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December 02, 2014


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I haven’t read much about Taoism. Mainly what you’ve written at different places in your blog, as well as people’s comments here, and a general clicking away of links and leads basis your (and sometimes others’) thoughts on here.

Here is something that confuses me about Taoism.

How is the Taoist “sage” different from your redneck yob who “doesn’t give a damn”?

Think of this rough fellow, literally rednecked, preferably unlettered (although it’s difficult to get someone who’s actually unlettered, but still), and someone who’s supremely indifferent/insensitive to things remotely philosophical or “spiritual”. Someone who’s never ever heard of Lao Tzu, and probably thinks Tao Te Ching is some kind of dim sum or noodles or something. Someone who never looks up at the stars above, and just in case if he does, never ever wonders where they came from, or why, or any of that crap that neurotics like us seem to spend so much time thinking of. (I’m not saying you’re neurotic, but I suppose that’s how you’d appear to this hypothetical redneck, for spending time thinking of and indulging in this airy fairy nonsense. As would your readers, to him.)

So this redneck lives his life full on (honestly or dishonestly, well or badly, successfully or unsuccessfully, drunk or sober, happily or unhappily, all that is irrelevant). Basically a brutish person, who one day meets his brutish end, just as any animal does (and just as, actually, everyone does, irrespective of how tanned their neck is). Isn’t he someone who “flows” effortlessly (if not overly gracefully) into his days, such as they are?


(Pardon the caps. Just wanted to highlight the one-sentence TLDR summary of my comment, without recourse to the boldface or underlining.)

What I’m wondering is : Is Taoism simply a sort of reaction against an overly “spiritual” and/or philosophical atmosphere/ethos? (Not that I’ve heard of any such overly spiritual ethos in China in ancient times, apart from Daoist thought that is. Both Confucius and the import of Buddhist thoughts into China came after Lao Tzu. Still, just wondering.)

thanks for writing about lucid dreaming, fascinating stuff

first heard about it when they were writing about the "inception" movie

so you say you've actually experienced this? be great if you could write a post (or at least a comment) around that experience of yours. What was it all about? WEre you, like, aiming for something like that, or did it just happen? And do you remember it and all, or did you just happen to journal it down? fascinating, given that it's actually happened to you, not just some hypothesis someone writes of in a book. Do tell us more about this!

Being aware of the butterfly dream as only a dream would prevent its being an experience of being fully and completely a butterfly,"self-content and in accord with its intentions." Remembering the dream -- thinking back to it -- would prevent the waking state from being an experience of being fully and completely human.

Hm, I think the mystics answer though that our natural "spiritual" state is total consciousness. If there's no escape hatch, then when a dream becomes tiresome or scary or dangerous, it's a nightmare. The "escape hatch" has to be enough latent lucidity to seek a way out.

But wait, you say, you're spoiling the dream. Just go ahead, surrender
consciousness. So what already? Dumb down, have another drink, walk on the wild side, live life, and, who says a little dreaming is bad for 'ya.

Alright, maybe the dream gets a little rough, becomes a nightmare, seems like a perpetual "winter of discontent". Let it go! Stuff like disease, wars, injustice, hatred, stupidity will be with us in perpetuity. They're just props to make the dreams seem real. Tomorrow things will be different!

Take my word for it, fellow dreamer. Scientists, religionists, bloggers, the holy rollers of all stripes will soothe your troubled psyche. They'll find another gadget, a new savior, a brilliant slant on living. A few eons or so and things will be all better. Meanwhile you can go on enjoying fantasies, wasting your moments, relishing your humanity. Just don't wake up. You know you love it here!

Remember how bored you were with total consciousness! You surrendered a piece of that insipid, dry consciousness for this. The dream state may last only a few more years or a few lifetimes. Don't waste it. Think how good it feels to no longer know whether it's real or dream, whether you're butterfly or human.

As long as you play the game, enjoy the erasure of consciousness, go with the flow, you'll never have to bother your pretty little head with philosophy, untangling the conundrum, erasing duality, or merging back into total consciousness.

At least, you'll never be bored. You'll get to play lots of nifty roles too: sinner, saint, everyman, fool fiddling while his house burns down. What fun!


I hope I amn’t breaching blog etiquette by repeating my request, and it’s cool (naturally!) if for whatever reason you wouldn’t like to answer this one.

Would you describe for us your experience of lucid dreaming? The dream itself, and also what all (if anything) led to it.

I find the topic of lucid dreaming fascinating (“fascinating”, as in not necessarily “important”, but as in simply “interesting”). I’ve read Carlos Castaneda’s gripping accounts in his books (which, I understand, may well be fictional—or, of course, not). I’ve also read a bit of/about Gurdjeff’s methods. And I’ve read the usual popular articles and accounts in newspapers and magazines and suchlike. But I’ve never before directly come across someone who’s been actually aware that they’re dreaming while still dreaming. (But of course, you don’t ask that of people you generally meet and talk to : so far all I know I may know many lucid dreamers.)

Anyway, I’d really love to hear more about this.

