Dreaming entails cultivating a peculiar control over one's dreams to the extent that the experiences undergone in them and those lived in one's waking hours acquire the same pragmatic valence. The sorcerers' allegation is that under the impact of dreaming, the ordinary criteria to differentiate a dream from reality becomes inoperative...
The early stage of the preparatory facet, called setting up dreaming, consists of a deadly game that one's mind plays with itself. Some part of yourself is going to do everything it can to prevent the fulfillment of your task... As soon as the sight of your hands begins to dissolve or change into something else, you have to shift your view from your hands to any other element in the surroundings of your dream... Something in us is threatened by our activities in dreaming... Each warrior has his own way of dreaming. Each way is different. The only thing which we all have in common is that we play tricks in order to force ourselves to abandon the quest. The counter-measure is to persist in spite of all the barriers and disappointments.
The sorcerers' explanation of how to select a topic for dreaming, is that a warrior chooses the topic by deliberately holding an image in his mind while he shuts off his internal dialogue. If he is capable of not talking to himself for a moment and then holds the image or the thought of what he wants in dreaming, even if only for an instant, then the desired topic will come to him.
--Carlos Castaneda, Tales of Power
I was going to start out by saying that we need a new name for this incredibly important practice of learning how to balance focus and detachment. Everyone from Carlos Castaneda to Frank Kepple talks about it. Robert Waggoner, Ryan Hurd, everyone. The closest anyone has come to naming this thing is Frank Kepple, who usually called it "mild curiosity". This comes close to being usable terminology, but what British Frank doesn't know about Americans is that they won't let you refer to them as "mild".
So I was going to entitle this chapter something like "Balancing Focus and Detachment: What Should We Call it?" when the new term sprung out at me: Whatchacall. The all-important act of "balancing Focus and Detachment" shall henceforth be called Whatchacall. Because it forms itself from your intent, not from your klunky conscious machinations. Whatchacall is the goose that laid the golden egg at the end of the Tunnel of Noticing. The pinnacle of Spontaneous Noticing is when you can see through the Apnea into the Projection Room. This is a highly motivating experience whose purpose is to tempt you and taunt you into taking that plunge through the dreaded Apnea and into the Projection Room or past it into the Nothing; either way, fully unworlded, out of the Tunnel, and Beyond Noticing. What lucid dreamers call "wake-induced-lucid-dreaming" or WILD. It's the same thing as Michael Raduga's "direct method" of achieving unworlding.
Some quick background on how the word took on special meaning for me.
Decades ago in downtown Portland, Oregon--a place I once enjoyed being almost as much as the Unworld--there was one shopping cart dude. He was the first shopping cart soldier I had ever known of. This was a really long time ago. His name was Bill.
Bill was a big black homeless dude who called his shopping cart his "house". He only owned a few things, his few precious possessions, and kept them in his shopping cart. I got close enough to notice that he owned a saxophone. This was his stuff. Like everyone else, he kept his stuff in his house.
Bill had a PhD in philosophy. I never spoke to him myself. It was said that he could be very entertaining, up to a point, but that as his monolog proceeded, his explanations for life, the universe, and everything would quickly devolve into "Whatchacall this, whatchacall that..." at which point his audience would get bored and wander away. But he probably had a valid point about the core nature of reality.
As a long-time fixture of downtown Portland, Bill was under little pressure to change his lifestyle, so over the years he gradually expanded his operation until his house would no longer hold his possessions. This became a problem for the police since his house had spread out across several of the concrete park benches outside the beautiful Multnomah County Public Library. People no doubt were complaining that a fourth of the shady benches outside the library could no longer be used. Bill refused to cut back, and as a result was finally arrested. In jail he died of pneumonia.
I can't help thinking that if Bill had just been willing to cut down on his whatchacall, his whatchacall might have survived the whatchacall and he might still be whatchacallin' in downtown P-town today. But alas, it were not to be.
