It was a lazy Saturday morning. One in which I could sleep in late. Classes were done for the semester. No imminent papers or exams tortured my thoughts.
In the midst of deep sleep, I dreamt of a bee. Technically it was a yellow jacket wasp, but as kids we called all such stinging insects bees. Was he contemplating an attack or merely curious as to my intentions? Not overly concerned, I paid him little attention.
The bee and I seemed to have a mutual understanding: you don’t hurt me - I won’t hurt you. Within the dream we each exercised our respective prerogatives, barely noticing the others presence.
The dream sequence shifted a bit and now I was lying down, the bee still hovering nearby. As I rolled onto my back (within the dream), the bee got trapped under my body and stung me.
The stinging sensation was so seemingly real that I woke up with a sharp pain in my torso. As I bolted upright to determine the source of my distress, I found an actual bee in my bed and a stinger in my back.
Dream incorporation is the psychological term for integrating an external stimulus, such as a ringing phone, into the content of a dream. A subconscious part of me must have sensed the wasp’s presence in my bedroom and incorporated its form into my hypnogogic state.
This content appropriation from one form to another is particularly apt for understanding projection. We learn in A Course in Miracles that everything we experience as bodies interacting in a world is nothing but the contents of the mind played out in different forms.
Much like attending the theater. As we watch a film, especially a terrifically engaging one, we lose sight of the fact that we are merely watching rays of light dance on a screen.
In a sense, the mind is the movie projector. And what we think of as ourselves is the one sitting in the theater seat, having completely identified with the main character on the screen. Thus when the hero suffers, we suffer. When the hero triumphs, we triumph.
We’re so captivated by the dancing light rays that we forget they are nothing but a projection, the portrayal of a script already written.
Not dissimilar to my dream incorporation of the wasp, we’ve appropriated the contents of the mind into what we call “life” and believe it to be real. The only difference being that the stinger doesn’t wake us up.
As we read in the Course:
All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. (T-18.II.5)
Their content is the same because our waking and sleeping experiences are nothing but a perpetual dream incorporation from the mind.
Everything we perceive testifies to our apparent reality. So much so that we’re stubbornly reluctant to consider otherwise. And as a result, we fail to realize that happiness and distress have nothing to do with the goings-on of the world and bodies. Only of the mind.
But when we return awareness to the mind, we can finally escape all somnambulant stupor and experience true joy.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll explore this concept of dream incorporation and how we can use its understanding to practice shedding all anguishing effects. I look forward to seeing you then.