Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Waking Up the SkinBag

In a prior post, I talked about how being in Jamaica can bring one face-to-face with one's mortality, and humanity.
It's a little like waking up from a nightmare.
Sometimes when you are in the middle of a very bad dream, you can wake up to the fact that it is just a dream.  The dream can continue along, and the crazy things that happen are understood as a kind of mental joke that can either be stopped or continued at will.
Most of the time, however, I forget completely that I am dreaming.  The nightmare continues unabated and I have forgotten that I am in a dream.
Then, when I awaken, I realize with a sudden sense of relief that this was indeed just a dream.  It was stopped forever when I woke up, and I cannot return to it. When I am awake, I am back in full possession of my awareness, and am no longer constrained by my imagination.
In my prior post on this topic, I wrote about the skinbag as a "playing piece" in a game that involves our awareness, and its movement between our small mind and our big mind.  
Most of the time, however, I am really not aware of the skinbag, my awareness, my small mind and my big mind.  Instead, I am usually just having a bunch of thoughts that I believe are true.
Moving to Jamaica has lead to a preponderance of thoughts like:
"something bad is coming"
"this place is dangerous"
"I need to protext myself"
Together, these thoughts (when believed) create a particular experience that feels very, very real.
And then, now and again, I realize that I am having a nightmare.
In this particular "living nightmare," I have forgotten that I have a skinbag, awareness, small mind, and big mind.
I don't realize that I have thoughts that I need not believe, and instead I believe them all, which usually results in feelings of stress.
In other words, it is very close to being in a bad dream -- in which I have forgotten that the skinbag is sleeping, and just having a "sleeping nightmare."
The big difference is one of duration.  Usually, a "sleeping nightmare" lasts a matter of minutes.  Then, it is over and I am restored to being fully awake.
However, a "living nightmare" lasts a lifetime.
A friend of mine had a near-death experience, and it sounded a lot like during the moments when he was suspended over his body, watching the doctors working on his skinbag, he remembered that his like was a "living nightmare" and he woke up out of it.  When life was returned to his skinbag, and his awareness came down off the ceiling, he went on living, but was never the same.
It might not be very different from what happens when we realise that we are having a "sleeping nightmare," in some ways.  He was still alive, but he had learned in a flash who he really was, and that he had been having a "living nightmare."


At 10/19/2007 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Credible research about near-death experiences (NDEs) is readily found on the website of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS): My experience with the “light” while under hypnosis led me to click on “Research tab” for published papers at the site. New findings, esp. the two written by Dr. Peter Fenwick (neuropsychiatrist) and Dr. Pim Van Lommel (cardiologist) are most helpful. Further research is found at Also, a DVD by Dr. Bruce Greyson (psychiatrist)—University of Virginia Medical School— lists the physiological and pharmaceutical reasons given for NDEs and explains why these cannot be offered as adequate explanations of NDEs:

Over the past 30 years, thousands of documented cases of near-death experiences have occurred. These NDEs have been the focus of many scientific studies at medical centers and universities throughout the U.S. and around the world. They are deeply mystical, ineffable events. While NDEs have common elements, no two experiences are identical: many have out-of-body experiences— accounts of viewing their surroundings from above or outside their bodies while clinically dead or unconscious during surgery, for example—details that are verified by nurses and doctors; meeting and communicating with mystical beings or deceased relatives; having a life review in the presence of “spiritual guides,” etc.

NDE elements cut across all religious traditions including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. Almost all report that their lives are dramatically changed after their experience, including becoming more spiritual, more loving and caring, and often changing their work lives to the caring or teaching professions. While NDEs have nothing to do with “faith” or “belief,” they are the essence of the religious experience.


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