By Lucy Gillis © 2014
It may seem ironic that in a magazine dedicated to lucid dreaming, I present an article that opens with a description of an experience in which lucid awareness was not only not present, but would have been impossible. Impossible, because in order to be lucid in the traditional sense, in other words, aware that I was dreaming, I would first need to be aware that ‘I’ was I. But as related above, ‘I‘ did not exist until later in the experience.
As you can see by the way it‘s written, it is very hard to convey something I‘ve experienced when there was no ‘I’ who experienced it. And yet, I have memory of the event; of awareness without identity, and knowing without thought.
Prior to this episode, I was still relatively new to the lucid dreaming phenomenon, very excited about the field of sleep research, and highly motivated. I was meditating and practicing lucid dream induction techniques on a regular basis, and was recording my dreams each morning faithfully, chalking up several lucid dreams per month, so the ‘Identity Cube’ episode, though odd, was not altogether unusual given my intense interest in sleep and dreams at the time.
However, it was the first time that I could remember having awakened without knowing who or what I was; without even a concept or self, body, or thought. It wasn‘t until the large, ‘block of knowledge‘ (as I first called it upon waking) or ‘Identity Cube‘ had appeared, did awareness of self slowly begin to emerge. And though the block was invisible, somehow there was awareness of its shape and size: a cube, of about 2 cubic metres.
Another interesting element was that there was no apparent moment of ‘waking up,‘ no point where I opened my eyes – it seemed they were open the whole time (no memory of blinking) so that I wondered if I had slept with my eyes open, or had my eyes opened moments before awareness of whiteness kicked in.
My interest in lucid dreaming continued, and I had many odd experiences associated with sleep and dreams, but it would be over twenty years before another ‘no identity’ event would occur. From my journal:
Time Construction/Awkward Obelisk
When I got in from work this evening, I was so tired that I lay down for a nap – highly unusual for me, as I rarely nap. When I woke – or perhaps more accurately – as I woke, I had an odd experience. I say ‘I’ but there was no ‘I.’ There was awareness, but without a sense of identity, or concept of self in usual terms. It‘s very difficult to describe. To give the experience context, I was in bed, on my right side, a wall at my head. There was no, ‘I’ or ‘my’ but I need these words to convey the experience in this text.
Though there was no sense of ‘I,’ there was a vague, unformed awareness of something called Time, but no concept of what time was. Without conscious direction or input, awareness that Time or perhaps some ‘time-related sensory structure‘ was being constructed.
There was feeling, sensation, motion. Sensation of energy reaching from the back of my head to ‘form‘ or ‘construct‘ a past, my past, seemingly very far away from me, perhaps several kilometres away. It‘s so difficult to describe a non-physical event in physical terms, but this is as close as possible:
The energy extending from my head formed an extremely long ‘triangle-like‘ structure which later felt more obelisk-shape as it ‘filled out.‘ Its outline was red in black space, the sides if they existed were transparent. Next, awkward gridlines (yellow?) of energy were crossing the triangular form, but not symmetrically, the ‘image‘ filling out like a segmented obelisk structure, in a way similar in appearance to an old-fashioned telescope, where each segment is smaller than the last.
With this image, the sense of high speed motion, awareness of construction; something – objects and events; something called ‘the past’ – manifesting rapidly at the apex, and moving away into the far distance.
Slowly, as the flurry of activity receded away from awareness, (or did awareness turn away from the ‘time-activity‘??) something akin to awareness of self was dawning, though before there was concept of self, there was knowing to look at the figure (7:00) on the object (my clock) within sight. At first it was completely meaningless, there was no comprehension of what was being observed.
Then the thought, ‘7.’ But no concept as to what ‘7’ was. In a moment though, comprehension was dawning, and the image shaped like ‘7,’ was then known to be ‘seven.‘ But still, seven what? And then in a rush: 7:00 O‘clock. A pause. Something was not complete; then, the thought, ‘morning or night?‘ until I finally got that it was 7:00 in the evening. And when that clicked, so did the idea of ‘I’….I was the one who was looking at a clock, I was the one who just had a weird energy experience, I was the one who felt that my past was being created at the apex of the energy-obelisk, and so on.
As I rose from the bed, and thought about the event, I was immediately reminded of the ‘Identity Cube‘ I had experienced over 20 years earlier. But this triangle/obelisk event was a little different. In this recent episode, it would seem that before a sense of ‘I’ or ego-me could exist or function, not only did a ‘past’ have to be constructed, but it seemed the concept of Time had to be learned or ‘wired-in‘ to my awareness as well.
Though it seemed that ‘I’ did not emerge until a sense of time had been established, yet in constructing time, or constructing a past in time, implies an awareness attached to the past – for how could it exist without one who ‘lived‘ it?
Again, given that I was still very much interested in sleep and dreams, I wasn‘t concerned by the event, just very intrigued. And then, a little more than a year later, I had a lucid dream experience that may have some connection with the cube/obelisk events.
