Personal Reality, Session 652
Such a change in your waking and sleeping patterns very nicely helps cut through your habitual ways of looking at the nature of your own personal world, and so alters your conception of reality in general.
To some extent, there is a natural and spontaneous merging of what you would think of as conscious and unconscious activity. This in itself brings about a greater understanding of the give-and-take that exists between the ego and other portions of the self. The unconscious is no longer equated with darkness, or with unknown frightening elements. Its character is transformed, so that the “dark” qualities are seen as actually illuminating portions of conscious life, while also providing great sources of power and energy for normal ego-oriented experience.
On the other hand, areas of ordinary behavior that may have seemed opaque before, cloudy or dark – personal characteristic behavior that was not understood, for instance – may suddenly become quite clear as a result of this transformation, in which the shadowy aspects of the unconscious are perceived as brilliant.
Barriers are broken down, and with them certain beliefs that were based upon them. If the unconscious is no longer feared, then the races that symbolized it are no longer to be feared either.
There are many other natural and spontaneous kinds of comprehension that can also result from the waking and sleeping rhythms that I have suggested. The unconscious, the color black, and death all have strongly negative connotations in which the inner self is feared; the dream state is mistrusted and often suggests thoughts of both death and/or evil. But changed wake-sleep habits can, again, bring about a transformation in which it is obvious that dreams contain great wisdom and creativity, that the unconscious is indeed quite conscious, and that in fact the individual sense of identity can be retained in the dream state. The fear of self-annihilation, symbolically thought of as death, can then no longer apply as it did before.
As a result, other individually built-up beliefs that depend upon the existence of such opposites also spontaneously break down.
When you find yourself as alert, responsive, and intellectual in the dream state as you are in waking life, it becomes impossible to operate within the old framework. This does not mean that in all dreams that particular kind of awareness is achieved, but it is often accomplished within the suggested wake-sleep pattern.
A certain beneficial and natural situation is arrived at, in which the conscious and unconscious minds meet. This occurs spontaneously whatever your sleep patterns, but is very brief and seldom remembered. The optimum state is so short because of the prolonged drugging of the conscious mind.
Animals follow their own natural waking-sleeping schedules, and in their way derive far greater benefits from both states than you, and use them with greater effectiveness – particularly along the lines of the body’s built-in system of therapy. They know exactly when to alter their patterns to longer or shorter sleep periods, therefore adjusting the adrenaline output and regulating all of the bodily hormones.
In humans, the idea of nutrition is also involved. With your habits the body is literally starved for long periods at night, then often overfed during the day. Important therapeutic information that is given in dreams, and meant to be recalled, is not remembered because your sleep habits plunge you into what you think of as unconsciousness far too long.
The body itself can be physically refreshed and rested in much less than eight hours, and after five hours the muscles themselves yearn for activity. This need is also a signal to awaken so that unconscious material and dream information can be consciously assimilated.
Many of your misconceptions about the nature of reality are directly related to the division you place between your sleeping and waking experience, your conscious and unconscious activity. Opposites seem to occur that do not exist in actuality. Myths, symbols and rationalizations all become necessary to explain the seeming divergences, the seeming contradictions between realities that appear to be so different.
Individual psychological mechanisms are activated, sometimes, in terms of neurosis or other mental problems; these bring out into the open inner challenges or dilemmas that otherwise would be worked out more easily through an open give-and-take of conscious and unconscious reality.
In the natural body-mind relationship the sleep state operates as a great connector, an interpreter, allowing the free flow of conscious and unconscious material. In the kind of sleep patterns suggested, optimum conditions are set up. Neurosis and psychosis simply would not occur under such conditions. And in the natural back-and-forth leeway of the system, exterior dilemmas or problems are worked out in the dream situation, and interior difficulty may also be solved symbolically through physical experience.
Illumination concerning the inner self may appear clearly during waking reality, and in the same way invaluable information about the conscious self may be received in the dream state. There is a spontaneous flow of psychic energy with appropriate hormonal reaction in both situations. You do not have energy dammed up through repressions, for example, and emotions and their expressions are not feared.
In your present system of beliefs, and with the dubious light in which the unconscious is considered, a fear of the emotions is often generated. Not only are they often hindered in waking life, then, but censored as much as possible in dreams. Their expression becomes very difficult; great blockages of energy occur, which in your terms can result in neurotic or even stronger, psychotic, behavior.
The inhibition of such emotions also interferes with the nervous system and its therapeutic devices. These repressed emotions, and the whole charge behind such distorted concepts about the unconscious, result in a projection outward upon others. In your individual area there will be persons upon whom you will project all of those charged, frightening emotions or characteristics. At the same time you will be drawn to those individuals because the projections represent a part of you.
