The Tibetan on Dreams:
We will now touch upon the subject of dreams, which is assuming such importance in the minds of certain prominent psychologists and in certain schools of psychology. It is not my intention to criticize or attack their theories in any way. They have arrived at a most important and indicative fact – the fact of the interior, inner subjective life of humanity, which is based on ancient memories, on present teachings, and on contacts of various kinds. A true understanding of the dream-life of humanity would establish three facts:
- The fact of reincarnation.
- The fact of there being some activity during sleep or unconsciousness.
- The fact of the soul, of that which persists and has continuity.
These three facts provide a definite line of approach to the problems which we are considering and they would, if analyzed, substantiate the position of the esotericists.
The origin of the word “dream” is in itself debatable and nothing really sure and proved is known. Yet what is inferred and suggested is of itself of real significance. In a great standard authority, Webster’s Dictionary, two origins of the word are given. One traces the word back to a Sanskrit root, meaning “to harm or to hurt”; the other traces it back to an old Anglo-Saxon root, signifying “joy or bliss.” Is there not a chance, that both derivations have in them a measure of truth, and that in their mutual tracing back to some most ancient origin and root we should discover a real meaning? In any case two thoughts emerge from an understanding study of these derivations.
The first is that dreams were originally regarded as undesirable, probably because they revealed or indicated, in the majority of cases, the astral life of the dreamer. In Atlantean times, when man was basically astral in his consciousness, his outer physical consciousness was largely controlled by his dreams. In those days, the guidance of the daily life, of the religious life, and of the psychological life (such as it was) was founded on a lost science of dreams, and it is this lost science (little as he may like the idea) which the modern psychologist is rapidly recovering and seeking to interpret. Most of the people (though necessarily not all of them) who find themselves needing the care and instruction of the psychologist are Atlantean in consciousness, and it is this fact which has predisposed the psychologist unconsciously to lay the present emphasis upon dreams and their interpretation.
May I point out again that the true psychology will only appear and right techniques be used when psychologists ascertain (as a first and needed measure) the rays, the astrological implications and the type of consciousness (Aryan or Atlantean) of the patient.
However, as time elapsed, the dreams of the more intelligent minds became of an increasingly forward-looking, idealistic nature; these, as they came to the surface and were remembered and recorded, began to control the brain of man so that the Anglo-Saxon emphasis on joy and bliss eventually became descriptive of many so-called dreams. We have then the emergence of the utopias, the fantasies, the idealistic presentations of future beauty and joy which distinguishes the thought life of the advanced human being, and which find their expression in such presented (and as yet unfulfiled) hopes as Plato’s Republic, Milton’s Paradise Regained and the best Utopian, idealistic creative productions of our Western poets and writers. Thus Occident and Orient together present a theory of dreams – of a lower astral or higher intuitional nature – which are a complete picture of the wish life of the race. These range all the way from the dirty ideas and the bestial filth, drawn forth at times from their patients by psychologists (thus revealing a wish life and an astral consciousness of a very low order), up to the idealistic schemes and the carefully thought-out paradises and cosmic orders of the higher types of aspirants. All, however, come into the realm of Dreams. This is true, whether such dreams are tied up with frustrated sex or unfulfiled idealism; they are all indicative of an urge, a powerful urge, either to selfish satisfaction or group betterment and group welfare.
These dreams can embody in themselves ancient astral illusions and glamors, potent and strong because of ancient origin and racial desire, or they can embody the sensitive response of advanced humanity to systems and regimes of existence which are hovering on the borderland of manifestation, awaiting future precipitation and expression.
This will indicate to you how vast is this subject, for it includes not only the past astral habits of the race, ready – when given certain pathological conditions or fostered by fretting frustrations – to assert themselves, but they also include the ability of the spiritually-minded aspirant in the world today to touch the intended plans for the race and thus see them as desirable possibilities.
Having thus indicated the scope of our theme, I would like to point out that I seek only, in the limited space at my disposal, to do two things:
Touch briefly upon the conditions which foster dreams.
Indicate the sources from which dreams can come and what produces them.
I do not expect to have these theories accepted by the average psychologist, but there may be somewhere those minds which will be open enough to accept some of the suggestions and thus benefit themselves and certainly benefit their patients.
