Time to Wake Up
To quote the great doctor of the soul. C. G. Jung, "Occasionally reality is quite as archetypal as human fantasy, and sometimes the soul seems to 'imagine things outside the body,' where they fall to playing as they do in our dreams." We are living in a time in which the deeper archetypal, mythic patterns underlying human consciousness are incarnating themselves through us and thereby becoming visible so as to be seen and integrated. We are living in a moment in which we, as a species, are being asked to recognize our active participation and responsibility in calling forth what is happening in our world. It is as if this universe is symbolically reflecting back to us that we are all collaboratively dreaming up our world together, and that the simple waking up to this fact is the very act that resolves our collective world crisis.
Something profound becomes revealed when our current world situation is viewed AS IF it is a dream that we are all collaboratively dreaming up into materialization together. Seen as a 'mass shared dream,' this universe is recognized to be speaking to us not literally but symbolically, which is the language of dreams. Seeing the universe as a dream allows the universe to resume its revelatory function and wake us up. Seeing this universe as a dream immediately transforms it to be more dreamlike, as this universe is nothing other than an embodied reflection of our own consciousness projected outside of ourselves.
To see the symbolic dimension of existence is to not be fully immersed in the literal interpretation of reality, but rather to recognize that there is a deeper pattern that underlies what is playing out in our world. Seeing symbolically doesn't negate the literal dimension of reality but rather complements and completes it. The literal and symbolic interpenetrate each other so fully that they are inseparable parts of a greater whole. What manifests literally in and as the 'real world' is simultaneously expressing the symbolic. And the symbolic aspect of reality is at the same time potentially affecting the literal. This means that the way to accomplish lasting change in this world, literally, is through awareness of the symbolic dimension. This is why Jung spent his whole life fighting for the "reactivation of symbolic thinking."
Awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality, or the symbolic dimension of existence is to realize that events in our world are actually lower level shadows or reflections of a higher-dimensional reality. What is playing out on the world stage is an expression of a deeper process that we have gotten drafted into and is acting itself out through us. There is a deeper process that is incarnating itself through us, and it is expressing and revealing itself symbolically.
The symbolic dimension of this waking dream of ours is an expression of the interplay between the dreamer (which is us) and the dreamscape (the seemingly external world). The dreamer and the dream are not separate, but are indivisible and interactive parts of a greater unified field. The dreamer and the dreamscape mutually reflect and affect each other in a synchronistic, cybernetic feedback loop. The dreamer and the dreamed reciprocally in-form each other, co-arising simultaneously. The symbolic script of our universe is truly a revelation that is being mutually dreamed up by all of us, in and as the present moment. Crystallizing out of this interplay between us and our universe comes a symbol, and the symbol is in the form of our universe. This symbol is like a bridge, and it comes in the form of the very events in our world that precipitate out of this interplay. It requires a higher faculty of consciousness to recognize that our universe is in the form of a living, breathing symbol, and this higher-dimensional sense organ is our divine creative imagination.
The symbols that are arising in this waking dream of ours are not 'objective' or separate from ourselves, as if they come from 'out there.' The symbolic dimension of reality is something that we are not passively watching but are actively creating and participating in. The symbolic dimension of reality is 'self-secret,' in that it simultaneously veils and reveals itself to all who have eyes to see. Christ's "kingdom of heaven" IS the symbolic dimension. The symbolic dimension is visible for all who have opened the eye of their creative imagination, which is why Christ says in the Gospels of Thomas, "The kingdom is spread all over earth and people just don't see it."
We are not separate from the universe. The universe that is speaking symbolically is not separate from our consciousness which is observing it. As quantum physics points out, the way we observe the universe cannot be separated out from the universe that we are observing. There is a mysterious, non-local correspondence between us and our universe, which is another way of saying that we are not separate from the universe. The hidden, intimate interplay between ourselves and our universe expresses and articulates itself as the symbolic dimension of reality.
How we interpret the universe crystallizes the universe into a symbol that reflects back to us our interpretation. The symbol is simultaneously both an embodiment of the unconscious and the liberator of the unconscious. The deeper symbolic process that is unfolding in and as our universe is showing us how the meaning we place on the ink blot of our universe has a reality-creating effect on the way our universe manifests. Our symbolic awareness itself is revealing to us that it is through activating symbolic awareness that we can actually change reality, in a very real sense, and in real time, the present moment.
