Your Life: A Dream?

by Christopher Lovejoy on January 2, 2011

Is your life a dream? Do you view your life as a dream?

These are two very different questions with two very different sets of assumptions.

And I’d like to consider these assumptions from the Witness perspective, with a view towards personal fulfillment.

But first, let me share one of my experiences with dreams, and then draw your attention to some key distinctions about the nature of reality.

My Experience with Dreams

In this lifetime, I’ve had more than a few lucid, vivid experiences while sleeping and dreaming.

One of the most memorable: I was soaring through the air in the dead of night at such a high rate of speed that I thought I was going to lose my hearing.

The roar in my ears was that loud.

When the roar stopped, I stopped – in front of a stone tower clock face high above the ground. The stuccoed texture of the grey stone that surrounded the clock face was surreal in its clarity.

The colors? Vivid beyond belief. Such as the light blue trim that encircled the ivory white clock face.

I observed the hour hand and the minute hand to take note of the time – precisely ten minutes to two in the morning – and then woke up, startled to realize that one reality had just replaced another.

No experience that I ever recall having in my waking life compares to how vivid and real this dream felt.

I was lucid the whole time.

That is to say, I was conscious of being conscious of this experience as if it were real. This was not an experience I had initiated and this was not an experience I decided to have.

The experience arose spontaneously from depths unseen and retreated instanteously into depths unknown.

In light of these observations, certain key distinctions can be made.

Some Key Distinctions

Being awake has the advantage of constancy.

While I’m awake, I have, at the very least, the illusion of choice. I can, at the very least, believe that I can choose what I’m going to say or do next, and at any moment, I can stop saying or doing it.

And so it is when I dream a lucid dream.

But when I dream a lucid dream, there’s always a chance that my waking state will suddenly interrupt my lucid dream, cutting short my intentions to choose what to say or do next inside my dream.

Being asleep has the advantage of spontaneity.

Whether the experience is heavenly or nightmarish, a dream can rise and fall without any deliberation on my part – unless I decide ahead of time, before I drift off to sleep, to set an intention to dream a certain type of dream and have it be lucid – that is, have myself be conscious of having it. I might not have control over every aspect of my dream, but I can determine the type of drama that will ensue.

So if my waking life is not a dream per se, how might I view it as such?

More to the point, why would I want to view it as such?

Your Life as a Dream: Why?

Your life is not a dream per se, but you could view it as such because of its rich potential to activate, energize, magnetize, and expand your sense of promise with a sense of possibility.

This, of course, implies a fundamental choice: to dream or not to dream?

Using the phrase, the illusion of choice, paradoxically implies an acceptance of the reality of choice to function and operate in a world that you create for yourself.

In other words, you can draw on the reality of choice to conjure the illusion of choice, but you can also reference the illusion of choice to accept and apply the reality of choice to your life.

My point here, however, is that you can be a consummate creator of your experience of life by using your capacities for choice and imagination to dream your desired life into existence.

The question of how, however, has a complex answer that is full of nuance.

What follows by way of an answer is partly suggestive and partly definitive.

Your Life as a Dream: How?

How might your life be seen as a dream?

Let us count the ways. Your life could be …

  1. an experience that is comparable to a dream
  2. a journey notable for its beauty or excellence
  3. a quest the ends of which are strongly desired

When we talk about the dream as a metaphor for your life, we’re talking about your daydreams, your reveries, your visions, and your ideals – all of which speak to a universal desire to activate, energize, magnetize, and expand a sense of promise with a sense of possibility.

The dream as a metaphor for your life reminds you that there could always be more than just one way of being, having, doing, or becoming – to keep your heart and mind open to accepting, exploring, and testing possibilities, even when you feel shackled by circumstances over which you have little control.

The dream as a metaphor for your life reminds you that there is more to life than just sleeping, eating, working, and meeting obligations. Your dream transcends your need to sleep, eat, work, and meet your obligations, even as it incorporates and values them as integral aspects of a life lived well.

Your life, as an experience, a journey, or a quest, can be created and managed from your heart as a witness to your soul, or it can be created and managed from your mind as a witness to your spirit, while being careful not to suppress your desires on the one hand or neglect your needs on the other.

Here are a few soulful dream criteria to keep your spirit on track:

1. the life of your dream has meaning for you. If the life of your dream feels ripe with passion, if it feels charged with excitement, if it feels inspired with ecstasy, then you’ll know it’s worth pursuing. Any perceived failure along the way can only be viewed as a temporary setback – not a reason to give it all up in a fit of frustration. Every step of the way, your successes outweigh your perceived failures; they spur you on to expand your sense of promise with an ever increasing sense of possibility.

