Aug 18, 2006 01:10 PM
Below, you will see an article on DREAMLESS SLEEP
published last July in "The Theosophical Movement".
"The Theosophical Movement" is an insightful monthly
magazine published in Mumbai, India, by members of the
United Lodge of Theosophists, ULT.
Best regards, Carlos.
SIGNIFICANCE OF DREAMLESS SLEEP
THEOSOPHY explains to us what happens during the hours of sleep, when we seem to be unconscious of life, unconscious of happiness or sorrow, work or play, tiredness or activity. Those who crave for sensuous enjoyment live a “night life” of pleasure; but to most of us the hours of sleep come around cyclically at night-time and we wake up the next morning to begin our normal life.
What is it all for? Partly for the sake of the bodily machine which, like all machines, needs rest; also for the rest of the emotional nature and of the desire-mind; and, most important of all, for spiritual refreshment.
We are taught that there are three states of consciousness in which we normally function: jagrat, the waking state; swapna, the dream state; and sushupti, the dreamless state. There are others, but we are not concerned with them here. Dreams are either impressions received by the consciousness during the sushupti condition; or, as is more commonly the case, they are reproductions of memories stored in the brain or of pictures seen in the Astral Light; or they may be caused purely by physiological disturbances. We rarely recollect any spiritual impression on waking up, though warning dreams and prophetic dreams are remembered at times. Why is it so difficult to remember the real dreams and experiences of the higher Ego?
The secret of the understanding of the higher reaches of consciousness lies in a knowledge of the sushupti condition. In this state the lower constituents of our being, the senses, the feelings, the desires and even the lower mind, are in a paralyzed condition and only the Higher Manas, Manas freed from Kama-desire, is active. This true fifth principle, the immortal entity, lives its own life on its own plane, and it is because we do not familiarize ourselves with our teachings on its life and condition that we find so many difficulties in the way of our understanding.
What is this fifth principle, the Ego? It is the individually conscious link between our world and Atma-Buddhi. Once we can grasp this idea, we have crossed one great hurdle in the way of our understanding of our nature. Left to itself, Atma-Buddhi, the Monad, is unconscious on this plane. Divorced from the fifth principle, Manas, the Monad can have no consciousness or perception of things on this earthly plane. “The highest sees through the eyes of the lowest” in the manifested world: Spirit remains blind without the help of matter in the material spheres; and so does Atma-Buddhi without Manas. It is through the mind of man that the radiance of the Spirit shines on the personality. It is in the human kingdom alone that the Universal Mind is able to function through individualized centres of consciousness. Man has not reached this condition automatically, but as the result of evolution and experience he has come to the stage where he is capable of being aware of the idea-forms in the Universal Mind and of giving them concrete shape by projecting their reflection on to the lower planes through the portion of Manas which functions during the waking life of the personality to which it is attached.
Manas is the thinking principle. Thought is creative; therefore Manas is a creator, is incessantly creating. Creating what? The Universe came into being because it first existed in ideal form in the mind of the Deity. The Buddha, the Christ and the long line of Divine Beings are rapt in thought, and therefore are incessantly creating. What do they create? We are told that their thoughts are living entities and that they create a Wall of Protection around mankind. As Nature on our plane works incessantly, moulding forms, evolving better and better forms, helped by lives that are builders, so the architects of every aspect of the universe incessantly create ideas which these builders bring into objectivity.
We too are builders. Take an idea such as Universal Brotherhood. Is this idea rooted in the lower planes of being? No; it is the reflection of the Oneness of the ALL. On the higher plane Brotherhood is an actual fact, a reality. On this plane of ours it is only an ideal or an idea. Why is it not an operative fact here? Because we do not understand it thoroughly, do not know the rules and laws to make it work, or care sufficiently to think clearly about it or to feel its necessity; therefore we do not exert our will to realize it. We look around and say that others are not brotherly instead of looking within and realizing that we ourselves are not brotherly. Real Brotherhood is not easy to build, for all kinds of difficulties come in our way; but with persistent effort they can be overcome.
Action follows thought and thought creates action. It is in the mind, therefore, that we must plan and search and learn, just as the potter first gets an idea and then, applying the laws of his craft, gives it external form. We need to know the laws as well as have the idea.