To quote the Apocryphal Acts of John, "the Lord contrived all things symbolically and by a dispensation towards men, for their conversion and salvation." When we see symbolically, we realize that this universe is like an alarm clock that has been trying to wake itself up through us. When we awaken to the symbolic dimension of existence, we discover that we can literally dream up our universe in such a way as to wake ourselves up, a process that I call 'dreaming ourselves awake.' It is as if the universe is dreaming itself awake, and it is dreaming itself awake through the most awake and visionary among us.
To quote Jung, "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." The nature of the symbolic dimension continually unfolding through events in our world is that it is our own inner process magically appearing to us in hidden symbolic form in, through and as the outside world. In other words, our inner process manifests itself not only inwardly, but is able to change channels, so to speak, and arrange and attract events in the outside world so as to symbolically give shape and form to itself. Realizing the symbolic dimension of our existence is to recognize this correlation between the inner and the outer. This realization is exactly what Christ meant when he said in the Gospel of Thomas, "You enter the kingdom when you make the inner as the outer."
To say this universe is speaking symbolically is to say that what is appearing on the world stage is synchronistically reflecting back what is going on deep inside the collective psyche of all of humanity. What is unfolding on the world stage IS nothing other than the 'World Soul' playing itself out in real time and in solid flesh and blood. Events in our world are a symbolic embodied reflection of an archetypal process going on deep inside all of us that we have literally projected outside of ourselves and dreamed up into incarnation in, through and as this world of ours. It is like a deeper part of ourselves is speaking to us in a symbolic language that is encoded in events in our life.
To the extent that we insist on dreaming up events in our world unconsciously, however, we will continue to destroy ourselves. Becoming conscious of the symbolic dimension is the very thing that this universe is reflecting back to us that we need to do, and it is concurrently showing us how to. Encoded, in hidden symbolic form in what is playing out in the literal dimension (the real world) is the key to re-solve our real world problems. Awakening to symbolic awareness is the very means through which we can change our world, literally. What this means is that the way to resolve our current world crisis lies nowhere other than in a collective expansion of consciousness Our current world crisis is the projected footprint of a planetary awakening, and it not only portends the awakening, but activates it as well. The agency through which this awakening happens is our own consciousness.
To recognize that our inner process is manifesting in, through and as the outer world is equivalent to recognizing that we are dreaming. Becoming lucid in our waking dream means to recognize that our inner process has projected itself outside of ourselves and is manifesting itself as the world we are living in. This waking dream is recognized to be our mirrored reflection, as it is the unmediated expression of, and indivisible from our inner process. The boundary collapses between inner and outer, and our inner process is recognized to be expressing itself through the medium of the outside world. The boundary between not only inner and outer, but between dreaming and waking has dissolved.
What is happening in our world right now is analogous to when Buddha (which means 'the awakened one') was meditating under the bodhi tree right before he attained enlightenment and the forces of 'Mara,' the evil one, came to attack him. Seen as Buddha's dream, Mara was none other than a part of Buddha's own consciousness that got dreamed up to play out this role. From one point of view Mara seems like an adversary who was an obstacle to enlightenment and who was 'evil.' And yet, without Mara, Buddha wouldn't have developed the muscle of realization, so to speak, to attain enlightenment. In other words, Mara was secretly an ally, helping to initiate and propel Buddha into his realization, which he was unable to have without Mara's challenge. From this point of view, Mara was actually a blessing in a very convincing disguise that he was not.
A symbol both expresses (reflects) and simultaneously activates (effects) a potential expansion of consciousness. A symbol unites the opposites as it helps us to re-integrate, re-associate, and re-member. Seen as a part of Buddha's dream, Mara was a genuine symbol in that she brought together and united the deepest evil and highest Godhead in one being. This same insight is expressed in alchemy: the highest God is the trickster figure Mercury, who is the evil one himself co-joined with the highest divinity. A true 'coincidentia oppositorum,' a symbol that unites the opposites. The appearance of Mara is a 're-conciling symbol' in that it re-presents, reveals and potentially actualizes the state of consciousness in which the deepest evil produces the highest good.
