The Exploration of Dreams by David Yeh

Printed in the Conscious Creation Journal
December 1998, Issue 3

The Exploration of Dreams
by David Yeh

Awareness grows within me, a burgeoning of lucidity that tells me, once again, that I am a traveler of dreams. I fly up, into the heavenly blue skies, and peer down at the idyllic world I have created-the clear lake in which children play, overshadowed by a rock face that extends into the realms of gods. I laugh with delight and plunge downward, into the cool springtime waters of the lake, and I sink down, down, down …

Life is a Dream.

I do not profess to know all there is to know about dreams, nor about the history of the universe, nor quantum mechanics, nor alien abductions, nor humanity. All I know is who I am and what I do. I think that’s all anyone in particular knows.

And yet …

In the graphic fantasy known as Sandman, the Lord of Dream’s brother, Destruction, relates a story about their sister Death: “We were looking up at the constellations … It didn’t matter that, in some sense, I was everywhere nor that I was more powerful than … well, practically anything. I still felt tiny. I felt insignificant. And she looked at me. You know her look. And she sighed. Then she told me everyone can know everything Destiny knows. And more than that. She said we all not only could know everything, we do. We just tell ourselves we don’t to make it all bearable.”

We are all gods, in a sense. We weave our dreams like massive, intricate tapestries, colored rivers that flow in and out of our conscious awareness. At times we catch fleeting glimpses of these dreams, at other times the tide brings the dreams to the forefront of our minds so that we wake, deeply affected by the power of the dream, and we have to remind ourselves: It’s only a dream.

Well, it’s not “only a dream.” Dreams are never only anything. They exist to remind us of the connection that we have with the vastness of our own psyches. They are natural storytellers that put our joys and disappointments into symbolic terms and make us feel as if we were truly alive. Even if they tell you that you forgot to lock the front door, they are a window into something greater than yourself. Each dream has a unique meaning…it is a tale with a theme, and as it is born within your own psyche, it yields less to determined logical analysis than to playful associations and free exploration of your feelings. While your waking mind dominates, things are logical; but the dream is the domain of the heart and soul, where the intellect is a subordinate, and it is in the heart and soul where we must find the meanings of dreams.

In a dream, much of note occurs, but little seems to truly matter. The dreamscape is a playground for desires, fears, and beliefs; it is an endless plain of infinite activities devoid of consequences. The physical world pales in comparison; and yet, is the latter not more real, more concrete, more stable? What would reality be if it were so responsive to our desires, fears, and beliefs? If things were truly so illogical, so fantastic, so lacking in just cause and effect? More importantly, what if all reality had intrinsic meaning…every person I see, every act, every insignificant detail in life? What kind of crazy place would this world be?

Ah, what indeed. We are fortunate to have a world so orderly, so intensely stable, that we cannot possibly imagine a reality that exists any other way. Reality is made of objects and hard evidence and facts, and this is the backbone of existence. Dreams are an aside. And, thinking this, we fall asleep, and our ideas drop into the well of oblivion as our mind romps through non-realities never traveled before, places fresh feet or hooves or tentacles have never trodden, in worlds just created.

The world is a poorer place having embraced a paradigm of scientific objectivity with regard to all spheres of truth. Any tool has its use, but no tool can be applied indiscriminately. We must be concerned with the why of things and not just the where and the how…the significance of existence, the meaning of life. No less is required of us as human beings.

We were born, I daresay, in a haze of dreams; we spend a third of our lives in dreams, and we will die in dreams. But what is this thing Dream? Is it an idea, a concept, to be debated? Is it an object that can be manipulated? Is it alive? Is it a part of my psyche, a state of being, an aspect of self? Is it a perspective of consciousness?

I believe it is an aspect of existence. It is an integral part of our greater being.

I can feel my breath flowing in and out of me. I can feel my blood coursing through me, my heart beating steadily to its own rhythm. I can sense my thoughts flowing through my head, branching off, following different paths, as my consciousness rides the waves of thought. All these things are a part of me, but they are not me. I identify to some extent with all of them; but when the air leaves my body, when blood seeps out and is lost, when my thoughts flee my brain, they are gone. When I sleep, my consciousness seeps into only a memory of oblivion or the world of dreams, and my body lies in a deathlike trance, the “little death.” It is not me either.

