What happens when you look into a mirror?
Do you begin to relate to the reflection? Does your analytical mind arise (e.g., ‘I need to wash my hair’) or the emotional mind (e.g., ‘You look marvelous!’) or the social mind (e.g., ‘I wish that pimple would go away—I want to look good for the party’)?
What happens when you look out the window?
Do you begin to relate to what you see? Does your analytical mind arise (e.g., ‘It looks like rain’) or the emotional mind (e.g., ‘I wish my neighbor would not park that crummy car in front of our house’) or the social mind (e.g., ‘There is Susan; I wonder if she could give me a ride’)?
When perception arises, the mind normally arises. Suddenly, the mind begins its process of interpreting, analyzing, responding, debating and relating. Soon, you find yourself not relating to ‘what exists’ perceptually— but to all the thoughts, meanings, interpretations, feelings which arise in response to the perceptions. You do not relate to the situation, as much as you relate to your mind’s view of the situation.
As I say in my books and workshops: Lucid dreaming does not mean ‘control’; instead, lucid dreaming means more aware relating. Knowing that you dream, you now relate to the perceived experience in a different, more aware manner. That guy there? A dream figure! This wall? Dream stuff! Even though it may look or feel or act as you expect (and often does), you ‘view’ it in a new way and relate to it with greater awareness.
Greater awareness may improve your relating, but it may also show you how expectation, belief, focus, social conditioning, and cultural conditioning (consciously and unconsciously) affect the lens of your perceiving and its analysis. Seeing this in lucid dreaming suggests that your entire perceived experience (waking or dreaming) exists as a giant, never-ending Rorschach test of constant interpretation through the inner mindset of your belief system. The self does not see, so much as ‘filters and interprets’.
The next time you find yourself talking to a friend about your life, think this: ‘I share only views, opinions, beliefs, feelings, ideas about the actual experience. I do not ‘know’ the actual experience, only my interpretation. These comments share only my Rorschach-like analysis.’ Then see what happens internally. How does this make you feel?
At this point you might wonder:
How does one escape mirror world? How does one escape the endless reflections and re-reflections, the living Rorschach test?
The simple answer:
Lucid dreamers who have deep interactions with the ‘larger awareness’ begin to develop the capacity to recognize that the larger self exists within a broader context than this ego awareness. Given that, and the knowledge of how the ego’s mindset helps to create and shape perceived experience, the lucid dreamer can accept the ego self must ‘let go’ in order to experience ‘as is’ as it is.
Mirrors, reflections, bubbles, moon-on-water fantasy. Waking up to the nature of the mind seems the actual value of lucid dreaming’s greater awareness.