The major cause of a distressing dream life is, in every case, a frustration or an inability of the soul to impose its wishes and designs upon its instrument, the man. These frustrations fall into three categories:
Sex frustration. This type of frustration leads in many cases, especially in the average person, to an over-emphasis of the fact of sex, to an uncontrolled sex thought-life, to sexual jealousies (oft unrecognized) and to physical underdevelopment.
Frustrated ambition. This dams back the resources of the life, produces constant inner fret, leads to envy, hatred, bitterness, intense dislike of the successful, and causes abnormalities of many kinds.
Frustrated love. This would perhaps be included under sex frustration by the average psychologist, but it is not so viewed by the esotericist. There can be full sexual satisfaction or else complete freedom from its grip and yet the outgoing magnetic love nature of the subject may meet only with frustration and lack of response.
Where these three types of frustration exist, you will frequently have a vivid, unwholesome dream life, physical liabilities of many kinds and a steadily deepening unhappiness.
You will note that all these frustrations are, as might be expected, simply expressions of frustrated desire, and it is in this particular field (tied up as it is with the Atlantean consciousness) that the work of the modern psychologist primarily and necessarily lies. In an effort to bring the patient to an understanding of his difficulty and in line with that which constitutes the way of least resistance, the psychologist endeavors to relieve the situation by teaching him to evoke and bring to the surface of his consciousness forgotten episodes and his dream life. Two important facts are sometimes forgotten and hence constitute a fruitful source of the frequent failure to bring relief.
First, the patient as he descends into the depths of his dream life, will bring to the surface not only those things which are undesirable in his unrecognized “wish-life” but also those which were present in previous lives. He is penetrating into a very ancient astral past. Not only is this the case, but also – through the open door of his own astral life – he can tap or tune in on the astral life of the race. He then succeeds in producing the emergence of racial evil which may have absolutely no personal relation to him at all. This is definitely a dangerous thing to do, for it may prove stronger than the man’s present capacity to handle.
Secondly, in his desire to be freed from the things in himself which are producing trouble, in his desire to please the psychologist (which is encouraged by certain of them under the method of “transference”) and in his desire to produce what he believes the psychologist wants him to produce, he will frequently draw upon his personal imagination, upon the collective imagination or, telepathically, tune in on the imagination of the one who is seeking to treat and help him. He, therefore, produces something which is basically untrue and misleading.
These two points warrant careful attention and the patient must be safeguarded from himself, from the environing racial thought life, and also from the psychologist whose aid he is seeking. A difficult thing to do, is it not?
I would like, at this point, to make what I feel to be a needed and suggestive interpolation. There are three main ways in which the person who seeks psychological aid can be helped and this is true of all types and cases. There is, first of all, the method with which we have been dealing. This method delves into the patient’s past; it seeks to unearth the basic determining conditions which lie hidden in the happenings of childhood or infancy. These discovered events, it is held, gave a wrong direction or twist to the desire nature or to the thought life; they initiated predisposing germ-complexes, and therefore constitute the source of all the trouble. This method (even if the psychologist does not realize it) can carry over into past lives, and thus open doors which it might be well to leave shut until they can be more safely opened.
The second method which is sometimes combined with the previous one is to fill the present moment with constructive creative occupation and so drive out the undesirable elements in the life through the dynamic expulsive power of new and paramount, engrossing interests. I would like to point out that this method could be more safely applied if the subjective dream life and the hidden difficulties were left untreated – temporarily at least. This method is (for the average ordinary person who is pure Atlantean in consciousness but is just beginning to develop mental activity) usually a sound and safe way to work, provided the psychologist can gain the understanding cooperation of the person concerned.
The third method, which has the sanction of the Hierarchy and which is the one its members employ in Their work, is to bring in consciously the power of the soul. This power then pours through the personality life, vehicles and consciousness, and thus cleanses and purifies all aspects of the lower nature. It will be apparent to you, however, that this method is of use only to those who have reached the point in their unfoldment (and there are many such today) where the mind can be reached and trained, and where the soul can consequently impress the brain, via the mind.