When we contemplate Mara as a symbol in Buddha's dreaming process, we realize that in a very real sense the figure of Mara is symbolically expressing itself in our collective dream, too. What is playing out on the world stage is analogous to Mara's attack on Buddha, in that events in our world are literally challenging us, demanding us to expand our consciousness. What is happening on the world stage is clearly an initiation process that we have all dreamed up together. Seen as a dreaming process, we are all dreaming up the universe to prod us and push us off the cliff into realization, so to speak. We clearly aren't jumping off the precipice by our own volition, so just like Buddha we are dreaming up the universe to propel us over our edge. Just like Mara was tailor-suited to what Buddha needed to wake up, what is happening on the world stage is exactly what we need to catapult us into a collective spiritual awakening undreamed of until this very moment in time.
When we recognize the symbolic figure of Mara that is playing out in our world, we realize that the evil that is incarnating in our world is potentially furthering the evolution of our species. Whether the evil in our world destroys us or transforms us is dependent upon if enough of us collectively wake up to the dreamlike nature of our situation in time. The events that are happening on the world stage are the very medium through which we realize we are all collaboratively dreaming up our universe. This realization is itself the very expansion of consciousness that Mara is an expression of.
What is playing out on the world stage are the labor pains of a deeper part of our being that is incarnating itself in, through and as us. Just like in human birth, the contractions are the most intense right before the emergence of the new being. This deeper part of ourselves is using events in our world as the birth canal through which to become conscious of itself. This deeper part of ourselves is symbolically communicating to itself through us, and we are asked to recognize and consciously participate in this process so as to become the conduit through which this process of integration becomes actualized.
Realizing the dreamlike nature of reality collapses the boundary between spirit and matter, as matter has become 'spiritualized' (blessed) and spirit has become materialized (incarnate). The magnum opus, or great work of alchemy, was to free the spirit that was imprisoned in matter. This is analogous to freeing the part of ourselves that is embedded and trapped in the mind of dogma, of materialism, and of viewing things literally instead of symbolically. It is to step out of linear-mindedness into the realization that the universe is an interactive, acausal feedback loop that is truly a work in progress. It is to realize that we are multi-dimensional creative artists and dreamers whose canvas is life itself. We play a crucial role in the divine incarnation process, as we are the instrument through which the Goddessence becomes aware of and re-conciles the opposites intrinsic to its nature.
To wake up to the dreamlike nature of reality is to symbolically 'kill' Cronos, the negative father, who is father time (linear time). To symbolically slay the negative patriarchy, who is a figure who abuses power over others simply because he can, is to find ourselves sin-cronos, or in synchronistic time, where time is experienced as a radial matrix whose center is now. This is to symbolically 'die' (to the sense of being a 'separate-self' alien from the universe) and to be reborn in and as spirit, interconnected and at one with all beings. This is to be fully released into and as the present moment, which is the access point through which we connect with our true power to consciously change the dream we are having.
The final boundary that dissolves when we wake up to the dreamlike nature of our universe is the boundary between self and other. We recognize our interconnectedness and interdependence, as we realize we are not separate from each other but are all on the same side. We are all parts of one greater Being. Compassion is the expression of this realization.
When enough of us have this realization we discover that we can co-operatively put our lucidity together and collaboratively dream a more grace-filled dream into incarnation. In other words, symbolic awareness is the doorway through which we can incarnate our collective realization so that we can change the world, literally. An alchemical quote expresses this by saying "(The soul) imagines very many profound things outside the body, and by this is made like unto God." The birth of symbolic awareness is nothing other than an evolutionary quantum leap in human consciousness, fully imaginable into actualization in this very moment.
To quote Jung, "I am indeed convinced that creative imagination is the only primordial phenomenon accessible to us, the real Ground of the psyche, the only immediate reality." Our creative imagination itself is the supra-sensory organ which transubstantiates the mundane empirical data of this world into its real but hidden form as symbolic epiphany. This universe is a living oracle, a continually unfolding revelation that we, both literally as well as symbolically, can dream up so as to wake ourselves up.