Removed From Physical Reality
(A lucid dream within a dream.) I‘m in some dimly lit place, a square room, like a cube, though some areas of the room are darker than others. The room is bare, no furniture, or if there are any pieces, they are hidden in the darker corners. It feels like night time. But as the dream progresses, the room seems more like a spaceship, in that it is poised motionless in deep space, beautiful, colourful nebulae in an ocean of stars can be seen out the one window.
Then there are other people in the room, and suddenly I see a pinpoint of pink and black light wink into existence in the room among us. Excitedly, I shout, ‘We‘re being watched!’ and then I proceed to tell those present that throughout my life I have seen these pinpoints of light appear, but mostly they‘ve been silver or blue. There is something special about this light, and I‘m thrilled to think that something remarkable could happen. (Then there is a blur in my memory here – I‘m not certain of what happened immediately next.)
I then see that everyone in the room but me is asleep on the floor. I am awake, and seeing their sleeping bodies on the floor, (some bodies piled up on each other in a heap) triggers me to become lucidly aware that I am in a dream state. I also become aware that for some time now, perhaps even for hours, I‘ve been in some sort of telepathic communication with unseen beings who do not know anything about physical life. Communication is not verbal, yet I know what they are saying/ thinking, as I look out the window at the beautiful panorama of nebulae and stars.
Through this communication I learn that these beings have removed me and these other people from time and from physical reality so that they can study our thoughts and dreams, as they are curious and have no experience with physical reality at all. In exchange, they have taken me on a journey, showing me the most incredible things, allowing me to experience the most amazing things – most of which are not physical, or even translatable in physical terms.
(Again a blur in my waking memory, not sure of what exactly came next.)
The window is now a mirror, and looking into it, I see not only my reflection, but behind me two or three other people asleep on the floor. I also notice that I am wearing what looks like a white gymnast‘s outfit, and from this angle, my right thigh looks big. I think to myself, ‘that we‘ll be here (in this ship) for about a year, and by then my thigh will be slim again.‘
(Another memory blur.) At some point most of us are now awake, and I am telling them about my lucid dream (yet I don‘t realize I may be dreaming in this place too), and am excitedly trying to describe my lucid adventure with these unseen beings. I explain to them that I was lucid, aware that I was not in physical reality, I was experiencing other dimensions, other planes of existence, through the dream state.
The non-physical aspects are impossible to describe, but I can tell them that these beings also took me to the ‘end‘ of our physical universe in time, and that what I saw there was beautiful. Everything I saw was so breathtakingly beautiful. I was euphoric as I described as best I could what I had experienced in my lucid dream, and told them over and over that we have no idea at all of the beauty of this (our) dimension of reality.
There were a few other scenes, dealing with realizing that although some of the people in this square room or cube were asleep, at least one was in an unseen loft area, either dead or in some sort of stasis. Certainly not asleep, like the others, but in a much deeper state of non-conscious awareness. I soon woke with an incredible feeling of elation and euphoria that stayed with me for hours.
In trying to write the dream in my journal, I was confronted with the problem of trying to describe the scenes that were rapidly slipping away from my memory. I was aware that since I was writing from waking conscious memory, that most of what I was recalling was already a translation of a non-physical event into physical terms, was highly symbolic in meaning and that whatever I was ‘shown‘ or ‘told‘ could not be translated into physical terms and therefore not able to reside in conscious memory, not as a visual or audible concept.
However the feeling I woke with had to be some sort of carryover of the emotion of the event, and however distorted or diluted it was from the original experience, it was still a feeling of euphoria I won‘t soon forget.
Had I viewed the ‘Removed From Time dream‘ in isolation, I would have chalked most of it up to a dream made up of elements of science fiction programmes, but because of the feeling of the event and the lingering euphoria, I felt this was something more. I began to play with the symbolism.
I thought the room/cube was a bit like the TARDIS, the time machine/spaceship belonging to science fiction Time Travel icon Dr. Who. I also recalled a Dr. Who episode I‘d seen many years ago, in which he took his human companion to the end of the earth in time, but these thoughts had not been on my mind prior to sleep, so I didn‘t think the removal from time theme originated from day residue. But I did wonder if my dreaming mind fashioned a TARDIS-like experience in order to try to make conscious sense of the inner experience.
In other words, it may have been precisely because I had waking awareness of the classic TARDIS that my consciousness was able to use it. The TARDIS was perhaps the closest physical thought I could use to relate to my extra-dimensional experience, to serve as a sort of associative bridge to translate or transfer as much of the non-physical experience as possible, so that the waking ego consciousness would have some glimmering that a multidimensional event of this sort had occurred, rather than my waking with no memory of the event at all. And there is of course no coincidence that the word TARDIS comes from Time And Relative Dimension In Space.
