Dreams Beyond Time: On Sacred Encounter and Spiritual Transformation offers readers an overview of dreams research as applied to non-ordinary dreams. Lee Irwin describes four basic types of dreaming: normative, mythic, psychic, and transpersonal, and he illustrates each type with specific dream examples. These types of dreaming are then used as a lens to look more closely at additional dream types that indicate dreaming as a process of creative discovery. Through virtual dreaming encounters, latent human potentials are revealed and suggest aspects for spiritual development based on dream recording, interpretation, and analysis. In turn this leads to a metaphysical description that is pan-sentient, illustrating a vivid, living universe of process-becoming in which certain dream types reveal mythic, psychic, and transpersonal capacities as intrinsic to a deeper more awakened sense of intersubjective self-awareness. While dream theories from many diverse authors are explored, the author uses an existential and phenomenological method to analyze dreaming contents in relationship to altered states of mind, trance, out of body and near-death experience, meditation, imagination, and stages of lucid self-awareness. Transpersonal dreams are given considerable attention in relationship to mystical traditions, paranormal research, and the comparative anthropology of self.
Lee Irwin is professor emeritus, Religious Studies Department, College of Charleston.
Introduction: Touching the Whale
Part One: Dreaming Values
Chapter One: Discovering the Dream
Chapter Two: Deconstructing the Dream
Part Two: Dreaming Encounters
Chapter Three: Dream Cosmologies
Chapter Four: The Psycho-Ontological Matrix
Part Three: Dream Interpretations
Chapter Five: The Metaphysics of Discovery
Chapter Six: The Reconstructed Dream
Conclusion: A Self-Surpassing Multiverse
About the Author
Lee Irwin’s lifetime of dream journaling and his many unusual dream experiences gives Dreams Beyond Time a unique first-person authority. Dreams Beyond Time guides us to a deeper understanding of dreams and dreaming by surveying much previous scholarship, and provides its own open-ended, unique, and very valuable perspective based on decades of experience. Strongly recommended—there is no other book on dreams and dreaming like this one.
In Dreams Beyond Time, Lee Irwin introduces a new paradigm for the study of consciousness, one that goes beyond what can be learned by studying the unconscious and neurological correlates. He cites dreaming as an example of its application, using his own dreams as well as salient findings from the literature on the topic. Irwin maintains that consciousness is foundational and primary, producing a living cosmos of intelligent beings. His paradigm is radical but well-reasoned; it is well-articulated and presented in a reader-friendly form that will keep readers focused on every page of this fascinating account.
Drawing on a lifetime of profound study of, and immersive experiences within, the creative potentialities of dreaming, Lee Irwin has written one of the most important and necessary books about dreams of this era. Dreams Beyond Time is grounded in a recognition of dreaming as a tremendous inner resource for the discovery of new metaphysical horizons. Irwin challenges conventional models of dreaming that have the effect of obscuring this awareness, shrinking the dream, and draining it of its vital energies. In this brilliant and deeply thought-provoking new book, Irwin is calling for renewed appreciation for dreaming as an authentic mode of higher consciousness, a mode by which the sleeping mind casts its imaginal gaze beyond the limits of waking reality to apprehend alternative realities and envision healthier, more spiritually fulfilling ways of being.
In this riveting exploration of the multi-dimensionality of the dreamworld, Lee Irwin tackles the knottiest philosophical questions, letting his dreams participate in the construction of elaborate yet approachable answers. Extraordinary dreams being the domain of the possible, no topic is too perplexing. Irwin invites us in a detailed phenomenological inquiry, tempered with open-hearted wisdom, the fruit of decades of self-exploration. The world-creating nature of dream consciousness is graciously and humbly re-enacted. One dream at the time, Irwin shows us what dream science can be, weaving transpersonal knowing, world religions, and the bare affirmative presence of Being.
This is a most powerful book on a potential paranormal practice that we can all do every single night of our lives (and, likely, even afterwards). We dream. But this is no book about ordinary dreaming. This is a book about extraordinary dreaming, about dreaming as an evolutionary force and creative movement beyond matter, space, and time. In Irwin’s language, this is a book about touching the whale of consciousness swimming, floating, rising among and as us, about evolving and so surpassing the very structures and meanings of the multiverse as we evolve and surpass ourselves. May you be so dreamed as you dream this book.
A prolific religious studies scholar, Irwin continues to build on his previous scholarship on the study of dreams with this latest work. In Dreams beyond Time, Irwin weaves together an analysis of his own dreams with scholarship drawing from a range of disciplines and methods. The book falls into three major and evenly weighted parts: "Dreaming Values"; "Dreaming Encounters"; and "Dream Interpretations." Records of dreams in primary documents are acknowledged to provide rich material for a fuller understanding of the past through historical method. But Irwin explains his own understanding of the dreaming state as "participatory." Similar to dreaming, the book has proleptic properties, too, offering a model for the use of dream analysis to look at the present and to pursue an understanding of future possibilities for society and for individuals. Irwin's book has already been well received by his fellow experts in the study of dreams and related topics. All persons interested in mainstream scholarship on the study of dreaming need to consult this work. This book is highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals. General readers.