On a national basis the characteristics or qualities will be projected outward onto an enemy. Within a nation they can be directed against those of a particular race, creed or color.
You did not simply come upon your sleep patterns. They are not the result of your technology or industrial habits. Instead they are a part of those beliefs that caused you to develop your technological, industrial society. They emerged as you began to categorize experience more and more, to see yourselves as separate from the spring our fountainhead of your own psychological reality. In natural circumstances the animals, while sleeping at night, are still partly alert against predators and danger. There is within the innate characteristics of the mammalian brain, then, a great balance in which complete physical relaxation can occur in sleep, while consciousness is maintained in a “partially suspended, passive-yet-alert” manner. That state allows conscious participation and interpretation of “unconscious” dream activity. The condition gives the body its refreshment, yet it does not lie inert for such long periods of time.
Mammals have also changed their habits to accommodate those conditions you have thrust upon them, so the behavior studied in laboratories is not necessarily that shown by the same animals in their natural state.
Taken alone, this statement can appear deceptive. The alterations in behavior are themselves natural, of course.
Animal consciousness is different than your own. With yours, a finer discrimination is necessary so that unconscious material can be assimilated. All of mankind’s developments however are latent in the animal brain, and many attributes of which you are unaware are latent in your own. The biological pathways for them already exist.
In your current beliefs, again, consciousness is equated in very limited terms with your conception of intellectual behavior: you consider this to be a peak of mental achievement, growing from the “undifferentiated” perceptions of childhood, and returning ignominiously to them again in old age. Such wake-sleep patterns as I have suggested would acquaint you with the great creative and energetic portions of psychological behavior – that are not undifferentiated at all, but simply distinct from your usual concepts of consciousness; and these operate throughout your life.
The natural experiences of what you think of as time distortion, for example, occurring in childhood and old age alike, represent quite normal experiences of your basic “time environment” – much more so than the clock time with which you are so familiar.
The patterns I have suggested, therefore, will bring you far closer to an understanding of the reality of your being, and help you break down beliefs that cause personal and social division.
The long period of continuous waking conscious activity is to some extent at variance with your natural inclinations.
It cuts you off from the spontaneous give-and-take of conscious and unconscious material mentioned earlier (in this session), and of itself you see necessitates certain changes that can make your prolonged sleep period necessary. The body is denied the frequent rests it requires. Conscious stimuli is over-applied, making assimilation difficult and placing a strain upon the mind-body relationship.
The division between the two aspects of experience begins to take on the characteristics of completely diverse behavior. The unconscious becomes more and more unfamiliar to consciousness. Those beliefs build up about it, and the symbolisms involved are exaggerated. The unknown seems to be threatening and degenerate. The color black assumes stronger tendencies in its connection with evil – something to be avoided. Self-annihilations seems to be a threat ever-present in the dream or sleep state. At the same time all of those flamboyant, creative, spontaneous, emotional surges that emerge normally from the unconscious become feared and projected outward, then, upon enemies, other races and creeds.
Sexual behavior obviously will be considered depraved by those most afraid of their own sensual natures. They will ascribe it to primitive or evil or unconscious sources, and even attempt to censor their dreams in that regard. They will then project the greatest sexual license upon those groups they choose to represent their own repressed behavior. If sex is equated with evil, the other group will of course be considered evil.
If the members of such a rigid group believe that youth is innocent, then they will deny sexual experience as having any place in childhood, and alter their own memories to fit their beliefs.
If a young adult believes that sex is good but old age is bad, then he or she will find it impossible to consider exuberant sexuality as a portion of an older person’s experience. In the dream state the child and the old man or woman can exist simultaneously, and the individual is made quite aware of the full range of creaturehood.
The wisdom of the child and of the aged are both available. Lessons from “future experience” are also at hand. There are quite natural physical mechanisms in the body that provide for such interaction. You deny yourself many of these advantages however through the artificial alienation that you have set up by your present wake-sleep patterns, to which, again, your ideas of good and evil are intimately connected.
Those of you who cannot practically make any alterations in sleeping habits can still obtain some benefits by changing your beliefs in the areas discussed, learning to recall your dreams and resting briefly when you can, and immediately afterward recording those impressions that you retain.
You must give up any ideas that you have as to the unsavory nature of unconscious activity. You must learn to believe in the goodness of your being. Otherwise you will not explore these other states of your own reality.
When you trust yourself then you will trust your own dream interpretations – and these will lead you to greater self-understanding. Your beliefs of good and evil will become much more clear to you, and you will no longer need to project repressed tendencies out upon others in exaggerated fashion.