THE GREATER DREAMLAND
I have not been to see you for some time,
for I have been trying an experiment.
Since coming to this country I have so often seen men and
women lying in a state of subjective enjoyment, of dream, if I may use the word,
that I have long wanted to spend a few days alone with my interior self, in that
same state. My reason for hesitating was that I feared to dream too long, and
thus to lose valuable time末both yours and mine.
But when I expressed to the Teacher one day my desire to
visit the greater dreamland lying within my own brain, also my fear that I might
be slow in waking, he promised that he would come and wake me in exactly seven
days of earthly time if I had not already aroused myself.
"For," he said, "you can set an alarm-clock in your own
brain, which can always be relied upon."
This I knew from old experience; but I had feared that the psychic sleep might
be deeper than the ordinary earthly sleep, and that the alarm-clock might not go
off at the appointed time.
I have heard much comment, so doubtless have you, on the fact
that spirits, when they return to communicate with their friends, say, as a
rule, so little about their celestial life. The reason is, I fancy, that they
despair of making themselves understood should they attempt to describe their
existence, which is so different from that of earth.
Now, most souls, when they have been out some time, fall into
that state of reverie, or dream, which I had so long desired to experience for
myself. Some souls awake at intervals, and show an occasional interest in the
things and people of the earth; but if the sleep is deep, and if the soul is
willing or desirous to leave the things of the earth behind, the subconscious
state may last uninterruptedly for years, or even centuries. But a soul that
could stay asleep for centuries would probably be one that was living according
to long rhythm, the normal rhythm of humanity.
So, when I went into the deep sleep, I went into it with a
spell upon myself not to remain too long.
Oh, it was wonderful, that dream-country in my own self! The Theosophists would
perhaps say that I had taken a rest in the bliss of devachan.* No matter what
one calls it. It was an experience worth remembering.
I close my eyes and went in末in末deeper than thought, where
the restless waves of life are still, and the soul is face to face with itself
and with all the wonders of its own past. There is nothing but loveliness in
that sleep. If one can bring back the dreams, as I did, the sojourn there is an
adventure beyond comparison.
I went in to enjoy, and I enjoyed. I found there the
simulacrum of everyone whom I had ever loved. They smiled at me, and I
understood the mystery of them, and why we had been drawn together.
I refound, too, my old dreams of ambition, and enjoyed the
fruit of all my labour on earth. It is a rosy world, that inner world of the
soul, and the heart's desire is always found there. No wonder that the strenuous
life of earth is oftener than not a pain and a travail, for the dream-life which
follows is so beautiful that the balance must be preserved.
Rest! On earth you know not the meaning of the word. I rested only seven days;
but so refreshed was I that, had I not other worlds to conquer, I should almost
have had the courage to return to earth.
Do not neglect rest末you who still live the toilsome life in
the sunshine. For every added hour of true rest your working capacity is
increased. Have no fear. You are not wasting time when you lie down and dream.
As I have said before, eternity is long. There is room for rest in the wayside
inns which dot the path which the cycles tread.
If you want to take a long and devachantic rest末why, take
it. Take it even on earth, if it seems desirable. Do not be always grubbing,
even at literature. Go out and play with the squirrels, or lie by the fire and
dream with the household cat. The cat that enjoys the drowsy fireside also
enjoys catching mice when the mood is on her. She cannot be always hunting,
neither can you.
Just take a dip in devachan some day, and see how refreshed
you will be when you come out. Perhaps I am misusing that word "devachan," for I
was never very deeply learned in the lore of Theosophy.
I have even heard nirvana described as a state of intense
motion, so rapid that it seems motionless, like a spinning-top, or the wing of a
humming-bird. But nirvana is not for all men末not yet.
I have hinted at the wonders of my seven days of blissful rest, but I have not
described them. How can I? A great poet once declared that there was no thought
or feeling which could not be expressed in words. Perhaps he has changed his
mind by this time, after being out here some sixty years.
As I went to rest, I commanded my soul to bring back every
dream. Of course I cannot say whether some may not have escaped, any more than
you can say on waking that you have or have not forgotten the deeper experiences
of the night. But when I came back into the normal life of this plane that is
called astral, I felt like an explorer who returns from a strange journey with
wonder-tales to tell. Only I did not tell them. To whom should I relate those
dreams and visions? I would not be a bore, even to "disembodied" associates. Had
Lionel been here, I might have entertained him many an hour with my stories; but
he is lost to me for the present.
And, by the way, he seems to have taken little or no
devachanic rest. Is that because he was so young on coming out that he had not
exhausted the normal rhythm? Probably. Had he remained out here and grown up,
perhaps he also would have sought the deeper interior world. But I will not
speculate, for this is a record of experiences, not of speculations. You can
speculate as well as I, if you think it worth while.
I found in my own dreamland a fair, fair face. No, I am not going to tell you
about that; it is my little secret. Of course I found many faces, but one was
lovelier than all the others, and it was not the face of the Beautiful Being,
either. The Beautiful Being I meet when I am wide awake. I did not encounter her
as an actual presence in sleep, only the simulacrum of her. In the deeper
dreamland we see only what is in our brains. Things do not exist here, only the
memories of things and the imagination of them.
Imagination creates in this world, as in yours: it actually
moulds the tenuous substance; but in the greater dreamland I do not think that
we mould in substance. It is a world of light and shadow pictures, too subtle to
Even before this experience I had gone into the memories of
my own past; but I had not revelled in them, had not indulged myself to the
extent of conjuring with light and shade. But, oh! what's the use? There are no
words to describe it. Can you describe the perfume of a rose, as you once said
yourself? Can you tell how a kiss feels? Could you even describe the emotion of
fear so that one who had not felt it, by former experience in this life or some
other, would know what you meant? No more than I can describe the process of
Revel to your heart's
content in fancy, in memory, while you are still in the body, and yet I think
that you will have only the shadow of a shadow of what I experienced in those
seven days, the reflection of a reflection of the real dream. The reflection of
a reflection! I like that phrase. It suggests a clear picture, though not a
direct impression. Try dreaming, then, even on earth, and maybe you will get a
reflection of a reflection of the pictured joys of the spiritual dreamland.
*ED. Note: devachan - Theosophy -
the state of consciousness into which the Ego goes after death of the physical