Reality Confusion to Dream a New You

Sometimes I confuse my dreams with the remembered events from which my dreams derived their emotional elements. Due to confusion in attribution, I sometimes believe I am remembering real events when those memories are actually my remembrances of dreams instead.

For example, an event of the day results in me feeling overpowered by my boss. That night, I dream I am being chased by a bear. Upon awakening in the morning, I imagine my partner is acting abusively toward me. In this case, the attribution of the emotion of powerlessness travels from boss to dream bear to partner.

Out of Attribution Confusion

Knowing that memories are fallible and subject to errors in attribution, I reconfirm that I can manipulate memories – through dreams molded to help support how I want to feel today. Maybe you can change the details of your memories to support a new you.

What if you chose to restructure your dreams from a perspective of gratitude rather than victim-hood?

“How do I do that?” you might reasonably ask. I can control a dream using lucid dreaming in which I realize I’m dreaming while I’m dreaming. This is a very powerful imagery because it includes full sensory engagement – a real experience. That’s one way to manipulate emotionally charged memories.

Comes a New You

Another method is to perform a simple bedtime exercise. As you find yourself drifting off to sleep…

  1. Recall a negative emotion-charged memory of an experience you had that day. Just let it flash across the stage of your soon-to-be dreaming mind.
  2. Resist the temptation to ruminate over the memory and how you feel about it. This is NOT about fixing a problem – it’s about confusing attribution.
  3. Then, immediately after recalling the negative event, recall a memory of ANY TIME in your life that supports how you’d rather feel. It’s important that the last memory you entertain before slipping off to sleep is one where you feel strong, capable, happy, and grateful.
  4. Then, let the dreams come.

The idea is to set gratitude as the last emotion just before dropping off to sleep. The dream-attribution mechanism  then presents stories from a baseline perspective of gratitude. That may affect your dream stories and memories of the day. It could also change your overall perspective.

You may not recall your dreams the next morning – that’s okay. The confusion just as you fell asleep may be just enough to confound your dream-attribution mechanism. You may view your emotionally-charged memory of the previous day in a new way. Perhaps you’ll solve a problem associated with that memory or suddenly experience a flash of inspiration concerning it. Who knows?

Practicing this simple exercise just before sleep might just create a new you.

Motivation and the Difference Between a Want and a Need

How might I use my natural need-fulfillment process as motivation to accomplish goals and achieve what I want from life? How useful is that want-to-need process in awakening me to who I am beyond bubble awareness?

I get that I have needs. I must breathe to live, for example. I get that I have wants. I want a new widget, for example. Generally, needs trump wants. However, because I have the facility to imagine, I can “cross the streams” so to speak and imagine turning wants into needs. By doing so, I can give those wants a little “bump” of attention energy – making it far more likely I’ll get that new widget as a result.

Motivation – Exploiting My Need-Fulfillment Process

For example, perhaps I’d like to buy a car. I look around, maybe do some online window shopping, read some articles to get an idea about what might suit my tastes. Then I settle on a make. Shopping the various models in that make, I settle on a make and model. Then maybe color and features – until I drill down to the exact car I want – MY CAR.

Then my desire kicks into high gear. Of course it does – the car ticks all my value boxes. I can’t help it – I elevate the value of THAT PARTICULAR car to need status. My motivation now looks more like need satisfaction than desire satisfaction because this want now includes both need and desire.

Want-value elevated to the power of need-value = want-value multiplied. The next thing I know, I’m driving off the lot in my new car – need satisfied with associated emotional payoff. Success!

Motivation toward accomplishing a goal is one upside of changing a want into a need. And, like so many other processes in my life, there’s a “dark side” to explore.

When I elevate the value of a want to a need, I set myself up for the frustration and disillusionment of a dissatisfied need – a need feed – when I fail to achieve my goal. Want value elevated to a higher need value that is now unfulfilled results in a significant negative emotional/energetic payoff. It’s a risk I’m apparently willing to take when I elevate a want to need status.


Once I awaken to who I AM, want-value ceases to elevate to need level. Even needs may devalue to want level over time. With practice, I can habituate to gratitude for everything as it is – as I AM – now. I can do a little exercise to assist me:

To everything/everyone I notice, I address it/them with a mantra in my mind, “Thank you for doing as you are doing and being as you are right now.”

Beyond Gratitude as Judgment

Gratitude is all about noticing and awareness. By asking a question, I can bring about noticing in a way that promotes awareness beyond the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble. Within the bubble of limited perception, I experience gratitude as an emotionally-charged competition or comparison – a value-judgment backed by a defense that often takes the form of an expression in the syntax of emotion-comparison-justification:

“I feel grateful for [something I value-judge as positive]… because… [some reason this judgment confirms my values]”

Example: “I feel grateful for sunrises because they make me feel hopeful…”

Structurally, my statement includes an emotion, “I feel”; a comparison judgment, “grateful for…”; and a defense, “because…” – the basic structure of the bubble, in which I compare, compete, and defend. “Grateful,” in this case, means “compared to what I value” – a validation of my opinions/notions as truth.

Is there another way?

