Top books 2015

Top books 2015
Strahov Monastery Library Prague
Image: Bestvalueschools.com

Since February this year, Mindfunda has been talking about dreams, mythology, spirituality and dreams. Looking back at the past months, this is the list of the best books I have reviewed. The Top books 2015 about dreaming, mythology and spirituality.

Top books 2015: Lucid dreaming, plain and simple

Lucid dreaming is a technique that became popular in the seventies because of Carlos Casteneda’s books. He described a technique that was easy: you look at your hands and you wonder if you are awake or asleep. Your hands are always with you. In his younger years Robert Waggoner trained himself to become a lucid dreamer.

top books 2015
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The book is filled  with tips and techniques that are clever and easily usable. Here you can read more about Lucid dreaming plain and simple and here you can see my interview with Robert Waggoner about it.

Top books 2015: Sidewalk Oracles

Robert Moss is an expert writer, a gifted story-teller, and his connection to the Goddess has made him one of my favorite authors when it comes to the subject of dreams and spirituality.

Top books 2015
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When people ask me if I know any good books about dreams I always say: “any book that is written by Robert Moss about the subject is excellent. Mind you, Robert used to be a writer and a journalist before concentrating on the subject of dreams. Sidewalk oracles is filled with ways of bringing magic back into your life. A fun encyclopedia to have around in times when feel the need to breaking the circle to get out of a rut.

Top books 2015: Dreaming

Jennifer Windt has been the one who completed a philosophical map of the field of dreaming. I must confess this is not an easy read, but it will give you so much more insight into the field of dreaming. Its history, its philosophy, its challenges, its limits. Just the book for the cold winter days. A book that will illuminate your mind and hopefully will give you some crazy bold ideas yourself.

 

Top books 2015
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Consciousness, what is it? Were in the brain can it be found? When you have a dreamless sleep, where are you? Professor Evan Thompson, who has written the next book on the list, says: “This book sets a new standard for the science and philosophy of dreaming in the twenty-first century.”

Top books 2015: Waking, Dreaming, Being

Using the oldest known map of consciousness, Evan Thompson, uses the newest neurological insights as a form of cartography. You can see Evan Thompson talking about Waking, Dreaming, Being in my Mindfunda interview with him.

Top books 2015
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Waking, Dreaming, Being touches the fundamental questions about consciousness, combining the newest scientific knowledge of the West with the ancient Wisdom of the East.

Top books 2015: Wake Up to Your Dreams

Justina Lasley created a method called DreamSynergy. An easy to use method that enables you to comprehend the message in a dream you remember. And to take action. Justina told me in a Mindfunda interview how her dreams turned her life around. She found the love of her life, and followed a new career path.

 

top books 2015
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Wake Up to Your Dreams is an easy to use book, with lots of examples and dreams. Justina says: “Because dreams can be complicated, I wanted to create an easy method in a book filled with exercises”.

Top books 2015: Romance of the Grail

Mythology and Mindfunda. Being as interested in dreams as I am, you can not avoid mythology. I have dreamed about Odin before I knew who he was.
And when you say mythology, you say Joseph Campbell.

 

Top books 2015
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The study of the Arthurian myth was a doorway for Joseph Campbell into comparative mythology. Using the mythological tales as symbols for spiritual development in the human psyche. In this book you can find Campbell’s dissertation: “The Dolorous Stroke”.

Top books 2015: The book of SHE

In November I started my first blog series. Throughout the month I publish 4 blogs around a central theme. This month the theme is the Descent. Going into the dark to find your inner light. In November the theme was the Goddess.
The book of SHE fitted right in. We know Joseph Campbell as the man who brought us the knowledge about the hero’s journey. Soon enough there was a lady called Maureen Murduck that acknowledged that women have got another journey.

Top books 2015
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Sara Avant Stover has taken this knowledge into the twenty-first century. Things start to change if you embrace your inner Goddess. The connection that Sara feels with Mary Magdalen is a heartfelt one. The heroine’s journey is a challenge all women must face. To have a guidebook is necessary.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Remember: Christmas is a very special time for dreaming, so join Mindfunda for the Holy Night Dream Incubations.