How do we get great ideas? We get them often in sushupti. In this state, even though what we know of as “our” mind, aware of itself, is semi-paralyzed or totally paralyzed, so that the higher Ego is untrammeled by the lower, yet the actions of that Ego impress themselves on the paralyzed personality. For example, if we fall asleep or semi-asleep in the sun, we are unaware of the sun-burning of the skin—unaware until we awake. Yet we have the effect of the burn. The actions of the Ego are vaguely seen if the personal mind is only semi-paralyzed; and on awakening some of these impressions become ideas and ideals. Every great and noble thought comes to us from the higher, and so often we fail to seek the guidance of that higher in translating those ideas and ideals into facts on this plane of being.
There is no need for us to be in this paralyzed or semi-paralyzed condition. We can enter and emerge from sushupti in a collected condition. In sushupti the mind searches for knowledge. If in waking life we think about what we want to learn and make the necessary preparations for reaching the higher plane in a conscious and collected condition, we shall gradually find the knowledge we seek. In any case, whether we go through sushupti in a collected condition or in a semi-paralyzed or paralyzed state, it always leaves an effect on us, a purificatory effect through contact with the Ego. If we were collected when we reached that plane, then we are more likely to remember and to retain the beneficent influence.
We must, in waking life, saturate our consciousness with the idea that while entering and coming out of that condition we shall remain self-controlled and one-pointed. Hence the teaching given to us that we should review that past day, weigh the experiences gone through and see their worth, good or bad; that we should close the day while ideating on some spiritual thought, on the great Self whose representative we are, and open ourselves to Its benediction.
What we need is not so much the detailed memory of the experiences as watching for any great idea or ideal that comes to us with the urge to realize it. We already have many such, so our main object should be to learn how to realize them. This is our work through our vehicles of this plane.
Three things are necessary: the idea or ideal; the imagination, the image-building faculty of the mind; and the will. An idea like Universal Brotherhood fails to become a reality unless we use the mind to build such a brotherhood in our imagination, and we need the will to keep the image-building faculty at work. We have to make the image and destroy it, make it better and destroy it with greater knowledge as we do with all things in life. Science shows that we must build on what we have learnt. From there we pass onto more and more knowledge, destroying what we have done in the past because now we can do better, and so on and on. Brotherhood is based on universal laws, on the principle that there is but one essence which we all are, and it touches the material, psychical and mental aspects of our being.
Just as Divine Beings work on the Ideas in the Universal Mind and reproduce them perfectly on dense matter, so must we do the same. Otherwise we shall find them reflected upside down on the Astral Light and shall work on them wrongly. We need to realize that to say that “Universal Brotherhood is a fact,” or, “Let there be a Universal Brotherhood,” is not enough. To talk of peace is not enough; to talk of kindness is not enough: to talk of the Great Ones is not enough. The key to the development of human nature is at the moment the mind, the thinking principle, and with it the will. It is the will that, in these days of distress and uncertainty, seems to be neglected, for we have got into a way of thinking, “What is the use of doing anything: What can we do?” H.P.B. gave us wise advice in The Key to Theosophy when she said that every individual can contribute to the general good what he can of ennobling thought. It is the individual himself that is the key to progress. It is the work of each individual in and on himself that will make Universal Brotherhood a reality, not the criticism of others.
To get clear-cut ideas, therefore, is important. Out last thought on going to sleep will determine the condition of our consciousness during sleep. During the waking condition we have to do the work of building a channel between the Ego and our ordinary life of thoughts, feelings and actions. We can do this, first, by paying attention to the voice of conscience; but that is not enough. We have to form the habit of turning for help and instruction to the great and glorious Entity which is our real Ego. We can do this by attuning ourselves to that Ego, by practice and absence of desire. Even our physical brain has layers which vibrate to these higher, spiritual vibrations, and in our kamic nature is the seed of compassion and not only of passion. To develop the higher in and through the lower is our first task in waking if we are to get to the condition where we can receive the full benediction of the sushupti plane. Let us begin the task of working for humanity by building the universal ideas here, on this material plane.
I desire to have in everything a purpose (niyah); even in my eating, my drinking, and my sleeping.
(From "The Theosophical Movement", a montlhly magazine, Mumbai, India, July 2006)
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application