Chuck’s Place: The Reality of Reality

I awaken. An abundance of dream traces compete for attention. I have been in many dreams, many worlds. Calmly, I reach for pen, journal, and light, trying desperately to hold onto the images. This is not possible. With the light I consolidate into my solid self, my ego takes over and the bulk of the night’s journeys are erased from memory. This world, the “real world,” dominates the mind, as it begins to categorize, define, and judge what’s left of the myriad of the night’s adventures.

Quantum physicists might parallel this experience of waking from dreams with a mysterious phenomenon that occurs at the quantum level of reality called: the collapse of the wavefunction. When a very small particle—which is a minute building block of everything in our world, including our physical bodies— is observed, it presents as a solid object. When that same particle is not observed, it behaves as a wave—that is, a spread-out form of energy that is in many places at once.

A wave can approach a building and go through several windows at the same time, and yet, if a scientist peeks at it while it is doing so, it suddenly collapses into a localized single particle that only goes through one window. The rest of the wave disappears. Sheer quantum magic!

The parallel I draw here between awakening from a dream state to consciousness, and collapse of the wavefunction, is similar to the collapse of our energy selves, as we go from spread-out energy beings, capable of living in many parallel states or dream worlds simultaneously, into a single solid ego being. With the dawn of the awakening ego self comes the collapse of the broad energetic self with all its multitudinous lives, in many dreams, suddenly collapsing into the consolidated solid self of this world.

This world of solid objects presents as the only real world and, yet, quantum physicists know, for a fact, that at a subatomic level it only becomes solid when it is looked at; otherwise it’s a spread-out world of energy. The solid world we inhabit is real, but it is only a frozen moment upon the vast energetic underpinnings of who we are. At the deepest level, we are—all of us—like the result of a pebble being tossed into a pond: the energetic concentric circles that form outwardly; vast waves of interconnected energy.

But for now, let us examine that frozen moment. So, what is the reality of the collapsed wavelength, the solid ego self? The magic is its ability to generate and maintain a cohesive world, completely independent of its underlying broader nature. However, to pull this off requires a major ego inflation. That is, the belief that we are all that there is, that we are the masters of everything, we are discrete independent objects, disconnected from everything around us. This is solid illusion! Objectively speaking, this construction is an act of hubris and a crime against reality. Underneath it all, the ego feels and knows it is not on solid ground, and it is frightened.

As I was writing the draft of this blog, I checked my office messages. A voice that did not identify itself nor leave a phone number, asked the question: “What can lead to a sudden shift, a sudden loss of self-worth or self-esteem?” The answer is: getting pulled into the feeling experience of the true nature of the ego’s position: alienated and disconnected. Feelingwise, all egos feel a deep underlying sense of dread, aloneness, badness, unworthiness, and inadequacy. This is objective truth and, hence, appropriate. In fact, life in our solid world predisposes us to a bi-polar experience. In some moments we need to inflate—act as if we are solidly grounded—and at other moments compensate this by experiencing dips in self-worth or extended moments of depression, as we sink into the emotional quicksand of our not so solid foundations.

If we can live as solid objects but acquiesce to the truth of our underlying wave status, we can bypass being consumed by, or staying attached to, these negative feelings. If we can admit we are inadequate and isolated, not because we are bad, but because it is the necessary objective consequence of being a solid, we can free ourselves of the responsibility of having caused our state of inadequacy. As solid beings we are simply unable to feel and know our full selves as interconnected to everything. So, don’t take it personally. And indeed, as Carlos Castaneda continually stresses: Suspend judgment! If we don’t get identified with the ego’s unrelenting judgments of self and others we open up access to our broader wavelength selves.

I operate in this solid world, every day, from a wavelength perspective. I know that, at some level, even if I’m not allowed “to peek” that everything is energy. I know that energy is interconnected and everywhere at once. These are the waves, the ripples on the pond of the multidimensional self. And I watch, constantly, for the ripples of energy upon the surface, in the form of synchronicities.

Synchronicity is evidence of our total interconnectedness. Each day, I watch in awe, as those ripples of meaning surface in succession, as I move through my encounters of the day and help others examine the meanings of the events in their lives. Everything is meaningful.

I am utterly compelled now to write of the latest ripple, an example of synchronicity that has just happened and has been weaving itself, over the past few days, into every facet of writing this blog, appearing over and over again. Two nights ago, Jan shared an old dream with me where, despite being wounded and bleeding from the hip, she was totally preoccupied by a giant praying mantis pecking away at her skull. This dream mirrored the initiation of her recapitulation. We had been discussing synchronicity when she shared the dream, which had its own synchronicity embedded in it.

The next day, the book, The Adventure of Self-Discovery, by Stanislav Grof, which I had ordered, arrived in the mail. At random, I opened the book to page 152 where Grof was describing a synchronicity that Joseph Campbell had relayed at a seminar. Campbell says: “…We happen to live in New York City, on the fourteenth floor in an apartment on Waverly Place and Sixth Avenue. The last thing you would expect to see in New York City is a praying mantis. The praying mantis plays the role of the hero in the Bushman folklore. I was reading the Bushman mythology—all about the praying mantis. The room in which I was doing this reading has two windows; one window faces up Sixth Avenue, the other window face toward the Hudson river. This is the window I look out of all the time; the window on Sixth Avenue, I do not think I have opened more than twice during the forty-odd years we have lived there.

I was reading about the praying mantis—the hero—and suddenly I felt an impulse to open the window facing Sixth Avenue. I opened the window and looked out to the right and there was a praying mantis walking up the building. He was there, right on the rim of my window! …He looked at me and his face looked just like a Bushman’s face.”

Later that evening, I sat with Jan on the couch and read her this quote. As we talked a small bright green insect with long wings, very much looking like a miniature praying mantis, was crawling on the lampshade behind my head as I read!

Finally, as I sat next to Jan on another couch this morning, finishing the draft of this blog, and just as I am writing about the praying mantis experience, Jan interrupts me. She has been researching the raven in mythology after her recent experiences of the raven. In Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, on pages 187-8, he says: “The raven has a wealth of myth and lore surrounding it. In many ways it is comparable to the coyote tales of the plains Indians, the Bushman tales of the mantis and other societies in which an animal plays both a significant and confusing role. The coyote was both trickster and wise being—fool and wise one. This was true of the mantis in the tales of the Kalahari Bushmen.”

Sheer quantum magic!

I close with an interaction between Carlos Castaneda and the quantum shaman himself, don Juan, over a discussion about solid and energetic reality. In The Art of Dreaming on page 4, Carlos writes:

I can’t conceive the world in any other way, don Juan,” I complained. “It is unquestionably a world of objects. To prove it, all we have to do is bump into them.”

Of course it’s a world of objects. We are not arguing that.” (don Juan speaking.)

What are you saying then?

I am saying that this is first a world of energy; then it’s a world of objects. If we don’t start with the premise that it is a world of energy, we’ll never be able to perceive energy directly. We’ll always be stopped by the physical certainty of what you’ve just pointed out: the hardness of objects.”

And so, there is reality and then there is reality.

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,

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