Seen as a dream, for example, we have all collaboratively dreamed up these very words in this very moment to remind us of the dreamlike nature of our situation. But being like a dream, this will only become true if we see it that way. And if you tell me I am only imagining, or dreaming that this is true, I couldn't agree more.
(c)2006 Paul Levy
(c) 2007 Paul Levy and Mark Comings
THE BIOSPHERIC DREAMBODY
by Paul Levy
Dr. Arny Mindell, a physicist and Jungian analyst, has taken Jung's
work on the synchronistic correlation between psyche and matter to the
next level of articulation with his notion of the "dreambody." The
dreambody is more than the physical body, yet includes it as a medium
of communication. The dreambody is like a dream from a higher
dimension of our being expressing itself in our world through multiple
levels simultaneously. The dreambody is multi-channeled; it can
express itself in dreams, thoughts, feelings, body sensations,
movements, a variety of symptoms, addictions, relationship problems,
altered states of consciousness, as well as synchronistically, through
events in the outer world. Mindell's discovery and articulation of the
dreambody is truly groundbreaking and warrants our highest attention.
Mindell's dreambody perspective (see www.aamindell.net) has immensely
powerful practical applications for empowering us to respond to our
world in ways that are creative and transformative.
The dreambody is nonlocal and hyperdimensional in that it is not bound
or limited by the conventional laws of third-dimensional space and
linear-sequential time. Not constrained by the apparent rules of our
physical universe, the dreambody can synchronistically express itself
both inwardly and/or outwardly, which is to say that the dreambody
collapses the presumed boundary between what is happening inside of us
and events taking place in the outside world. The dreambody nonlocally
gives shape to our world as well as in-forming our experience of it.
An instantaneous feedback loop, the dreambody moment by moment
in-forms itself based on our reactions to it, mirroring back to us
ourselves in ever new ways. The dreambody is an all-embracing process
which includes and connects our body, the inner landscape of the
psyche and the outer physical world into a unified field of
expression. The dreambody acts as a bridge that couples, or links, the
inner world of our psyche with the outside world, while simultaneously
being a manifestation of their inseparability.
The dreambody is the mercurial spirit of the unconscious itself. Just
like a dream, the dreambody is an intelligent agency that fluidly
shape-shifts every moment based on our state of awareness and focus of
attention. Paradoxically, the dreambody is continually revealing
itself to us in its very veiling of itself. If we don't recognize the
dreambody, our non-recognition is itself an expression of the very
dreambody we are not recognizing. Mindell realized that the dreambody
is continually teaching and guiding us, as it is our guiding spirit.
The dreambody is a channel for, and is inseparable from, our inner
voice and genius. When we intimately connect with the dreambody, we
find our true "vocation," discovering what we are here to do.
The dreambody is nothing other than the evolutionary impulse of the
universe incarnating itself through us. Through the dreambody we are
being invited by the universe to "consciously" participate in our own
evolution. If we don't recognize the dreambody, the dreambody mirrors
back our own blindness. Once we see the dreambody, however, the
dreambody simply reflects back as well as enhances our own vision.
Existing outside of time, the dreambody is manifesting in our
seemingly time-bound world as our experience itself. The dreambody is
already fully actualized in a higher-dimension of our being and is
magnetically attracting us into itself as it materializes itself
through us into our world. The emerging dreambody literally inscribes
its signature on events in space and time. Events in linear time
become the third-dimensional medium through which the dreambody births
itself into our world. We, through the agency of our consciousness,
are simultaneously midwifes for and instruments through which the
dreambody incarnates itself into the third dimension. Just like a
dream at night, we are concurrently the dreamers while ourselves being
the living body of the unfolding dream.
