Sunday, January 25, 2015
Waking, Being, Dreaming, chapter six continued
Continuing from this post:
Imagination is involved in both waking and dreaming. Recall earlier that the brain wave patterns of both waking and dreaming sleep are similar. Even more so with lucid dreaming, since one is conscious that they are dreaming. Conscious awareness thus seems to be the indicator of when one is 'awake' in both states. In the case of the waking state it is awareness of the normally unconscious stream of consciousness, as well at the meta-awareness that watches this. That's one reason meditative traditions further develop this awareness during sleep, to make one's self-perspective a conscious, observant participant. Hence this is why it is called 'awakening' in the enlightenment sense.
However imagination does not mean something devoid of realty but rather the way our embodiment interacts with objective reality. In dreaming, although we turn off our sensory connection with the outside world, we nonetheless maintain a dream ego that operates within a dream world outside that ego, such world based on our memory of the waking outside world. The image schema that connect us to the outside world through our sensori-motor apparatus are operative in our 'imagination' during dreaming sleep as well.
Still, awakening in the traditional sense is about this meta or pure awareness that sees the content of both the waking and dreaming state as illusory, not the real deal. But the traditions didn't have the advantage of the third-person neuroscience to realize that imagination is not illusory or completely made up but a natural part of how we connect with the real in both waking and dreaming. This also contextualizes the so-called awakened state from a metaphysical absolute to a more naturalistic expression of our biological heritage located below reflective awareness in our primal and nondual image schema.
Thompson also said something interesting on pp. 198 – 200 to highlight the last point. In a discussion with Allan Wallace the latter thinks that this meta-awareness is indeed awakening and superior to and above --i.e., more real than--ordinary wakefulness and non-lucid sleep. Thompson disagrees, at least when it comes to non-lucid dreaming. These other kinds of dreams are important for learning and memory consolidation and acquiring skills, as well as developing one's creative abilities. Lucidity might inhibit these activities. Like deep dreamless sleep is generally noted for allowing us to recuperate from the day's activities and intent focusing, to just go on idle so to speak. Lucidity during this might also interfere with that process.
Thompson asserts that these other non-lucid dreaming states are also authentic, real and useful, so lucidity should not be the measure of or solution for everything. I'd add this is also true of our ordinary waking state as well. Otherwise we end up identifying with this meta-awareness as the be all and end all of enlightenment with the resultant dualistic, hierarchical and metaphysical notions between the real and the apparent typical of such traditions, as well as of formal operational reasoning. I've noted elsewhere that the latter is also operational in the the former, since said traditions emerged around the time formop did so. As I've noted before, ironically it is he rational ego of formop that is the witness or this meta-awareness, and also given this capacity for a more objective third person perspective of ourselves it tends to fall into such dichotomous and metaphysical separation from our embodiment and the so-called relative plane in a heavenly, or at least completely abstract, plane. More on that in the next chapter.