UR2 Section 5: Session 720 November 13, 1974
Seth: Give us a moment … When you take a physical photograph you have to know how your camera works. You must learn how to focus, how to emphasize those particular qualities you want to record, and how to cut out distracting influences. You know the difference between shadows, for example, and solid objects. Sometimes shadows themselves make fascinating photographic studies. You might utilize them in the background, but as a photographer you would not confuse the shadows with, say, the solid objects. No one would deny that shadows are real, however.
Now, using an analogy only, let me explain that your thoughts and feelings also give off shadows (intently) that we will here call hallucinations. They are quite valid. They have as strong a part to play in dream reality as shadows do in the physical world. They are beautiful in themselves. They add to the entire picture. A shadow of a tree cools the ground. It affects the environment. So hallucinations alter the environment, but in a different way and at another level of reality. In the dream world hallucinations are like conscious shadows. They are not passive, nor is their shape dependent upon their origin. They have their own abilities.
Physically, an oak tree may cast a rich deep shadow upon the ground. It will move, faithfully mirroring the tiniest motion of the smallest leaf, but its freedom to move will be dictated by the motion of the oak. Not one oak leaf shadow will move unless its counterpart does.
Following our analogy, in the dream world the shadow of the oak tree, once cast, would then be free to pursue its own direction. Not only that, but there would be a creative give-and-take between it and the tree that gave it birth. Anyone fully accustomed to inner reality would have no difficulty in telling the dream oak tree from its frisky shadow, however (humorously), any more than awaking photographer would have trouble distinguishing the physical oak tree from its counterpart upon the grass.
When you, a dream tourist, wander about the inner landscape with your mental camera, however, it may take a while before you are able to tell the difference between dream events and their shadows or hallucinations. So you may take pictures of the shadows instead of the trees, and end up with a fine composition indeed — but one that would give you somewhat of a distorted version of inner reality. So you must learn how to aim and focus your dream camera.
(Pause.) In your daily world objects have shadows, and thoughts or feelings do not, so in your dream travels simply remember that there “objects” do not possess shadows, but thoughts and feelings do.
Since these are far more lively than ordinary shadows, and are definitely more colorful, they may be more difficult to distinguish at first. You must remember that you are wandering through a mental or psychic landscape. You can stand before the shadow of a friend in the afternoon, in waking reality, and snap your fingers all you want to, but your friend’s shadow will not move one whit. It will certainly not disappear because you tell it to. In the dream world, however, any hallucination will vanish immediately as soon as you recognize it as such, and tell it to go away. It was cast originally by your own thought or feeling, and when you withdraw that source, then its “shadow” is automatically gone.
Give us a moment … A stone’s physical shadow will faithfully mirror its form. In those terms, little creativity is allowed it. Far greater leeway exists, however, as a thought or feeling in the dream world casts its greater shadow out upon the landscape of the mind.
The same applies in the dream state; but there, the shadows of your thoughts may be projected outward into scenes of darkest desolation. In the physical world you have mass sense data about you. Each individual helps form that exterior environment. No matter how dark your mood on any given sunny day, your individual thoughts alone will not suddenly turn the blue skies into rainy ones. You alone do not have that kind of control over your fellows’ environment. In the dream world, however, such thoughts will definitely form your environment.
Stormy dream landscapes are on the one hand hallucinations, cast upon the inner world by your thoughts or feelings. On the other hand, they are valid representations of your inner climate at the time of any given dream. Such scenes can be changed in the dream state itself if you recognize their origin. You might choose instead to learn from such hallucinations by allowing them to continue, while realizing that they are indeed shadows cast by your own mind.
Now: If you are honest with your thoughts and feelings, then you will express them in your waking life, and they will not cast disturbing shadows in your dreams.
Un-encountered in waking life, however, the fear might cast its dim shadow, so that you dream of your child’s death, or of the death of another close to you. The dream experience would be cast into the dream landscape and encountered there. Period.
If you remembered such a dream, therefore, you might think that it was precognitive, and that the event would become physical. Instead, the whole portent of the dream event would be an educational one, bringing your fear into clear focus. In such cases you should think of the dire dream situation as a shadow, and look for its source within your mind.
Shadows can be pleasant and luxurious, and on a hot sunny day you are certainly aware of their beneficial nature. So some dream hallucinations are beautiful, comforting, refreshing. They can bring great peace and be sought after for themselves. You may believe that God exists as a kindly father, or you might personify him as Christ or Buddha. In your dreams you might then encounter such personages. They are quite valid, but they are also hallucinations cast by your own thoughts and feelings. Dreams of Heaven and Hell alike fall into the same category, in those terms, as hallucinations.
Now: The physical shadow of a tree bears witness to the existence of a tree, even if you see only the shadow; so your hallucinations appearing in dreams also bear witness to their origin, and give testimony to a valid “objective” dream object that is as “solid” (slowly) in that reality as the tree is in your world.