Sleep and Dreams: Selected Talks, 1910-1924

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SteinerBooks, 2003 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 214 pages

What are Dreams? Every age, every culture, perhaps every person, have different answers. We can at least agree on one thing, however: dreams are other. Their presence in our lives demonstrates that we are not limited to a single mode of consciousness. The world of sleep is largely a blank for us, an abyss of non-consciousness, yawning between one day and the next, but the very fact that we can dream announces our potential for awareness within that abyss.

We spend a third of our life asleep--a fact that dream theorists rarely consider. This startling collection of lectures by Rudolf Steiner, selected and introduced by the psychologist Michael Lipson, provides a truly unique way of approaching dreams, based on an understanding of the spiritual nature of human beings. A radically new view of dreams "as the threshold to spiritual reality" arises, once we acknowledge that physical existence is only the tip of an iceberg hidden largely in the spiritual world.

Sleep, death, and meditation are the three realms in which consciousness has the opportunity to deepen its immersion in the divine flow of existence. In principle, we can become infinitely more self-aware in each of them, since human consciousness is not fixed--neither in contents nor in terms of alertness. All day long, the contents of our consciousness change, and during the night, the level changes.

These lectures permit readers to glimpse the fantastic depths of experience we normally "sleep through" and to contemplate Steiner's astounding program: to maintain self-aware consciousness through sleep, through death, through all being.


Introduction by Michael Lipson

1. The Secrets of Sleep
2. Sleep and the Three-Part Soul
3. Sleep and the World of the Stars
4. Understanding Sleep through Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition
5. An Active Spirit: Dreams and the Spiritual Researcher
6. Our inner Undercurrent: A Continual Dreaming
7. Preparing for a New Birth
8. Dreaming and the Etheric Body
9. Inspiration: Bringing the Unconscious to Consciousness
10. Confronting the Totality of Our Lives through Dreams
11. The Logic and Illogic of Dreams
12. Dreams and Human Development
13. Interpreting Dreams
14. Dreams: The Human Essence in Spiritual Connection


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A genuine synchronicity!
My wife and I just enrolled our four year old daughter in a Waldorf school, founded on the work of Rudolph Steiner. Up until now, I'd never heard of the man. At the same
time of her enrollment, I'd just finished and published my first book on Conscious Sleep in which I outline my system called Subliminal Cognition Training™. Long story short, I decided to research the man upon who's philosophy my daughter's education will be founded. The first thing that an Internet search turned up was Steiner's views on Conscious Sleep and this book I'm writing a review for! My own book is entitled, "Behind the Veil: the Complete Guide to Conscious Sleep", by me, Daniel A. Kelley. In this book, I outline very similar ideas to those offered by Steiner.
Coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
At any rate, this book is a fascinating read and I thank the author for it.


The Secrets of Sleep
Sleep and the ThreePart Soul
Sleep and the World of the Stars
Understanding Sleep through Imagination Inspiration and Intuition
Dreams and the Spiritual Researcher
A Continual Dreaming
Preparing for a New Birth
Dreaming and the Etheric Body
Bringing the Unconscious to Consciousness
Confronting the Totality of Our Lives through Dreams
The Logic and Illogic of Dreams
Dreams and Human Development
Interpreting Dream Images
The Human Essence in Spiritual Connection

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Page x - The unconscious is the true psychical reality; in its innermost nature it is as much unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is as incompletely presented by the data of consciousness as is the external world by the communications of our sense organs?
Page xi - ... soon as he had this idea, his thought somehow took the form of another man, and that man wished for an identity and a name, even though he was just made of thought. And by pure accident, as when a crow happens to be under a tree when a palm fruit falls from it and hits him, he thought, "I am Jlvata." This dream man, JIvata, enjoyed himself for a long time in a town made in a dream. There he drank too much and fell into a heavy sleep, and in his dream he saw a Brahmin who read all day long. One...
Page xiii - That was a mistake," answers the adult-authority. "Everything you do in a dream has a purpose, beyond your understanding while you are asleep. You must relax and enjoy yourself when you fall in a dream. Falling is the quickest way to get in contact with the powers of the spirit world, the powers laid open to you through your dreams. Soon, when you have a falling dream, you will remember what I am saying, and as you do, you will feel that you are travelling to the source of the power which has caused...
Page xiii - ... When you meet them, you may be frightened of their terrific power, but go on. When you think you are dying in a dream, you are only receiving the powers of the other world, your own spiritual power which has been turned against you, and which now wishes to become one with you if you will accept it." The astonishing thing is that over a period of time, with this type of social interaction, praise, or criticism, imperatives, and advice, the dream which starts out with fear of falling changes into...
Page x - Once upon a time there was a monk who was inclined to imagine things rather a lot. He would meditate and study all the time, and fast for days on end. One day this fancy came to him: "Just for fun, I will experience what happens to ordinary people." As soon as he had this idea, his thought somehow took the form of another man, and that man wished for an identity and a name, even though he was just made of thought. And by pure accident, as when a crow happens to be under a tree when a palm fruit falls...

About the author (2003)

Austrian-born Rudolf Steiner was a noted Goethe (see Vol. 2) scholar and private student of the occult who became involved with Theosophy in Germany in 1902, when he met Annie Besant (1847--1933), a devoted follower of Madame Helena P. Blavatsky (1831--1891). In 1912 he broke with the Theosophists because of what he regarded as their oriental bias and established a system of his own, which he called Anthroposophy (anthro meaning "man"; sophia sophia meaning "wisdom"), a "spiritual science" he hoped would restore humanism to a materialistic world. In 1923 he set up headquarters for the Society of Anthroposophy in New York City. Steiner believed that human beings had evolved to the point where material existence had obscured spiritual capacities and that Christ had come to reverse that trend and to inaugurate an age of spiritual reintegration. He advocated that education, art, agriculture, and science be based on spiritual principles and infused with the psychic powers he believed were latent in everyone. The world center of the Anhthroposophical Society today is in Dornach, Switzerland, in a building designed by Steiner. The nonproselytizing society is noted for its schools.

Michael Lipson, PhD, the author of Stairway of Surprise: Six Steps to a Creative Life (2002) and Group Meditation (2011), is also the translator of Rudolf Steiner's Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom and of numerous books by Georg Kühlewind. After working with children with HIV/AIDS for nine years in New York City's Harlem Hospital, he moved with his wife and two children to the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts. Dr. Lipson conducts a practice in Clinical Psychology and teaches meditation internationally. He is a frequent host of the radio call-in show Vox Pop on WAMC, a local NPR affiliate station in Upstate New York.

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