If these three methods are studied, you can arrive at an understanding as to the three systems which psychologists could elaborate and develop in order to handle the three types of modern consciousness – the Lemurian, which is the lowest found upon our planet at this time; the Atlantean, which is the commonest found today, and the Aryan, which is developing and unfolding with great rapidity. At present, psychologists are using the lowest type of aid for all groups and states of consciousness. This does not seem wise, does it?
The question now arises as to the source of dreams. Again, as in those cases we considered in connection with the sources of guidance, I shall simply enumerate such origins and leave the student of psychology to make adequate application of the information, when faced with a dream problem. These sources are about ten in number and could be enumerated as follows:
1. Dreams based upon Brain Activity. In these cases, the subject is sleeping too lightly. He never really leaves his body and the thread of consciousness is not completely withdrawn as it is in deep sleep or in unconsciousness. He remains, therefore, closely identified with his body, and because of the partial withdrawal of the thread of consciousness, his condition is more like a dazed, benumbed self-recognition than real sleep. This condition may persist throughout the entire night or period of sleep, but it is usually found present only in the first two hours of sleep and for about one hour prior to returning to full waking consciousness. The problems, worries, pleasures, concerns, etc., etc. of the waking hours are still agitating the brain cells, but the recognition and interpretation of these vague or agitated impressions is uncertain and of a confused nature. No importance whatever need be attached to this type of dream. They indicate physical nervousness and poor sleeping capacity but have no deep psychological significance or spiritual meaning. These dreams are the most common at this time, owing to the prevalence of the Atlantean consciousness and the stress under which people live today. It is easy to attach undue importance to the wild and stupid or jumbled vagaries of a restless brain, yet the sole trouble is that the man is not sleeping soundly enough.
The effort to make people dream and to train them to recover their dream life when they are naturally sound sleepers, and drop easily into deep and dreamless sleep is not good. The evocation of the dream life, as brought about through the methods of certain schools of psychology, should only be brought about forcibly (if one may use this word in that connection) through the determination of the will during the later stages upon the Path. To do so earlier produces frequently a kind of continuity of consciousness which adds the complexities of the astral plane to those of daily living upon the physical plane; few people are competent to handle the two and, when there is persistence in the endeavor to evoke the dream life, the brain cells get no rest and forms of sleeplessness are apt to supervene. Nature wills that all forms of life should “sleep” at times.
We now come to two forms of dreams which are related to the astral or emotional nature and which are of great frequency.
2. Dreams of Remembrance. These are dreams which are a recovery of the sights and sounds encountered in the hours of sleep upon the astral plane. It is on this plane that the man is usually found when the thread of consciousness is separated from the body. In this case, the man is either participating in certain activities, or he is in the position of the onlooker who sees actual sights, performances, people, etc., etc., just as any person can see them as he walks down a street in any large city or as he looks out of a window in any environment. These sights and sounds will often be dependent upon the wish-life and the predilections of the subject, upon his likes and dislikes and his desires and recognized attractions. He will seek for and often find those he loves; he will sometimes search for and find those he seeks to damage, and find occasion to hurt those he hates; he will favor himself by participating in the fulfilment of what he desires, which is always imaginatively possible upon the astral plane. Such desires may range all the way from desire for sexual gratification to the longing of the spiritually-minded aspirant to see the Master, the Christ or the Buddha. Thought forms, created by the similar wishes of the multitude, will be found to meet his desire and – on returning to his body in the morning – he brings with him the recollection of that satisfaction in the form of a dream. These dreams, related to astral satisfactions, are all of them in the nature of glamor or illusion; they are self-evoked and self-related; they indicate however real experience, even if only astral in accomplishment and can be of value to the interested psychologist in so far as they indicate the character trends of the patient. One difficulty can, however, be found. These thought forms (to which the man has responded and in which he has found an imaginative satisfaction) embody the expression of the wish-life of the race and exist, therefore, upon the astral plane for all to see. Many people do see and contact them and can identify themselves with them upon returning to waking consciousness. In fact, however, they have really done no more than register these thought forms in the same manner as one can register the contents of a shop window when passing by. A shocked horror can, for instance, induce a person to relate, quite innocently, a dream which is, in reality, no more than the registering of a sight or experience which was witnessed in the hours of sleep but with which the man has no real connection whatever. This experience he relates with dismay and disgust; most feelingly he tells the experience to the psychologist, and frequently receives an interpretation which reveals to him the depths of evil to which his unrealized desires apparently bear witness. His unexpressed longings are “brought to the surface” by the psychologist. He is told that these longings, when faced, will then leave him, and that the ghost of his mental and psychological disorder will then be laid. Unless the psychologist is of real enlightenment, the subject of his care is then saddled with an experience which was never his but which he simply witnessed. I give this as an example of great frequency and of much damaging value. Until psychologists recognize the actuality of the life of humanity when separated at night from the physical body, such errors will be of increasing occurrence. The implications are obvious.