Mindfunda invites you for a Christmas celebration you will remember. For just 10 dollars you get exclusive access to a restricted private area on Mindfunda during the Holy Nights. Each night between December 24 and January 6 I will share a dream incubation. We will talk about and reflect on our dreams. Ancient belief says that during these nights the veil between the worlds is thin. Register now as Mindfunda More Member, to experience the depth of your dreams.

Evan Thompson: Waking, Dreaming, Being

Susanne van Doorn from Mindfunda interviewed philosopher Evan Thompson about his book ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being’. Evan Thompson builds a bridge between Western science: neurology and the oldest map of consciousness, Upanishad.

A big thanks to Christian Gerike for alerting me to this book, and to Christoph Grassmann, for sharing his presentation about the self in dreaming with me so I could prepare questions for this interview.

Evan Thompson talks to Mindfunda about:

  • How his father William Irwin Thompson founder of Lindisfarne Association, as well as his wife, neurologist Rebecca Todd, influenced the ideas he proposes in this book.
  • The waking state as a stream of consciousness with gaps in-between.
  • The dreaming state and especially lucid dreaming is a special kind of awareness.
  • Dreaming as more than random neurological chatter of the brain.
  • A state of pure awareness.
  • And finally Evan Thompson tells us why he picked up the pen to write Waking, Dreaming, Being.

I got aware of ‘Dreaming, Waking, Being’ because of a quote colleague Christian Gerike put on Facebook. It was this quote:

The first quarter is the waking state. Here consciousness turns outward and experiences the physical body as the self. Waking consciousness takes enjoyment in the ‘gross’ objects of sense perception, yet no object holds its interest for long, because attention, motivated by desire, constantly flits from one thing to another. Consciousness in the waking state is restless, dissatisfied, and constantly on the move.

~ Evan Thompson. ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and consciousness in neuroscience, meditation, and philosophy.’ 2015, p. 9. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Evan Thompson
Waking, Dreaming, Being
Evan Thompson

Needless to say I was fascinated. I got myself a copy of the book and enjoyed the book very much. Being diabetic, and having experienced a coma when I was a young child I always have had a fascination about consciousness. What had happened to “me” in that coma? I was not there but I still had flashes of memory.
I considered the voice in my head as my I, my concept of self. That little voice that whispers to me when my blood sugar is low: “Susanne you are not seeing well, it is time to measure your blood sugar level”.

Reading ‘Waking, Sleeping, Being’ and talking to Evan Thompson gave me a new framework for my concept of self. Evan suggests that there are four states of awareness: the waking state, the dreaming state, dreamless sleep and a state of pure awareness.

Waking State

William James was one of the first psychologists and he coined the term “stream of consciousness”. The latest neurological research indicates that this stream is not continuous. it is filled with gaps. Evan talks about what could happen during such a gap and why understanding this is an important step towards understanding consciousness.

The waking state is a creator of the concept of self. Phenomenologists call them the “self-as-object”: a third person perspective, and the “self-as-subject”: me being aware of myself.  This I and Me perspective carry over to dreaming.

Dreaming state

Christoph Grassmann wrote a very interesting presentation about this for one of the psiberconferences organized by the IASD. Christoph was so kind to give me his presentation to prepare for this interview and that is why I asked Evan Thompson the question how his own sense of self had evolved during the process of writing the book. Evan told me that he had become more experienced in lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming had made him able to change his perspective on his sense of self because he was able to change processes and experiment in lucid dreams. In fact, a lucid dream inspired him to dive into the poems of the Upanishad and compare them with the latest scientific research about consciousness. He had that dream in Dharmsala, where he was invited to speak for a Mind and Life Institute conference with the Dalai Lama and Western neuroscientists on how experience can change the brain.

