Having spent most of my adult life exploring the far out reaches of the mind, the unconscious and the superconscious, having experienced psychic attacks and exorcism, I feel it needs understanding of some of the basic mental functions to really see it for what it is. And it is not how it is dramatised on films to scare people.
First of all the dream process produces much more than dreams at night. The same process also produces visions and waking lucid dreams. See Visions and waking dreams
Another thing that can arise from the dream process is spontaneous or unwilled movement and emotions. These are exactly the things shown in films about possession, where a person is apparently controlled by unknown or ‘evil’ forces or spirits. To begin to understand the workings of this you will need to read We are Paralyzed and the sections following it.
Something also that many people fail to realise about dreaming is virtually every drama and image in dreams, visions and spontaneous movement and experience, is a projection form the dreamer themselves and is not even about the people they dream about. See Dreams and Symbols
The following examples will explain this further. The next example is given by a man who was experiencing spontaneous movement and emotion.
Example: It developed into an idiot like babbling. There were no formed words, and chattering on and shouting in a mindless way, with saliva dripping from the mouth. I thought at first this was expressing madness or idiocy, but it went on from there.
The body posture was slightly crouched, the babbling and grunting developing. After a long time it became more intense. My left hand covered my face, and my eyes looked through my fingers at the group. With idiot and leering laughs, the quality of a mindless and evil desire was manifesting. It was the desire for power over people and things. The right-hand pointed at the group, expressing manipulation.
Now the spirit began to feel threatened and called out, “Oh. Oh. Oh.” Its crouching leering postures slowly changed into one of being bent double, hands touching the floor. It called out a number of things – Satan, Durga, and other words I cannot recall. It seemed to be calling for help, but was gradually being “cast out”. As this happened my body crumpled up and eventually fell to the floor. There was more crying out and a little thrashing about. The words, “Over. Over. Over” was said a number of times. Then the body relaxed.
The man who experienced this went on to say, “I lay there for quite some time, then was led to stand up by allowing the spontaneous movement I had learned in LifeStream to continue. As I stood, inner realisations came to me. What had been cast out was a creature I had myself brought into being by my own desire for power expressed in my life. It was a thought form, or desire form, which was created out of my own energies, and then fed on them. It also, in subtle and hidden ways, manipulated my actions to fulfil its own mindless and base impulses. I realised there was no external evil or devil. It is what we create with our own fears, our own desires and plans to grab money or sex that have awful effects within us.
What usually happens when a person experiences such things is that are either terribly fearful that the devil itself has got hold of them, or else interpret it as possession as seen by an ancient viewpoint developed by religious thinking. So they either stop the – dream – process happening or else their view of it, exactly as with the dream process, acts as a mirror of their inner world.
Example: Had a very unusual dream last night. I was in an outdoor environment. It seemed a bit dark, or maybe morbid is the right word. I was with other people but none of them stood out to remain in memory. There was a definite awareness though of being near to a place that was haunted, and that a man was in trouble in the haunted place.
I decided to go and see if I could sort out the problem. I walked down a slope to where the centre of the haunting existed. It was an open space with an old double-decker bus in it. The only person on the bus was a middle-aged man who was sitting on the top deck leaning out of a window on the right hand side of the bus. I stood beneath him and looked up. He was staring in a glazed way and didn’t see me. I could see and feel that he was being hit by fantasies or hallucinations by whatever was the source of the haunting. This invasion of his mind was grabbing his attention so fully that he wasn’t aware of his surrounding or of me. I was sure that if he went any deeper into this mind stuff he wouldn’t be able to pull out. I waved my hand in his line of vision and banged my hand on the bus to make a noise and get his attention. At first it didn’t seem as if I would bring him out of it, but after a while he looked at me.
I shouted at him to pull out. I said that he had a wife and some more years of his life to live, so why lose himself into this entrancement. This didn’t seem to grab him so I shouted again and said that he would eventually slip into this empty mind world anyway – at death – so why not live with his wife the remaining years of his life. I was sure that if he lost awareness he would let himself starve.
I was aware that what he desired was to slip away into the void, into the awareness of the one life in which he lost any awareness of self. But I banged and shouted and he became more ‘present’. I then felt I had to confront whatever was the source of the powerful ‘haunting’ that was pulling him into the inner mind. I turned away from the man and saw just to my right a short distance from the bus an animal that was the ‘haunter’. It was a mammal of no particular type – a bit like a mixture of dog, rat and guinea pig. It seemed very ordinary and tame, and stood looking at me. I walked toward it and stretched out my hand. It was a tan colour with short fur and gave a feeling of being okay to approach, so I touched it to stroke. This was okay and I was thinking there was no problem when the creature leapt at my throat in a flash of movement and ripped my throat out.
This sounds disturbing but I simply observed this and thought to myself that stroking and trying to be friendly was no way of dealing with this thing. It was as if I was in command of the imagery in that I simply formed another body. The creature ripped out my throat again and then dived into my body to eat it. I woke at this point and went for a pee. When I went back to sleep I carried on with the dream. The only way that felt as if I might deal with the creature was to have the meditative state of not having any goals, and not feeling panic at it’s attacks. In fact apart from the gory imagery, there was nothing to be frightened of, as the creature was only attacking my dream image of myself. As I wasn’t identified with this, it couldn’t hurt me. That was the end of the dream.
The man started exploring his dream as in Techniques for Exploring your Dreams and says: I had been wondering about the significance of the above dream. For some reason I had not seen it as representing my own inner condition, and after the long silence a strange thing started erupting in the session.
It started with primitive sounds along with a feeling that something organic and alive yet buried was moving and trying to be recognised. It was a strange feeling because I sensed that this thing had deep connections, and as it began to move in me I felt it was linked with strands in my body and mind.
The sounds of struggle came from me – an animal struggling to be released. Then slowly the sounds of struggle became a torrent of curses and swearing. To sum it all up I was saying and feeling and recognising how my mother had raised me in such a way that had caused me ears of pain and confusion I reacted to it by becoming alone, a loner who struggled to be independent. That wasn’t news to me, but the connections with the wanting to be lost in a form of Buddhistic trance were. There was hatred pouring out of me particularly towards women partners. But it was deeply buried, and a form of long term anger. I said that I had never really given myself to any woman, but always remained separate inside. Then I would leave them as a vengeance against my mother /any lover instead of staying to sort out the difficulty. Of course there was always a valid excuse for doing it.
Gradually the outburst ended and I sought to see if I could ask that part of me to learn to love women more fully. I felt that the first step would be honesty in any relationship. I would need to say that my background of experience makes me very independent – I can come and go easily.
But I feel as if the thing that I released was a part of me, not a dominating part of me, but something that has been causing mischief in me. I had buried it because of the pain I felt and also because I unconsciously didn’t want people to know what that part of me could do if a woman related warmly to me.
The above are the usually hidden causes of possession and exorcism.