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by Lourenço Ferrer Doreste © 2018
“You cannot teach a man anything.You can only help him to find it within himself.”
— Galileo Galilei
My name is Lourenço Ferrer Doreste. I turned 76 years old on December 17, 2012. I wrote these pages in that year. I’m now 81.
Ever since I was a teenager, I questioned reality, asking myself how it was possible for there to be an infinite material universe.
We were not taught about the Big Bang theory yet, at that time, although that theory had been around since the end of the twenties. The idea accepted by most was that the universe was infinite in time and in space. At least, for me, such an idea was completely unacceptable. As if something material could be infinite in time and in space!
But I had to comply with that idea because as absurd as the idea could seem, the universe was there around me. The land on which I trod and, when barefoot, stumbled on a stone — the pain I felt, the bleeding that occurred — were undisputed evidence of its existence. The sun shining during a day of clear skies, cloudless; the Moon and the stars at night spreading their enchantment — everything collaborated to create an illusion of absolute reality.
Little did I know that I would spend nearly all my life in search of an answer that quenched my thirst for logic, a response only to be found when I was already over sixty years old.
That answer finally quieted my spirit. For me, it acts as a theory of everything because in all its simplicity it explains reality, and it also explains all phenomena that are considered unexplainable by science.
At sixteen I got in touch, through books, with the so-called scientific spiritualist doctrine. Over the next seven years, I delved into the study of its works. As I was dealing with the theoretical part of it, everything seemed logical, acceptable, but on shifting the focus from the theoretical to empirical, the building I had constructed during those seven years began gradually to be undermined, and despite my efforts to repair the damage caused by keeping in touch with the practical spiritism, the strength of my analytic Cartesian thinking continued to act surreptitiously, perhaps even subconsciously. When I realized this, only rubble remained of the great spiritual majestic building. It was replaced by a total absolute disbelief, by sheer nihilism, nihilism together with all its implications, like complete amorality.
In the beginning of the eighties, two books occupied my studies and research of the issues they addressed. The first book, Life after Life by Dr. Raymond Moody, addresses the near-death experiences witnessed and analyzed by the author.
The second book, The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra, was a hard-to-read worldrenowned book that sought to demonstrate the parallels among theoretical physics, quantum physics, relativistic physics and Eastern religions. Finally, after five years and my fifth reading of it, I thought I had understood and absorbed all that was possible from the book. But I still did not find what I had been looking for: an acceptable, satisfactory answer to the riddle of reality and its meaning. Only later did I come to understand that such a response is found through faith and personal experience.
I had read about dreams where you know you’re dreaming. I myself had had one where I said, “Don’t worry, this is a dream.” But, it meant very little to me. I thought the dream that you know you’re dreaming was a characteristic of the brain, a kind of virtual reality, another enigma that no one could convincingly explain.
The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castañeda describes the steps necessary to become conscious in a dream and to maintain control over it. But the book’s somewhat confusing description and, in my opinion, old and superstitious traditions did not lead me to arrive at any clear conclusion about what I had read. Castañeda describes extensively how a state called total consciousness can be achieved through dreams. Yet I still did not understand what lucid dreaming and total consciousness meant. I used the “lucid” adjective to qualify the noun “dream,” but I’m not sure when I learned or came to use these two words together.
In the early 2000s, I already had a computer connected to the internet. After having talked with a friend about lucid dreams, when I got home I put the two words “lucid dream,” in Portuguese, into a search site. The results were not very promising. Then came the idea of doing the research in English. I inserted the words “lucid dream.” Eureka! Finally, there was what I had been seeking for so long. To my surprise, the subject of “lucid dreaming” had been studied in the United States for some time already, not only by New Age followers but also by psychologists.
I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading “How to Remember Your Dreams,” knowing that this was the first step to learn to dream lucidly.
Pleasantly surprised, because I had always had colorful, vivid, clear dreams and I remembered, on average, two to three dreams per night. Then, even without knowing it, I had already taken the first step in the long and profitable path that unfolded before me: how to learn the art of lucid dreaming.
But it was there that I began to understand that this kind of experience, like any other experience in that category, cannot be grasped through words, through reading. Words, despite being a fantastic medium of communication, fail to convey what one has experienced, unless the addressee of the words spoken or written has already passed through a similar experience. In short, even after more than a year of reading and studying the subject, I still did not understand what a lucid dream was — just as you cannot understand an experience of enlightenment unless you have personally been enlightened. I use here the word illumination with the specific meaning of the experience of awakening, awakening to the true nature of reality.
Finally, one morning after waking up at six o’clock then going back to sleep, I dreamt that I was swimming and body surfing in a stream of clear, light water. As I approached one of the banks, still on my chest, I crawled to where there was a small beach of crystalline sand. Being face down, my eyes were a few inches from the sand, and I watched, in ecstasy, its composition. It was made up of myriads of tiny gemstones: rubies, emeralds, aquamarines, amethysts, jades mixed with microscopic droplets of gold.
I stood up, still under the effect of so much beauty, and started to climb the little access ramp to the riverbank when, still half bent, I had my attention drawn to a tree to my left. I looked at the trunk with its wealth of details and heard myself saying, “And to say that I have created all this.”
Instantly, as if a stream of light passed through me, as if those words were magic, I became completely lucid, aware.
Everything I had studied in my entire life was there: total awareness, total knowledge. I ran to the left towards a ravine about ten meters high and threw myself off with open arms. I began to fly, feeling the cool wind on my face. The feeling was of complete euphoria. I never thought it possible to feel such happiness!
The moment, so long awaited, had at last arrived and surpassed all that I could have imagined. Only now, I could understand why such an experience is untranslatable. There are no words in any of the languages that can describe a reality never experienced before. And this reality, once absorbed, a naturally occurring phenomenon without any kind of effort, functions as the ultimate catalyst, freeing us from any vestiges of false knowledge: know the truth and it modifies you unquestionably.
I woke up crying copiously, submerged in feelings of happiness. What greater joy can be owned than the unshakable certainty of our divine, creative, eternal nature. We were not created by a blind universe.