“I’ve always wanted, since I was a kid, to catch the exact moment when sleep arrives and notice when I begin to dream. With the rising and falling of my breath, colored shapes start to float on the inside of my eyelids. They hover just beyond my gaze, turning into cows and shacks and mules, like the ones I saw this morning on the bus ride up the mountain. As I watch these images, trying not to tamper with them so they don’t fall apart, I find myself thinking of how Jean Paul Sartre explains pre sleep in his book The Imaginary, which we read in my philosophy class a week before I left for India. When we are conscious of drifting of to sleep, Sartre says, we delay the process and create a peculiar state of consciousness, and from them we fashion images -but these shift with each eye movement and refuse to settle into dreams.
The next thing I know, I’m flying over a large, tree-filled valley. I must be dreaming, I tell myself. From the memory of trying to watch myself fall asleep –  still fresh in the dream- and the lack of memory for what came after, I realize I must have lost awareness during my drowsy reverie and reawakened in the dream. I’m having a lucid dream -the kind of dream where you know that you are dreaming. Indian and Tibetan traditions say that meditating in the lucid dream state can make it easier to see the consciousness beneath waking and dreaming, so I try to sit cross-legged and meditate. But my intention to sit this way won’t translate into action and I wind up kneeling instead. Then I lose the intention entirely and I am flying again, still aware that I am dreaming…”

Evan Thompson – ‘Waking Dreaming Being’  p 108

DReaming as more than neurological chatter

After all his research Evan Thompson is convinced that dreaming is more than random neurological firing from the brain. ‘Waking, Dreaming, Being’ gives us a framework to sharpen our mind. The framework that is handed to you as reader provokes your mind to think and rethink about your concept of self, your dreaming self and your memories. Any book that can do that is worth reading.
The science combined with the magic we all crave, magic that seems to be lost in our rational worlds is just what the doctor ordered.

 

watch the interview with Evan Thompson
Watch the interview with Evan Thompson (YouTube – 30min)

Watch the interview (30 min)

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Soon I will be interviewing Kate Adams and Bart Koet about their book Dreams and Spirituality.

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Dreaming at the crossroads of Life

This blog is a guest blog for I wrote for Patti Allen. You can find her website by clicking here. Patti is a dreamer, and a tarot-ist with her own deck of cards: The Abeton Key, named after the sleep chamber in the ancient healing temple of Asclepius.

Dreams at the crossroads of life. I had never imagined getting this old so I am celebrating. Listening to my dreams gives me the symbolism I need  to face the challenge of this new phase of life… I will share a bit of my blog here and invite you to read the rest of it at Patti Allen her blog: pattiallen.com

When Patti asked me to write a blog post to contribute to her Heart-Centered Dreamwork I was thrilled. Patti and I share the same dream of creating a platform to share knowledge about dreams, spirituality, and mythology.

crossroads
Photo: Holloman publishing

Looking back at my life, I see three crossroads I have passed through. I matured from childhood into womanhood, I choose my partner for life and entered a life stage of companionship and motherhood. And now at this point in my life I say farewell to my fertility and welcome the Crone stage. (In the ancient societies there where three stages of womanhood: the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone, all manifestations of the triple Goddess.)

Crossroads From Childhood Into Womanhood

My earliest memory of a dream is a nightmarish dream I had about an airplane being stuck in my closet. I was scared about the noise it made and how trapped it must feel in that little closet of mine. We used to live near a military airway. I later on deciphered it to be about the way I had to tune down my energy in the big family I grew up in. I am the youngest one in a family of 7 siblings. We had nine people living in our house. So it was always fun, always busy and there always was the need to tune in or tune down. I think my dream supported my longing to fly out, to spread my wings. I left home relatively early at age 17, doing just that. You can see that a dream that is concerned with showing you new roads on which to travel, often uses symbols of travel. In this dream it is an airplane. The air and the wind flow and chill, but it also supports transportation into new endeavors.

Ralph Metzner talks on Mindfunda’s Youtube channel https://youtu.be/-fJcYnuB8R8 about the battle between the Aesir sky gods and the Vanir earth gods as the battle between old and new technology. To resolve this battle Odin showed both tribes how to conduct rituals based on mutual respect. The earth tribe in my childhood home was my father. Being the principle of the local high school he was all about rules. Teaching the rules, playing by the rules; do your homework. He liked things that where tangible. I was more “airy”: I saw ghosts, spirits, I could talks to them for hours. I was a dreamy girl. It took me several decades to engage in a ritual based on mutual respect to build a bridge towards my father’s knowledge. A dream paved the way for that. In this dream of mine I foresaw his death. After having this dream I asked him if he wanted to do anything before he was gone; anything he had not gotten around to in his life? He talked with me that night about his life, about how wonderful it had been and about how much he loved my mother. He had enjoyed the company of his children and told me how I always amazed him with my analytic skills and my guts to ask questions other people only thought, but never said out loud.

Read on at Pattiallen.com

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Dreaming: Do you know Where your Consciousness Goes when You fall asleep?

 

Dreaming: you are tired. You lie down in bed, close your eyes, yawn and drift away… What happened to your consciousness?

Dreaming by Jennifer Windt addresses this question. If you are interested in dreaming, this book should be in your bookcase.
Jennifer Windt, Lecturer at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, wrote this
philosophical groundwork for modern dream research.

Dreaming Dennett

Jennifer is an admirer of Daniel Dennett (just like me). The common notion about dreaming is that dreams require a conscious state of being, even though this is often later forgotten. If it is not forgotten you are in a lucid dream. Dennett states that there is no consciousness in the dream at all. The consciousness of a dream comes in retrospect. You can agree or disagree with it, but I like such a daring assumption as a basis for dream research.

 

Dreaming
Dreaming A Conceptual Framework for Philosophy of Mind and Empirical Research
Jennifer Windt

Dreaming Aristotle

Jennifer takes us through the history of dream research starting with Aristotle. Aristotle claims that dreams can be understood in natural terms but not be studied scientifically.

Dreaming
Cartoon: Philosophy 101

 

A dream is a personal story, perceived by one individual, referring to that one individual only.

Dreaming Freud

We are flown through time into the 1900s when Freud decided to put that nice simple view upside down. There was a REAL meaning behind a dream, concealed but waiting to be unraveled. He poured it into a scientific model: the es, the ich and the über ich.  the energy of the “Es” was moving between Eros, the desire to live and to procreate and Thanatos, the desire towards the end.

dreaming
Sabina Spielrein

Mind you, the never during her lifetime acknowledge intelligence of Sabina Spielrein gave Freud the idea of Thanatos. Freud had several meetings with Sabina after Jung very inelegant disposed off her.

Dreaming content analysis

Then Jennifer leads us into the 50s of the last century: the discory of REM sleep made sleep and dreams visible for the third eye observer. In 1966 the content analysisi took hold of dream research with Hall and van de Castle’s system for usefull descriptions of the cognitive process at play during sleep.

Hobson’s AIM model is discussed. A stand s for Action. I stands for Information flow and M stands for Mode of information. As one of the most used models in dream research it is essential to become aware of its merrits and flaws.

Dreaming and local sleep

Recently Hubar et al found out that rats sleep while being awake. Sleep depth seems to be unevenly distributed. Rember when you had one of these nights sleeping – waking – sleeping -half awake – half asleep? I have had them, I am sure you had them too. Sleeping as a part brain phenomenon is something completly new in scientific research.

Dreaming as U form experience

Most dreams have a story to tell. Windt introduces the U form of the story: a situation begins, hits rock botten and a solution is found. Most methods of dream interpretation hold that assumption as a true fact. Even though it is not for all dreams, commenly dreams are this shape. Jennifer says: “Dreaming may indeed be a U form for some very fundemental cognitive capacities”.
I think buying this book will be worth your while if you have a professional interest in dreaming.

