Alternate Realities & Dreaming


(Douglas Duff) #1


John, Michael, and Doug orient into various alternate realities. attempting to attune into a clean & keen We-space; into ecologies of knowing and into the process of creating conditions for imaginative responses.

Some topics discussed:
Casteneda, drugs, reality, daydreaming, thin places (Celtic idea of in-between places), dreaming; encountering the in-between subtle spaces; boundaries, liabilities and dealing with traumas; thin walls and permeable fences…


Next session planned for September 19th at noon EDT…check-in later for specific discussion points. Any suggestions welcome. Moving thread from the undercommons channel to Infinite Conversations…with the intention of newer members joining in (thinking of you @KPr2204, since access to certain channels based upon the amount of time since signing up for the site).


(Douglas Duff) #2
Note: the idea for the Alternate Realities group began as a loose proposal to share recent subtle experiences in some fashion on the site…to discover resonances between our fields…the recorded conversation above differs from the original proposal seen below (the recording is about much more than just the dreaming realities, for example).

Recently, as many have noted, we have been experiencing curious phenomena, especially as we explore the subtle, subliminal and other realms as we follow along with the Aurobindo reading.

This is not just a call out to share our dreams, to interpret each other’s dreams. Others have noted trepidation around this practice. Nor I do not want this to be a “yeah, man! Let’s do this shit” mentality or to be seen as a Western occult secret society formation. This is more of attempt to bring recent experiences on the table, to bring personal experience/practice out in the open in order to deepen the practice. Below is an example of my personal dream notes and other strange occurences. I am working on dream yoga, which is different from lucid dreaming (which I have not experienced, yet feel on the verge of one soon).

Recent observations:

  • A vivid flash or remembrance into another time (dream, past life?)…I was doing nightly reading with son and was transported, eyes open, to a known realm with a different child. This was vivid only in the absolute knowing of the memory, no direct visuals arrived in minds eye or typical vision. I concluded that it is an alternate universe, attributed to my dream work or some form of a past life.

  • As I am one to state that I am not my body, I have had trouble locating hands or body in dreams, thus the typical lucid dreaming techniques have yet to come to fruition. There have been direct signs of being on the cusp of lucidity (what LaBerge or Waggoner labels as pre-lucid). I noted the transporatation in to other bodies on the Quantum Poetics thread. Also, I have examined my body from within the dream, flying about in some space ship (or maybe just my dream body). This is my sleeping body, from what I can gather…

  • A few nights have dream series, which I have mapped onto the sleep cycle. image
    The dream scheme is ABACADA, in which I return to the main theme (A) and then into another part of the dream and back to the main theme again.

  • Meditating and deep reading in the dreams: many activities are a reflection of my daily life (reading and meditating…!). One recurring episode is an attempt to reach dusty atlases and oversized books…just out of reach on a shelf above stair in a large building under renovation. A ladder or a lucid leap could grasp these, but I am not at that dream level yet.

Wondering if anyone is interested in forming an informal group on the forum or possibly a Zoom “dream group” simply to give more life to the dreams. Other dreamers note that a “support group” is a great way to deepen the practice. I do not feel ready for some sort of collaborative dreaming effort, though the option remains open. This is more of a chance to share certain experiences for sharing sake, not for reasons of psychotherapy, group dreaming or digging into anything that would cause discomfort to arise.


(john davis) #3

I think this kind of report should be handled with ‘kid gloves.’
I am open to a face to face zoom group but I feel we are moving too fast, too soon and need lots of support. Let’s chunk down, Doug, and chunk very slow…very, very slow…


(john davis) #4

As I reflect upon this proposal, and dealing with my own trepidation, I feel that a capacity for dealing with stuck states is a very good place to start. Our cultural shadows can come through in dream states with particular force so safety is a concern. Can we open this up as an ecological practice?

Dreams are so vast and varied, some are of a visionary, evolutionary nature and I would love to have a zoom session, with some serious attention to some detailed dream reports. I would like to have a zoom session with you, Doug, focusing on your journal and you recent readings. You have made a huge list of books, some of my favorites. Maybe we could hone in on one of them ( Waggoner? Rory MacSweeny? LeBerge?) I am interested in the interface between OBE and lucid dreaming and I posted a youtube video on this area of research. That might be an interesting place to start. I consided myself an expert in this area and I can give some guidelines but we are each of us in uncharted territories. Mutual dreaming can happen spontaneously, hence the need to stay out of other dreamer’s bedrooms. We need to deal with this directly. Intrusions do happen and they can be unsettling if they arent understood. The Inconsient can be totally amoral. So we have to be mindful of this. very mindful.

I also think it would be interesting to model pleasant drug states, peak performance, accelerated learnings, etc. as a prequel to dream work, for they are deeply related.

