In 1981 Paul Levy had a life-changing spiritual awakening, in which he began to wake up to the dream-like nature of reality. During the first year of his spiritual emergence, Paul was hospitalized a number of times, and was diagnosed with having had a severe psychotic break. Much to his surprise, he was told that he had a chemical imbalance and had manic-depressive (bi-polar) illness, and would have to live with his illness for the rest of his life. Fortunately, he was able to quickly extricate himself from the medical and psychiatric establishment. Little did the doctors realize that he was taking part in some sort of spiritual awakening/shamanic initiation process, which at times mimicked psychosis but in actuality was an experience of a far different order. In 1993, after many years of struggling to contain and integrate his experiences, he started to teach about what he was realizing. He has been in private practice for over ten years, assisting others who are spiritually emerging and beginning to wake up to the dreamlike nature of reality. In a dream come true, psychiatrists now consult with him and send him patients. A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul is in the new book Saints and Madmen: Psychiatry Opens its Doors to Religion.
Paul has developed a unique and creative vehicle to introduce people to the dream-like nature of reality that he calls “The Dreaming Up Process,” which is based on the realization that the same dreaming mind that dreams our dreams at night is dreaming our life. He teaches this dreaming up process in “Awakening in the Dream Groups” where people who are awakening to the dream-like nature of reality come together and collaboratively help each other to wake up in the dream together.
Deeply steeped in and inspired by the work of C. G. Jung, Paul is an innovator in the field of dreaming (both night dreams as well as waking dreams). He has had close to forty articles published on consciousness, dreaming and spirituality, and has lectured about his work at various universities.
A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over twenty years, he has intimately studied with some of the greatest masters of Tibet and Burma. A visionary artist, he is creating an art happening called “global awakening.” He is currently writing a book about his work in dreaming.
In keeping with the purpose of this blog, which is to explore ways of dealing with the world’s problems without moving too far into negativity, I’m happy to reproduce an excerpt from Paul’s essay entitled “Delusions of Separation”:
In my new book, The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis (available on my website www.awakeninthedream.com), I point out that the underlying dynamic that is in-forming events in our world is to be found within the human psyche. As more of us are able to illumine, recognize and articulate the nature and dynamics of the deeper psychological process that is creating our experience in the world, the more effectively we become able to deal with our world crisis. As more of us awaken to the deeper, underlying psychological process which animates events in our world, the more we will be able to consciously connect with each other in increasingly more creative ways so as to transform this process, both within ourselves, as well as in the outside world.
Seeing the nature of the deeper psychological process that is playing out in our world is to find its “name,” which is to get a “handle” on it, so to speak. This is the power of the Word, the Logos. Just like in mythology, when we know the “demon’s” name, we strip it of its power. To differentiate ourselves from a process that we are unconsciously acting out compulsively, is to separate from it and see it “objectively,” which is to simultaneously be liberated from it, and hence, free from its harmful effects. Finding the name of the deeper process that is revealing itself in, as and through our world is to shed light on the darkness that is wreaking havoc in our world. Shedding light on darkness is a genuine illumination, a birthing of consciousness. Once illumined, the darkness can no longer act itself out (destructively) through our unconscious. Adding consciousness to the mix changes everything.
Jung was well aware that the greatest danger facing our species is to fall into our unconscious together and become collectively mad; he never tired of warning about this. Our species has undoubtedly fallen into the very collective psychosis that Jung was warning us about (the fact that we are destroying the biosphere, the very life support system of the planet, being one “small” example). Very few people seem to have noticed that we are a species gone mad (it is certainly not part of our planetary dialogue), which itself is an expression of the extent of the collective insanity we have fallen into. Our madness has become normalized, as it is so pervasive we have become habituated to it.
I would like to name the underlying psychological “dynamic” that is one of the main foundations and causes of the malevolence that is playing out in our world “Aparticipatory Delusional Syndrome,” or ADS for short. ADS is based on the deluded assumption that we are separate from and not participating in helping to create the very situation we find ourselves in. Existing deep within the collective unconscious of humanity, ADS is a timeless, archetypal process that has continually re-iterated itself in and over time through countless manifestations in our world. ADS is at the heart of creating the illusion that we are separate from the very universe in which we live.
Like a self-replicating fractal, ADS is playing itself out in multiple dimensions simultaneously, which is to say it expresses itself on the personal, as well as the collective level. Both individuals, such as President Bush, and nations (take your pick), can be so fully taken over by ADS that they can be said to be embodying and incarnating this syndrome. This underlying psychological syndrome, a malady existing within the very depths of the psyche, is revealing itself in the outside world for all who have eyes to see, through those it takes over to be its instruments.
Israel is an example of a nation that collectively has ADS (except of course, the Israelis who realize the madness of what their country is acting out on the world stage). Seen as a nation-state taken over by ADS, could it not be more obvious that as Israel acts out this malady, it makes itself more vulnerable and hurts itself (as well as its neighbors)? How ironic, in its fear of its neighbors wanting to destroy it, Israel might be destroying itself, unwittingly creating a fear-based self-fulfilling prophecy. The similarity to what America, led by George Bush in his “war on terror,” is playing out on the world stage immediately comes to mind.
