The Goblin and the Blind

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There’s a certain way that things turn and vibrate. A fusion and dance of reality, igniting a path; a continual movement forwards. Within this space we exist, we find our paths, propelled. Dreams continue to ignite my curiosity – this unfathomable space. I find myself recalling fewer dreams, mind alight with worldly concerns, the boundary between wake and sleep clear. Waking concerns overwriting the often subtler, peculiar experiences presented while asleep.

Today I took a short nap, longer than anticipated once more. Starting on my back, listening to a gentle yoga nidra practice. Body and mind settled, enough to begin dozy nocturnal journeys. Here lying I find myself gently letting go, shifting into new and familiar modes. Hypnogogia now known in parts, navigable barely, but a sea through which I have passed.

Today I felt the same presence behind me at various points, a peculiar dream-world goblin of sorts, clinging to my back tightly – a wicked embrace. I heard its gurgles and giggles. I gave it my finger once and it sucked on it. Is this a baby entity I’ve stumbled on? The child of this magnificent and hellish beast I once encountered? It certainly has the feel of the trickster, an entity that is amused by my presence, that knows the space well. It wants to play games, to tease, poke, and unnerve. Why does it have this character? I’ve been drawn to kindness as a response, telling the entity I love it. It was softer today, presenting as this infantile being. With it riding on my back, my mind is still soft and subtle, there’s a narrative flow and a certain sense of self, although it is much more fluid. I can relax and drop, drift in places before plummeting. The excitement of the fall is rapturous – in these moments I’m on the precipice of exploring somewhere completely and utterly different.

I pass through oceans and layers of my resting self. Multiple false awakenings on the journey upwards. There’s some trepidation felt about the potential for falling deeper and deeper and struggling to return. This is somewhere I’ve been before and it can be mentally and physically taxing. There’s a potential there for panic, sometimes the felt need of having to tear oneself back to reality. This is usually achieved through a pronounced bodily movement of sorts – something like moving my head back and to the left, or tearing my hand up. It seems to do enough to activate my body and pull me back into waking.

So this time I fell but not far, not through these cavernous depths into a waking induced lucid dream but instead to layers down of this resting self experience. Still on my bed but not awake as such, I’m skirting just below the surface.

In these luminous explorations, I find something – a sense of adventure, a delicate play of experience, the capacity to face my fears and the possibility of the unknown. Some hope for transcendence, for feeling pure experience and the ribbons of self unfurling until this simple nugget of being is revealed, clearing my phenomenology, restoring my being to a primordial form where I can shed concerns, pains, and let beauty seep through and clean my soul.

It’s in these intrepid explorations that I find novelty, something unique to my interiority but universal in character. I wonder why our discourse on the nature of experience is so limited. I see this confinement as imprisonment by the layers of abstracted, culturally-enshrined realities we all must navigate in our unique historical moment.

Just scrape a little deeper and see – do explorations of this kind help us to live and to cope? In some ways I believe it’s akin to a spiritual pursuit or the movement towards awe – this tunneling downward through conceptual and embodied layers in search of a deeper Truth.

Can this be viewed as a form of intellectually honest spiritual practice? That is, it’s a form of experiential pursuit that doesn’t rest on belief as such but is rather framed as a search and subject to rational scrutiny.

Given our current cultural fascination with dreams, their perennialism and a greater acknowledgement of the sublime and the unknown forces governing us, the space may be rife to explore.

What would this look like with a wider audience? If others took the plunge regularly, if people set up communities to share their experiences? Could this be a practice within a culture of consciousness?

We know a few relevant things about this age we find ourselves in the West: (1) there’s a decline of traditional religious belief and practice but an urge towards the transcendent – ‘spiritual but not religious’ is the largest growing category on census data, (2) there are deep existential fears about our future – the planet, war, economic collapse etc., (3) we live in the age of abundant technology, which is developing at a rapid pace – many of us find ourselves ensnared in dopaminergic traps, glued to screens for many hours, (4) there’s a mental health crisis with more and more people reporting psychological dis-ease.

Given that these forces feel so entrenched and we struggle to see a way out of the spectacle we find ourselves within, radically novel avenues may bear fruit.

Inner transformations, healings, humble-ments – all may serve us well. There’s an appetite for this, we see psychedelic therapy gaining traction, a plethora of alternative therapies and a public appetite for new approaches.

We realize we’ve been failed in many ways by the systems we find ourselves within, that while our material needs and wants are served like never before, we feel a hole at the centre of experience.

Might it be then that we need to understand what this center of experience is? Why this emptiness? In fact, what is emptiness? For if we find this, nourish it, may we not live better?

Although many will argue that these tight constraints on experience, the power dynamics, and systems that shape our realities today have a tight stranglehold over us, where do they not touch? Or at least, where are the marks these pressures leave less pronounced?

To me it seems to be in the space of the subtle and the profound flavors of our own experience. If we drill below our conditioning and break through the paradigms in our own experience, we have the ability to realize and gain insight into deeper truth.

If we find ways to integrate these inward insights into how we act in the world, could we not find ourselves making the change we feel is needed? A change that we cannot grasp yet, but we feel so deeply. This sits as anxiety and dread because we feel out of control, pulled and contorted by our current times in directions we know could be catastrophic.

Much like these goblin-tricksters though, these forces can be approached more subtly and playfully. We can spend time with them, know them intimately, understand their world and still offer some form of compassion. We can push beyond and see that beneath lies greater beauty and that all have the potential to see this.

The tricksters inhabit an environment where they look to exert control, but they are rolling in their own barren hellscapes. They may not know it but, on inspection, their game becomes transparent, operating in a single layer – a transition – beyond which there lies beauty.