And when you are psychic at your best…

As you know, Doug, I like to model and co-model. I resist too much third person accounts by experts. This can become overwhelming. Too much of a good thing.

I am really interested in what our core members want to have happen with that most intimate zone of all-the secret place-and from what kind of space do you dream from? And when I am dreaming at my best what kind of “I” is that “I”? This can lead to huge shifts in Self…it can also lead to the loony bin.

I would really appreciate a small group participation and some modeling…when dreaming at your best… before we leap into the abyss of the Inconsient. Let’s prepare our minds. Tuning into these affective zones, together, as we are a maturing group subject, could refine our felt sense. I would like to spend some time in creating some anchors for safety so that you can always return to the place where you started from, with more refined attention. Successful dream work is about sharing high quality attention. I’d like to upgrade our dreams skills. That’s what I want to move towards. This is a big commitment for me as I take these areas of our group life very seriously. I have seen great abuse happen in this area as boundaries can become extremely fluid. As we get more skilled, and more ethical, we might be able to branch out and include more people, ecologically. I want everyone who participates to get plenty of our high quality attention.

As a group…when we are at our best…our quality of attention can be really high quality…and that’s like when the conductor of the giant orchestra raises the baton…audience and performers merge into a high quality meta-awareness. That moment of silence before the first down beat is most important. If it is not there chaos is come again and the concert will be a mess.

Can we make plan at the Weds, meeting, Doug? I thing there are some undercurrents that are getting stronger. I expect lots of creative research projects are wanting to happen. Dreams, in my experience, are the weirdest areas of the human mind to fathom. We are dreaming in the age of Simondon… and of the New Sodom and Gomorrah…

I am very drawn to this dream snippet…like a snake that slithers quicky in the grass…just out of sight…


(Douglas Duff) #5

We meet October 24, 2018 4:00 PM

ZOOM video ID : 740-164-668


…would be great if others join in on the conversation.


(LaughingCryingDancing) #6

John here are the books we talked about “Speaking Into The Air:A History of the Idea of Communication”,John Durham Peters;also "Culture and the Senses:Bodily Ways of Knowing,Kathryn Linn Geurts.Thanks John for The We Space Today,Michael


(Douglas Duff) #7

This sounds like a wonderful read…I am also interested in his other work entitled "Marvelous Clouds: towards a Philosophy of Elemental Media:


This conversation had marvelous tones throughout. Hearing from you @Michael_Stumpf allowed for us to remain grounded, not that we have our head in the clouds here; moreso, we need more voices lke yours to add the collective experience here. Looking forward to where this exploration will take us.


(Johnny’s quoted passage from Czeslaw Milosz highlighted in bold, last two stanzas)

Ars Poetica?

BY CZESLAW MILOSZ

TRANSLATED BY CZESLAW MILOSZ AND LILLIAN VALLEE

I have always aspired to a more spacious form
that would be free from the claims of poetry or prose
and would let us understand each other without exposing
the author or reader to sublime agonies.

In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent:
a thing is brought forth which we didn’t know we had in us,
so we blink our eyes, as if a tiger had sprung out
and stood in the light, lashing his tail.

That’s why poetry is rightly said to be dictated by a daimonion,
though it’s an exaggeration to maintain that he must be an angel.
It’s hard to guess where that pride of poets comes from,
when so often they’re put to shame by the disclosure of their frailty.

What reasonable man would like to be a city of demons,
who behave as if they were at home, speak in many tongues,
and who, not satisfied with stealing his lips or hand,
work at changing his destiny for their convenience?

It’s true that what is morbid is highly valued today,
and so you may think that I am only joking
or that I’ve devised just one more means
of praising Art with the help of irony.

There was a time when only wise books were read,
helping us to bear our pain and misery.
This, after all, is not quite the same
as leafing through a thousand works fresh from psychiatric clinics.

And yet the world is different from what it seems to be
and we are other than how we see ourselves in our ravings.
People therefore preserve silent integrity,
thus earning the respect of their relatives and neighbors.

The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will.

What I’m saying here is not, I agree, poetry,
as poems should be written rarely and reluctantly,
under unbearable duress and only with the hope
that good spirits, not evil ones, choose us for their instrument.


(LaughingCryingDancing) #8

Hi,Doug His other book The Marvelous Clouds,I read early this year,a lot in there & good challenging stuff that I am still chewing & digesting in my 3lbs of meat that is roasting !Peace Be With U & Yours,Michael


(Douglas Duff) #9

(the video may or may not work yet)…I will make a page for this topic, to post in a more public thread. Please let me know if you’d like to add anything to this summary for the video:

John, Michael, and Doug orient into various alternate realities. attempting to attune into a clean & keen We-space. into ecologies of knowing and into the process of creating conditions for imaginative responses.