3. Dreams which are Recollections of true Activity. These dreams are registrations of true activities. They are not simply witnessed, registered and related by the subject. As soon as a person has reached:
- A state of real integration of the astral body and the vital or etheric body, plus the physical body, then these three aspects function harmoniously.
- A capacity to pursue ordered activity at night or in the hours of sleep. Then the man can impress the physical brain with a knowledge of those activities and on returning to waking consciousness put it to actual use by the physical body.
The man’s dreams will then be, in reality, nothing more nor less than the relation of the continuance of the day’s activities, as they have been carried forward on the astral plane. They will be simply the record, registered on the physical brain, of his doings and emotions, his purposes and intentions, and his recognized experiences. They are as real and as true as any of those which have been recorded by the brain, during waking hours. They are, nevertheless, only partial records in the majority of cases, and mixed in nature, for the glamors, illusions and the perceptions of the doings of others (as recorded in the second category of dreams above) will still have some effect. This condition of mixed recording, of erroneous identifications, etc., leads to much difficulty. The psychologist has to make allowance for:
- The age or soul experience of the patient. He has to determine whether the related dream is an illusory participation, a perceived or registered activity, or a real and true happening in the experience of the man during the hours of sleep.
- The ability of the subject to bring through correctly the related experience. This ability is dependent upon the pre-establishing of continuity of consciousness, so that at the moment of return, the brain of the man concerned is easily impressed by the experience of the true man when out of the body.
- The freedom of the patient from the desire to make an impression upon the psychologist, his innate truthfulness, his control of the imagination, and his power of verbal expression.
Where advanced aspirants and disciples are concerned, we have a somewhat different situation. The demonstrated integration has involved the mind nature and is involving the soul likewise. The activity, registered, recorded and related, is that of a server upon the astral plane. The activities which interest a world server are, therefore, quite different in nature to those earlier experienced and related. They will be concerned with deeds which are related to other people, to the fulfilment of duties involving other people, to the teaching of groups rather than individuals, etc. These differences, when carefully studied, will be recognized by the psychologist of the future (who will necessarily be also an esotericists) as most revealing because they will indicate in an interesting manner, the spiritual status and hierarchical relationship of the patient.
4. Dreams which are of a Mental Nature. These have their origin upon the mental plane and presuppose a consciousness which is, at least, becoming more sensitive mentally. At any rate, they are not recorded in the waking brain consciousness until there is some measure of mind control. I might add at this point that one of the major difficulties with which a psychologist is confronted, as he attempts to interpret the dream life of his patient, is based not only on his inability esoterically to “place” his patient as to ray type, evolutionary status, astrological indications and inherent characteristics, but also he is confronted with the inability of the patient to relate his dream correctly. What is presented to the psychologist is a confused and imaginative description of brain reactions, astral phenomena, and (where there is a measure of intellectual poise) some mental phenomena also. But there is no capacity to differentiate. This confusion is due to lack of alignment, and of true mental relation between the mind and the brain. It becomes, therefore, oft a case of the “blind leading the blind”.
Dreams which are of mental origin are fundamentally of three kinds:
Those dreams which are based on contact with the world of thought forms. This comprises a vast realm of ancient thought forms, of modern thought forms, and those thought forms also which are nebulous and emerging. They are of purely human origin and are definitely a part of the Great Illusion. They constitute, in the bulk of cases, man’s effort at the interpretation of life and its meaning down the ages. They merge with the soul of glamor which is astral in nature. It will be obvious to you that these thought forms comprise all possible themes. They do not embody the wish-life of the race, but are concerned with men’s thoughts about the ideas and ideals which – down the ages – have controlled human life and which, therefore, form the basis of all history.
