We all live in our reality tunnels. Michael Pollan suggests that if we were to enter the brain of another human being, we would think we were experiencing a psychedelic trip. Reality tunnels is a term that Timothy Leary coined, and Robert Anton Wilson expanded. The idea is we each live in a selective view of perception determined by our setting, genetics, imprints, conditioning, and learning.
Bernard Kastrup, in his book Brief Peeks Beyond, proposes that,
“If we accept the obvious fact that nature presents to us the moment we are born: consciousness is the one fundamental aspect of reality; the canvas of existence. The universe is nothing but excitations of consciousness itself.” Now if we could relax our tiny tunnel of perception and let it expand like a mother giving birth, maybe we could open up to a broader experience. If we view life as a canvas of consciousness, why would we not be able to see something we could not conceive till it arrives in our mind? Robert Anton Wilson goes onto say, “Each person’s reality tunnel is their artistic creation.”
Andrew Holecek, in his book Dream Yoga, discusses how we are wake-centric but that our dream life is far more accurate to reality. Is this because our reality tunnel widens, and filters in our brain lessen? I would venture to suggest that by opening up our conscious awareness of our dream existence, we can expand our consciousness of subjective experience throughout all experiences.
Now, why do I keep hammering at this concept of reality tunnel? As an artist, I spend my existence longing to get past my boundaries. The mystery is continually staring at me; language never describes what I am trying to express. Painting comes closer to the mystery, yet it is a fixed object stuck in space, it loses the continually unfolding of the present moment. Entering the dream, experiencing the imaginal realm that is alive and full of presence, is like being a hummingbird feeding the nectar from the flower. Dreams inhale and exhale mystery, they breathe.
In dreamwork, we do become like the characters, objects, and space. This can be a bit like Michael Pollan suggests a bit of a trip. We prepare ourselves beforehand by doing a body scan so that we can receive the most benefit from the experience. We want to get out of our reality tunnel to enter a much wider field of percetion normally not given attention. Where we focus, our attention goes. We embody the excitations of consciousness that Bernardo Kastrup writes about.
To do the mental preparation before body scan:
- Become curious
- Become aware of dual consciousness like in meditation where you quiet your mind and stay conscious of your body.
- Consider visualizing ice on your prefrontal cortex to quiet the analytical mind.
- Be in the present moment
- Try leaving your known self and become nobody.
The dream worker will then take you through a body scan to see what is going on your body and to note what is happening but not to try to change anything. The purpose of this is to observe the changes in your body as you enter and work the dream.
In the dream, one becomes an observer in the present moment as if the dream is happening right now. When your mind becomes active try to come back to observing and feel in your body subtle awarenesses.
This entire process I just described becomes second nature and is something you can take into your life to widen your reality. We become more spacious, more attuned to subtle detail in ourselves, others, and the environment. We slow down and breathe deeper into life. Our realities expand.