The fundamental principle of metaphysical New Age philosophy is that being awake is merely a more highly specialized and evolved facet of dreaming. This idea is common to Taoist and Buddhist philosophy; but is in direct contrast with western thought – Judaic, Christian, Islamic and rationalistic-materialism (academic science) – which hold that what we experience when we are awake is “real”. Metaphysical New Age philosophy holds that dreaming was the original form of consciousness which arose together with one-celled life on earth; and waking consciousness is but an outgrowth of dream consciousness which arose with multi-celled life. Our social training leads us to believe that there is a great difference between waking and dreaming; however this in fact a belief, nothing more. It is this belief which gives us our ability to focus attention, to make the waking world seem solid and continuing, in comparison with the instability and flightiness of dreaming. As a result of this social conditioning, we believe that there is a world of difference between the two states; but the difference is nowhere near as great as we imagine. Whenever we listen to music, dance, play ball, make love – whenever we are so caught up in what we are doing that we lose our sense of self-reference (stop thinking) and just operate on pure flow – then we actually are closer to dreaming than we are to waking. The extent to which we do not control what we are experiencing but allow it to unfold by itself, the more we are dreaming. We use the acts of going to sleep and waking up to create a kind of artificial distinction – like the different clothes people wear to create artificial distinctions between social classes – but there really isn’t that much difference between the two states. We use this “going to sleep – waking up” distinction to separate out the two states in order to convince ourselves that being awake is the more important (more “real”) state; just as we wear formal dress when we want to convince ourselves that we are more important than other people.
New Age spiritual thought holds that the everyday waking mind of our ancient hunter forebears (say, prior to the Late Upper Paleolithic) was what we today would consider to be dreaming. These hunters didn’t make as much of a distinction between waking and dreaming as we do today. They slept in short snatches, like infants; and they hunted and dozed as they felt like it. When they hunted they were in a mindstate which we would consider sleepwalking. They didn’t just aimlessly wander around looking for prey. They were able to telepathically sense what was out there; and they could telepathically project their awareness forward into the prey they were hunting, and in this way they could anticipate the movements of the prey. Us modern humans haven’t completely lost this telepathic faculty: we can still call upon it when we are prowling about for sex; or when we can sense a business opportunity in the offing, particularly when we are feeling “lucky”. However, our hunter ancestors had to rely upon this intuitive ability in order to eat everyday. Thus, our ancient hunter forebears had a stronger psychic attunement to their world than we moderns do. They were more connected to their environment than we are; they could pick up and act on information which eludes us moderns. On the other hand, these ancient hunters had less sense of self than we moderns do, in the same way that we moderns have less sense of self in dreams as compared to waking. It was the suppression of the ancients’ intuitive / telepathic faculty which made the waking world more stable and solid, and each person feel more stable and solid and in control of what he or she was experiencing. On the other hand, this stability, solidity, and apparent control we moderns feel is also the source of our alienation, isolation, and anguish. Hunters couldn’t focus as much attention as we can (e.g., to conceive of numbers greater than 5 or 10, much less to add and subtract them); but they were happier – they had a greater sense of belonging to the universe; they didn’t feel as at odds with a hostile environment as we moderns do.
By: Bob Makransky
The idea of dreaming which forms the basis of metaphysical New Age philosophy is very much at variance with the ideas of our present society. If the human race is to survive and prosper, then the New Age spiritual view – that everyday life is no more important than dreaming – will have to supplant the current materialistic view, which