Monday, January 19, 2009

" Know thyself" - Hunting for my body - life without the physical

Often when I've gone to sleep and then wake up, there is a moment when I am conscious of myself, I know I'm still sleeping but I'm not sure WHERE I am. To put is more accurately: I'm not sure where I'll be when I wake up, I don't know where my body is.

in those few moments I wonder: WHERE will I wake up ?
- Will I wake up in a bus going somewhere ?
- In a plane ?
- Having a nap at lunchtime and need to get back to work NOW !
- At home in bed and its a Saturday morning - bliss ?
....and so on.

then suddenly I'm more awake and I emerge from where ever one's consciousness goes during sleep.
Voila !
I'm ....... in a bus going to the Thai border.
There's a momentary surprise then I'm fully into where I am and planning the rest of the trip.... .

But for those few moments I'm hunting my body, chasing around in whatever levels before I emerge.
I know I'll emerge.

These things happen more when I'm tired, and stressed and have a quick power nap during the day (love power naps).

19Jan09 Monday: brief nap, 10mins using Chi-plates.
In my dream I looked at something which came at, into my face.
I moved away in my dream but my physical body also moved, jerked back a little in sleep. This brought me back a little more to normal awake consciousnes, and giving me back more of my normal thoughts, thoughts that I could remember.

What I remembered wondering was: The dream world I had inhabited was real while I was asleep.
I wonder, is life without a body like that ? All soft and unlimited and yet also NOT soft and NOT UNlimited either ? It's not limited because of the 'real ME' (see earlier blog: 'the real me')

I sensed a different world, which was at 'right angles' to the normal world we live in.
In this different world there are no sharp edges. I that I mean: there is no lack of food or money, or time.... things that are limited and restricted are not limited and restricted there, and Vice Versa.

In this different world without a body, dream world, whatever you want to call it, there is a different need and different hunger for something else ... and that need and hunger comes from the core of me, of who I AM (
'the real me').
It is a need to achieve something within myself, by doing it 'out there in the objective world' - it is more of an inner urge.

In normal physical life these urges are more like
- the urge to go off and help the poor
- achieve something you just KNOW you want to do. You don't know how you know, but you know you always wanted to
  • be a healer, nurse, doctor
  • ballet dancer
  • author
  • musician
  • inventor of new XYZ...
  • have kids, be a mother, father....
These urges in normal life can also be much simpler: - "I got to get a new job, this is somehow not 'doing it' for me anymore" - I will do that hiking trip and explore the outdoors like I've always wanted to - I'll start writing (articles like this, which I've been mentally rehearsing and writing for decades)

I'm talking about deep inner urges, the whispering of the 'still small voice within' not the more obvious solid things such as fear, greed, ambition, need for control, etc....
That still small voice will not force me to listen to it, it will not wrestle with me and shout or scream. I can easily avoid it and drown it out and push it aside, it is after all 'still', 'small' and deep inside. But after a few years of quietly ignoring it two things might happen to me:

1) life gets more and more dull and monotone and has no flavour and no taste ... - or

2) I just HAVE to do a particular task, or it will drive me nuts. That feeling of having to do something is for me, similar to the feeling of having spent a whole day in a stuffy office and I just NEED to get out and breathe fresh air and feel REAL sunshine in my face again.
Only instead of fresh air and sunshine I need to - face things I've run from - or - deal with s*** I've put off - or - see that person.... - or - do that course - or - write that letter - or - appologize to Mary - or - ....whatever it is, it will feel good when I do it. Like dislocated joint put back in.

How does all this relate to waking up from a power nap ?

Well, the above stuff went through my mind (a notoriously short journey ha ha) in the process of waking. It seems to me that if I lived in that different world, where the most solid reality was the core of ME, then I might want to actually find a world where I can measure myself against, where I can work on myself with hard sharp edges. Where I can achieve things where I need to deal with limited time, limited resources, where I HAVE to decided my priorities and focus on them... where the deeply hidden things in ME come out.... in short: I might really want to be alive in the world and the job, and situation I am in right NOW! And there I was thinking I just wanted enough of everything, never lack for anything, no limits and no constraints.... - but the core of ME has a shape, and a limit, and a 'flavour' - what we call a 'character'.

It reminded me of a quote I once read:
"Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame."
"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."

"Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel."
all above quotes by G. K. Chesterton,
Actually DO want the limits, I need them, as a way of bracing myself against what I am, who I AM. It brings out what and who I AM. Physical life is made up of limits. There is a limit to its length of time, to how much I can work in one day, how much I can eat, and how long I can go without eating.... there is a limit to how much I can enjoy pleasure before getting sick of it. I can only be in one place at any one moment. I have a gender I can't change (well not easily), DNA I can't change, and I have a character that I AM (more or less).

When I choose ONE direction I choose against all others, - I can't have it ALL. That seems banal and obvious. But what hit me is that I actually WANT those limits, because when I imagine that world where there are not physical limits, and the only real limits are in ME, then physical limits serve as a good mirror, as a foil against which to 'know myself'.

Considering all these limitations, I'm incredibly lucky, I have a great job, even though I have remind myself of that occasionally. Living in a nice country is South-East Asia, working as an academic, teaching, writing, researching, I have a many things that most of the world only dreams of.... I should be deliriously happy. I'll make a special point of that from now on.. ! :-)

Yet it does not matter where we are, who we are, there are limits in every situation, different limits in different levels, but limits are what physical life is in its essence. Looking up to higher levels it seems there are no limits, but always there are constraints. Ask anyone who is really rich, are they free ? Sure they are free of one kind of worry/constraint but chained to other kinds :-P

White is the fullness of ALL colours, yet in any picture, the colours are what make it what it IS. The parts missing from the fullness of the white ARE the colours. Without those limits all would be white, upon white, on a white background, white foreground and there would be no shapes no picture.... (I won't carry this analogy any further).

Welcome to Earth.
Glad I'm here.

Tengra Ngiam


  1. Hyco, Just read your blog about "consciousness after death"...Sometimes I have an exp in which I can't recognize where I am after waking...I do believe the existance of soul , like how I beleve in the existtance of God.
    Is it the butterfly effect after your neighbour ( Antoniette) passing away, chnaging how the others' thoughts? Perhpas it is not?

    Are you interested in writing an academic paper on this topic?

  2. Perhaps I can wtart writing on blog about my view of art...