Categories of Consciousness
Excerpt from Chapter 5 of Dream Tech
by Serge Kahili King
After years of careful analysis of what are generally considered as "waking states" and "dreaming states," I have come to the conclusion that we are dreaming all the time, even when we are wide awake. At this point I am only saying that at the same time we are dealing with waking life, we are also having other dreams. It should also be noted that as far as I am concerned, imagining and dreaming are identical. That is not meant to imply that dreams are "just" imagination, but that imagining is dreaming
When we are fully focused on what we usually think of as our external environment, we are not aware of these other dreams that are going on. When we let go of that tight focus these dreams slip into our awareness, sometimes as brief thought of things not related to where we are and what we are doing. Sometimes they appear as rich daydreams that exist simultaneously with our waking activities, and sometimes as complete scenarios that are superimposed on our external world, or even pull us away from it. In fact, if the external focus is tight enough we automatically shift into a dream state. This is the basis for many meditation and hypnosis techniques, and is the reason why pilots are taught to "bounce" their focus around when looking at objects on the ground so that they don't go into a trance when they focus on one thing only.
In studying dreams and dreaming, I have found it useful to categorize consciousness in terms of A mode, B mode and C mode.
A mode is the state of awake awareness with eyes open.
- A1: Awareness of and/or attention on your environment.
Example: Look around you wherever you are while reading this.
- A2: Eyes open and thinking about something with less or no awareness of the environment. This would include daydreaming with the eyes open.
Examples: Reading a book, driving a car while planning a party or just fantasizing.
- A3: Eyes open and sensing something that is not physically present. This would include states of eyes open hypnosis, various kinds of visions, some kinds of sleepwalking, and using thoughtforms. The experiences are often called hallucinations, but I don't like the word because it implies mental illness, and this state can be experienced by perfectly healthy people.
Examples: Sounds some people hear at ancient battlefields; actors on stage using imaginary props; hypnotic subjects who interact with objects and people that no one else can see, visions some people have of other times and places.
B mode is the state of awake awareness with eyes closed.
- B1: Awareness of and/or attention on your environment.
Examples: Close your eyes and determine where a sound is coming from; or close your eyes and touch something and figure out what it is without looking at it.
- B2: Eyes closed and thinking about something with less or no awareness of the environment. This would include eyes closed hypnosis, eyes closed guided imagery, remembering an event, and certain kinds of meditation.
Example: Close your eyes and imagine you are walking through Disneyland with Mickey Mouse, whether you have ever been there or not.
- B3: The eyes closed state that usually precedes sleeping, but which can also be used for certain kinds of meditation. It may include vague imagery and scattered thoughts, clear imagery and other sensory perceptions that are not part of the external environment, dream sequences, and sudden insights. It is only distinguished from the full sleeping/dreaming state by the ongoing awareness of and connection to the external environment, however slight. It is often called the hypnagogic state, but I don't like that word, either, because it is too vague and limited.
Example: 1/26/16- While very aware of my eyes being closed there was a sudden, very clear image of a woman holding a large tray with roasted chicken and potatoes and giving me a questioning look. "What's this?" I asked. "You ordered it," she said. "No I didn't," I replied. "I don't eat potatoes." She didn't say anything more and just faded away.
C mode is the full, eyes closed, sleeping/dreaming state.
- C1: Dream experiences that are confusing and unclear.
Example from my dream journal 5/10/73: "I am part of an odd family. Someone comes to the door. Dion has taken show (?) and I explore him briefly for a joke (?) A woman comes to the door to ask us to go somewhere to help someone, but we have been forewarned that it is a trap. The rest of the family has trouble getting their trousers on till I straighten them out. One fat kid with khaki jocks almost hidden (?)"
- C2: Dream experiences that are clear and seem to have an internal consistency, however strange they may be when compared to A mode.
Example from my dream journal 7/4/81: "A Chinese empress needs my help. A young boy has run away not knowing he is heir to the throne. A criminal type is after him because of something he has. The empress dies and it becomes even more imperative to find the boy who is unknowingly emperor. The criminal catches the boy and is about to harm him when I appear as Superman and grab the criminal's hand."
- C3: Dreams that are exceptionally vivid. This would seem to indicate a much greater degree of focus.
Example from my dream journal 4/29/73: "Digging in a dry riverbed. First I find jasper, then giant hunks of amethyst and others. Three men stop to join me and start cutting out gems, encroaching on my pieces. (vividly clear, and with a strong sense of touch)"