2. the life of your dream has room for growth. Your life might involve calculated risk, but then again, it might not, but if it does, it does so on a continuum of risk, from low to high. Remember, you always have a choice about how much risk you’re ready, willing, or able to assume in your life. You might not mind putting yourself at risk, but if it involves others, it’s commonly assumed that you’ll have a reason that makes your risk worthwhile, especially if its projected outcomes benefit others.

3. the life of your dream can help others to realize the lives of their dreams. By all means, pursue the life of your dreams ahead of others, but be mindful that the life of your dreams acquires greater value and significance if and when it carries the potential to help others to realize their own – either by helping them to expand their sense of promise and/or by helping them to increase their sense of possibility.

The Witness Perspective

Let’s get metaphysical for a moment.

The split in consciousness that I identified in On Being A Witness generates the experience of space and time in a matrix of matter and energy that sustains substance and form with a past, present, and future.

Here, again, for ease of reference, is the relevant heuristic:

Body < Soul < Heart < Self / * / Ego > Mind > Spirit > Body

Now, I’d like to take this heuristic one step further …

Imagine this linear presentation curling downward into a circle, where Body and Body meet as one.

Imagine also two currents of energy, expressing the two energetic pathways of the Self and ego, meeting, mingling, and circulating through the alchemical Body at the bottom of the circle.

Imagine, too, that for some of us, one or both of these currents could be stagnant or dormant.

If stagnant, you might have someone who is preoccupied with the troubles of the soul or someone who is preoccupied with the challenges of the spirit – or perhaps someone who is apathetic to both.

If dormant, you might have someone who is concentrated exclusively on the sacred dimension of life or someone who is concentrated exclusively on the divine dimension of life. Or neither, if innocent.

For someone whose currents are active and balanced, another kind of outcome will obtain.

The Ring of Promise and Possibility

I like to think of this circle as a ring of evolutionary promise and possibility.

Or, more succinctly, the ring of promise and possibility.

The ring of promise and possibility can be applied to your personal evolution through four main areas of personal endeavor – being, having, doing, and becoming, respectively, as follows:

  1. personal growth
  2. personal fulfillment
  3. personal development
  4. personal transcendence

Collectively, your capacities and abilities in these areas indicate your level of personal ascendance in the level of your consciousness – how refined it is, how purposeful, and how potent.

Just as ‘promise and possibility’ fit together naturally, so do ‘being and becoming’, ‘being and having’, ‘having and doing’, and ‘doing and becoming’. All of these natural links serve two distinct yet integral feedback loops – one sacred and the other divine, one soulful and the other spiritual.

To help you get a sense of this integral connection, consider these natural links in relation to the energetic pathways:

  • promise (the realm of soul)
  • possibility (the realm of spirit)
  • being (a matter for soul)
  • becoming (a matter of spirit)
  • being and having (an alliance of soul)
  • having and doing (the relationship between soul and spirit)
  • doing and becoming (an alliance of spirit)

With the energetic pathway of the Self, you can be a Witness to your encounters through the heart of your soul to have what you need to contain, contemplate, and cultivate the promise of your soul.

With the energetic pathway of the ego, you can be a Witness to your experiences through the mind of your spirit to have what you desire to explore, expand, and express the possibilities of your spirit.

With a skilled and competent coordination of these two energetic pathways …

  • We grow in ‘being more of who we are’ so that we can transcend ‘what we are’ and we transcend ‘what we are’ so that we can grow in ‘being more of who we are’;
  • We realize ourselves through ‘being and having’ to develop ourselves by ‘doing and becoming’, and we develop ourselves by ‘doing and becoming’ to fulfill ourselves through ‘being and having’.

The energetic pathway of the Self, by way of the heart and soul, gives us the impetus to grow in our capacity as persons, while the energetic pathway of the ego, by way of the mind and spirit, propels us forward to develop our ability to conduct ourselves as useful servants in relation to others.

The transcendence of need from the unique perspective of soul and the fulfillment of desire from the unique perspective of spirit come to those whose energetic pathways are active and balanced.

They know and enjoy a personal ascendance that is not of this earth.

But all of this is abstract. Let us bring it back down to earth.

One Red Paperclip

Do you believe that it’s possible to turn a red paperclip into a house and call it home?

Inspired by the childhood game, Bigger, Better, Kyle MacDonald thought so.

He set the intention to have a house by starting with one red paperclip and bartered his way toward a rather impressive looking house that he could call home by making fourteen online exchanges of increasing value (either objective or perceived value) until he was presented with the keys to the house in a public ceremony that garnered widespread attention from the mainstream media.

His experiment with the Law of Attraction came to be known as One Red Paperclip.

As a blogger, Kyle tracked his online transactions for all to see, the mundane details of which can be viewed in a list of exchanges on Wikipedia.

