I’m back from the nether regions of the Oregon wild (if watching Shakespearean plays in the warmth of a theater seat can be considered the wilds of Oregon) where my nights were full of awesome dreams one of which I thought I’d share.
I’m walking in a forest surrounded by all the shadows of dusk. The sounds and smells of crushed pine needles beneath my feet softly fills me with an awesome peace when suddenly appears before me a long dressing mirror seemingly floating above the wooded debris. I stand there gazing upon my own reflection, an image of someone much older than the child who had once stared into a similar mirror so many years earlier, and a disembodied voice entreats me to look closely at the image before me. It then asks, “Who are you?” I wake up.
“A dream?” I exclaim somewhat disappointed for it had been so real and I wanted very badly to go back but though I turned in the bed and covered my head I could not go back to sleep.
“Nothing for it that a now have to figure out its message” I thought to myself.
Being a smart rat from many encounters with the mystical I knew that who I was or the “who” of the question asked by the voice was not my name or profession, or roles that I have played or am playing and unlike Rene Descartes the philosopher I exist not because of my thoughts. There are indeed thoughts but who is it that watches them? “Am I the emotions I feel? No, not those either.” I muse.
“Ah, I am a soul!” I declare confidently. “But what the hell is that?” “What does the soul really do other than maybe animate the body? Not that that isn’t important.” Desperately trying to get beyond my thoughts I muse and musing yet further I begin to watch the thoughts and feelings of my musing. “They’re like objects of the outside me but walking through the inside.” I note. “But who is it that is doing the watching? Is that me?” I ponder.
“Am I deep within me the observer of my thoughts, my feelings, emotions and all the objects and events detected from the senses?”
Reflecting back on the dream I noted that the image in the mirror had changed over time but was this image the same me? Is the ‘who’ of the voice’s query the same ‘who’ that always was? Is the essence the same and what is that essence but that part that is always observing the march of changes passing before its awareness?
Over the years my patchwork sense of self has become projected onto the objects about me e.g. the thoughts, emotions, feelings, and sensory inputs and then fed back into the self as though I were them instead of them, I. But who am I? Am I even a human being or am I a consciousness, an awareness, just watching one?
“What happens when we become conscious of our consciousness?” I asked myself. “The answer was in the dream.” Said the voice. “You wake up!”