In this article we will continue our discussion of the consciousness related to sleep and the waking and sleeping states.
Merging of Conscious & Unconscious Minds, Sleeping & Waking Selves
“Many of your misconceptions about the nature of reality are directly related to the division you place between your sleeping and waking experience, your conscious and unconscious activity.
Opposites seem to occur that do not exist in actuality.
Myths, symbols and rationalizations all become necessary to explain the seeming divergences, the seeming contradictions between realities that appear to be so different.
Such a change in your waking and sleeping patterns very nicely helps cut through your habitual ways of looking at the nature of your own personal world, and so alters your conception of reality in general.
To some extent, there is a natural and spontaneous merging of what you would think of as conscious and unconscious activity.
This in itself brings about a greater understanding of the give-and-take that exists between the ego and other portions of the self.
The unconscious is no longer equated with darkness, or with unknown frightening elements.
Its character is transformed, so that the “dark” qualities are seen as actually illuminating portions of conscious life, while also providing great sources of power and energy for normal ego-oriented experience.
On the other hand, areas of ordinary behavior that may have seemed opaque before, cloudy or dark—personal characteristic behavior that was not understood, for instance—may suddenly become quite clear as a result of this transformation, in which the shadowy aspects of the unconscious are perceived as brilliant.
Barriers are broken down, and with them certain beliefs that were based upon them.
If the unconscious is no longer feared, then the races that symbolized it are no longer to be feared either.”1
Good & Evil in Relation to Color
Traditionally, in our modern western societies we have the following limiting belief systems in relation to color:
White – considered pure, good, brilliant consciousness, youth, daytime
Black – considered impure, evil, unconscious, old age, death, nighttime
“This of course involves consideration of race.
In this system, black races are feared, considered primitives, representing the chaotic, primitive, spontaneous, unsafe unconscious portions of the self, the underside of the “proper American citizen”.
There was always a great fear that the blacks as a race would escape their bounds – given an inch they would take a yard – simply because the whites so greatly feared the nature of the inner self, and recognized the power that they tried so desperately to strangle within themselves.
Both groups acquiesced to their roles. In larger terms, of course, each has belonged to other races in other times and places; or to be more accurate, in simultaneous existences one plays out the others’ role.”2
Returning to the Topic of Sleep
“There are many other natural and spontaneous kinds of comprehension that can also result from the waking and sleeping rhythms that I have suggested.
The unconscious, the color black, and death all have strongly negative connotations in which the inner self is feared; the dream state is mistrusted and often suggests thoughts of both death and/or evil.
But changed wake-sleep habits can, again, bring about a transformation in which it is obvious that dreams contain great wisdom and creativity, that the unconscious is indeed quite conscious, and that in fact the individual sense of identity can be retained in the dream state.
The fear of self-annihilation, symbolically thought of as death, can then no longer apply as it did before.
As a result, other individually built-up beliefs that depended upon the existence of such opposites also spontaneously break down.
When you find yourself as alert, responsive, and intellectual in the dream state as you are in waking life, it becomes impossible to operate within the old framework.
This does not mean that in all dreams that particular kind of awareness achieved, but it is often accomplished within the suggested wake-sleep pattern.
A certain beneficial and natural situation is arrived at, in which the conscious and unconscious minds meet.
This occurs spontaneously whatever your sleep pattern but is very brief and seldom remembered.
The optimum state is so short because of the prolonged drugging of the conscious mind.”3
Dreams, Emotions & Sleep
“Illumination concerning the inner self may appear clearly during waking reality, and in the same way invaluable information about the conscious self may be received in the dream state.
There is a spontaneous flow of psychic energy and appropriate hormonal reaction in both situations.
You do not have energy dammed up through repressions, for example, and emotions and their expression are not feared.
In your present system of beliefs, and with the dubious light in which the unconscious is considered, a fear of the emotions is often generated.
Not only are they often hindered in life, then, but censored as much as possible in dreams.
Expression becomes very difficult; great blockages of energy occur, which in your terms can result in neurotic or stronger, psychotic, behavior.
The inhibition of such emotions also interferes with the nervous system and its therapeutic devices.
These repressed emotions, and the whole charge behind such distorted concepts about the unconscious, result in a projection outward upon others.
In your individual area there will be persons upon whom you will project all of those charged, frightening emotional characteristics.
