Quotes: Waking Dreams

Quotes from Watkins, M. (1998). Waking Dreams (3 edition). Dallas, Tex: Spring Publications.

In our confusion we, as students of knowledge, have tried to separate the scientific from the metaphorical,  matter from spirit, behavior from psyche, the real from the imaginal. They pretend to yield, and in so doing trick us. They have not separated at all, these lovers. What we find flowing down our sinks is our awareness of our participation in myth at every moment of our being in reality, of psyche in our every action. We mistake our confusion for straightforwardness and clarity. What we have packed away in those boxes is not the imagination and the mythical but our recognition, acceptance and conscious valuing of it. (Watkins, 1998, p. 6)

Trying to watch our psycho–mental flux without interfering in it or becoming attached to it’s contents (and thereby losing awareness) and yet to still be receptive to it, is one of the hardest possible things – perhaps because of the paradox of activity embodied in the principle of action through non-action. We must sacrifice what seems to us to be a sense of control on our part, but which is really not as it is the psychomental flux controlling us. In a sense we gain actual control through the crystallization of our awareness, and yet it is not control in the sense of authority to be exercised over anything. If we trying to use it in that way, in that moment the ego reverts to its initial state, becoming absorbed in the effort of control.(Watkins, 1998, p. 26)

As long as the world of the vision was neglected, the Indian felt and disharmony. But actively valuing it, sacrificing to it, and allowing it’s images to come into daily life, the healing effect was produced. (Watkins, 1998, p36)

The imaginal resist being known except own terms. Image requires image. Image invokes image. (Watkins, 1998, p. 129)

In our culture one is more than ever dependent from the start on recognizing that the image itself can teach and guide one into a relation with the imaginal. The relationship demands what it means if we are sensitive about it and remain true to it. (Watkins, 1998, p. 131)

We fall into the mistaken habit of doing the right thing in the wrong place because we treat a unique image as a stereotyped one. The subtlety of relation that we could discover with each different image is thereby lost, and the imaginal is homogenized with our good intentions and psychological technocracy. (Watkins, 1998, p.131)

In order for us to be more receptive to the imaginal we can pretend that a part of us must become more like water. (Watkins, 1998, p.134)

The Sufis explained this water-like quality by speaking of the science of imagination as also being the “science of mirrors, of all mirroring surfaces and of the forms that appear in them.” Images appear in the mirror though they are not part of the mirror itself. (Watkins, 1998, p.135)

Observe carefully how an image may spontaneously change or recur without thought. Such occurrences come from other than the conscious self.(Watkins, 1998, p.137)

Many people complain they do not really understand what it means to imagine and that they never really have done it. We are imagining in a way all of the time. What we must develop is our awareness of this. (Watkins, 1998, p.137)

“Every object, perceived at every instance, is a ‘new creation’ and that the apparent continually consists in a manifestation of likes and resemblances” (Watkins, 1998, p.138)

With time one can easily make the transition from the ego and a state of identification to an ego which is in a state of awareness. When you’re awareness is focused on the breath, for instance, recognize what tries to take you away from your concentration but return to the object again. (Watkins, 1998, p.140)

The beginning, however, the closer the image is to what we know is spontaneously occurring in the imagination, the easier it is to be able to get in touch with the imaginal. (Watkins, 1998, p.141)

That labeling is not our concern. It kills the bird that is in front of us right now. If we carry all of our interpretative notions with us as we imagine, the bird seems to cease being itself for us. We can no longer see it as it is. (Watkins, 1998, p.142)

Other frequent occurrence in the beginning of waking dreams is too much imagery… Return to the recurring image and try to exclude other ones for a while until it becomes established and your consciousness and you and it’s reality. (Watkins, 1998, p.145)

These three kinds of imaging might be called “spectatorial imaging.” The imaginal is watching by the usual ego which remains outside. (Watkins, 1998, p.149)

Inserting yourself and your imaginary body enables you to become directly involved with the images, qualities and effects of the imaginal environment. One’s experience is fundamentally different than when one sees images as if they were a filmstrip or flashing slides in front of them regardless of whether or not the individual is one of the characters that he observes. (Watkins, 1998, p.150)

It is possible to understand different types of imaging as belonging to different archetypal modes. The fifth reminds one of the hero believes his home and travels to the underworld and the heavens as himself. (Watkins, 1998, p.151)

The rationalist translates into his terms what he can of the image. The rest, the symbolic side of metaphor, is lost and not grieved for. The way of imagination, as Paracelsus described it, is to “transmute gross matter into subtle, immaterial bodies.” (Watkins, 1998, p.162)

The image and the fact lead to different ends though they share a common ground. (Watkins, 1998, p.162)

Images describe. They do not say to get a divorce, or go into it analysis, or quit school. (Watkins, 1998, p.171)

The image states of fact – but that fact is a psychological one. (Watkins, 1998, p.173)

Detail must be understood as the best possible way of conveying whatever the experience imaginal experience is that the image deals with. When we neglect elements and details of the image forsake it’s experience and the structure it gives to it. We avoid learning how different the imaginal is from our usual world. (Watkins, 1998, p.174)

Are ways to deal with images, themselves symbolic, have been denied their own metaphorical aspects, their own ability and necessity to point beyond. That which promised connection to soul betrays it. The common metaphors end up leading to entrapment, monotony, sterility. (Watkins, 1998, p.177)

If the word takes one away from the image and allows what appears to be the image to be grasped and controlled and talked about, then what has been grasped is not the image but the concept. (Watkins, 1998, p.178)

Some dreams in and of themselves make a statement with one group of images and then with another, and yet another… Each set of images brings us into connection with the different aspects. (Watkins, 1998, p.181)

For now we are able to encounter the relation between images – not merely from the viewpoint of the observer (one ego, one “I”), but from within the perspective of the other images as well. (Watkins, 1998, p.183)

The emergence of figures, where they go, with whom and in what they did well, unravels. The different places of the imaginal began to stand out. The possibility of an archetypal topography begins to emerge. One comes to have an idea of where archetypes can be located in relation to each other(Watkins, 1998, p.184)

Anzaldúa, G., Cantú, N., & Hurtado, A. (2012). Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza (Fourth Edition edition). San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.

The ability of story (pros and poetry) to transform a storyteller and the listener into something or someone else is shamanistic. The writer, as shape–changer, is a nahual, shaman. (Anzaldúa, Cantú, & Hurtado, 2012 p.88)

Tribal cultures keep artworks and honored and sacred places in the home and elsewhere. They attend to them making sacrifices of blood (goat or chicken), libations of wine. They bathe, feet, and clothe them. The works are treated not as objects, but as persons. The “witness” is a participant in the enactment of the work and a ritual, and not a member of the privileged classes. (Anzaldúa, Cantú, & Hurtado, 2012 p.90)