Upon Which I Dreamed I Woke Up
Written By: Jeff Behnke
I noticed this morning that most things experienced while sleeping are bipolar opposites of one another, which is precisely why dreams themselves are so hard to recall. You’ll see a lake of fire, you’ll walk upstairs and end up in the basement, you’ll give birth to your own dead self, you’ll be thrown in prison by being freed. It’s like living in an Orwellian nuthouse populated by a billion M.C. Eschers. Your sleeping self has no trouble collating contradictions and wrapping them into a structure that you can somehow understand when you’re asleep. You’re fine with the inconsistencies in such a state. Only when you wake up do you start second-guessing what you experienced. “Now hold on a minute, I cannot fall off the ground and end up in the sky.” That type of thing doesn’t seem to happen in the waking world--only in the dreamworld. But why? And what does it mean?
We are told that dreams are merely random firing of neurons with no rhyme nor reason and that what you dream about every night are thoughts and concerns you had during the day, packaged up with pure mental freedom. In a certain sense, that is true, but it’s too cheap of a view. I mean, what exactly is this mental freedom that is so readily available in sleep mode, and why do we have it? We don’t have too many organs in our body that don’t do anything. So what purpose do dreams fulfill, and where do they really come from? Are they as real as this place? Or less real? And what makes them different?
To me, dreaming is a state where our consciousness does not have to deal with consequence. In this world, if, when everyone fell, they floated up to the moon, there would be a particular universal consequence, a change to the laws of gravity, and we would have to learn to function around the consequence by taking necessary precautions to save people who accidentally found themselves in such a state. A law would be defined. A precedence would be established. But in the dream world, falling upwards doesn’t matter and you feel perfectly comfortable doing so. “Now I’m near the moon, hmm, this is weird,” is pretty much the only consequence while dreaming, if you can even call it one.
I’ve spent most of my life thinking heavily upon these dreams and trying to experience them fully, paying extremely close attention to them. This probably has something to do with the fact that my first waking memory of this life was a dream. There was a thin fuzzy thing and a thick fuzzy thing and they were bouncing on a trampoline, teaching me how to feel heavy and light. I’d press down on the trampoline and feel light. I’d push off of the trampoline and feel heavy. Not normal on a real trampoline, but it made perfect sense to me as a child and I can still recreate the feeling I was taught in my mind that I had originally learned from these two fuzzy shapes. They were teaching me something. Things were reversed, but the same. Jumping up was down, feeling light was heavy, all the way down until I woke--all the way up. And after that particular dream, all my life’s recollections began.
These bipolar structures within dreams now completely intrigue me. It has gone so far as to affect my entire world view. Here, in waking life, I see duality everywhere, but while awake, we experience a segmented duality as if there is a stake in its beating heart. Here, you are either a democrat OR a republican and you cannot be both--here, if you were both, you would contradict, and contradiction is a dirty word in the waking world. It is avoided at all costs to create structure to your thoughts and consequences to your actions. Here, contradictions are a no no, and to contradict yourself, you are seen as an obviously poor student to the way the world works. Flakey. But in the dream world, your whole mental landscape thrives on contradiction and you can experience opposites as one and the same.
These contradiction and consequences that we observe build the waking world it seems, writing laws, societies, civilizations. Picking a side creates a career, establishes a sex, a specialty, a hobby, a religion, a duty, and a person who does none of these is considered either an outcast or a failure. It is as if we are forced to ’pretend’ that the raw source of creation shouldn’t contradict when, according to the dreamworld, it does, and so do we. Things should be picked here! We are told. Pick a side, get in line, and wait out the inevitable consequence of your decision. And once we have picked, we build our choice and hide behind tons of contradictions that we run across, hiding them even from ourselves as if they were accusations--just so we can continue to play along at peace as the missing (x) variable on the left side of the equals sign which balances out an equation. That (x) variable is your ’awake’ consciousness, playing a roll 16 hours a day by pretending it is right whereas other things are wrong. It defines itself in contrast to all that other stuff out there that doesn’t quite get what you get.
But in sleep there is a different story to tell. That (x) ’self’ of yours seems to reconnect to the true source of it all with no need for the equation as the sides are already equal. In sleep, everything is water and fire, up and down, left and right, in and out, at the same time. And as such, there is no need for consequence or definition there, because in that place, nothing is missing--the democrat contains the republican and the republican contains the democrat. Since one cannot live without the other, they are experienced as the same thing. Parentchilds, doctorpatients, sicknesshealths. The up contains the down and the down contains the up. Falling is the same as going up, and going up is the same as falling down. This is your rest--don’t you see? Where you quit pretending distinctions, where you quit having to play the game of segmenting opposites. In the dreamworld, everything is there together as one with all contradictions deaf to the sounds of your waking logic which screams bloody murder. You contradicted yourself! You fell through your own self created schism!
So which is the real world? The one in which opposites are separate, where we must infect one side in contrast to the other side to experience something? Or is it the one in which opposites are connected and are actually parts of the same thing? It seems as if we have an Achilles’ heel of sorts when trying to understand the universe around us while only being given half of the equation while awake--you can break things in two here, yes, but the deeper you go, the more that discernment falls apart. Right now, for instance, you think you are being pulled down by the force of gravity, but if you scale back and swing your camera around knowing full well that the universe does not have an ’up’ you will realize that you could be getting pulled ’up’ by this force instead of down, or out instead of in. Or all at the same time. You see? It blurs. But in the dream world, nothing falls apart in your mind, and you can float around, completely at peace with opposites that are the same thing.
While awake, you could be a banker, a politician, a doctor, a boy, a girl. It is as if you are ’hovering’ in some way over one side of the variables in an equation to reflect upon the other side of the equation and understand that side as best you can, but you cannot fully understand as your consciousness is handicapped to sticking with one side. It’s like using your own hand as leverage to walk in the air--you just can’t do it! A portion of your senses are stupefied intentionally to create a perspective, an experience. That is what it means to be awake. But when you fall back asleep again, the discernment between opposites returns to null and you see things how they really are and you can finally use that hand as leverage to walk up into the air, no problem. That is why answers come in the form of dreams--you see all sides at once with no limitations in 360 degree high definition color. The veil of opposites is lifted and you understand why your anti-dandruff shampoo creates dandruff, you understand why your dentist causes cavities, you understand why doctors cause patients, crutches cause limps, and you understand it by not being forced to cover one side of the equation up with a towel. Your third eye is open--directly in between the other two. In the dream state, you are enlightened. In the dream state, you just know.
Martin Luther King once had a dream that all of humanity would be seen as equal. I have to agree--he most certainly did. And after much reflection, I think it’s safe to say that all of us have had that same dream as well.