At the same time you will be drawn to those individuals because the projections represent a part of you.
On a national basis the characteristics or qualities will be projected outward onto an enemy.
Within a nation they can be directed against those of a particular race, creed or color.”4
Beliefs about Good vs. Evil Related to Sleep & Dreams
“Your attitudes toward sleep, dreams, or any alterations of consciousness are all colored to some extent then by beliefs concerning good and evil in your Western society.
These emerge from the old Puritan work ethic: “The devil finds evil work for idle hands.”
This kind of thinking by itself brings about an overall attitude in which rest is frowned upon, and dreams are considered suspect.
Daydreaming and even mild alterations of consciousness take on moral connotations.
Such ideas are mirrored in your society in innumerable fashions, and in areas in which values of good and evil are not apparent.
Active sports are considered good, however, but often contrasted to passive intuitive activities which are then seen as bad.
You insist upon a material product of some physically demonstrative kind.
In that context, dreams or daydreams are not viewed as constructive or productive.”5
Your Consciousness During Sleep
“In many ways it can be said that consciousness does indeed flicker, and varies in intensities. It is not like a steady beam of light, for instance.
At a very simple level your consciousness leaves your body often in the sleep state.
You communicate with people in other levels of reality that you have known, but far beyond this, you creatively maintain and revitalize your physical image.
You process daily experience, project it into what you think of as the future, choose from an infinity of probable events those you will make physical and begin the mental and psychic processes that will bring them into the world of substance.
At the same time, you make this information available to all these other portions of your identity, who dwell in entirely different realities, and you receive from them comparable information.
You do not lose contact with your ordinary waking self.
You simply do not focus upon it. You turn your attention away.
In the daytime you simply reverse the process.
If you were looking at your daily normal self from the other viewpoint, you see, using an analogy here, you might find that physically waking self as strange as you now find the sleeping self.
The analogy will not hold however, simply because this sleeping self of yours is far more knowledgeable than the waking self of which you are so proud.
Now your consciousness does return at times, to check upon the physical mechanisms, and the simple consciousness of atom and cell — the body consciousness — is always with the body, so it is not vacant.
But the largely creative portions of the self do leave the body, and for large periods of time when you sleep.”6
Fluctuations of Consciousness & Waking and Sleep States
“It is well known that fluctuations of consciousness and alertness exist in the sleep state.
Some periods of dream activity do indeed supersede those of some waking states.
But there are also fluctuations in normal waking consciousness, rhythms of intense activity follow by a much less active period of consciousness.
Some waking states, of course, come very close to sleep states.
These blend one into the other so that the rhythm often goes unnoticed.
These gradations of consciousness are accompanied by changes in the physical organism.
In the more sluggish periods of waking consciousness there is a lack of concentration, a cutting off of stimuli to varying degrees, an increase in accidents, and generally a lower body tone.
Because of your habits of an extended sleep period followed by an extended waking period, you do not take advantage of these rhythms of consciousness.
The high peaks are to some extent smothered, or even go unnoticed.
The sharp contrasts and the high efficiency of the natural waking consciousness is barely utilized.
Now I am giving all of this material here because it will help you understand and use your present abilities.
You are asking too much of normal waking consciousness, smoothing out the valleys and peaks of its activity, demanding in some cases that it go full blast ahead when it is actually at a minimum period, denying yourself the great mobility of consciousness that is possible.
The suggestions given earlier [in the previous article], concerning sleeping habits, will result in a natural use of these rhythms.
The peaks will be experienced more frequently.
Concentration will be increased, problems seen more clearly, and learning capacities better utilized.”7
After-Death Experiences & Sleep/Dream States
“After-death experiences will not seem so alien or incomprehensible if you realize that you encounter similar situations as a normal part of your present existence.
In sleep and dream states you are involved in the same dimension of existence in which you will have your after-death experiences.
You do not remember the most important part of these nightly adventures, and so those you do recall seem bizarre or chaotic as a rule.
This is simply because in your present state of development you are not able to manipulate consciously within more than one environment.
You do exist consciously in a coherent, purposeful creative state while the physical body sleeps, however, and you carry on many of the activities that would be encountered after death.
You simply turn the main focus of your attention in a different dimension of activity, one in which you have indeed continuously operated.”8
- Roberts, Jane, The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1974
- Roberts, Jane, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1972