Upon contemplating the dynamics of the dreambody, Mindell discovered
something extremely interesting. He realized that when the message
encoded in the symptom being created by the dreambody wasn't
consciously recognized, honored and expressed by a person, the
dreambody amplified its expression of itself, which is to say that the
dreambody made the symptom worse. Making the analogy to our physical
body, Mindell says, "When a lack of awareness of the body and the
meaning of body symptoms continues for a long time the body tends to
amplify its symptoms; its symptoms get more violent, angry and
produces unique postures and diseases." When we don't recognize what
the dreambody is revealing to us, the dreambody turns up the heat,
until we become fully cooked, so to speak, invariably developing acute
individual symptoms or even a collective species-wide psychic
Mindell realized that hidden, as if encoded, in the amplification of
the symptom or dis-ease, however, is the very key to its resolution.
The dreambody is amplifying itself into a symptom to get our attention
so as to bring something to our awareness. This "something" is the
critical nutrient we need in order to awaken to our higher potential.
The symptom that the dreambody is self-generating is simultaneously a
symbolic self-revelation of the way to heal it. To quote Mindell,
"Here is quite a paradox. Diseases can be self-healing; the dreambody
is its own medicine." Mindell realized that our symptoms aren't just
pathological, in that they are not just illnesses that need to be
cured. Our symptoms are also meaningful and purposeful in that they
convey messages to us. If their message is decoded, received and
integrated, our symptoms can be enormously valuable in expanding our
consciousness and spurring our personal and planetary evolution.
Just like we can contemplate the dreambody of an individual person, we
can view our species as having a collective, or planetary dreambody.
Seeing the deeper, collective planetary dreambody radically
re-contextualizes the nature of our experience. With the more expanded
meta-awareness offered us by Mindell's dreambody perspective, we can
view the entire planetary dreambody as the patient and the symptom
being an increasingly amplified "collective psychosis" that is
spreading like wildfire as it is being acted out in a myriad of ways
on the global stage. A species gone mad, it is as if we are enacting a
mass suicide ritual. We are destroying each other, the biosphere upon
which we depend for our very survival, as well as ourselves. The
extent of our collective madness has become hard to recognize because
it is so pervasive, it has thereby become normalized. Our collective
psychosis is an expression of the global dreambody amplifying itself
to a "tipping point" where we will necessarily have to go through a
"phase-shift," that is, an expansion of consciousness, in order to
survive as a species. The dreambody itself is showing us that the
solution to our world crisis can only come through an expansion of
In the most holistic sense, the planetary dreambody is in reality the
dreambody of the biosphere, which is manifesting a disease in
consciousness so as to potentially evolve itself. The dreambody is
awakening itself through the very expansion of consciousness which its
dis-ease demands of us. We are self-reflective organs of the greater
biospheric dreambody, in that each of our personal dreambodies
simultaneously reflects and nonlocally effects the greater biospheric
dreambody in which we are embedded. Both the individual and biospheric
dreambody are "holons," in that they are each parts of a greater
whole, while at the same time, being wholes unto themselves. Both the
individual and biospheric dreambody are holographically enfolded
reflections of each other.
The biospheric dreambody is transmitting itself both through our
individual process, as well as through the underlying pattern
in-forming collective world events. The biospheric dreambody's
symptoms/messages are arising in a symbolic script written across our
current world crisis. We need to become fluent in the symbolic
language of the dreambody, developing eyes to see and ears to hear
what is uttered forth by its living unified and unifying field.
The global ecological crisis is a glaring example of the biospheric
dreambody being "constellated" in a negative, and hence, destructive
manner. Humanity is collectively acting in ways – such as creating
global warming - that is destroying itself as well as the larger
planetary web of life. The dangers of global warming, with its
ever-increasing extreme weather and melting icecaps is an example of a
symptom of the biospheric dreambody amplifying itself, literally
primal screaming to be recognized. We are not passive victims of the
biospheric dreambody; it is reflecting back to us our own
participation in creating the very symptoms that we experience as
We are approaching an event horizon. Our world seems to be getting
crazier by the moment. The ever-increasing violence in our world is a
self-generating feedback loop with seemingly no exit strategy. For
example: First the United States invades the sovereign country of
Iraq, a country that posed no military threat to us whatsoever,
creating an absolute catastrophe in the process. Our attempt at a
solution is to amplify our mistake by adding more troops. In addition,
there is now increasingly serious talk about invading Iran. Our insane
leaders are simply repeating – and amplifying - their same mistake,
only this time the negative consequences will be orders of magnitude
These world events are expressions of the global dreambody - writ
large on the world stage - revealing itself to us as it drafts us into
its service and acts itself out through us, both individually and en
masse. The longer we go without getting the message and thus
continuing to act in the same ways, the more the symptoms will have no
choice but to amplify themselves through us on a global scale and
become more dramatic so as to try to get our attention. We, as a
species, are being pushed more and more into a corner, as if we are
right at the edge of a very tall cliff. Will we fall off? Or will we
wake up in time and see what we are doing to ourselves?
