When we see the moon and it is not full, we can see the edge where there is very marked light on one side and darkness on the other. Human life is very much like that. There is a sharp and dividing line between waking and sleeping, between having self-awareness and being as we call it unconscious. Mostly, what we call the spiritual path is about crossing that line, going over that border, moving beyond that frontier in one way or another. When we do that we become a whole human being. There is consciousness all the way through.

I define the spirit as pertaining to what doesn’t change, what does not shift in human nature, what remains as the foundations of existence. It has everything to do with something that stands beyond life-and-death. And that is why I link it to crossing of that border, that frontier between waking and sleeping. It is about exploring the dark side of the moon.

But often the spiritual is described as if it is something far off, ephemeral, very divine or difficult to attain. What I have come to over the years is these ideas give a wrong impression of it. My simple explanation is that your spirit is you when you remember yourself fully.

Example: ‘I was sitting opposite someone during an enlightenment intensive workshop. We had been posing the question for days – “Who are you?” Suddenly I realised that it was a silly question, because I was the answer. All thought stopped and I existed as the answer. My being had always been this. In this state there was an awareness of being connected with everything around me, in the beginning of creation. This was the first day.

While in the state of simple existence I was able to observe many things I am usually not aware of. For instance while I simply existed, my usual pattern of behaviour and thought went through contortions to be the centre of awareness again. I could see them almost like habits, systems, that have life, like a body does, and they were dying and twitching in their death throes. Also I saw that I knew that all thought is like a mimic, so all our thinking is like photocopies, without any real life. Also as I saw this I had an image of a monkey that was actually me normal thinking self running alongside my every motion and trying to mimic it. It was almost as if as I as a person walked along, another mechanical person ran alongside trying to keep up and mimicking everything I did in an attempt to be alive and real. Yet thought can never be life.’

Another person says, ‘Unexpectedly everything changed and my fundamental self was something that existed throughout all time. It didn’t have a beginning or end. There was no goal to achieve. I am.’

Slightly different but still the same enlightenment. ‘Everything seemed to slip away and I felt as if I melted back into the primal being of the universe. It didn’t seem as if my ego was gone, just melted into everything else. It was blissful.’

What I mean by this is mostly we do not know who we are because we suffer a form of amnesia. It is a memory loss that in our culture is assumed to be normal. We fail to remember our childhood, our infancy, our birth and conception, yet these are all available to us. Although that is an amazing possibility, it is not uncommon for people to experience it. In certain circumstances we can be aware of the deepest levels of our body, its functions, organs and tiny . The Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, in his book Realms of the Human Unconscious, gives details of people experiencing vivid and specific awareness of what he calls Organ, Tissue, and Cellular Consciousness.

But here is a quote from Stanislav Grof’s book:

“Another interesting aspect of these experiences that I found quite unusual was the fact that subjects, when discussing them (their experience of memory in the womb), seemed to avail themselves of specific knowledge of embryology and the physiology of pregnancy that was far superior to their previous education in these areas. They have often accurately described certain characteristics of the heart sounds of the mother and child; the nature of various acoustic phenomena in the peritoneal cavity; specific details of positions, physical features, and behaviour of the foetus; relevant facts about placentary circulation; and even details about exchanges between the maternal and foetal blood in the placentary villi….

When we do take our memory back to include all these and go beyond that to our life in eternity, we remember who we are. Then we know what spirit is – ones Self.

In attempting to find what the human spirit is by looking at dreams, the simplest definition is that when a dream enables us to go beyond the limitations of our personal memories, our learning, our body and our sense of what life is, it opens our spiritual life to us. The most profound of these experiences usually involve a sense of existing throughout all time – that at ones core exists a level of being that has always been, and is beyond the changes of life and death. Certainly one of the sources of the spiritual is that we have a sense of something, or an experience, that shows us a very different view of our life and the objective world than we usually arrive at through our sense impressions or our inherited cultural views. Common experiences of the spiritual are as follows:-

  • Tragedies in our life are suddenly seen from a much more inclusive view, or one’s personal situation is seen as a part of a continuing and cosmic process. This dignifies and integrates our life into a greater whole, and removes the sense of tragedy.
  • The spiritual might also be felt as experiencing our own wholeness. This meeting might be an encounter with Christ, or a holy being.
  • We experience ourselves as part of one great life, existing throughout time and space. We then see the variety of living creatures and inanimate matter are all manifestations of that one life. The oneness behind multiplicity is experienced as self existent.
  • A great experience arises in us of the essential part of us streaming back throughout all time. Our personal life connects with all that has existed and all that will exist.
  • A realisation of oneself as being more than one’s thoughts, emotions and body sensations. This direct experience of being is called illumination and cannot be described as it is outside of the thinking process and its definitions.


-Parul 2015-09-11 10:14:58

Hey Tony,
Ladt night I had a dream about a spirit. That spirit, apparently was a person I knew before in the life (only in dream). It was the most surreal dream I ever had. Only I was able to feel it’s presence and nobody else could, in the dream. That spirit actually showed me signs in the forms of pictograms and other times by moving objects. And it didn’t feel like creepy at all. Like I could make out the energy was very positive and helpful kind of. I could feel that in the dream. In the dream, I knew the person whose spirit it was before she died. I have not known that person in real life but in the dream she felt very familiar as if I had known her for a long time. Can you explain that please?

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-09-21 11:08:40

    Dear Parul – An interesting dream and I wonder what symbols/pictograms the spirit showed you and what objects it moved.
    If an object is moving it probably expresses that the thing has direction, life, or purpose of some kind. In this case you need to understand what your relationship with it is in the dream. It might also refer to it attracting your attention and again you could ask yourSelf “what is it for”?
    You wrote; “Only I was able to feel its presence and nobody else could, in the dream.”
    As far as pictograms or symbols are concerned – I trust you were the only one who could see/become aware of them – I believe it reflects that you become aware that each of us is unique and so the meaning of some specific symbols can also be unique which means that the meaning is “just for you”.
    See also http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/association-of-ideas-with-dreams/#Working
    The way I see your dream is that you are connecting with your Self, which is always willing to help you realise (some of) your potential.
    Carl Jung defined the Self as the whole of the person, as distinct from the narrow focus of self we know in our daily life. For example if you could have a sense of all your memories rather than simply what is relevant to the moment, you would have a different view of all you did. Jung described this as similar to a ball with a small black circle drawn on it. The small black circle is our normal waking awareness, the ball is the Self.
    That you perceived this Self as “I knew the person whose spirit it was before she died” could also reflect a belief.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/beliefs/
    Perhaps you see/project spirits/the Self outside of yourself, because you cannot believe yet that it is part of YOU; perhaps you need some time to see that in reality the Hugeness is part of your totality?
    Jung felt that human life is meaningful and has its roots in a transcendent reality. It was a place of mystery and life. It included not only the widest storehouse of personal and family experience, but it stretched beyond this, linking each of us with a collective experience of life. This ‘collective unconscious’ Jung said, holds within itself the merged experience of all that has lived.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/past-lives-or-collective-unconscious/
    Anna 🙂

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