In support of the need for a word that refers to "balancing Focus and Detachment" in the art of seeing with the mind's eye, here is an excerpt from this morning's dream journal. I'd had a long non-lucid dream at the end of the night, a dream which was composed purely of dream cues and Unworld landmarks to the extent which it was nearly impossible to not eventually become lucid. And that's what I did. Toward the end of the dream I couldn't help but wonder how the concrete building I was in could rock like a boat the way it was doing, without breaking into pieces. Finally, due to this incongruity, I realized I was dreaming. So I lay down and wrote on a piece of paper the names of two streets I had passed by earlier in the dream, and woke up in the Nothing, a void of white fog. Unwilling to cross back over the pee barrier, I got up and spent over an hour recording the dream in my journal. An hour or so later, I went back to bed and had an awesome Noticing session, fueled by enthusiasm due to having successfully become lucid in a dream. Here is the best part from that session, which will underline the importance of Whatchacalling:
2017-01-23 9:05 am
[The Transit:]By keeping the Right Balance Of Focus And Detachment (FK's "mild curiosity"; ?RIBOFAD?RIBFAD?) I was able to move into and through a winding tunnel. Visually I can't even remember the tunnel because "the right balance of focus and detachment" (which Needs a New Name) kept providing a solid feeling of movement which I recognized (without thinking about it) as way more important than seeing, because if I tried to look hard, the vision would stop. As the tunnel kept winding around curves, a spot of scenery eventually appeared at the end of it which became a small rectangular screen. I recognized that I was peering through the Apnea into the Projection Room. The scene was well-lit, but I was seeing it from a great distance, so I formed an impression of what it was and stuck with that: I assumed each time I saw it that I was watching old-timey dudes wearing powdered wigs in their wood-paneled chambers. Each time I focused hard on it, the scene instantly blinked out, but then came back on immediately, fully formed, as soon as I rebalanced focus and detachment. Then an odd thing happened. I saw my eye opening slightly to let more light in--only one eye--and as this happened, the scene became brighter and more distinct, a lot more 3-dimensional. This made no sense at all. So I would open my left eye, because I thought it was my left eye that was accidentally becoming too relaxed and beginning to open. But then the scene would blink out. Closed my left eye and it came back on. The eye started to open by itself again, and the scene again became more vivid. I opened my left eye and the scene again blinked out. I repeated this several times before the multiple blink-outs took their toll and I had to move on to something else.
It was only later that I realized that I was experiencing the opening of my 3rd eye, the brow chakra, the awakening of my blue dream body, the body of intuition and true wisdom, Mouse or W. H. Early as I call him. Mouse is teaching me how to see. And it's just as FK describes, as soon as you look at an unworlding feature with your real eyes, it goes away.
What am I to make of this? Could I be deluding myself based on watching too many YouTube videos on "How To Open Your Third Eye?" Not likely; I couldn't watch that crap and gave up trying. What's more likely is that I am having a bona-fide unworlding experience of my 7ness dream body waking up. This is happening in the wake of a recent upsurge in 6ness, so it's what I would expect based on previous experience: when you're ready to wake up and remember who you are, that lucidity-readiness comes to you as a building wave of momentum. You can feel lucidity coming. And in case you can't remember what I mean by sixness, that is the 6th harmonic of awareness, the throat chakra, which can be described as spontaneous enjoyment, among many other descriptions. Based on what I've decided to discuss below, I should mention that what broke me through the depression or mental deadness barrier was a careful change in routine a few days earlier which I celebrated by drinking almost too much beer. Not that beer could possibly have had anything to do with getting me out of a mental rut... well, maybe it was the hops?
But where was I? Ah, the wild ramblings of the recently lucid, I am so happy right now, my thoughts can't be corralled. In fact I am still lucid, even though awake in this decrepit and barely functioning physical body. I was about to repeat that it was in fact my 3rd eye actually opening, spontaneously, in a Spontaneous Noticing that got a little carried away and allowed me to peer through the Apnea onto a small screen far off in the Projection Room. But why repeat myself when it's happened before?
In fact it happened way back at the beginning of my practice, and was at that time a highly motivational experience, so I will also quote that experience, because while it was quite obviously an experience of Kundalini Rising, there was nary a thought in my head about any such thing when it happened. Somebody had to tell me what the snake in the below episode represented, because it had been many years since I gave any thought to Kundalini, and it was never a topic I took a great interest in anyway. Chakras simply were not my thing one year ago when this happened. So here is more evidence that they do have some kind of independent objective reality. In my opinion right now, the rising of Kundalini is the same thing as what I call the unbloating of the 2-3-4 mind when it gets slimmed down and thus able to share its hoarded energy with the Uppers, the chakras of aqua, blue, and violet.
Here is the dream journal excerpt. I've added a few [notations]:
I've been in a timeless state for 2-1/2 hours. At 8 pm I went to bed flat on my back, intending to prove NN and everyone else wrong about bedtime being the wrong time to OBE. In addition I'm physically exhausted from whacking weeds in the heat of the afternoon at the farm.
My son sleeps next to me. He put his leg on me and pinned me down. Every time he moved, it kept me from going deep asleep. For a very long time I was stuck in a state of what I just now, as I write, realized is pure fourness. I had never considered that such a thing might exist to be experienced. I don't mean absolutely pure. But there was no sound, almost no visual, though I kept trying to apprehend one; no thought, no words, and no awareness of my physical surroundings. [Yet I was not asleep.]