Some topics discussed:
Casteneda, drugs, reality, daydreaming, thin places (Celtic idea of in-between places), dreaming; encountering the in-between subtle spaces;
Boundaries, liabilities and dealing with traumas; thin walls and permeable fences

I think we set a good stage for future discussions. Thanks for making this happen!


(john davis) #10

Excellent summary, Doug. I look forward to viewing the trialogue again in search for the patterns that connect, ( there are so many patterns!). We can go in many different, delightful directions.


(LaughingCryingDancing) #12

Hi,Doug checking in on the Wednesday/Time of Cafe for Alternative Realities-Dreaming is ?Thanks,Peace Be With U & Yours,Michael


(Douglas Duff) #13

It will be same time, 12-2 EDT. I have been wanting to reach out to you and Johnny to discuss our topic or the direction of Wednesday conversation. Any thoughts, preferences? I have a couple ideas, but hard to type at length with just a phone. I’ll add my two cents tomorrow sometime when I have access to a computer. Thanks Michael for reaching out.


(LaughingCryingDancing) #14

Hi,Doug Is that 9 or 11 for me?Since U asked I am curious of the training -suggestions of using one’s attention when in,coming upon or being dropped into a Alternate Reality?I seem to do ok as an amateur.I’ve read that there’s a refinement of the gross physical senses,that relates to the subtle body & there’s a skill set,such as John’s suggestion of looking for your hand/s in dreaming.In my Daydreaming practice there’s a issue of sustainability,which may be an issue of over controlling.Also from my working with Trauma there’s a energy drain,so guess I am wondering about how to drive the vehicle when in this territory,it seems there’s different currents to surf in these waters & even though I have encountered a little of the waters,it hasn’t been with an Intention/Interest I seems to have arisen in me at this time.Cowabunga,Good Buddy,Michael


(john davis) #15

Thanks Doug and Michael for your ideas. Please bring all of your ideas, questions, and experiences to our next session and we can create a clean start. I would like to work on Memory. I have a series of exercises that we can put into a Clean Process and perform as a group. I think we can create a mini workshop if that sounds good to you. I imagine once we have some robust first person accounts of memory we can develop in lots of different directions, as this faculty is one of the most challenging areas of exploration. We tend to have amnesia for experiences that are too wierd. Refining our skills for good recall might be worth working on together. Is that okay with you guys?

We can also put together a reading list and find something that strikes our interest. I have found Irreducible Mind is a great resource, a lot of good scholarship. Chapter 4 is devoted to memory. We can do some creative research projects. There is a also some good material on trance states that I would like to develop.


(Douglas Duff) #16

That’s 9am for you in CA.

Good question, and one I have been personally exploring…perhaps we can bring in our notes and see what comes up related to this topic. I am interested in your daydreaming techniques, as i assume it is not just a getting lost in thought during the day!

I like the Clean start. I looked online for Irreducible Mind resources…only Chapter 9 is available. Did you have anything in particular about memory that would be useful to know before the conversation, John? I have a copy form the library; this book is heavy reading!

I have been exploring WILD techniques (almost like a daytime dreaming method, which can be used during the evening before sleep or after waking); it stands for Waking Induced Lucid Dreaming. I am not interested in having a wild ride in my dreams, more along the spiritual lines of developments. I can post some resources soon. I will also update the Zoom link and open the invitation to any others who might wish to join in on the Alternative Realities & Dreaming page…sometime soon!


(LaughingCryingDancing) #17

Thanks Doug for reply,& posting the time.I can /willing to share my bricolage manner of embracing this path of making-human this person so named Michael.In regards to memory I am in need of growth,it lacks a certain mode of factuality,more of where is my sense here-nowness.I have no funds to get Irreducible Mind,I have downloaded a kindle sample( no Ch.4 access),do plan go the Cafe’ on it & feel into the gist though.I too like the Clean Start,it would be really helpful for me to transition into these waters with You,John & others: for I’ve had a somewhat on again-off again with sharing my experience with others;& the ones I have ,have lacked my intense interest in the sense ,to quote Eula Biss “If you can’t talk about something,you can’t think about something…cause afraid your thinking might be wrong”,this in reference to racism,which to me is important to making human too.Excited in a willingness to undress the body-amour I have around this Subject.Thanks for U & John creating “A Safe Enough Space” even if your in a different location on Earth.Peace Be Upon U & Yours Michael


(john davis) #18

" Dreams create favorable conditions for telepathy."-Sigmund Freud

The chapter 4 idea is not that important for Weds. I am much more interested in doing an actual practice and then having a chance to reflect upon the experience within a safe container. We can co-create the boundary conditions for each session and also what happens between session. We can adjust dream settings accordingly. We might notice the following types of dream processing in self and other. Being aware of types of dream processing are helpful for how you decide to participate/observe. I draw these observations from the work of Montague Ulman.

Keep out!-Private Property

Loose boundaries. Sharing. Open closure.