Those dreams which are geometrical in nature, and in which the subject becomes aware of those basic patterns, forms and symbols which are the blue prints of the archetypes determining the evolutionary process, and which produce eventually the materializing of God’s Plan. They are also the great symbols of man’s unfolding consciousness. For instance, the recognition of the point, the line, the triangle, the square, the Cross, the pentagon and similar symbols are simply the recognition of a connection with, and a founding upon, certain lines of force which have, to date, determined the evolutionary process. There are seven such forms, evolved and recognized in every race and, for our present purposes, there are, therefore, twenty-one basic symbols which, in geometrical form, embody the concepts which determine the Lemurian, Atlantean and Aryan civilizations. It is interesting to realize that there are fourteen more to come. The symbols which are already evolved are deeply ingrained in the human consciousness, and lead, for instance, to the constant use of the cross in its many diverse forms. Two symbols are at this time taking form as the basis of the coming civilization. These are the lotus and the flaming torch. Hence the frequent appearance of these two in the life of meditation and the dream life of the world aspirants.
Those dreams which are symbolic presentations of teaching received in the hours of sleep by aspirants and disciples in the Hall of Learning on the highest level of the astral plane, and in the Hall of Wisdom on the mental plane. In the first Hall is the best that the race has already learnt through its Atlantean experience and in the world of glamor. Through these, wise choice can be developed. The Hall of Wisdom embodies the teaching which the two coming races will develop and unfold, and thus trains the disciple and the initiate.
I cannot do more than thus indicate the nature of these three basic mental experiences which find their way into the dream life of the man on the physical plane. These are given expression by him in the form of related dreams, creative work, and the expression of the ideals which are building the human consciousness.
5. Dreams which are Records of Work done. This activity the aspirant carries on at night and when absent from the body, and it is carried on
- In the borderland between the astral plane and the physical plane.
- In the so-called “summerland” wherein the entire wish-life of the race is centered and all racial desire takes form.
- In the world of glamor which is part of the astral plane which embodies the ancient past, which fertilizes the desire life of the present, and which indicates the nature of the desire life of the immediate future.
These phases and spheres of activity are very real in nature. Aspirants who succeed in functioning with any measure of consciousness on the astral plane are all occupied, at some level or another, with some form of constructive activity or work. This activity, selfishly performed (for many aspirants are selfish) or unselfishly carried forward, constitutes much of the material of many of the so-called dreams, as related by the average intelligent citizen. They warrant no more attention or mysteriously applied interpretation or symbolic elucidation than do the current activities and events of daily life as carried on in waking consciousness upon the physical plane. They are of three kinds:
- The activity of the patient himself when freed, in sleep, from the physical body.
- His observation of the activities of others. These he is apt to appropriate unwillingly and quite erroneously to himself because of the egocentric tendency of the average human mind.
- Instruction which is given to him by those responsible for his unfoldment and training.
This category of dreams is becoming increasingly prevalent as the alignment of the astral body and the physical body is perfected and continuity of consciousness is slowly developed. The activity involves religious activity, sexual living in its many phases (for not all of them are physical, though all of them are related to the problem of the polar opposites and the essential duality of manifestation) political activity, creative and artistic activity and the many other forms of human expression. They are as varied and as diverse as those in which humanity indulges on the physical plane; they are the source of much confusion in the mind of the psychologist and need most careful consideration and analysis.
6. Telepathic Dreams. These dreams are simply the record upon the physical brain consciousness of real events which are telepathically communicated from one person to another. Some friend or relation undergoes some experience. He seeks to communicate it to his friend or – at the moment of crisis – he thinks powerfully of his friend. This registers on the friend’s mind but is often only recovered in the hours of sleep and is brought through in the morning as a man’s own personal experience. Many of the dreams related by people are records of the experiences of other people of which a man becomes aware and which he is appropriating to himself in all sincerity.