I just called this a "timeless" state and then I called it pure "fourness". Sounds like a contradiction, but while time is 4ness, fourness is not time. Fourness is an [infinite] expression of infinity, and time is a simplification of fourness that we can measure. [At least we think we do.]
For some reason that I was not able to apprehend except fleetingly, there was a sense of assembling something that had four sides. This was attempted over and over. I have a sense that this was done continuously over and over for the whole two hours. I have the sense that I never went to sleep.
But I wasn't trying to sleep. [I was trying not to sleep. I was still shooting for sleep paralysis in those days.] I have taken to sleeping on my back the first few hours because when I go to bed I want to try inducing experiences. At first I started looking at the darkness, the back of my eyelids, and immediately saw the curved parallel lines which usually comprise the vortex, but this time they looked like [just partial vortices].
After that I recall only blackness, maybe I went to sleep for awhile, but with his leg on me I don't have the sense that I ever really lost consciousness. [Like a ramp timer going beep every few minutes to keep you hovering on the verge of sleep.] I was not unaware of my body but also not giving it any heed whatsoever. It was like being asleep but not asleep.
Finally after the very long episode of putting together a four-sided object while trying unsuccessfully to come up with a description of it, I went into a dream that I watched on a screen, complete with narrator. The narrator was a young woman and I knew she was in the Commune, which is a place I dream about every so often.
I didn't see the woman, I saw her SNAKE. She said... "Our little cobra is sleeping"... She said it twice but I have the sense that it was me replaying it at least twice.
The snake was huge, not small. It was not in a cage, but wrapped around a post made from a dead tree with most of the limbs cut off. The post was painted dark brown and planted in the ground in front of a barnlike structure. The snake is 8 inches thick and wrapped around this pole and draped over the stubs of the tree's limbs.
Then I'm trying to give this snake a bath, and my vision is limited to what's right in front of me. [In a pure white void.] I am now describing in the vision what I do as I do it. I am in awe of the snake's head which is now much larger and shaped like a dinosaur's head. Its nose is pointed to the left. I see only its head and MY HANDS. What I'm doing to it isn't necessarily washing, but it requires me to touch the thing with my hands. I talk while I work, and I speak of the necessity of keeping above and to the right of the head, since it's pointed to the left [and I don't want to get bit].
Then a noise outside where my body was in bed startled me but did not wake me, if I was asleep. I assumed it was AN INTRUDER [sign of sleep paralysis] and I FELT A SHARP, SUDDEN CHILL OF FEAR go over my whole body [sign of sleep paralysis] and became totally aware of lying in bed. A rectangular screen came up in the upper left 1/6 of my visual field. The picture was static, a monotone of golden hues, and I could look over it at leisure, examining the details. This was not a typical hypnagogic image because it came on suddenly [and fully formed] when that noise startled me and I froze with chills of sudden terror.
I asked myself whether this chill that came over me [and stayed]--which was not a chill but something else--wasn't really sleep paralysis. But I didn't try to move, so I still don't know.
The scene looked like a parking lot behind a rectangular short building, but not in this world. I was aware that I was just comparing it to a parking lot behind a building because there was no better description for it. I paid special attention to the "cars" but noticed they were not the right shape to be cars. They were just smooth, rounded off rectangular blocks in rows and columns. I got the impression of circuitry or energetic patterns.
After visually scanning this static scene for maybe 15 seconds I let it go and came back to waking consciousness. I didn't open my eyes or move a muscle until I'd gone over all the details and remembered as much as I could.
OK, so I have experienced both the 3rd eye opening partially and Kundalini rising partially, in both cases spontaneously, unexpectedly, and in both cases constituting a highly motivating experience that was in itself spurred on by already being in a highly motivated state. We're talking mindset here. Mindset over method, always.
I should mention that the first episode, a little over a year ago, was more profound by far, but who's comparing? That was a little experience of classic sleep paralysis without the struggle (since I don't test whether or not I can move, I don't consciously experience the paralysis part of it). It was a big deal for me at the time. It dissolved quite a bit of doubt.
Speaking of dissolving quite a bit of doubt, here is a premonitional dream I had just three weeks before my first-ever conscious unworlding came to me in the form of a classic OBE exit. In my opinion, this ESP dream was crucial in developing a set of beliefs that would allow the right kind of mindset to build up in me.
Kevin has taken up some kind of weird spiritual practice that involves his moving to Israel and dancing from foot to foot naked with his hands covering his crotch and pee squirting out in little drips [I had gone to bed late, half intoxicated or more, and gotten only five hours of sleep.]
