“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.” ― Zhuangzi
Since Life is but a Dream…
It presents a web of potentiality framed around themes you are focused upon Now. It constructs a seemingly coherent life history with the illusion of a consistent identity, a life story that you develop from infancy until your departure.
Yet you are by no means limited to this Reality. Daydreams, nightly dreams, and creative visualization provide many windows to open and avenues to explore that are not bound by your daily drama.
Have you ever wondered about parallel realities and how this notion might pertain to dreaming? Have you had glimpses of what felt like parallel lives?
A few years ago I had a lucid inner experience just before waking. In this alternate reality, I was a female scientist returning home to her family after having been on a space voyage (routine travel in her reality). She is met at the door of her home by her husband, who welcomes her home. She knows he is her husband and that they have two young children. But beyond that, she suddenly realizes that she doesn’t remember anything else about her own life; she is experiencing a form of conscious amnesia in the moment. Her husband says some friends will be coming over that evening for dinner. She tells him, “I’m sorry but you are going to have to cover for me when they come. I am not remembering anything right now about my life!”
I then shifted consciousness back to my body and life in Colorado and opened my eyes ‘here.’ I felt immediately that I had been experiencing a “dual conscious” state of awareness. I understood that this was what was causing the partial amnesia in my alter-Self awareness. Because of the dual-conscious moment, some sort of overlap had occurred between two parallel realities, two of my own parallel identities.
This experience also reminds me of a Star Trek Next Generation episode where Captain Picard lives an entire alternate lifetime in 40 minutes. He has been affected by a probe from a planet that had been destroyed when its sun “went nova”; they had programmed the probe to reach one person who would learn this way about their lives and existence.
What stands out to me about the parallel life awareness is that this was something other than a normal archetypal “personal unconscious” dream event. It did not feel symbolic at all, but very lucid (I was aware somewhat of the dual consciousness state while it was happening), and it was simply very real.
What can we learn from this sort of glimpse into a parallel reality? Mainly, for me I suppose, that there is “so much more” to Life than what our limited minds can perceive. Also, it suggests to me that a true change in consciousness can allow us to alter anything about our current life dream “drama” that we deeply CHOOSE to change. This is by no means easy, because it requires a true change in our conscious construction of the life we are living. It is not simply a matter of having a strong intention so that a “law of attraction” can operate. It requires a fundamental shift in your awareness of what is possible, and then a conscious choice and decision to act on establishing appropriate changes in your life.
So, allow me to end this week’s pairing of the life metaphor Life is a Dream with the universal archetype of the Teacher with a self-development journaling technique I invite you to try for yourself:
In first person, present tense, simply establish an alternative identity. Maybe this identity would realize a wish you may have had about a life you might have lived if you were not ‘you’. Describe yourself in this alternative lifescape. Be as detailed and as descriptive as you can be. Write until you feel like you are really experiencing this other lifetime clearly in your imagination.
When you finish this technique (which you can also do multiple times from several different alternative life perspectives), just take some time to reflect. At very least, this technique might help you to become aware of some unrealized but desired (or, not, depending on the alternate identity you have imagined!) potentials in this life.
I would love to hear your insights or stories from exercising this Better Endings practice!