The trading timeline on Wikipedia reveals some interesting facts about his exchanges, but it only hints at the complex story of what Kyle knew before, during, and after making those exchanges.

Kyle started with a promise in one red paperclip.

After precisely one year, he realized his promise in the form of a house (and much more than he ever imagined).

Now, you can read ‘promise’ in two ways: as a promise he made to himself to realize his intention to have a house he could call home and as a promise in his soul to bring about his desired result.

He drew on the promise in his soul to invest the red paperclip with a promise of its own, which served as his anchor for making and keeping a promise to himself to hold his intention until realization.

By holding the intention to realize his desired result, he attracted possibilities for realization.

The trading timeline clearly indicates that he did not believe that he could trade the paperclip for a house right away. Rather, the timeline indicates a desire for an adventure, which is what he got.

The object of his first exchange, a fish-shaped pen (which looks and moves like a fish), clearly has more objective value than a red paperclip, and so it couldn’t have been the red paperclip in and of itself that motivated the giver to part with the pen. Something else was at work.

The vitality generated by the intention (to have a house), the expectations (to get something “bigger and better” on the way to having a house), and the manner in which this vitality was delivered, made the first exchange possible.

In subsequent exchanges, Kyle attracted an increasingly large number of possibilities, not all of them serious, appealing, appropriate, or wholesome (body parts?, souls?, risque offers?).

In following the exchange trail on his blog, it became apparent how he was choosing the items in his exchange. His main criterion for turning possibility into actuality wasn’t objective value; it wasn’t even perceived value (although I’m sure objective and perceived value figured into the equation at times).

His primary criterion for choosing an item was what he termed ‘funtential’. It’s potential for fun – for generating fun, for sustaining fun, and for celebrating fun. As Kyle tells it: “… fun is priceless”.

Lessons from One Red Paperclip

What can Kyle’s affective genius teach us about creating and living the life of your dream?

First, let’s start with what might be called “The Factor of Ordinary”.

Kyle passes himself off as just another ordinary guy, but judging from his blog posts and TV interviews, he’s sharp, witty, charming, polite, fun-loving, respectful, and wholesome.

More than ordinary, to be sure, and what’s not to like?

People are drawn to him, to his charisma, to the prospect of being with him, of doing business with him, but always with the expectation of sharing in the fun, spreading the fun, and having fun.

And somewhere along the way, just after he exchanged one red electric generator for “an instant party”, he learned the true meaning of “bigger and better”. And guess what: it wasn’t literal.

With his irrepressible urge to have fun on his journey, he was able to get past his tests and trials – the kind the universe typically presents when you set an intention to have more than what you have.

He was able to get past the test of having his red electric generator confiscated for being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong way. His faith was put to the test. Not knowing whether he would be fined $500, he pursued the matter relentlessly until he retrieved it – with a sense of fun.

And then waited the remainder of 53 days between trades until he could exchange it. The universe loves to test you, saying, in effect: “do you really, really want this or not? If so, prove it.”

He eventually exchanged the red electric generator for “an instant party”, consisting of a neon sign that read “Budweiser” and an I.O.U. to fill a keg with beer (I suppose it helped that Kyle is Canadian).

In response, the universe seemed to say, “alright, you proved yourself, now let’s take this journey to a whole new level”.

And that’s when Kyle started getting mainstream media exposure.

He had earned the recognition: he had grown a fan base, he bore the expense of travelling to everyone with whom he made an exchange, and he had documented his journey in words, pictures, and video.

His journey is as fascinating as it is complex. The promise that he invested in one red paperclip was considerable: a steadfast intention, a winsome personality, a disposition to see the best in others, the support of family and friends, and a willingness to do whatever it took to realize his dream.

Concluding Thoughts

Fun carries lots of good vibes. It raises your vibes, it keeps your vibes high, it draws people with good vibes. And so you might be thinking: am I having enough fun in my life?

But fun is just one of many positive ways to raise your vibes and keep them high.

Other ways include:

  • an attitude of gratitude
  • the impression of increase
  • an all-pervasive sense of peace
  • the power of unconditional love
  • a willingness to follow your bliss
  • an insatiable wellspring of curiosity
  • spiritually inspired excitement/ecstasy
  • a trail of inspiration that you get to blaze

I’m sure you can think of other ways.

A hallmark of Kyle’s journey was his insistence that the trade-up be beneficial to both sides. Not only did he bless what he received in the trade, he also blessed what he gave in return, despite the relative value in the exchange and the fact that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

This, I think, was the key, not only to the town of Kipling, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he realized his intention in the form of a house, but to his success overall.

Whether your intention is to realize something tangible or intangible, or even to realize the life of your dream, I think you would agree that much can be learned from one red paperclip.

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