To experience gratitude beyond the bubble, it must take on a different sensibility altogether. In the realm of accountability for creation, awareness would appear as a sort of universal acceptance of ALL that IS. As a confirmed bubble resident, I can tell you that my experience of this kind of gratitude is exquisite, sublime, and ultimately life-affirming.

To turn bubble comparison into life-affirming accountability, I might question how I express thanks – and maybe reconsider in the light of acceptance.

Let’s start by reviewing how I express gratitude within bubble awareness:

  1. I notice an experience that I…
  2. relate to other similar experiences and then…
  3. make a judgment (better or worse) that I…
  4. justify with a defense that validates my values and beliefs.

Now, let’s look at it from an acceptance-of-accountability perspective:

  1. I notice that everything is as I perceive it.

From my limited bubble perspective, Fourth Degree of Illumination acceptance of accountability may appear to me as surreal – and maybe the truth behind the illusion.

What Does Fourth Degree of Illumination Accountability Mean?

What does it mean to BE accountable for my life? What is Fourth Degree of Illumination accountability?

Living in a duality world, I like the following (BE-DO-HAVE) “or” mantra:

  • “I am exactly what I want to be right now or I’d be something else.”
  • “I am doing exactly what I most want to do right now or I’d be doing something else.”
  • “I have exactly what I want to have right now or I’d have something else.”

Repeating this mantra as my personal “truth,” I tend to take responsibility for my life in ways I never imagined before. As the responsible party, I realize my power to make changes, because I LOVE who I am and want to explore what ELSE I will love.

When I want to make a substantial change, I first consider accounting for my life by acknowledging that I LOVE who I am, what I do, and what I have NOW. Loving what is at the same level as what may be evens out the transition energy. Like bridging across rather than climbing the abyss.

Accountability brings me to –

My Account Payoff

How I feel about what I experience is my PAYOFF. As I embrace my payoff, I love it. After all, I’ve gone to some effort and energy to achieve it. Then I look into what OTHER PAYOFF I might enjoy JUST AS MUCH and begin embracing that, too.

I entertain the idea that I might also enjoy achieving my current payoff in a different manner. Like the kid in the sandbox making a sand castle, I can play with my design as much as I wish until I get it “just right” – that is, I experience sufficient sensational payoff.

In acceptance of the fact that I am experiencing exactly what I want to experience, I open the possibility that I may account for my life in the light of Fourth Degree of Illumination gratitude.

Blame As Counterfeit for Accountability

Does blame act as a First-Second Degree of Illumination counterfeit for Fourth Degree of Illumination accountability?

I have this idea that I can determine cause from perception of effect. I perceive something and, based on this evidence, soon believe I understand what, how, and why I perceived it as I did. For the most part, this line of reasoning works for me. Where this gets “dicey” is when I apply that reasoning to others – blame.

Considering my propensity for belief and trust in my ability to discern cause from effect within the bubble, blame works as an adequate substitute. Once blame is affixed, I feel satisfied that “justice has been done” and “books balanced” – done! No more inquiry necessary! And isn’t that the goal of my First-Second Degree bubble – to remain securely inside the bubble?

Inside the bubble, accountability and blame are basically synonymous. Dykstra sees accountability as, “answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving.” An apt description of the bubble-bound counterfeit, blame.

Beyond the bubble, however, the concept takes on an entirely different flavor. Fourth Degree of Illumination accountability is more like “acceptance of the joy of being you in balance.”

Accounting for Values

A first step in Fourth Degree awareness may be a release of the bubble mentality of blame. The concept of “balancing the books” seems more appropriate when discussing Fourth Degree accountability. To balance the books, it makes some sense to me to consider investigating values.

I place value on everything when competition is the name of the game. This is better than that – because this is worth more than that in terms of value to me. I’ve become adept at measuring subjectives like emotions in terms of value – levels. For example, I can answer the question, “On a scale of 0-10, how angry do you feel?” This acknowledges a placement of an objective value on a subjective experience.

In the realm of blame, I’m keenly aware of a positive vs negative ledger. I view these positives and negatives in terms of values. My belief is that I must resolve all values to the positive side in order to win. “He who dies with the most points, wins!” Of course, this acknowledges the outcome of bubble thinking – win/lose – death!

Gratitude as Accountability

What might happen were I to balance my ledger? In bubble thinking, I would zero-sum out = loss. In Fourth Degree thinking, I would simply balance out of the competition game. Where there is no comparison, there is no competition, and thus no game. There is no win-lose, lose-lose, or even win-win. Because the competition game is over.

How do I end the competition game when it is all I know?

That game may be all I THINK I KNOW – yet it is far from all I know. I have no idea how much I actually know – because I’ve accepted counterfeits as real. In an instant of clarity where the competition over values disappears into oneness, only gratitude remains. It’s a different kind of gratitude than one experiences from within the bubble of competition. This kind of gratitude is exquisite, sublime, pure, and as some have described it, bliss.

Inside the bubble, I value the feeling of gratitude and so I utter to myself, “Oh, I hope I experience that level of joy someday!”

What if outside the bubble time were irrelevant? “I choose to experience gratitude right now!”


  •  Dykstra, Clarence A. (February 1939). “The Quest for Responsibility”. American Political Science Review. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 33, No. 1. 33 (1): 1–25. doi:10.2307/1949761. JSTOR 1949761.