Telepathic Dreams ( separated parts make a whole) Serendipity. Synchronicity. Weird stuff.

Fractal Visions. Macro/micro coordinations. Creative collaborations. As above, so below.

It might be possible that we will generate some new techniques, too. I am quite open to that possibility. As I mentioned in the first meetup, I want to get dreaming out of the therapy room and into public discourse. We are prone to think of dreams as personal and directed to an inner life. As we explored in a recent cafe this is a strong cultural bias that may obscure and conceal that the boundary conditions between dreamers and our shared reality are negotiable.

Social dreaming can be another dimension to explore, not the same as mutual dreaming as in the movie Inception. We can have dreams about the Cosmos Cooperative and how it is developing. This could lead to a more vibrant communal learning.

I had a dream about a little boy who had cut out some designs in a piece of paper. I am behind the boy and am guiding him. We are both looking at his design and the blank white wall. I turn to my mother and explain," He is trying to trace an image onto the wall."

I imagine that there is a personal element here AND also a transpersonal aspect, too, as mentioned in the Cafe on Astrology. The inter-subjective areas of our communiques are complex and even bizarre when we let go of traditional notions of boundaries and egos and input and outputs.

If each of us can bring a dream or a day dream or a reverie or a fantasy we can start to model. I’m looking forward to the next event and want to cleanse the doors of our perception.

I know, Doug, we might get too wierd, too fast, but I am very drawn to the metaphor of a new and improved Magic School. Once we have some clean templates I would like to invite others to the laboratory.


(Douglas Duff) #19

I like this brief article by Ullman on “dream interpretation vs dream appreciation

He quotes Susan Sontag at one point as she waxes about art and interpretation:

About interpretation generally:
Today is such a time, when the project of interpretation is largely reactionary, stifling. Like the fumes of the automobile and of heavy industry which befoul the urban atmosphere, the effusion of interpretations of art today poisons our sensibilities. In a culture whose already classical dilemma is the hypertrophy of the intellect at the expense of energy and sensual capability, interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.
Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world - in order to set up a shadow world of “meanings.” It is to turn the world into this world. (“This world!” As if there were any other.)
The world, our world, is depleted, impoverished enough. Away with all duplicates of it, until we again experience more immediately what we have. (p. 7)

About art:
In most modern instances, interpretation amounts to the philistine refusal to leave the work of art alone. Real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable. (p.8)
Interpretation, based on the highly dubious theory that a work of art is composed of items of content, violates art. It makes art into an article for use, for arrangement into a mental scheme of categories. (p. 10)
What is important now is to recover our senses. We must learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more.
Our task is not to find the maximum amount of content in a work of art, much less to squeeze more content out of the work that is already there. Our task is to cut back content so that we can see the thing at all.
The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art - and, by analogy, our own experience - more, rather than less, real to us. (p. 14)

I am working on personal methods that cut through the conceived notions of what things should be (such as “this dream symbol obviously represents Doug’s repressed psyche pertaining to reception of criticism from dominant male authority figures, harkening back on his image of his father when in fifth grade and…”) and receiving the dream (or art form, etc.) as is “so that we can see the thing at all.” I think most of us here naturally navigate towards the appreciation of what our senses (and extraordinary senses) can achieve outside of an intellectual examination.

I will be bringing a fresh perception to the table tomorrow. Thanks for leading us out John!


(john davis) #20

Excellent summary, Doug, and very appropriate to our study group. As we learn to model our complex and perhaps extreme mental states, as in dreaming, reverie, storytelling, telepathy, remote viewing, lucid dreaming, OBE, traumatic episodes, etc, we can fine tune our sense making skills. Ultimately, we could integrate these extreme states into a taxonomy of states of mind/body that could harmonize nature and mind. We can coordinate Mind and Nature. We can appreciate paradox and shadows as artistic expressions of Nature-Mind in action. Life as Art.

How do we distinguish my history from world history? What are the necessary conditions for my mind? How do we represent ( drawings, sketches, doodles) a mind to our self and to others?

Clearly, the balancing act between conceptual and non-conceptual is controversial. Neuroscience claims we cant talk about non conceptual content but we can represent such content. Intuition is the middle murky area as we become aware of the flux of sense as an awareness of something tht is mine, or yours, or ours. The hermeneutics of the aesthetic.

A disciplined inquiry into these liminal zones is important as well as energizing and puzzling. We can co-sponsor one another and break out of the censorship of the ego.


(Douglas Duff) #21

Here are the time and Zoom link for tomorrow’s conversation. @johnnydavis54 will lead us with a Clean Start.


September 19th @ noon EDT
In your timezone:
September 19, 2018 6:00 PM (Europe: Paris), September 19, 2018 9:00 AM (America: Los Angeles), September 19, 2018 5:00 PM (Europe: London)

ZOOM video ID : 740-164-668