11:00 am nap
I am happy to get a visitor, Peachy, who is supposedly ELEVEN YEARS OLD which we determine in the course of trying to HAVE A CONVERSATION. I am going upstairs--this is some kind of basement apartment--going upstairs to get my stereo since it's disappeared and I want to entertain the guest. I turn around and she's LAYING ON THE FOAM FIDDLING WITH ONE OF TARAN'S TOYS. I head up to get the stereo which Mark has borrowed and not returned. The name "Mark" seems wrong. [I sometimes confuse Mark with Taran in dreams.]
Outside I both experience and see from above [dual consciousness] cutting across a large sloped empty field [THE NOTHING] by sliding on something through or over the snow. Mama remarks in regards to my line of thought--something about my siblings' attitudes toward me--that they thought I was supposed to be a savior of some kind--I'm trying to figure out the rejoinder, the "Well no, not really, it's actually like this..." when I wake up lying on a sweat-drenched T-shirt. Changed shirt and went back to sleep but was startled by my wife calling me to lunch. Despite lots of energy, I wasn't able to recall dreams. Note, this is the first nap with dreams I've had since I can remember recently.
Regarding the dream about Peachy above. Note that I almost never have dreams while napping during the day AND the above dream turned out to be clearly premonitional... which to me means that "reality" is also a dream... After lunch I put the FOAM on the floor downstairs and was planning to go back to sleep when PEACHY popped in for a visit. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. We are not close and she is very quiet, seldom speaks. She wanted to have CONVERSATION and kept talking about her UPCOMING BIRTHDAY. I mentioned that today is me and my wife's ELEVENTH wedding anniversary and Peachy mentioned she'll be turning 17 in four days. She kept asking to "borrow" TARAN'S TOYS. I told her to bring the cards back but she said she'd be right outside, but then instead she LAY DOWN on a long wooden bench right next to where I'd put the FOAM on the floor. Then she proceeded to PLAY WITH TARAN'S TOYS one after another, just fiddling with something and then moving on to something else. His cards, his legos, his skateboard, his bike. She asked to go on our anniversary outing with us. There's no way all this was coincidence, compare with the dream above which was only an hour or two on the wrong side of present time, clearly premonitional even though not earth-shattering in significance as to its content.
I've never had a more perfectly clear and obvious display of precognition in my life. It would be different if Peachy and I had some kind of ongoing conversation/relationship, but this was totally out of the blue, both the dream visit and the real one. ...developing real confidence that reality is a construction of the moment while past and future are just explanations invented by the mind on the fly... there is no time, it's just a construct of the mind to try and explain infinity.
Now why would I even bring all this up?
Well, my friends in the self-improvement movement are gonna hate this, but I noted in my journal that the previous evening, I had drank quite a bit of beer. Unusual for me. Not a practice I highly recommend. But... aw heck, maybe it's the hops. No way could it be the alcohol. But something comes along and breaks the rigidity of our focus. Something smashes the foundations of our obsession. Something kicks the mundanity of depression and self-pity and the quaint yearning to be someone else in its tiny withered balls. The framework of our so-called motivational efforts and other whinings falls apart, and suddenly from the ashes of a collapsed focus, Something Happens.
Intent rises from the ashes. With the conscious mind's pitiful delusion of forcing unworlding to happen knocked for a loop and temporarily breathless, intent pulls through and a real unworlding experience hangs itself on your trophy case while you sit there with your mouth hanging open.
For many years I called it an act of detachment, that magical thing that we do by accident that finally gets what we want and what we Intend to coincide. As explained in the chapter on Intent, there's nothing else to do but keep score. Because whatever it might be that we thought we'd intended, Intent always wins.
And then there's this. I often wonder if being behind on transcribing my longhand notes onto the computer might not account for dry spells in dreaming when I can't force myself to get up and write dreams down. In other words, the typing looms ahead and I don't want another several pages to type when I'm already so far behind. In this case it seems it might be true, because things kinda broke free big time when I got caught up.
Then after writing the above whole chapter and posting it on my blog, I went to catch up again on the dream journal transcription since I'd gotten many pages written in two days by hand, due to fortunately having a lot to write down. I soon relearned why it is we keep a dream journal: it's because of senility or because memories of dreams fade so quickly that there's no other way to remember them. Gotta get it down while it's fresh. Here is what happened a mere 24 hours before the Projection Room remote viewing which I recorded this morning. In other words, this is from yesterday's dream journal, and I had already forgotten it, but it's clearly leading to the experiences I had this morning:
2017-01-22 early a.m.
