The Academy of Reality Creation

Several times now I’ve dreamed that I’m attending a kind of “reality creation” school or academy. The most recent one took place in a setting that mirrored, in waking life, my ninth grade biology class.

This is where I was first confronted with such ideas as ‘the accidental creation of the universe’; the ‘fact’ that emotions and thoughts were mere by-products of chemical and electromagnetic activity in the brain; where dissection was taught as a method of “seeing what made something live.” And so on.

It was significant, then, that in the dream the “chalkboard” (which resembled the outlay of an online forum, projected onto a wide canvas screen) was set against the back wall. All of the seats were turned to face in this direction. The new conceptions that we were learning, about ourselves and the nature of reality, were turned the opposite way from that of the class I’d once attended in waking life. I chuckled a little at the brilliant aptness of this motif even as I was writing the dream down…

Rearranging the Belief Furniture of the Mind

When I’m working at examining and changing my personal beliefs, it helps me a lot if I can conjure up some sort of imaginative image, a symbol to stand in for a particular idea that I’m trying to isolate and confront. Ideas can oftentimes feel intangible. If a certain concept takes the form of (say) a dilapidated nightstand, though, then this piece can be moved, trashed, smashed or burned within the theater of my own inner mind. Such visualization makes the act of manipulating the belief behind the image much more visceral.

Flushing Mental Debris

I recently had a dream that dramatized this process. I was swimming in a long, oval-shaped pond whose waters felt deep and ancient. I was trying to reach the sunnier side, but my progress was confounded by scattered debris floating around in the water. This rubbish mostly took the form of furniture.

At one point I was caught in backwards-moving current that had also begun to pull at the furniture so that the pieces aligned behind one another in a snaky procession towards a whirlpool. I had the visceral sensation of the entire pond being akin to a giant washing machine. At first I feared that I’d be sucked down the ‘drain’.

Distancing Ourselves from Our Beliefs

But I managed to float nearby it while the debris, one by one, was sucked down. I am not my beliefs. That was the underlying message of this dream motif. They belong to me; I do not belong to them. In some ways I associate the waters with my subconscious, and my state of being ‘impervious’ to the pull of the undertow with the freedom that each of us have to distance ourselves from our own beliefs. They do not have to own us. They are ours to nurture or discard.

Once I reached this realization, within the dream, I was able to utter the mental command of “Enough!” and slough off the inertia of these ideas that, I had felt, could pull me under. Armed with the knowledge of my own freedom, I was easily able to swim to the sunnier side of the lake. There, beneath the warm rays, was a new house that was mine. I was able to rest, and then begin a project that was of great importance to me.

Not Being Ruled by Our Ideas

In the novel Trust in the Unseen, Brandon Chane (my protagonist) begins to trust his own insights and intuitions to the point where he’s able to achieve some autonomy apart from his mentor Saul. Until this point he’d been obliged to accept Saul’s guidance as best he could. Now, however, he finds that he can take what he has learned and translate it into his own personal terms; he can own it as earned knowledge.

{…} In time, as the miles raced beneath and behind our wheels, my angst began to subside, to be more fully replaced by a sense of victory – or satisfaction, at least. I’d proved to myself that I was able to act from someplace other than my familiar ‘default’ position. And I began to question how many other assumptions, equally erroneous beliefs, I might be carrying around with me like dusty dead debris in my mind. Saul’s artistry was to lift the stones and expose such skulking creatures. Might I not be capable of the same sort of excavation on my own?

After we stopped at a salad buffet for our first healthy meal thus far on this road trip, and returned (highly caffeinated) to change positions in the van once more, I settled in the back seat with my notebook. While Carlos got us back onto I-80 E and pushed us into Illinois, I began writing down bits of my own internal dialogue whenever I could catch it. If I noticed my imagination tugging me towards feelings of gloom and despair, I tried to identify what I’d been thinking beforehand. I isolated the unspoken assumptions, let them roll around in my head for a while, questioned them. I could feel how my thoughts and emotions were linked. Black moods and rage-filled episodes didn’t just “come over me”. They had always been generated somehow by my own internal monologue.

I felt the kind of excitement that often accompanies the discovery of an unforeseen new way forward. Was this the trail back to the sources of all my misery, frustration and overall dearth of hope? {…}

This is the journey that each of us inevitably have to take if we hope to get on top of our own thoughts and feelings and not be ruled by them. Books and lectures and teachers can only take us so far. At some point we’ll have to interpret it all in our own terms, and realize that, though we may have invested ourselves in our own beliefs, those beliefs don’t constitute who we are – any more than we are defined by the furniture in our physical environment.

Dreams, and the Reminder that We Create Our Reality

As we adapt to the outer reality that surrounds us, we lose the sense (which all children possess to some extent or another) that we are the creators of our reality. The outside world, which was meant to serve as our mirror, becomes instead a picture of disconnected sensations and events that seem to be thrust upon us.

From the moment we first learn to use our eyes to distinguish shapes and colors, and our ears to distinguish sounds, our inner reality becomes more and more camouflaged within the events and objects of the outer world. We learn to react to the world “out there” and, in the process, separate our personal experience from it.

This may not have been true for all peoples/cultures in Earth’s history, but it is definitely true of our modern society.

Lost Sense of Personal Power

And when we no longer feel our personal power as the creators of our lives we lose something that’s crucial to the fulfillment and happiness of every human being. Our dreams work to reawaken this sense of personal power. Part of their function is to remind us that we’re not only physical creatures; our reality encompasses dimensions that are not bound to the world. And it is on this level that we form what we then experience.

In other words, our dreams can show us the inner blueprints that we’ve been using to create our reality. Also, our dreams can draft new plans, suggesting changes in areas where we’re suffering and feeling confined.

They can graphically illustrate not only the picture of our present limitations and challenges but also the picture of what our lives could look like if we believed differently about ourselves and the nature of reality.

It would be easy for us to lose our sense of wonder if we didn’t ever dream.

And our dreams have to battle a lot in order to do their job of reminding us. An ordinary state of consciousness (and this is mainly due to the cultural beliefs that are prevalent in our time) can paint a very sterile and grey picture of reality.

Dream Awareness

Your dreaming self knows why you came into this world. And it remembers the world you left behind. The soul never forgets. In a movie we may see aspects of the plot that the characters themselves – who exist within the story – cannot see.

In a similar way, we can grasp the cinematic sweep of our life’s journey when we tune in to our dreams. Interpreting our dreams for ourselves, we witness the wider story arc. Our dreams remind us of the forgotten places within ourselves, the potentials that we’ve learned not to believe in.

Oftentimes we are too entrenched in the trials and tribulations of our waking lives to carry this sense with us when we have nothing but the physical world to provide us with feedback. The dream journey brings us to the place where miracles reside – where we can experience our true identity as magical beings.