By Christoph Gassmann © 2013
As I am writing about my experiences of light in lucid dreams, the winter sun is shining brightly over the horizon and is illuminating every corner of my room. The last day of this year will soon come to an end. The theme of light is of utmost importance for my dreaming and lucid dreaming. In fact my interest in dreams as a teenager was triggered by a visionary dream in which I observed how an incredibly huge sun rose over the horizon.
It was so huge that it covered nearly my whole eyesight from the left to the right. I could feel its tremendous power and saw how protuberances of fire and energy shot into space. In spite of the absolutely overwhelming experience I was not frightened – no, I felt exhilarated, enhanced and very well. This state of consciousness continued after waking up and faded slowly away during the next two weeks.
This experience triggered my curiosity because I understood instinctively that in my dreams is a source of incredible strength. I decided to become a psychologist and later followed a mystical path because of it and dreams where always in my focus up to these days where I am 58.
For me the symbolism of light is very central, it is the symbol of consciousness, as well as the eye which perceives the light. In the mystical tradition of Islam for example the Quran verse of light is famous: ‘God is the Light of the heavens and the earth.’
The parable of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp – the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star – lit from a blessed olive tree, neither from the east nor from the west, whose oil almost lights up, though fire should not touch it. – Light upon light – (By the way, I do not believe in God, but in the soul – in my soul, but useful knowledge can be found in religious, mystical and esoteric philosophies ….and rubbish too – this as an off-topic side remark).
So for me it is always an interesting question: How was the light in a dream? If it is rather dark, then the state of my consciousness is dull, clouded, muddy or sombre. If the dream is in a bright light, the state of consciousness is clear, exhilarated and joyful. Some lucid dreams, not all, qualify for that category. Most of my lucid dreams immersed in light are flying dreams where I float or soar through the open skies of my dreams as I described in my story ‘Jacob Flies’ which was published lately in this magazine.
Below me I usually see the landscape in gorgeous illuminated colours. My eyesight is unusually sharp, my state of consciousness is extraordinarily clear. It is similar to an LSD trip but without the feeling of intoxication. On the contrary, I have the feeling of enhanced sobriety! In these dreams I am freed of gravity, which is an all-encompassing symbol of my limitation, my heaviness, my daily concerns and sorrows: my life on earth.
In these dreams I am close to my core nature, which is light. So for me it is difficult to understand when skilled lucid dreamers advise to overcome the pretty common lucid flying and sex dreams to perform more important tasks. Do they want to impose duty on my experiences of mental freedom?
Shall I use my short escapes from the cave where we are all bound to watch the flickering lights of a hidden fire, to use another famous metaphor written by Plato, to perform mental exercises? I know, those tasks and exercises can be interesting to study the nature of dreams and of consciousness in general, but my thirst for inner freedom is not yet satisfied and therefore I cannot belittle those lucid shiny flying dreams.
Now to come to an end to my text I want to mention that I have some, but not much experience with a sharp overwhelming and blinding light, which dissolves my dreams for a short time or which shines up in hypnagogic experiences or in the intermediate state of the void between lucid dreams. Those are called bardo states, in-between states by the Buddhists. I think this is the ‘clear light’ or ‘natural light’ as the Tibetans coined it. For me, that consuming light is (still) too much, I can‘t bear it.
In my eyes light dreams are near the core of personal mystical experiences beyond any philosophical forms and concepts. And yet all religions and philosophies know the value and the symbolism of light. Without light (and sound) we literally do not exist because there would not be any perception or awareness, which are qualities or actions of consciousness.