THEOSOPHY, Vol. 24, No. 4, February, 1936
(Pages 161-163; Size: 9K)
(Number 2 of a 4-part series)



DREAMS or visions occur with all men, awake as in sleep, but are rarely studied for what they are while they are being experienced. If anything is studied before it becomes an actual phenomenon of sense-perception in normal waking consciousness, it is evident that ordinarily secondary faculties or powers are volitionally or unintentionally permitted or assigned to the leading role. We call this faculty Imagination, fancy, phantasy, and by other names. In the same way, when any eventuality is studied after its phenomenal occurrence, the stage is one in which Memory in its several "speaking parts" enlists our attention -- remembrance, recollection, reminiscence. In either case, the philosophical fact is that we have transferred our power to perceive, to correlate, to create, preserve, change, reconstruct, to another plane, another state of consciousness, in which the inhabitants, the forms, the images, are as different from those appertaining to the waking world as are the faculties employed. What other inhabitants may there not be in those worlds and states besides those with which we are in some degree of contact, some sort of "touch"?

Now, if we do not observe our partial or complete transit to another state while still retaining the power to perceive and act on this one, there is and there can be no possibility of direct, but only of indirect perception: we have to depend entirely on whatever memory may bring through or imagination conjure up -- and these two faculties, as we experience them, are incomplete, unreliable, both in their exercise and in the images which they present before the "mind's eye". Yet they are undeniably powers, integral factors in the equipment of the living man, whether awake or asleep. Without them, we could have no consciousness at all of what we name the past and the future. Their possible volitional range is clearly implied in their always partially involuntary action as experienced or invoked by us. How often do we hear the expressions, "His imagination runs away with him"; "He is lost in reverie", i.e., memory. In the one case we have the characteristic quality of children; in the other, of the aged. Suppose we were even as much in control of these two powers as we are of our senses, would we be "swept off our feet" in the psychological worlds any more than we normally are in our terrene ambulations?

Philosophically speaking, then, it should become clear on a modicum of reflection, that when any image of the senses, the mind, the memory, the imagination, absorbs our attention to the point that our will is in abeyance, our thinking or correlating, comparing, contrasting principle stupefied or stultified, our sense of self inert -- to that extent we are "dreaming". By the same token, our discrimination, the one faculty upon which each being of innate and inherent necessity has to rely absolutely -- our discrimination turns traitor.

When anyone is "sunk in dejection"; when he is "beside himself" with rage, with envy, "puffed up" with pride, vanity, conceit; when he is in "the seventh heaven" of delight; when he is, unconsciously to himself, in any one of a thousand states and sub-states to which our consciousness is liable -- is he not, in sober reality, dreaming? Yet he "sees" in them all, although his consciousness is, for the period, on a wind-swept plain -- a plain in which his dirigibility is lost. He is at the mercy of the "four winds of heaven" -- or its opposite. At such times we remain the Perceiver, though we have lost all sight of the fact. We are still the Thinker, the Creator, although the "thinking principle" is either paralyzed or overcome. What are we, what have we become, by this involuntary "transmigration of soul?"

We have permitted ourselves to become the Creature of our visions, and the effect of what we see, hear, touch, taste, smell, feel in that state is such as to identify self with it to the point that we become what we experience. This consummation of dream-state is the condition alike of the medium, the psychic, the seer, the "God-intoxicated" as well as the alcoholically inebriate, of the "mantic frenzy" of the sooth-sayer, the prophet who "sees God, and hears the voice of the Most High." It is, likewise, the state of the insane, the delirious, the "lost soul".

To many, even among devoted students of Theosophy, these statements will appear both to be far too sweeping and far too indiscriminate. Nevertheless, both the facts of observed and recorded history and the direct testimony afforded by the utterances of these "dreamers of dreams", and, not less important, the analogies exhibited in ordinary human existence, all tell the same story when examined, compared, weighed, in the light of the psychological application of true Theosophy, or practical Occultism. Let us examine briefly -- the comparisons and contrasts have to be made by each for himself, as each has to weigh in the scales of his own discrimination.

We know that as perceived here there are four distinct kingdoms, besides what we call the "forces of nature", and the kingdoms of the "mind" and the "soul". We know the immensity of the variations exhibited in each of these kingdoms under some kind of "reign of law" or "rule of reason". We know, limiting our observation to the human kingdom, the disparity resultant on the varying exercise of identically the same powers and materials in differing degrees and in different alignments among men. We know the "impassable gulf" in the same man between the opposed states we call "waking" and "dreaming". These facts and analogies should lead us to the inescapable inference that a similarity and correspondence must be the case in other states and worlds -- and will so lead us, will we but give the same attention and employ the same powers in our investigation that intelligent men know are necessary to adjudge wisely the phenomena of our normal existence.

Our present avenues of contact with all the many states and sub-states into which we go and whence we return are, as indicated, through the pinions of memory and imagination. Whatever we think, feel, perceive, experience, do in those "other worlds" -- all and sundry has to gear with our use of powers and faculties here, with the meshes of effects experienced and regarded as the "reality" here -- or we can neither remember nor imagine them here. Assuming that there are both higher and lower states than the human consciousness, with corresponding and partially correlative ranges of cause and effect, it becomes evident that the several parts of our "human nature" are "out of gear" with other parts equally essential to the unity of experience, the sameness of the powers, the Identity of the dreamer through the whole mechanism of action, the entire range of experience.

Philosophy presupposes the existence of unity in the midst of diversity; correlation throughout the cosmos and the individual, or Law; assumes that all these can be observed, experienced, studied, understood, and hence controlled by the individual Self, the Dreamer who takes his own creations for "reality", and is therefore the "creature of circumstances beyond his control" -- until he learns better.

Next Article:
Dreams and the Dreamer -- III
(Part 3 of 4)

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