I know what it feels like to shapeshift into an animal. I know what it feels like to be pierced with a spear, pinned to a stone wall, and left to bleed to death. I know what it feels like to shoot lasers out of my hands. I know how it feels to fly an F-16. And I know what it feels like to kiss Ben Affleck very passionately. Yet, I never actually experienced any of these things. Or did I?
All of the above are experiences that have happened to me while dreaming. You might automatically sort those experiences into the “unreal” category or the “never happened” category, but I might argue differently. I was there. And the feelings I had while experiencing those events felt very real to me. You only need to be pierced by a spear in the gut one time to never want to experience it again. The pain I felt in that dream was the worst pain I’ve ever felt while awake or dreaming, including childbirth.
Have you ever flown or fallen from a great height in a dream? I certainly have and I know what it feels like. I’ve never gone sky diving in real life or sprouted wings and taken flight, yet I feel certain that I know what it would feel like because I’ve done it in my dreams.
What about emotions? Have you ever felt an intense emotion in a dream that stayed with you for hours after you woke up? I have. I’ve felt murderous rage, unrelenting sadness, and giddy excitement. The emotions were real even though technically the experiences that caused them were not.
Can you categorize experiences you have in dreams as real or are they always unreal? Can I tell people that being pierced in the gut with a spear hurts really really badly, or have I never had that experience? Can I tell people that shape shifting into a rabbit or growing angel wings out of your back hurts a lot more than you would think, or did I never have those experiences either? Can I tell people that staking a vampire is exhilerating, or that teleporting is actually quite disorienting, or that walking through walls feels like walking through pudding?
Some people will say that things that happen in dreams are not real; only things that happen to your corporeal body are real.
When I had my wisdom teeth extracted I was unconscious for the entire procedure. So have I actually experienced what it’s like to have my wisdom teeth out even though I can’t remember a darn thing? My consciousness was not present when my teeth were pulled, but it was present when I got speared through the gut in my dream. So which one is real? I was not present when my appendix was removed so I can’t tell you if it tickled or hurt. Did I experience an appendectomy?
See, I believe that consciousness is the key to reality. If my consciousness is not present at an event, even if my body is, then I can’t really say I’ve experienced it. But if I take my consciousness with me to a dream world or an astral realm and have experiences there, they become part of my reality. I react to them. I act on them. I can wake up crying from a dream and feel sad because my consciousness experienced something sad. And even though someone might tell me not to feel sad because it didn’t really happen, I can’t just throw out the experience like when a judge tells the jury to disregard what they just heard. Impossible!
This is why I find value in directing and controlling my consciousness. In the past when I had a nightmare I would often wake up right as the knife was coming for my heart. I would lay panting in bed, glad that it “wasn’t real.” But my pounding heart and fast breathing would suggest otherwise. Once I learned lucid dreaming, however, I decided that there was no way I was going to let a nightmare get the best of me. So I trained myself to wake up before the knife plunged into my heart, then I would come up with a plan, and go back to the dream. Invariably it would pick up where it left off. When the knife came down I would either morph into steel, or block it with my superior Kung Fu, or simply go incorporeal and let the knife pass through me without harm. That’s empowering, people.
When you do that in your dreams you end up with the habit in your waking life as well. You realize you can direct the course of your “dream” er, I mean life. Are you living a lucid life? Or are you at the mercy of the “Dream Master” who will send you whatever dream you need to experience for growth?
If you’re a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, you might remember one of my favorite episodes called “The Inner Light.” In this episode, Captain Picard’s consciousness gets inserted into the life of a man from another civilization. For a time, he tries to “wake up” but he can’t. Literally years pass for him, even though his body is lying on the bridge of the Enterprise the entire few hours of the experience. When he finally gets back to his real life he has had the experience of living as that other man for a few decades. He doesn’t just forget that. He doesn’t just brush it off as a dream. It changed him, affected him. It became part of his experience, his reality. He even recalled how to play the flute-like instrument he learned how to play during his experience.
What your consciousness experiences affects you, so shouldn’t you direct that consciousness where you want it to go? Are you being pushed along the currents of the river of life, or are you in a canoe with your oar in the water, paddling hard in the direction you want to go?
If your life isn’t going the way you want, wake up, make a plan, and then get back in there and affect the outcome so it goes your way. Don’t let that knife plunge into your heart. Unless … of course … that’s the experience you want to have.