We come now to a group of dreams which are a part of the experience of those people who have made a definite soul contact and are in process of establishing a close link with the world of souls. The “things of the kingdom of God” are opening up before them and the phenomena, the happenings, the ideas, and the life and knowledge of the soul realm are being registered with increasing accuracy in the mind. From the mind, they are being transferred to or imprinted upon the brain cells. We have therefore:
7. Dreams which are Dramatizations by the Soul. This type of dream is a symbolic performance by the soul for the purpose of giving instruction, warning or command to its instrument, man, on the physical plane. These dramatic or symbolic dreams are becoming increasingly numerous in the case of aspirants and disciples, particularly in the early stages of soul contact. They can express themselves in the hours of sleep and also during the meditation period or process. Only the man himself, from his knowledge of himself, can rightly interpret this class of dreams. It will be apparent to you also that the ray type of the soul and of the personality will largely determine the type of symbolism or the nature of the dramatization employed. This must be determined, therefore, by the psychologist before interpretation can be intelligently given and prove useful.
8. Dreams concerned with Group Work. In this type of dream, the soul trains or fits its vehicle, the lower man, for group activity. This type of dream is also the higher correspondence of the dreams dealt with under our fifth heading. The group work involved is not this time carried on in the three worlds of human expression but in the world of soul life and soul experience. Soul knowledges and purposes are involved; work in a Master’s group may be registered and regarded as a dream in spite of its reality and basically phenomenal occurrence. The realities of the kingdom of God may for a time seep through into the brain consciousness in the form of dreams. Much of the experiences recorded in the mystical writings during the past few centuries in the Occident, are in this category. This is a point worth careful consideration.
9. Dreams which are Records of Instruction. This type of dream embodies the teaching given by a Master to His accepted disciple. With these I shall not deal. When a man can receive these instructions consciously, either at night when absent from the body or in meditation, he has to learn to direct them correctly from mind to brain and to interpret them accurately. They are communicated by the Master to the man’s soul. The soul then impresses them on the mind, which has been held steady in the light, and then the mind, in its turn, formulates them into thought forms which are then thrown down into the quiescent waiting brain. According to the mental development and educational advantages of the disciple so will be his response and his correct use of the communicated teaching.
10. Dreams connected with the World Plan, the solar plan, and the cosmic scheme. These can range all the way from the insane brain and recorded experiences of the mentally unbalanced to the wise and measured teaching of the World Knowers. This teaching is communicated to the world disciples and can be regarded by them as either an inspired utterance or a dream with a deep significance. It should be remembered in both cases (the mentally unbalanced and the trained disciple) that a similar condition exists; there is a direct line from the soul to the brain. This is true of both types. These dreams or recorded instructions indicate a high stage of evolutionary advancement.
A consideration of all the above will indicate to you the complexity of the subject. The superficial student or the mystically inclined person is apt to feel that all these technicalities are of minor importance. The charge is often made that the “jargon” of occultism and its academic information is of no true importance where knowledge of the divine is concerned. It is claimed that it is not necessary to know about the planes and their various levels of consciousness, or about the Law of Rebirth and the Law of Attraction; it is an unnecessary tax upon the human mind to study the technical foundation for a belief in brotherhood, or to consider our distant origin and our possible future. It is nevertheless just possible that if the mystics down the ages had recognized these truths we might have had a better managed world. It is only today that those forces are being set in motion which will lead, to a truer understanding of the human family, a wiser comprehension of the human equipment, and, therefore, to an effort to bring human living into line with the basic spiritual truths. The sorry condition of the world today is not a result of the intellectual unfoldment of man as is often claimed, but it is the working out of the unalterable effects of causes, originated in the past of the Aryan race.
That good can come from evil, that the bad effects of man’s mental laziness can be transmuted into teaching point in the future and that humanity is now intelligent enough to learn wisdom will be the result of the widespread dissemination of the academic truths of the esoteric teaching and its correct interpretation by the trained minds in the Occident. The East has had this teaching for ages and has produced numerous commentaries upon it – the work of the finest analytical minds that the world has ever seen – but it has made no mass use of the knowledge, and the people in the Orient do not profit by it, as a whole. It will be different in the West and is already modifying and influencing human thought on a large scale; it is permeating the structure of our civilization and will eventually salvage it. Be not, therefore, afraid of the technicalities of wisdom but seek for the reason of the undesirable reaction against them in the latent inertia of the mystical mind, plus the lowered vital condition of the entire race.
Esoteric Psychology II – Chapter II – The Ray of Personality – Some Problems of Psychology
Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul