Continued from Chapter 15.
“We all dream together, and we travel in these other-worldly landscapes, even though we may not be aware of it. You could say we dream our existence into reality.” Don Emilio
By Richard Juarez
It was still overcast when we walked over to see Don Emilio. The overnight fog must have been pretty heavy for it not to burn off by late morning. That made it cooler than usual. A shiver ran through my body as we walked into the yard, from the cold, I thought. Or was it was because of today’s topic? I heard that Don Emilio told Tata that he was going to talk to Tony and me about dreaming. I wondered if it was going to be more about my dream or other things about dreaming.
I could hear drumming music coming from the shed as we got closer. We stopped at the entrance to the shed and could see that Don Emilio’s eyes were closed. It looked like he was in a trance. But as I stood there looking at him, I noticed he was not moving at all. It seemed to be a deeper trance than other times. I guess he heard us as we walked in and sat down, because he started to stir, but it took him longer than usual to come out of it. Finally he stood up and started to pace in the small area in front of our chairs.
“I have to move around a little to come back, so I can focus on this side.” He took a few deep breaths as he paced, then went back to his seat and started up again. “Today I want to talk about contacting the other side, or traveling to other levels of reality.”
“I read something about that in the library,” said Tony, “in a magazine article about shamanism. It said that a shaman goes into a trance and that his spirit travels to an underworld where he meets various beings, evil spirits, or animals, or maybe like monsters––strange and scary beings. I don’t want to meet up with scary beings and evil spirits!”
“I don’t think I want to go on that kind of a trip either,” I said. “Is it necessary to visit this underworld? Will we be safe in those other realities?”
“You are not going to go into an underworld of scary monsters and evil spirits,” Don Emilio assured us. “That is for people of other belief systems. Different realities exist, different from what we are experiencing right now. We can tune into an alternative reality by going into an altered state of consciousness. You do this when you dream or when you go into a trance, where your consciousness leaves the body, or a large part of it does, and goes to a different level of reality. I say reality because it is a real experience. Part of your consciousness is experiencing that moment, just like your consciousness is experiencing this moment. The trance journey and the dream state are nothing to be afraid of. Both are altered states of consciousness and ways to access information not readily available in our normal waking, conscious state.”
Tony looked relieved to learn that we were not going to be involved with some scary underworld. “Oh, so is this like the exercises where we met our power animal and moved around like we were that animal?”
“Yes, on that power animal trance journey you traveled to another level of reality where you became your power animal, looked out from his eyes, moved like him, and thought like him. You saw things from a perspective you could not see from your physical body form. Those were powerful shamanic journeys. There was nothing scary about that, was there?”
We both shook our heads. Now I understood why he had us do the power animal journeys so early in these lessons. It made more sense now as he talked about trance journeys.
“You mean that experience was real, that we were in a different space and time than this life here on Earth?” asked Tony.
“Did you think it was real at the time?” Don Emilio asked.
“It seemed very real to me!”
“Yeah, mine felt real too,” I answered, “ but I thought that maybe, like you said, it was just our higher self showing us some things.”
“Whether you believe it was your power animal or your higher self is not important. You were in, and getting information from, a dimension you do not normally perceive. The information came from a different level of reality. Same physical space, but a different level of awareness.”
I was listening real close, and trying to stay with him. But this stuff Don Emilio was saying was hard to understand. Even though I was having trouble getting my mind to understand what he was saying, I knew it was real because I experienced it in my dream. Somehow I was in another place and time in that dream. So I thought I should just stay with it and let it sink in for a while, and see if it would eventually make sense.
“So on a shamanic trance journey, is the shaman awake, or dreaming?” Tony asked. “I remember I was a little out of it when we ended our journey. Were we dreaming it?”
“Entering a light or deep trance, an altered state of consciousness, we escape the chatter of our mind, the doubts and fears of the ego, and leave the conscious mind behind, put it to sleep so to speak, as in the dream state—although we are more awake and aware of this world than while dreaming. In the trance state as well as in the dream state, we filter information through the subconscious mind. The subconscious is the doorway through which we can access information from our spirit guides, guardian angels, animal spirits, and other nature spirits, like the trees, plants, wind, and water.”
“From the wind?” I asked, as I got up and walked over to the back of the shed. “From trees, and plants? Like these?” I picked up one of the larger plants from Nana’s worktable, an aloe vera plant. It looked like it might be the one Don Emilio handed to me the very first time we talked in here.
“Yes, from trees and plants. You will see for yourselves soon enough, believe me.” Don Emilio paused and looked at us like he was about to say something, but maybe changed his mind. He then continued with the lesson.
“The focused attention exercise or meditation is another way to access that information. The goal is to stop the internal mind chatter, and get the conscious mind to shut down for a while, allowing access to the subconscious mind. Now, as you recall, we did the focused attention exercise prior to that power animal journey. And I did that just a short while ago, before you walked in. It is one way to slip into a trance state. The trance state is the vehicle for travel, a way to escape the overpowering control that the ego has on the self. And, as I said, another way to connect with alternative levels of reality is through the dream state.”
Tony shook his head. “Wait a minute. Through dreams? I hate to keep being the doubting Thomas here, but I think most people believe that a bad dream or a nightmare, or even a good dream, is just something that happens in our minds, and we just watch it. How do we connect with something while we are asleep watching a dream?”
“We can control our dreams, even though most people do not consciously do so. There are people who have developed their dreaming skills to access many kinds of information. One of those skills, being consciously aware that you are dreaming and then choosing what you want to do and where you want to go in the dream, is called lucid dreaming. Related to that is what people call an out-of-body experience.”
“What do you mean people choose what they want to do and where they want to go in a dream?” asked Tony. “How do they do that?”
Even though it sounded like Tony was pestering with all his questions, I was glad he was asking. I had no reason to doubt the truth of what Don Emilio was telling us. It was just getting harder and harder to grasp, as we had never heard about it before. Yet he was talking like it was everyday stuff.
“Lucid dreaming is choosing to dream differently than most people dream,” said Don Emilio. “Typically, people just watch the dream and passively let things happen to them. And usually, the scenes jump around. There may not be much logic to them, and the person has to struggle to figure out what the jumble of different images mean, if they even try. In lucid dreaming, on the other hand, you can be watching your dream and then consciously decide to move in a certain direction, or to do a certain action. Or you may just want to explore the dream landscape, to explore dream reality and become more familiar with it, especially if you are new to lucid dreaming.”
That all sounded very strange, and a little scary, I thought to myself. But it also sounded pretty cool–to be able to move around and do things inside your dream. “How do you do it? How do you switch from just watching the dream to being part of the action?”
“The first step is to realize you are dreaming while you are having a dream, rather than after you wake up. Usually you dream and experience what is going on, but do not realize it is a dream. The first thing to do, when going to bed, is to tell yourself that you want to become aware in your dreams. Second, make it a habit to look for things in your dreams that cannot happen in this physical world, like traveling at high speeds without a vehicle, or maybe playing basketball and slam-dunking. You have to try to realize that your experience is out of the ordinary, that you cannot dunk, so you must be dreaming. Third, once you realize you are dreaming, you try to remember to take some action.”
“Yeah,” said Tony, “like I wanna go back and slam dunk some more!”
“Right. In your dreams is the only place you’ll ever slam dunk,” I said, laughing.
Don Emilio smiled and paused briefly, trying to stay serious. “All three steps take a lot of practice. So it is not something you will be able to go home and try and then come back with success stories right away. But it is something that you can practice. Get a notebook and keep a dream journal. Write down your dreams and what you were able to do about those three steps.”
“What about the out-of-body thing,” asked Tony, “how do you do that?”
“The easiest way for me is through a trance state, as if I were going on a shamanic journey, because, well, that is what I am doing. But rather than going to meet my power animal, I use the trance to travel to the other side. First I get very relaxed, as we have done in our focused attention exercises. And I allow myself to go really deeply into that calm state. The deeper I go, the slower my brainwave activity. The deep trance slows down my brain activity, and I move from conscious mind, where the brainwave activity is called the beta wave state, to subconscious mind, where the brainwave activity has slowed to what is called the alpha wave state. And as I go even deeper, the brainwave activity slows down to what is called the theta wave state.”
Beta, alpha, theta? I shook my head and looked over at Tony just as he spoke up, sounding a little frustrated.
“Oh man, do we have to remember this alpha beta stuff?”
“No,” Don Emilio answered. “I do no want to confuse you with the terminology. I just want you to know that you are going to progressively more relaxed states, both in your body and in your brain. I start by relaxing my body from the toes on up, the reverse of what we usually do. I try to feel each of the muscles, and then relax them—the toes, the feet, the lower leg, and keep going up, relaxing all the muscles. As I move up, I let the muscles I have passed totally relax; I let them drop as a dead weight. By the time I get up to my head, I do not feel the lower parts of the body. It seems as if my consciousness is focused in a point of awareness in my head, unconnected to my body.
“By changing my brainwave activity, my consciousness moves away from my mind and physical body awareness into an inner world awareness, accessible only when I can first put the mind to rest, distract it, and give it something to do while I get away, like focusing on its body and relaxing each muscle. Once in the theta wave state, in this inner world awareness, I am ready to travel.”
Oh wow, I thought, how cool is that? That made more sense. Slow down, relax, and get ready to travel!
