its container had gone out.

The experience with light was becoming more complicated and difficult to understand. With relief, an idea came to mind from Ralph Blum’s The Book of Runes. He writes of the desire to immerse oneself in the experience of living “without having to evaluate or understand.” With that in mind, I could go back to sleep.

The next day, an old choir friend gave me a call. During the course of our conversation, I told her about my recent dream along with my intention to learn more about experiencing waking life as if it were a dream. She didn't seem to resonate with the topic. Instead, she said, “Well Arthur, you know the first thing God said was ‘Let there be light.’” She then proceeded to sing a song as a prayer for me that finished with “May God’s light shine on your face.” She brought our conversation to a close by repeating the last line of the song.

Later, as I sat back and contemplated the call, I realized that not only was the focus on light continuing in my life, but also that I’d been given a heart-felt gift. That gift of a blessing was related to immersing myself in and being conscious of my waking and dreaming experiences. My dream incubation process that had been designed to more fully understand waking as if one is in a dream certainly yielded unexpected results. The results were reminders of a number of factors including: the powerful effect of intention on our dreams and waking; the back-and-forth flow of information and emotions between dreams and waking; how the mystery of light is alive and well; the question about which comes first, the dream or the waking and finally, the un-predictability of life, the energy drain that can occur when trying to understand things, and the fact that there just aren’t any simple answers. Possibly most important, however, was the reminder that by immersing ourselves in life—and ‘The Light,’ we can experience satisfaction and a fullness that no amount of understanding can bring. ℘