Is our reality a collective dream ?
This article tries to explore reality from an unusual view point : What if the reality we inhabit is actually a shared dream and we are all dreamers while at the same time being dream characters in other peoples dreams ?
Carl Gustav Jung on reality and symbolism
C.G. Jung had interesting views on this subject. Jung did not only look at symbolism in dreams but also at symbolism in reality : "There are and always have been those who cannot help but see that the world and its experiences are in the nature of a symbol and that it reflects something that lies hidden in the subject himself".
As we move through life we are slowly becoming aware of more and more aspects which we used to be unconscious of. Jung was of the opinion that whenever an unconscious subject is ready to be integrated, it had to be faced and thus the person would have to project it outside of themselves and manifest it into his reality so he can confront it. This "acting out" of a topic that is ready for integration can happen through another person or also through a collective. When the unconscious is sending us these messages and we are not paying attention to them, they tend to return in a more obvious fashion so they can not be denied as easily the next time.
In this process the topic that is intruding our life is pretty much all the time experienced as something negative. But evil can act as a catalyst and cause an expansion of consciousness. So the key to a positive learning experience is not necessarily in fighting back evil successfully but in looking for the lesson to be learned from a particular experience.
Jung also had very interesting views regarding the topic of UFOs : He was of the opinion that human beings are so extremely split off from their true self that UFOs are a projection of certain aspect of themselves which are so alien to them that they manifest in this alienating form.
Many people experienced trauma at some point in their life. During a traumatic experience a part of the personality can get split off and is hidden from conscious remembering by storing this aspect in the unconscious. Sigmund Freud discovered repetition compulsion, which is a psychological phenomenon where people who have disassociated aspects that they are not aware of, tend to re-enact similar situations as experienced during their trauma experience as an attempt to re-integrate this split of part of themselves. Since they have no understanding about why they are doing this, usually they require external help to recognize these patterns and to reveal the underlying trauma so it can really be re-integrated successfully.
Shadow projection and fighting "evil"
When these disassociated aspects of ourselves are not integrated and remain looming in the subconscious, we tend to project these unwanted aspects onto other people. Since this process is totally unconscious, we might feel upset about another person but we might not be able to explain our emotional reaction. In case we are able to pinpoint which aspect of this person is causing us this emotional reaction then it is useful to look inside of ourselves and investigate if we can become aware of a shadow aspect within ourselves that the person reminded us of.
The integration aspects of our own shadow aspects is the only real solution to becoming a well-balanced individual and for most people this is a work that lasts their entire lifetime. As long as we put our attention outside of ourselves and on the people that trigger us, we can not really resolve the underlying issue. Fighting others and making them go away or change is never a permanent solution. It is only through self-reflection and looking inwards that real change can take place and a permanent resolution can be found.
Collective psychosis and denial
Jung repeatedly warned about the great danger of a collective psychosis in which large groups of the population would get overwhelmed by their suppressed shadow. If people repeatedly denied options to face their own dark side the stored up forces might at some point overwhelm them completely and lead to an uncontrollable outburst resulting in irrational actions. To some extent we might already be a species suffering from a collective psychosis. We seem to be a species in trauma, continually re-enacting this trauma on ourselves and others. By enacting this trauma, something is being shown to us, the questions is whether we are willing to recognize what this revelation is about. The insight might be a very painful one because we have been in denial for so long.
Reality as a collective dream
Reality can be perceived and interpreted from different vantage points. The literal and materialistic interpretation from a purely scientific view point has helped humanity to develop a highly technical civilization but it is lacking any form of deeper meaning. When looking at reality as a collective dream the universe can be recognized as speaking to us symbolically. The events unfolding in the world can be seen as a collective representation of our inner state of being. Just as events and circumstances can be arranged on an individual level to reflect the individuals inner state the same can be valid on a collective level.