“Now, some people get to this place not through a trance state, but from the sleep state. They might do the same relaxation process just described while they lie in bed, and then allow themselves to drift down deeper and deeper into sleep. In this way they are also stepping down their brainwave activity, so that when it reaches the theta level, they too can take the inner journey.
“The trick in this method is to catch yourself before you slip down to the extremely slow delta brainwave level, which is the deepest level of sleep, beyond dreaming and traveling. Look for clues while dropping down to the theta level–for example, a feeling of numbness, spinning, falling, vibrations, or sounds. Use any of those feelings as a reminder not to go deeper into sleep but instead, as with the trance state, to move into an awareness of a feeling of one point of consciousness, unconnected to the body. You may feel yourself, as this one point of consciousness, pop free of your body and actually see yourself as separate from it, or simply find yourself traveling.”
“And where do you go when you actually do it?” asked Tony. “Where do you end up? And how do you get back?”
“Let me first say, to allay any fears, that you get back very easily, by simply deciding to come back, at any time, no matter what is happening wherever you are. Now, I can go in different directions. I can enjoy a favorite pleasant place where I can meet my power animal or my higher self, a place I created in my mind. Or I can travel within a spiritual, aura-like version of the physical world, its duplicate, along with a duplicate of everything in it. There I can visit people and places anywhere on the Earth or beyond.
“I can also move on to other levels of reality or of what some people call the astral plane. There, I can explore landscapes, events, and interactions that I myself create, just like I do in my dreams. Or I may meet up with a relative who has passed away, a fellow traveler, a teacher, or guides in a setting created by them. For those of us who have worked to increase our energy, and our spiritual development, we can move to higher levels within this otherworld and meet spiritually advanced souls and teachers. We can participate in classes and learn more about our spiritual natures, and about existence in these other realities, and about many wonders that we cannot even begin to comprehend.”
I could feel my jaw drop open as Don Emilio paused to let us take all that in. I looked over at Tony who was looking back me with wide-open eyes and his mouth wide open too. Don Emilio had done it again. He blew our minds talking about these strange concepts, but speaking like it was everyday common knowledge. My mind was spinning with thoughts of advanced souls and teachers, classes in other realities, records of other lifetimes, and different levels in this other world.
“Don Emilio,” I asked when I could finally speak, “do many people know about this, about traveling to all these places?”
“Many people do lucid dreaming and other-worldly travels. Some do it as a group. The Yaqui Indians for example. Part of their culture, the way of their society, is group dreaming. Together they are aware in the dream. There are other cultures that do this as well.”
“What?” I asked, shocked again at yet another surprise. “You mean people are actually together in their dream or in this inner traveling, doing things together? And they all remember the dream?”
“Jesus,” said Tony shaking his head, “more hocus pocus.”
“Not at all,” said Don Emilio. “We all dream together, and we travel in these other-worldly landscapes, even though we may not be aware of it. You could say we dream our existence into reality. On another level of consciousness, in the dream state, we meet with others and make decisions about things and events in our lives. We work out agreements at that level and set things in motion, so that what we have chosen for our lives materializes in this physical reality. We dream our individual lives, and we dream our group lives as well. The problem is that 99.9% of the time we have no recollection of this, but it does take place. Strange and hard to understand perhaps, but it is part of the magical nature of the Universe.”
This was just amazing! Too amazing, and hard to believe. I thought that outside of this universe there was heaven. Now he was talking about different levels, multiple realities, people dreaming this life into existence. It was really mind-boggling. I had no reason to doubt him, but wow, what a whole new world.
“Man! This is so much new stuff,” said Tony. “I … I can hardly keep it all in my head.”
All I could do was nod in agreement.
Don Emilio looked at us and realized we had heard enough. He had given us plenty to think about for a while. He asked how our exercises were going. We talked about them briefly, and then ended the session.
Rather than leaving with Tony I went into the house to see Tata. He had not been feeling well and had spent the last few days in bed. My father had stopped by to see him also and was already with him in his bedroom, so he was able translate for me. Tata asked me what we had learned today, and I told him our topic was traveling to the other side.
“Ah, yes, perfect,” he said in Spanish. “That is what I want Emilio to teach me. I want to learn how to travel to the other side. He used to tell me about his travels. How magnificent.” Then he got a very sad look on his face and continued, speaking in Spanish. “But perhaps it is too late. I am very old, and I am not well. I wanted to travel, but now I’m afraid.”
“Tata,” I answered, “Don Emilio says not to be afraid of evil spirits and that kind of stuff when you travel to the other side.”
“No,” he said, “I mean I’m afraid that if I travel to the other side, they may not let me come back.”
Copyright © 2013 Richard Juarez
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