When I enter my dreams, on occasion I bring with me the trappings of consciousness. I open my eyes and see that I am alive and awake in this world that I create spontaneously. Conscious dreams are gems of enlightenment; stripped of mysticism, however, they are only dreams in which one is awake. But as I said before, dreams are never only anything! Through conscious dreams, one realizes the transparent, ephemeral nature of reality…how, in truth, those objects we cling to so obsessively have no meaning beyond that which we give to them…how the things of lasting value are what is invested internally, emotionally…how our dreams naturally gravitate toward what matters, toward the conditions of the heart and soul.

If we could only transport this awareness to the waking state! But wait, how ironic this statement is! For is it not when our physical eyes our open and we are truly physically awake that we are most awake? Indeed so. Conscious dreams are emblems of our potential, but they indicate what is already possible, what in fact each of us can already do. Dreams are natural conditions of life, just as breathing and thinking are. Being awake is a requirement of life. It’s what we do with this awareness that is changeable, mutable, open to our attitudes and perspectives.

In dreams we discover things about ourselves worth knowing. In conscious dreams we learn the power of our own being. It would seem that physical reality, in stark contrast, is objective, meaningless, mercilessly detached. Nothing could be farther from the truth; for how do we not know that we are dreaming now? If you and I joined hands, we could feel the other’s hand, sense the warmth, the firmness of the grip; and this would convince each of us of the reality of the hand and thus the other person. But say we were dreaming. In dreams such things can be equally as real. Now let us bring every human into the dream, and have us all join hands, and we would be convinced of each others’ reality, and we would make up laws governing how real we are.

But the law is subject to the dream.

We walk a dream lucid as life, a dream that is life. Each of us dreams our own reality, creates it from the stuff of the heart and soul and crafts it with the tool of the intellect. Somewhere along our path of growth, we convinced ourselves that the intellect was not only the tool but the creator; but, knowing that we (the intellect) could not possibly create the grand vastness of the universe, we decided to limit our powers and study the laws of the universe without knowing how it came into being, in the distant hope that we would someday learn the meaning of all of it through the intellect. But that day will never come.

If one day we woke up within our dream, nothing on the outside would change. I would go about my daily business, you would go about yours. We would still have to eat and sleep and urinate and defecate; we would have to exercise and read books and make love and learn and grow; we would have to be happy and depressed and lonely and fulfilled. But if we woke up, we would know that we were dreaming, and we could draw upon our power to influence our dreams.

Conscious dreaming is not only a path for esoteric philosophers or mystics. (You know it is not only anything!) It is the meanest way to enlightenment, and by enlightenment I mean the realization that you have everything you want…or rather you want everything you have…and that you are happy and fulfilled, no matter where you are in life. If you were lonely, destitute, unemployed, and bedridden, and you were dreaming, the dream would have meaning and some psychological consequences, but you would simultaneously be imbued with power and a knowledge that you created and can control your destiny. The path of dreaming doesn’t lead to the meaning of life…it is the meaning of your life.

Life is a Dream. It is a story with meaning. It has a plot, characters, a setting. But more, it is a state of awareness. We may be shocked to discover that we squander a third of our life away in sleep and dreams; but how much more shocking is it to discover that we squander the other two thirds of our life in sleep and dreams? Then we discover how to truly enjoy life as a dream, to become awake to the opportunities and joyful power at our fingertips, to realize that we not only could know everything, we do.

And life is more bearable when we discover ourselves and acknowledge that we are, each of us, a master of dreams.

©1998, David Yeh. Printed in the December 1998 Issue of the Conscious Creation Journal. (Feel free to duplicate this article for personal use – please include this copyright notice.)

David Yeh is old enough to vote.  He has studied his own dreams for a long time and has Seth to thank for changing his world view only a few years ago. He now attends Stanford University and is studying psychology.  You can contact David at [email protected] or visit his web page at: