Eros in dreams

When was the last time you were mesmerized by somebody who took your breath away?

Eros is in the heart of every dream. I know that is a very romantic thought. When I interviewed Bart Koet about his book Spirituality and I suggested that maybe god, in the form of spirituality, is a part of every dream.


He did not agree with me. Some dreams are spiritual dreams other dreams are not.. But still I feel there is truth in the notion Jeremy Taylor once proclaimed:  “But the dream comes always in the service of health and wholeness, of the best and most complete and most creative being that we can be ”

Eros as Dionysos

“The cave is, traditionally, the location of Dionysos’ cult; the serpent, according to Kerenyi, is a life phenomenon, whose coolness, mobility, slippery character and, frequently, deathly threat, cause a highly ambivalent impression. The snake also represents the identity of Zoe, indestructible life, in its lowest form. The earth’s sun, from the depths, is Dionysos himself, “the light of Zeus”. Jung emphasized, in the corrected draft, the references about the Orphic representation of a stream of mud in the underworld.

The Orphics worshipped the first Dionysos (Zagreus), who was dismembered by the Titans. Zeus recovered his heart, and gave it to Semele in a drink, so that she would gestate it. With her death, Zeus placed Dionysos on his thigh, and from that the god was born, the second Dionysos -hence he is considered the god of death and rebirth. To protect him from Hera’s fury, Hermes gave him to Ino, who, together with her husband, King Atamas, raised Dionysos as a girl. His capacity to move between the world of genders is attributed to his living among women, thus he is seen as an androgynous god, in the sense of being able to integrate both masculine and feminine elements in his personality.

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Eros/Phanos

Unlike Apollo, the sun-god, representative of culture and civilization, Dionysos is associated with the mysteries of life and death, with vegetation, with consciousness associated with the depths, irrationality, a life fully lived, the emotions and sensuality that lead to an altered state of consciousness, and to transcendence through experience. Dionysos is considered the god of ecstasy and of enthusiasm, because his devotees, after a frenzied dance, “become enraptured”, and then “the god merges into his adorer, through enthusiasm”.

The Eros/Phanos picture was the target picture of the psiber conference orginized by the IASD. It is an online conference were people can read about psi- connections in dreams. And I do not consider it coincidence that I was reading the book about Jung his love life at the same time this image was selected as target picture!

This quotation I read in Maria Helena Guerra her book “The love drama of C.G. Jung”:

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The love drama of C.G. Jung

This book is very much worth reading. (If you want to buy it just click on the link and go to Amazon, that way you will support Mindfunda). Maria weaves the strings of Jung’s process of constructing the Self in a web of the love triangle that was created after Jung introduced Tony Wolff into his home. She was his lover, his therapist, the one that kept him sane. She was the manifestation of his anima.

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Tony Wolff

Eros as anima

This was Jung his dream:
In the dream I found myself in a magnificent Italian loggia with pillars, a marble floor and a marble balustrade. I was sitting on a gold Renaissance chair. in front of me was a table of rare beauty. It was made of green stone like emerald. There I sat, looking at a distance, for the loggia was set high up on the tower castle. My children were sitting at the table too.
Suddenly a white bird descended, a small sea-gull or a dove. Gracefully came to rest on the table, and I signed the children to be still so that they would not frighten away the pretty white bird. Immediately, the dove was transformed into a little girl ], about eight years of age, with golden blond hair. She ran off with the children and played with them among the colonnades of the castle.
I remained lost in thought, musing about what I had just experienced. The little girl returned and tenderly placed her arms around my neck. Then she suddenly vanished, the dove was back and spoke in a human voice: “Only in the first hours of the night can I transform myself to a human being, while the male dove is busy with the twelve death”. then she flew off into the blue air and I awoke”.

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The dove as symbol of the anima

 

Eros in your life

How about you? When was the last time you were mesmerized by somebody who took your breath away? In your dreams? Or in your waking life?

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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, Catherine Wikholm about her book the Buddha Pill and Justina Lasley about her book Wake Up to Your Dreams: Transform Your Relationships, Career, and Health While You Sleep! Evan Thompson about his book Waking Sleeping Being.

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

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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)

Do you like this post? Feel free to share!

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, Catherine Wikholm about her book the Buddha Pill and Justina Lasley about her book Wake Up to Your Dreams: Transform Your Relationships, Career, and Health While You Sleep! Evan Thompson about his book Waking Sleeping Being.

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

GRAB YOURSELF A FREE E-BOOK AND LEARN ALL ABOUT MUTUAL DREAMING USING THIS LINK
Join me on Facebook
Twitter @susannevandoorn