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Please sign up for my YouTube channel to enjoy all the beautiful Mindfunda interviews with inspiring people. People like Jean Benedict Raffa, Anne Baring, Connie Kaplan, Ralph Metzner Stanley Krippner and P.M.H. Atwater. I will be doing an interview with Catherine Wikholm about her book the Buddha Pill very soon so be sure to sign up!

Click here to find out more: Mindfunda Mythology

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming 

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The Matrix and the Goddess

I recently watched the Matrix trilogy again, here’s my Mythofunda approach on it:

Oracle: “Do you know what that means? (points at banner with Temet Nosce on it). It means know thyself. I want to tell you a little secret, being the One is just like being in love…”

In 1999 the Wachowskis, two siblings, directed The Matrix. It is a story about a hacker named Thomas Anderson. Thomas is the name of the disciple that did not believe Christ was resurrected. Doubting Thomas is an expression that is still being used when someone refuses to believes the miracle that happens. In the Gnostic Gospels Thomas knows Jesus and says he will believe it when he sees it. And it hits the most important nerve in the spine of the story: it explores the tension between ratio and magic. The Goddess holds the key to the solution. Thomas has a second identity: Neo (new, a computer hacker). Neo is an anagram for the One, the person we become when we have accepted our shadow.

goddess

The Goddess, as she appears in the trilogy of The Matrix (1999), Matrix reloaded (2003) and Matrix Revolutions (2003), has three faces. The fertile young sexy feisty Trinity, the black Penelope queen of the underworld and the all knowing Oracle.

The first scene of the film opens with the Goddess. Trinity’s voice talking to Cypher. Numbers run across the screen so we, the viewers are in on the secret: we live in a computer simulated reality.

Trinity is facing the wall, behind her laptop. A very accurate description of the society we live in. Computers being machines based to calculate, the Goddess can operate them but she is at the same time inviting Neo “to follow the white rabbit”. The rabbit, in many cultures is associated with the moon. The rabbit pours the elixir of life for Chang’e, the Chinese moon Goddess. In the poetry of Chu Chi, the rabbit on the moon pounds herbs for the immortals. And the legend was told in a conversation between Houston and Apollo 11 before the first moon landing. Houston said: “Among the headlines concerning Apollo this morning is one asking you to watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit. An ancient legend says a beautiful girl called Chang-O was banished to the moon because she stole the pill of immortality from her husband. You might also look for her companion, a large Chinese rabbit, who is easy to spot since he is always standing on his hind feet in the shade of a cinnamon tree”. (source Wikipedia).
And indeed Trinity invites Neo to look at the moon: they fall madly in love. When Neo and Trinity first meet she nails down that uneasy feeling we all recognize: what is reality?

The name Trinity refers to the triple Goddess: the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone. We see Trinity as first lady in the film, and she plays the part of the Maiden. Persephone in the film, who is jealous of the love between Trinity and Neo, demands a kiss from Neo to help him free the key maker. The key maker in the movie can open doors to new computer realities.

So the mother – daughter roles are reversed. In Greek mythology Persephone always was the daughter, now she acts like the Mother Goddess, demanding love as the way out of a reality that is not fulfilling your needs.

The Crone in the movie is the Oracle: the old housewife, making cookies with a clairvoyant ability: “do not worry about the vase” she tells Neo before he accidentally throws down a vase that breaks. The vase holds water: a symbol for spirituality. The fact that it breaks is a referral to the death of Trinity in the third part of the trilogy. Once Trinity is dead it starts to rain. The water, symbolised by the rain refers to the water that makes life possible. One of the most ancient Goddesses are water goddesses. Nature goddesses that need to be balanced in order to bring propsperity to all living beings. Death brings new life, the circle is round…

 

The Matrix collection in Blue-ray

 

As the dark twin brother of Neo, agent Smith says: “Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure”. Now that is a very eloquent description on the shadow we human beings bare today. Every human being that is aware of its environment knows that we created our own paradise, but in ways that undermine our earth, our health and our mental well being. There is one thing that speaks for us as a species: our ability to dream.

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