Friday, 3 April 2009

When we dream, we “are” the dream and everything in it. The people, the situations, the objects, everything in a dream is a product of our own mind. In my favourite esoteric tradition, The Fourth Way, these aspects of a person are called an ”I”. The mind (or psyche,personality or ego) is a collection of ”I’s”, that all use the word ”I”, but that often have no interest or even no idea that there are other ”I’s” that make up the whole that we usually call the personality or psyche.
In a dream we experience our different ”I’s” as separate persons and objects. With a little effort we can explain what our dreams mean. When you dream that your grandmother kills your cat, it is a part of yourself that kills another part of you. And the first aspect that jumps into your mind when you think of your grandmother (or your cat) is that part of yourself. It may sound too easy, but I think it is that easy. It has helped me a lot to understand my dreams and myself.
An artwork can be seen as an exteriorisation of a dream. Movies, books, paintings, it are products of our psyche that we re-create as objects, so that we can share them with others. Studying an artwork is therefore like reading the mind of the artist. I think that everything that can be seen in an artwork is an aspect of the (mind of the) artist. In the same way a dream can be explained or understood, artworks can be explained and understood.
But there is more to this esoteric psychology: when we are touched by an artwork that somebody else has made, we can unveil an aspect of our own mind that we probably are not aware of. It doesn’t matter that we have not created the artwork ourselves: all we perceive of it, is an aspect of our own psyche. That is why no two people have the exact same response to an artwork. So, it doesn’t matter if you dream, watch a movie, listen to the radio or read a book, or even experience an everyday situation: you are perceiving aspects of your own psyche. This mechanism, of seeing every dream, artwork and situation as aspects of our own psyche, is not common knowledge. In fact, I rarely hear or read about it. Still, it is a core idea of true esoterics.
In the movie ”Being John Malcovich” there is a scene where John Malkovich watches Life through his own eyes. What he sees is a visual translation of the idea that I tell here. The whole movie is drenched in esoteric ideas, but in particular this scene is great. In this clip you can see an excerpt of it at 2:40 minutes.

The world is an exteriorisation of the mind that perceives it. There is no way to tell if the world is outside your mind or in it. The confusion that John Malkovich acts in the movie, when he recognises everything in his life as an aspect of himself, is not to be laughed at too easily. It is a true fact, that all true esoteric teachings try to tell us.