Dreams - What They Are and How They Are Caused

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Dreams - What They Are and How They Are Caused

By C. W. Leadbeater


Surely these experiments show very clearly how the remembrance of our dreams becomes so chaotic and inconsequent as it frequently is. Incidentally they also explain why some people — in whom the ego is undeveloped and earthly desires of various kinds are strong — never dream at all, and why many others are only now and then, under a collocation of favourable circumstances, able to bring back a confused memory of nocturnal adventure; and we see, further, from them that if a man wishes to reap in his waking consciousness the benefit of what his ego may learn during sleep, it is absolutely necessary for him to acquire control over his thoughts, to subdue all lower passions, and to attune his mind to higher things.

If he will take the trouble to form during waking life the habit of sustained and concentrated thought, he will soon find that the advantage lie gains thereby is not limited to the daytime in its action. Let him learn to hold his mind in check — to show that he is master of that also, as well as of his lower passions; let him patiently labour to acquire absolute control of his thoughts, so that he will always know exactly what he is thinking about, and why, and he will find that his brain, thus trained to listen only to the promptings of the ego, will remain quiescent when not in use, and will decline to receive and respond to casual currents from the surrounding ocean of thought, so that he will no longer be impervious to influences from the less material planes, where insight is keener and judgment truer than they can ever be down here.

The performance of a very elementary act of magic may be of assistance to some people in this training of the etheric part of the brain. The pictures which it evolves for itself (when the thought-stream from outside is shut off) are certainly less likely altogether to prevent the recollection of the ego's experiences, than is the tumultuous rush of that thought-stream itself; so the exclusion of this turbid current, which contains so much more evil than good, is of itself no inconsiderable step towards the desired end. And that much may be accomplished without serious difficulty. Let a man when he lies down to sleep think of the aura which surrounds him; let him will strongly that the outer surface of that aura shall become a shell to protect him from the impingement of influences from without, and the auric matter will obey his thought; a shell will really be formed around him, and the thought-stream will be excluded.


Students wishing for some reason to guard their physical bodies during sleep may be warned not to repeat the mistake made some time ago by a worthy friend who took a great deal of trouble to surround himself with a specially impenetrable shell on a certain occasion, but made it of astral instead of etheric matter, and consequently took it away with him when he left his physical body! Naturally the result was that his physical body was left entirely unprotected, while he himself floated about all night enclosed in triple armour, absolutely incapable of sending out a single vibration to help anybody, or of being helped or beneficially influenced by any loving thoughts which may have been directed towards him by teachers or friends. [ From C. W. Leadbeater's The Hidden Side of Things].

Another point very strongly brought out in our further investigations is the immense importance of the last thought in a man's mind as he sinks to sleep. This is a consideration which never occurs to the vast majority of people at all, yet it affects them physically, mentally, and morally.

We have seen how passive and how easily influenced man is during sleep; if he enters that state with his thought fixed upon high and holy things, he thereby draws round him the elementals created by like thought in others; his rest is peaceful, his mind open to impressions from above and closed to those from below, for he has set it working in the right direction. If, on the contrary, he falls asleep with impure and earthly thoughts floating through his brain, he attracts to himself all the gross and evil creatures who come near him, while his sleep is troubled by the wild surgings of passion and desire which render him blind to the sights, deaf to the sounds, that come from higher planes.

All earnest Theosophists should therefore make a special point of raising their thoughts to the loftiest level of which they are capable before allowing themselves to sink into slumber. For remember, through what seem at first but the portals of dream, entrance may perchance presently be gained into those grander realms where alone true vision is possible.

If one guides his soul persistently upward, its inner senses will at last begin to unfold; the light within the shrine will burn brighter and brighter, until at last the full continuous consciousness comes, and then he will dream no more. To lie down to sleep will no longer mean for him to sink into oblivion, but simply to step forth radiant, rejoicing, strong, into that fuller, nobler life where fatigue can never come — where the soul is always learning, even though all his time be spent in service; for the service is that of the great Masters of Wisdom, and the glorious task They set before him is to help ever to the fullest limit of his power in Their never-ceasing work for the aiding and the guidance of the evolution of humanity.

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