The global dreambody is attacking itself. The question is, are we
going to channel the energy that has been animating our
self-destruction into something positive and constructive?
Paradoxically, we are destroying ourselves as a species as a way of
potentially learning how "not" to destroy ourselves. Embedded in the
symptom is its own re-solution. We clearly haven't yet learned how to
not destroy ourselves, or we wouldn't be destroying ourselves and our
We have become hypnotized, as if having fallen under a spell, into
viewing our world in a limited, circumscribed and literal way. We need
to develop the eyes to see through the veil of the ordinarily
perceived linear, causal, material world and discern the signal that
the atemporal intelligence of the dreambody is sending us. It is
simply a question of whether we expand our consciousness and recognize
what the deeper pattern underlying the collective insanity that we are
acting out on the world stage is symbolically revealing to us.
Interestingly, the inner meaning of the word apocalypse is "something
hidden being revealed." The planetary dreambody is calling us into a
collective apocalypse as a way of potentially healing and evolving
When we "get the message" that the symptom is communicating, it
immediately reveals itself as the symbol that it has always been. A
symbol is a psychic energy transformer which acts as a unifying factor
in the psyche. Symbols are portals through which our consciousness
evolves itself. Symbols are the language of dreams and the dreambody.
When the message and symbolic meaning of the symptom has been
received, understood and "meta-bolized," our consciousness has
literally up-leveled itself. The affliction then transforms itself
into its own medicine, or "meta-cine" (meta-cinema). This is to
develop the lucid meta-awareness which recognizes that events in our
world are an out-picturing of a dynamic "movie," the source of which
is taking place within the collective unconscious itself. The universe
is recognized to be a living oracle, an unfolding revelation that,
just like a dream, is speaking symbolically.
Receiving and digesting the critical nutrients of the symbolic meaning
that our world is revealing to us, we have accessed what in alchemy is
called the "medicina catholica" (the panacea or universal medicine,
i.e., a remedy for all diseases, a cure-all). Just like in a dream,
once the meaning of the dreambody's symptom/symbol is consciously
received, it transforms itself as it has fulfilled its deeper purpose
of inspiring and guiding us into new ways of thinking, acting and
This symptom/symbol of the dreambody is a quantum phenomena, in that
it has no intrinsic, objective "solid" reality, but exists in a state
of open-ended potential at every moment. Just like in quantum physics,
where the infinite wave function collapses into a particular
manifestation through the act of observation, how our situation
manifests depends upon how we are going to "dream" it. Do we "not"
recognize what the dreambody is expressing to us, and be unconsciously
compelled to amplify our symptom, both individually and collectively,
which is to cause ourselves more suffering and continue to destroy
ourselves? Or do we recognize what the self-amplifying symptom of the
dreambody is revealing to us, in which case it transubstantiates
itself into and reveals itself as a living symbol which simultaneously
liberates the symptom? Everything depends upon if we recognize what is
being revealed. We are truly at a crossroads. The choice is truly
Upon showing this completed article to Mindell, the one comment he
felt drawn to add to the end of the article was a question. Reflecting
upon how the global dreambody is amplifying its symptom and heating
up, Mindell took out his pen and wrote after the last sentence, "So
how do we 'overheat' and burn up our ordinary selves to learn how to
live together?" This, indeed, is the question.
Paul Levy is an artist and a spiritually-informed political activist.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual awakening, he is a healer in
private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the
dream-like nature of reality. He is the author of "The Madness of
George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis," which is
available at his website www.awakeninthedream.com. Please feel free to
pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. You can
contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org; he looks forward to your
(c) 2007 Paul Levy and Mark Comings