But something else twigged. The cube. It reminded me of the Identity Cube experience from all those years ago. And the ‘Removal from Time.‘ That resonated with my more recent ‘constructing time‘ experience. I found it interesting that simple geometric figures figured prominently in all three episodes, though mostly these figures were not visual, or tangible within the experiences, but were felt or sensed on an emotional level. In these cases, geometric form preceded awareness of self, perhaps geometric form lies at the threshold of physical 4-dimensional waking ego consciousness reality?
It was perhaps also no coincidence, that I would associate the elongated-triangle/awkward obelisk with a telescope. Several levels of symbolism are obvious: the telescope as what we‘ve used as physical beings in order to bring into focus and enlarge our experience; an instrument of exploration for sailors scanning the horizon seeking new lands, and astronomers scanning the heavens seeking new worlds. The term ‘telescope‘ also seems an apt way to describe the feeling I had at the end of the Identity Cube dream – like my greater awareness had to telescope, to condense to a lesser field of awareness, like a collapsing telescope, each segment smaller than the last, fitting inside the last – perhaps as the ego is smaller than the larger multi-dimensional entity, yet couched within it.
I thought of the phrase ‘removed from time‘ and instantly realized that in removing linear time from the equation, I could look at these three sleep/ dream events from a broader perspective. Though I know I can never be totally sure, I believe that in removing the time factor, these three incidences can be seen as three aspects of one event – one multi-dimensional event, outside of time, outside of the time/space dimension, and outside of ego-I consciousness – but from a physical point of view, one event that impinged on my reality at three points in linear time over more than a 20 year time period.
What if, in a nutshell, the whole event involved my leaving time and space, interacting with my greater non-physical awareness, then returning to the physical reality system – something that we, according to Seth, channeled by Jane Roberts, do on a regular basis, but do not recall – but in this case, I was able to recall bits and pieces of the event and translate them physically as best I could?
What if in the Identity Cube event, the Cube I sensed was the Square Room/Cube in which I had become lucid and interacted with unseen beings? What if the people in the room were aspects of myself, other parallel and/or past lives, other identities? What if the sleeping people, and the one in stasis represent different levels of awareness, or non-awareness? And perhaps the unseen beings represented non-physical aspects of my greater being that reside outside of time and space.
What if the time construction event was my point of re-entry into the physical dimension ‘as seen from 2012‘ in which I needed to construct time (remember I had been removed from time in the room/cube) in order to construct or accommodate my physical identity, the ego-me? And, in order to have any memory of the event, my dreaming-self latched onto familiar physical symbols and concepts (like the TARDIS and time travel) that my waking ‘I’ could relate to and carry forward through memory into my waking reality.
In the Cube episode, was that disappointing sense of identity, me (the me in the Square Room/Cube) returning from that euphoric experience with the unseen beings? Was the feeling of disappointment a result of the loss of the greater memory of that event?
I don‘t for one moment believe that I have fully interpreted the event(s), and who‘s to know that more of this event won‘t ‘show up‘ in my future. But regardless of what the ‘correct‘ interpretation may be, I believe that none of these events would even be remembered if it was not for the flexibility of consciousness that my lucid dreaming has fostered.
In the ‘Removed from Time‘ lucid dream within a dream, it is lucid awareness that is at the core of the experience, the awareness that I was not in waking physical reality. Had I not been so interested in sleep and dreams, spent over twenty years engaged in lucid dreaming, would I have even been able to recall not only the vague imagery associated with the Identity Cube or Constructing Time events, but the particular feeling that accompanied them? I doubt it.
Experiences like these are teasers in a way. They give us a glimmer of at least the possibilities, the potential, of what may lie beyond the physical, if we could only grasp the concepts. Though Seth says that we travel outside our dimension frequently, to other planes of existence, and that we can‘t recall the event, he also says that consciousness is evolving. He asserts that any valid exploration of reality would be done with the mind, and that a first step was to become aware in our dreams. To become lucid dreamers.
We may not be able to grasp non-physical reality concepts now, but I believe that as lucid dreamers we certainly have the potential to get as close as we can to recalling our other-dimensional adventures. Through lucid awareness could we explore reality and being further and realize a more accurate view of the physical dimension and what may lie beyond it? If Seth is correct, and a new consciousness is emerging, I believe it is lucid dreamers who are pioneering the way, pushing the boundaries of ‘known‘ consciousness as we venture forward on the leading edge of this new evolving consciousness.
As I was composing this article there was one other symbol that kept niggling at my mind. It was the image of myself in a gymnast‘s outfit in the mirror inside the cube. As a child I was very flexible, and loved acrobatics and gymnastics, but I never owned a gymnast‘s outfit. I believed the symbol was used to demonstrate flexibility of consciousness through lucid dreaming, but it felt like there was something more, something I was missing.
But as I was wrapping up this piece, I realized my dream-self had also used the symbol of ‘gymnast in the mirror‘ very cleverly, and very playfully, as a reflection of one of my favourite Seth quotes from the Early Sessions Book 1 in which Seth says jovially, ‘I have been visiting other planes lately. I grow quite gymnastic.‘
And to me, that says it all.