This may or may not be a big deal. Most on here will probably agree that it’s supremely inconsequential and unimportant. Some (like Gurdjeff’s disciples/fans) may find this very important. What I’m interested in and asking for is not hypotheses or opinions, but the account itself. Of the dream itself, as well as of preparations (if any) that led to it.

Appreciative Reader,

Lucid dream?

In a dream I saw a woman who was looking at the flowers and shrubs and wandering in the courtyard garden which was outside the window of the garden flat I was living in. As I was watching her, she glanced up at me through the window as if she had realised I was aware of her. This immediately startled me and I woke up suddenly.

Went back to sleep and then became aware that there was someone standing next to my bed. This woke me up and I thought, now she's come inside and is standing next to my bed. I wasn't too worried because I didn't feel threatened in any way.

Anyway, wasn't too fussed about it and went back to sleep again. I then dreamt that I saw her again, sitting in a half circle of people and looking at her in my dream (aware that I was dreaming) thought to myself - ah there's that same woman again - and she looked at me and smiled. I woke up then and thought, good seems like she is happy now.

The next morning there was a knock on my door. It was the manager of the building who had come to tell me that her sister, who was another resident in the building had passed away in the night whilst she was in hospital. She wanted to let me know because she knew that I had been friendly with her sister. I did not know that she had become ill and had been taken to hospital.

I immediately thought of the image of the woman who had been wandering around in the courtyard which fitted with the person who had passed away.

So no proof, just an interesting experience, and one of many. I would also be very interested in hearing what others on this blog have experienced in the way of lucid dreaming.

If Brian allows this comment through I will then have to contend with the x / cc - attack. Will just ignore :)

I will then have to contend with the x / cc - attack. Will just ignore

Make up your mind. Ignoring is not contending.

Dear Observer,

Thank you for your response, and for sharing your experience. It’s rather wonderful at both levels, the “lucid” part, as well as the prophesying part (or contact-with-the-deceased part) .

This kind of dream I have come across a few times, I mean the contact-with-those-who’ve-just-passed type. Where people tell me they’ve dreamt of someone close to them, who’s passed on at around that time, without them (the dreamer) having known at that time about their passing. That’s truly remarkable! One can attribute this to coincidence I suppose. Each of us dreams so many different things every night, so perhaps every once in a while, in the midst of all our nonsensical (and often entertaining) dreams we may well end up with the occasional prophetic dream. But truth to tell, that explanation (the coincidence hypothesis) rings a bit hollow to my own ears.

I’ve myself had dreams-within-dreams. Like earlier this week. I like to briefly record into my phone my more interesting dreams immediately on waking (most of which I delete later, and a very few of which I record in my journal). Well, I had an interesting dream (I won’t bore you with the details, it was interesting to me but not in any way extraordinary), awoke, wanted to speak out and record it ; but was too lazy to and went back to sleep ; and awoke a bit later to realize that that (earlier) waking up itself had been a dream all along! And I did still remember the content of that dream-within-the-dream. Cool, huh? Not quite Inception-level though, not even close, since the dream wasn’t lucid (in both cases, I realized the dream was a dream only on waking), and nor was it deliberate. Your own dream was certainly most remarkable, every which way you look at it.

Was this the only time you’ve lucid-dreamt, or have there been other instances? And did you in way cultivate this, via some particular discipline, or did it happen wholly spontaneously? I’d love to hear whatever else about this you’ll be comfortable sharing.

Incidentally, Observer, you do injustice to Brian by doubting that he’ll publish your wonderful personal account that you’ve so kindly shared here. He’s fully open and unbiased in allowing dissenting voices through here in his blog, and also in general discussion. Although naturally he has his own opinions (as each one of us does).

And x’s/cc’s comments, while sometimes trenchant, can often be insightful and cut through the dross. And which of us doesn’t have our own full share of dross in our thoughts and opinions and beliefs? His/her comments can be a great aid to self-examination if taken positively, rather than as an attack. (Although you may well ask : “If he/she can be combative, why shouldn’t I be combative too? Why should it be only me who’s always asked to take things positively, even when I’m the one being pummeled?” If that is how you feel, then no one can blame you if you want to put on your boxing gloves. That’s fine too.)

Hi Appreciative Reader,

Thanks for your lovely reply. I somehow missed seeing this and just now thought I might check up on Brian's blog about lucid dreaming and was delighted to see your reply.

I like that you record into your phone when awakening because the memory of a dream so very quickly fades away. I enjoyed your dream-within-the-dream, really cool.

About being combative, unfortunately I do become too defensive at times. Oh well, I am getting more used to this strange world of cyberspace.

Appreciative Reader,

You asked: "Was this the only time you’ve lucid-dreamt, or have there been other instances? And did you in way cultivate this, via some particular discipline, or did it happen wholly spontaneously? I’d love to hear whatever else about this you’ll be comfortable sharing."

I've had quite a few lucid dreams and experiences which have been spontaneous and unexpected. I would enjoy corresponding with someone like yourself who is genuinely interested, but rather not on this blog. If you like you could ask Brian via email to send you my email address and we can have a chat.

Cheers for now

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