By Noticing I was able to see through the Apnea into the projection Room. A smallish screen opened at bottom center of visual field covered by a field of goldish brown fractal patterns, vertically corrugated like a stage curtain. In the center a vertical line would appear and the curtains would begin to open. By maintaining the right balance of focus and detachment I could allow the curtains to open, revealing ever more intricate patterns behind, finally noticing a dot of fractal energy in the exact center of the screen which generated the rest of the image. Willed the scene to enlarge and fill the visual field, but it lost resolutioin when this happened so I let the state go. During this experience I was quite aware that trying to force, push, or hurry the opening of the curtain made the whole scene disappear, but I could bring it right back by rebalancing focus and detachment.
Note today's insight that when a discrete screen of small size is open in an otherwise blank visual field, this is a special kind of Spontaneous Noticing in which you are looking through the Apnea into the Projection Room, using the Apnea as a balancing device in adjusting the balance between Focus and Detachment (3ness vs 5ness) . The Apnea is 4ness and the scene itself (its distinctness) is 2ness. In this way the 2-3-4 give its extra energy willingly to fiveness and if all goes well, you can enlarge the scene which is equivalent to moving through the Apnea into the scene. I did this prematurely as you can't be in a hurry; that is against the rules because it give too much energy to 2ness (emotion stops the process). In other words, I just enlarged a small image without actually going through the Apnea, which only had the effect of making it look bigger but washed out the resolution.
See you at the movies.
THE NEXT DAY
My attempts to end this chapter have been well-intentioned, but Intent won't actually allow it just yet.
Last night after only two hours of sleep I had three dreams in a row and remembered them all. In the most interesting of the three, I noticed solid symbols of The Apnea, The Nothing, and the 2-3-4 body/mind/world. Then as I was typing the dream journal [this is why we read/transcribe our dream journals...] I suddenly realized that the Projection Room IS the Whatchacall. The act of balancing focus and detachment is the state of being I have been calling the Projection Room. That's why, when looking through the Apnea into the Projection Room, you can see into the Projection Room only by maintaining the balance of focus and detachment. Which in this chapter I called "the Whatchacall" in lieu of a better name, whilst explaining at great length where the term Whatchacall came from, blah blah blah.
And now let the good news be spread: the terminology "Whatchacall" is already dead. I have to remember while fiddling with my Map of the Unworlds that the map is not the ground. These are not places we are talking about, they are states of being, types of experience, conditions of awareness. Robert Monroe called the Projection Room "Focus 12" and Frank Kepple discussed it quite a bit, pointing out that if you could get into this state, you already had one foot in the Unworld; it remains only to take the next step, and you will have two feet in the Unworld.
The new terminology Screenshot refers to seeing from the state of Spontaneous Noticing in the Tunnel, through the Apnea, into the Projection Room. Recalling that the Projection Room is a state of being, an experience, and not a place, what is "the act of balancing focus and detachment"? It's an experience, a state of being, not a place. So finally I can end this chapter with peace of mind, knowing that the balance of focus and detachment which allows me to see into a state of being called the Projection Room... IS the Projection Room.
I wonder if I am going to have to rename everything on my map with verbs?
Quickly now, before this chapter gets too long, the above intuitive leap happened when I was typing the following passage from last night's dreams, and with this direct quote from my dream journal, I promise to end this chapter.
2017-01-24 11:00 pm
[A third dream] I'm a devoted Geppetto-like father rescuing his Pinocchio from the dark theater where he's being kept. At first my kidnapped son is just emaciated but tall (I know before seeing him that he will have no meat on his bones due to not being fed) but in the end, he is a robot, and as the plotline dissolves, I have to remake parts of him. As the plot further dissolves, the part I'm making replaces the plot and I am focused diligently on properly locating a drill hole in a one-inch-long block of aluminum which will function as a slide valve [the part that supplies steam to a steam engine... re: "running out of steam"]. I have made notes prior to this by writing millimeter measurements with a BLUE pen on a scrap of material, but some of the ink has gotten smeared off, so I have to remember the measurements. I find the blue pen and wake up. Before that I was planning the actual rescue of the emaciated young man by mentally watching myself go through with it while I narrated it as if a done deal (imagined the whole plot into existence). A thin door leads up from the front right of the dark theater [the Tunnel] and the door has a smaller door jigsawed into it, and that door has an even smaller door jigsawed into it, so I am imagining carrying my son [slimmed down 2-3-4] through the smallest of the three openings [the Apnea] since he will fit. The doors are dark GREEN [the Nothing].
Now... what did this chapter try to end with yesterday before I had the dream in a darkened theater?
"See you at the movies."
This is why we keep a dream journal.