As long as we remain unconscious about our collective act of dreaming reality into existance, we seem to remain on a path of self destruction. By taking responsibility and becoming conscious of the symbolic dimension of reality we can collectively expand our consciousness and becoming conscious dreamers and by that we could manifest a course correction to the path we are on right now. This does not imply passivity and just sitting around dreaming up a better world but as long as we do not have a collective vision, a collective dream on where we want to go, our actions are not focused on a common goal and thus most of them will remain destructive.
The recognition that our inner processes have a powerful influence on the external world can be seen as very similar to becoming lucid in a dream. Becoming lucid in real life is equal to the dissolving of the artificial boundary between the inner and the outer world.
"Evil" as a potential catalyst
While most people see the increasing amount of negative developments in the world through the lense of fear, but this can also be viewed differently : Evil has the potential burried within itself to either transform or destroy humanity. The events playing out on the world stage can be seen as an initiation process that can catapult us into a new view of reality and this change in perception can empower us to create a solution that is impossible from a purely materialistic view point.
In order to make people aware of their own inner darkness it needs to be focused and projected into people who provide a suitable focal point in material reality. When looking at a politician like George W. Bush it can be an interesting view point to consider him as a conduit for archetypical forces caused by the collective projections of the population. From this point of view Bush is simply mirroring us the common denominator if our own shadows.
C.G. Jung had an interesting view on this aspect : He thought that these archetypical forces gained their power from human ignorance and that the aspects of ourselves which we split off from conscious awareness develop a life of their own, thus he labeled them autonomous complexes.
Jung also was the first psychologist to define the term synchronicity. He defined a synchronicity as an experience where several causally unrelated events occur together in a meaningful manner (e.g. suddenly thinking about a person you have not seen in years and one minute later you meet exactly this person or this person calls you on he phone). Especially when synchronicities happen on a regular basis in a persons life the experience might remind this person of the dream-like nature of reality and that the universe can become a synchronistic universe, when we begin to listen to our inner guidance.
Paul Levy is a long-time practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. He experienced a life-challenging spiritual awakening in 1981 during which he became aware of the dream-like nature of reality. In 1993 he started his own private practice and over the years many psychiatrists have sent their patients to Paul. In weekly group meetings he has been conducting for many years he discovered that a group of people who share this same world view seem to be able to create a field effect that can cause powerful synchronicities for the people involved.
On his website he shares some of these topics and he also inspired the creation of this article. His recommendation for creating a better world is to use every experience during which we get triggered by another person as an opportunity for self-reflection and inner growth. In his world view the disintegration of the global system we have been experiencing over the last few years is part of a process of our reality evolving towards a higher but totally different order. He thinks that the best way to support this process is to awaken to the dream-like nature of reality and to collectively dream a different world into being. The more people share the same dream, the more likely this dream will become a material reality.
Paul sees himself as a spiritually-informed political activist and tries to create a bridge between a spiritual and a conspiratorial world view. Simply meditating all day is not a real solution to the global crisis. Spiritual people use the law of attraction as an excuse why they do not look at the negative aspects of the reality : "If you pay attention to it, you create more of it" - This might be true to some extent but it is important to be informed about the dark side of reality because it is trying to teach us something. You can be aware of a topic but still not "give it your energy". A political activist or conspiracy theorist can get very angry at the world and project out his own shadow on people like George W. Bush. But by trying to destory the external enemy, they actually become consumed by the shadow they are trying to destroy. Fixing the world requires knowledge about the dark side of reality combined with spiritual wisdom and the willingness to change yourself in order to change what is being reflected back to you by external reality.
More information on Paul Levy and the topic of this article can be found on his "Awaken in the Dream" website : http://www.awakeninthedream.com
An interview with Paul Levy from November 2011 is available in the Resource section
Paul contributed 20 pages to a book called "The Dangerous Man: Conversations with Free-Thinkers and Truth-Seekers". The book is available on Google books and it is highly recommeded to read his part which starts on page 115.