I had a very peculiar dream last night, a dream that, to some extent, reminds me of a similar feeling one may perceive when on LSD. However, at the time of this dream I had not taken any drugs or alcohol for well over 4-5 months; so it certainly was not caused by any intoxicants, although I do believe that my usage of hallucinogens and alcohol in the past may have played a role in the content of the dream.
This dream was very similar to many of the dreams that I have been having for the past few days now. They are dreams that are unique, because in these dreams I see the world both from a first-person and third-person point of view. Yes, in these dreams I both observe from my own perspective (first-person) and observe myself from outside (third-person).
Or, in other words, in my dream I see myself acting as if I were awake (meaning that I cannot see my own head), however I also see myself from a third-person perspective, as if I were a ghost lingering a few feet away from own body. It is both an out-of-body and an in-body experience!
Both of these perspectives were one. Unfortunately, I do not know how to describe this experience adequately using words. All I can say is that I dreamed in both first-person and third-person at the same time.
For example, part of my dream involved me opening drawers in a white-tile bathroom. In my experience of the dream, I saw myself opening these drawers in the first-person perspective. Meaning that I could see my arms in front of me reach and open drawers, I could see my feet below me, and I was unable to see my own face or head – meaning that I was viewing the dream through the perspective of myself. Or, I was viewing this dream as a self.
However, at the same time, I was simultaneously viewing the dream from a third-person perspective. Meaning that I felt as if I was ghost, standing back and watching a body (which was me) perform the task of opening the bathroom drawers. It was as if I was some kind of spirit, floating above the bathroom, watching a body move around. However, the body moving around in the bathroom was myself – or at least, it was a person whose movements were identical to the movements that I was experiencing in first person. Also, from my third-person perspective, I was able to see that the person opening and closing the drawers had the same haircut, the same face, and the same body as me – so it must have been me.
Yes, I was watching myself in the third-person, but I was also seeing the dream in first-person. Again, I do not know how to adequately describe this experience in words, and in all honesty it is probably an experience beyond language. Simply because language is based solely on making distinctions – language works because each word is different from another word. If all the words in a language were the same, then it would be impossible to understand what the language was trying to convey. A language works because words are different, and because the difference allows different ideas to be conveyed. However, this experience of mine (seeing in both first-person and third-person) was not really distinct – indeed, it felt unified – as if everything was one. I was seeing myself as a separate self (third-person), and I was seeing myself as myself (first-person).
So what could have been the meaning to this dream? Was there even a meaning to this dream? Who knows – but after contemplating the dream, I believe that, to some extent, it may have similarities with Hindu doctrines. Hinduism emphasizes monism, or the idea that everything is ultimately one. God, man, nature, the universe – it is all one reality (Brahman).
Basically, in this dream I was seeing the world through my own self perspective, but also from the perspective of a third-person, as if I was a ghost or something. However, in the third-person view there was no body visible – instead it was as if I was just a form of consciousness floating in the air (I have had this experience before using marijuana, when I had a sensation that I had left my body and was floating above a room as just a form of consciousness). In this dream the third-person viewpoint was similar – I had no body and no material form – I was simply consciousness floating above in the air.
So, in this dream I was seeing the world as a distinctive self (first-person) and as an immaterial observer (third-person). Although the perspectives were different, I felt an underlying unity. There was no difference between the me that I saw in first-person and the me floating in the air as a form of consciousness. I felt unified – as if I was the same as everything around me – the only difference was the change in perspective. Everything else was the same.
Thus, perhaps this dream is similar to Hinduism in that Hinduism teaches everything is ultimately one. The only reason there appear to be distinctions, or differences, or individuals is due to illusions – or perspectives. Hinduism teaches that the self is ultimately the same as Brahman, or the highest reality. To put it in more understandable terms for western readers, Hinduism essentially teaches that you and God are the same thing. That the distinction between you and God is an illusion, and that, through meditation and mindfulness, one can know God because one knows themselves.
In this dream, I experienced the world as myself but I also experienced it as if I were a God, or Brahman. As if I were a non-material existence that could not be affected by anything in the world. However, in both cases I felt the exact the same. The only difference was the perspective. I think that, in a way, this dream was showing me that there is no difference between ‘myself’ and the ‘world around me’. We are both the same – it is only a matter of perspective that makes one think that they are distinct from everything around them. In this dream my ‘self’ was the same as the ‘world’ around me. We were both one. Perspective was the only thing that differed.