Suspend judgment, and entertain this dream, the current consensus reality, with the Discipline of Awe:*
An incredibly aggressive, take no prisoners energy, has swept control of world leadership. Mightily, it rests the validity of its case upon the strength of its heated economy, the ultimate defense against want and need.
Meanwhile, the Earth heats up, as the oceans rise and the lands tremble. Denial is the proffered tool of this new consensus reality, promised to stave off all disruptions to normal life. Can that really work?
Enter stage East, the coronavirus, in the home of the heart of world manufacturing. Could a tiny virus seriously challenge the very financial order that upholds world leadership? Will aggression, denial, and science be able to circumvent collapse? What’s going to happen next?!!!!
The greatest defense against anxious infection from the dream we are in, our current consensus reality, is to rest upon the perch of Awe, which for shamans is the very definition of discipline. Awe is the calmness of Buddha, as he faced, without resistance, but also without attachment, all the extreme dreams of Maya, as they presented themselves to him.
The potential trapping generated by the dream of current reality lies in how powerfully it invites fear and offense. As soon as one succumbs to those emotions they lose their edge. To spend one’s emotional energy in bursts of extremes actually feeds the consensus reality of that dream, a dream dependent upon the energy of both unbridled and tortured emotion.
Yes, the dream we are in now may be experienced as utterly ruthless. Yet, as monstrous as that dream interpretation might be, the current dream’s medicinal value lies in its ability to test us; to drive us to greater awareness, if we refuse to relinquish our emotional energy to it.
Of course, this lands one in a lonely, inadequate position. Because, if one separates oneself from the tenets of the dream—the consensus reality it constructs—one is excommunicated from the safety of the party line. One is sentenced to think for oneself; an overwhelmingly lonely and fragile task.
It’s not that one loses one’s connection to emotion through the discipline of awe, but one does lay claim to one’s emotional self. One is no longer a victim of the formula that siphons one’s energy, but instead becomes totally responsible for one’s own energy.
For example, when we watch a movie, we suspend judgment and temporarily enter the consensus reality of the story. While watching the movie, we will likely have the emotions prescribed by the archetypal theme being dramatized. However, generally, soon after we leave the movie, we are restored to our familiar selves, detached from the characters or emotions of the movie. We reclaim our emotional autonomy and reaffirm our interpretation of reality.
To take possession of one’s emotional self is to have one’s emotions, without subscribing to upholding the reality being presented. In this respect, one exercises one’s ability to have a romance with emotion, without attaching to the dream or story as my agreed-upon reality.
By grabbing onto one’s personal intent, one is freed from the framework and limitations ‘imposed’ by the consensus dream. With intent, one is freed to respectfully change dreams. This is in no way a denial of the consensus dream; it remains quite real. However, it is experienced as only one of many alternatives. There are other consensual realities to join, or perhaps just visit, as a warrior-traveler, embarked upon the definitive journey of freedom.
To remain fully in this consensus dream, the current reality, but to refuse an interpretation of it that renders one a depleted victim, is a form of changing dreams. To see its predatory dominance as an expression of the true condition of life, one that can be used to sharpen awareness by getting over self-importance, transforms the dream into an evolutionary opportunity.
One does not have to agree to attach to a glum interpretation of this consensus dream either; that’s the true course of freedom. That’s the real revolution: to refuse to be a victim of the consensus dream; to not attach and to not allow one’s emotional energy to be offended, thus sinking into a hopeless interpretation of reality.
The shift beyond this consensus dream is aided by using death as an advisor. Indeed, it is the ultimate shamanic maneuver. In the Tensegrity workshops I attended for many years, every speaker would introduce themselves by stating their name, followed by the qualifier, “…a being who is going to die.”
I have to admit that my own self-importance interfered with my being able to mimic this style of introduction. I never could do it; it seemed rather trite and morbid. However, like all things those shamans did, there was a truly pragmatic value to this ritual.
For one thing, shamans state their names to affirm their full presence in the reality or particular dream they are currently embodying. Secondly, when they remind themselves of their impending deaths, they are accessing being present to this living moment from the perspective of a dying being, a being who is transitioning into a new reality, seeing the ultimate relativity of the dream they are exiting.
From that perspective of relativity they are freed from an all-consuming attachment to present reality; as it is seen as just a moment—albeit significant, as all moments are—unfolding into the greater unfolding of oncoming time, that which is infinity and beyond! Such an encounter with infinity borrows a perspective from beyond this dream that tempers the emotional energy expended in holding onto, or compulsively needing to change, the outcome of the present dream.
Present reality is merely a dream that exists, with equanimity, among an infinity of dreams, all of which offer golden nuggets of awareness. Exploit the current opportunity to the fullest, regardless of outcome. Defeat and conquest are meaningless outcomes next to an infinity of dreams waiting to be lived.
With this expanded perspective, we’ve come full circle, back to awe, the coveted position from which to truly resume, unfettered, our magical journey, appreciative of all the gifts from our many, rich and colorful dreams.
beingINTENT upon AWE,
*As with all my blogs, my ideas presented here are deeply influenced by my experience and appreciation for the path of heart Carlos Castaneda gifted the world.