Of course, the “terrorists” who are reacting against Israel (or America) are just as much infected by ADS- (please see my article “Middle East Madness,” available on my website http://www.awakeninthedream.com). The question does arise, however, who is the real terrorist? (The answer goes something like this: the terrorist is a role in the field, which means it exists deep inside of everyone in potential. At different moments each party in the conflict plays this role).
Inherent in having ADS is “not knowing” we have it, as it always works through our unconscious. ADS insinuates itself through our perceptions of both ourselves and the world in such a way that it hides itself from being discovered. Just like with a vampire, when we add consciousness to ADS and “see” it, however, we take away its power over us.
When we have ADS, we don’t realize that we ourselves are “doing” something which is helping to generate the very thing which we are reacting against. (Interestingly, the inner meaning of the word “karma” is one’s own “doing”). When we have ADS we experience ourselves as passive observers of the universe, cut off from our genuine power. Lacking insight into our own creative power invariably constellates our own power to turn against us, whether within ourselves or from the seemingly outside world.
When we have ADS, we feel ourselves to be the passive victims of our universe. Instead of being in touch with how we are helping to conjure up and are complicit in the problematic nature of our situation, we always see the cause of our problems as being outside of ourselves. In an unconscious “reflex,” we then try to “attack” the problem from the wrong point of view (externally), instead of approaching its source, which is within ourselves. When we react out of such inverted, Orwellian logic, we are secretly playing the role of the victimizer disguised as the victim, as we unconsciously act out our unhealed abuse onto others. It goes without saying that when we fall into this infinite regression, we invariably wind up terrorizing others, as well as ourselves. ADS is thus one of the fundamental processes that feeds, supports, evokes, and literally creates terrorism.
Because of his position of power, Bush is the portal through which darker forces are incarnating themselves in our world. Completely taken over by and therefore fully embodying ADS, Bush is allowing himself to be used, like a puppet on a string, to serve the underlying agenda of the very darker forces he imagines he is trying to destroy. Bush is fighting against his own shadow, which is not only a battle that can never be won, but is a form of madness that invariably leads to self-destruction. By trying to kill the terrorists, Bush has become the world’s greatest terrorist.
ADS is a psychic form of AIDS. Like in AIDS, in ADS, the immune system of, in this case the psyche, in trying to heal itself (by reacting to its own reflections, for example), is actually destroying itself in the process. Just like in auto-immune disease, the immune system of the psyche falls under an illusion, and in its state of confusion, is tricked into creating the very problem it is trying to resolve. In ADS, the immune system of the psyche, in its attempts at protecting itself against attacks, attacks projected aspects of itself which appear to be “other,” invariably leading to the self-destruction of the very life it is trying to protect.
When we recognize how ADS is playing out in our world, whether it be in ourselves, or in the world at large, we have added consciousness to an unconscious process that was getting acted out in life. When we connect with each other and recognize ADS’s fingerprints, we become collectively mobilized and empowered so as to not fall prey to its dangers. Like nuclear meta-physicists, we are then able to liberate, unleash and transform the energy that was locked up in our unconscious, compulsive re-creation of ADS into loving, creative energy with which to “engage” (and thereby be in “intimate relationship”) with the world.
We can only recognize ADS when we realize that we are not separate from each other as well as the universe at large, but, as quantum physics points out, we are “active participants” in creating and calling forth the very universe we co-inhabit. We are interconnected creative beings who are actively, whether we realize it or not, co-creating our lives together. When enough of us realize our interdependence, we can “conspire to co-inspire” each other into deeper, more stabile and coherent levels of lucidity in the dream of life. Like T cells uniting to fight a deadly cancer, we can collaboratively come together and connect with each other and help ourselves heal the psychic blindness that has infected our greater body politic and is causing it to turn against itself in tragically destructive ways.
Something is being revealed to us by the madness that we are collectively playing out on the world stage. The “cure” for Aparticipatory Delusional Syndrome is nothing other than the expansion of consciousness which it is propelling us into by its revelation. This is to say that ADS is, in disguised form, a catalyst for human evolution. Hidden in ADS is the revelation of its own re-solution. Everything depends upon our recognizing what ADS is showing us about ourselves. How utterly paradoxical, the very dynamic that is destroying our species is simultaneously (potentially) awakening us to our true nature.
Okay, so it’s a little more than an “excerpt.” Believe it or not, a lot of this piece didn’t make it into this post — but I couldn’t stop myself from quoting copiously.
Levy is precisely correct in saying that the cure to the world’s ills is for each individual to wake up to his or her own illusion of separation, to shift this perspective to one of inclusion and interconnectedness, and to join his or her consciousness in a collective drive to create a new reality — no matter what “they” may be doing to stunt the process.
I, for one, will keep an eye on Paul Levy in the months and years to come, as his perspective is one that I can definitely get behind. I doubt I’m the only one.