Beneath all our evolutionary conditioning, beneath all our cultural mind viruses and power-serving, power-promulgated belief systems, beneath the chaos and confusion of life in an insane society, there is a deep stillness.

We all know deep down in our guts that that stillness is there, and that it is our natural condition. That’s why we all spend our lives trying out different strategies for coming to inner tranquility. Most of those strategies are unhealthy and doomed to fail, but that inner stillness at the root of our being is what we’re always reaching to experience.

Beneath all the warmongering, conflict and violence in our species, there is a bottomless foundation of pure peace. We all know deep in our guts that it’s there; that’s why we all secretly long for peace, even if most of us are confused about how to get there.

Beneath all the division, drama and us-versus-them othering, there is an underlying perception in each of us which sees only oneness. We all know deep in our guts that this perception is there, which is why, even though we get mixed up about how best to achieve it, we’re always reaching in some way toward unity.

Beneath all human hate, rejection, bigotry and prejudice, there is a profound love for all that arises. We all intuitively sense this love below our own surface-level awareness, which is why we all, in our own clumsy ways, seek love.

We all know this, on some level. We all know that everything we really want is already our own true nature. That’s why all of us, in our own convoluted, delusional, map-upside-down-and-compass-near-a-magnet ways, seek truth.

That’s all we’re ever really dealing with here, those of us who value peace, truth and justice. All we’re ever really dealing with (in ourselves and in others) is humankind’s built-in impulse to come home, and its flailing, awkward attempts to manifest that impulse.

Peace is your true nature. Oneness is your true nature. Love is your true nature.

I am not here saying that there is some aspect of you that is these things, some small part of you which you can find by rummaging around in your mind and possibly locating underneath your id to the east of your latent oedipal complex or whatever. I’m saying that is you. It’s what you really are, beneath everyone’s mental stories about what you really are.

Day after day from the moment this planet births our body, we experience a field of consciousness containing sensory input, thoughts and feelings. That field of consciousness is all any of us ever experience from cradle to grave, yet it almost never occurs to anyone to pop the hood and directly investigate what makes it tick.

What intense investigation will show you is that all any of us are actually experiencing in any waking moment is this singular, unified field of consciousness being perceived by something that is utterly free from it, in the same way lucid investigation into a dream will reveal a singular, unified dream being perceived by a dreamer who has no stake in what happens to any of the dream characters.

And, just as in the experience of lucid dreaming, when the dreamer realizes the truth of what’s really happening, the experience suddenly becomes a lot more fun. You realize that you, the dreamer are not actually being chased by pirates or whatever, and that you’re actually free from the drama and entanglements in the dream which until that moment seemed perilously threatening. From that free perspective, the dream is delightful. The dream is beloved.

An ineffable something is perceiving the mysterious field of consciousness which has been arising every day since your physical form first showed up here. That ineffable something is your true nature. And it is everything you’ve ever sought in this strange dream world. The only thing keeping your from recognizing this has been your fixation on the drama of the dream.

Lucid living means the dreamer of this waking life, the witness of this beautiful, dancing, ever-changing field of consciousness, is seen clearly to be what you really are.

And the good news is that you are already what it is you’ve been seeking. You just have to perceive this with lucidity. Your innate love of truth is already calling you home. Just follow it.


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18 responses to “Lucid Living”

  1. Mark Szpakowski Avatar
    Mark Szpakowski

    Great article, Caitlin. You might be interested in Piet Hut’s Lucid Living blog at

  2. Our body holds the key. Many yogis have unlocked its many secrets. It takes a strong commitment to cleanse the body, keep it fit, meditate, live authentically.

  3. Although most of us have little direct experience of it, it is part & parcel of sentient consciousness that we all have a vast ocean of silence, clarity and peace lying deep inside of us. Put another way, when you take our consciousness and strip away all the words, emotions, thoughts, dreams, beliefs and feelings, there is something that remains in the absence of all those things. It is the space between the thoughts or the field lying beneath the thoughts. It is eternal. It was here before we were born. It’ll be here after we’re gone. It is what we all share in common. It is where we are all one.

    People have the misconception that in meditation, you seek to clear your mind, but if your mind was truly clear, you’d be asleep or in a coma. In a successful meditation, you are very much aware, but your awareness is very broad and silent. Meditation is good at helping people to cope with stress because it is like taking a few steps back and thus putting things into perspective.

    Anyone owning a car would be considered foolish if they didn’t keep the engine tuned up and keep the oil changed. Meanwhile, we all have a machine much more complicated than an internal combustion engine sitting on top of our shoulders. What could make more sense than taking a little time every day to make sure that it’s running smoothly.

    It is widely accepted that when learning a foreign language or learning to play a musical instrument, it is better to practice for 30 minutes every day rather than 3 1/2 hours once a week – even though the overall length of time is the same. Likewise, an important aspect of a meditation practice is regularity and consistency. You want to meditate every day, day in and day out, for this is how you bring greater silence, peace and clarity into your everyday state of consciousness. It is a matter of systematically grooming and conditioning your consciousness.

    To make the point, I’ll apply some arbitrary numbers to something that is clearly unquantifiable. Let’s just say you’ve started your twice daily meditation practice. You’ve meditated for the first time. You achieved a degree of stillness, but then you go out into your daily activity and the stillness dissipates. That evening you sit to have your second meditation, but what you don’t realize is that there is .0000001 percent of the stillness from the morning’s meditation still present in you. So, you have your second meditation, you finish your evening, you go to bed and then wake up in the morning to have your third meditation, but what you don’t realize is that there is still .0000002 percent of the stillness from the previous meditation present inside of you. And so it goes, day after day, you build up more and more silence, clarity, peace and stillness. This is how you transform your consciousness.

    It is an innate problem with our species that human beings in general and I should say, politicians & corporate executives in particular have the most amazing capacity for talking themselves into sincerely believing absolutely ridiculous shit when doing so happens to be convenient. This is how politicians and corporate executives can look at themselves in the mirror, genuinely believe that their behavior is acceptable and then go about their day doing a grotesque disservice to future generations. It is a celebrated truism of the annoyingly named “New Age Spirituality Movement” that HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS MUST CHANGE for world peace and environmental sanity to prevail. But this idea isn’t discussed in the mainstream discourse because it is viewed as being vague & abstract. But there is NOTHING vague or abstract about the ignorance, denial, delusion and in some cases I should say, psychopathic behavior exhibited by those with their hands on the levers of power in the world.

    I submit here that the degree to which a human being is fully saturated in that silence, clarity and peace which lies at the root of sentient human consciousness is the degree to which that human being is incapable of exhibiting the self deception, denial and delusion that is central to so many of humankind’s problems. Furthermore, the degree to which a person is fully saturated in that silence, clarity and peace is the degree to which they are happy and predisposed to loving their fellow human being. Indeed, it is full saturation in that field of silence, clarity and peace which has accounted for the unbounded, unconditional love exhibited by history’s great spiritual figures.

    If we want to be happy. If we want to create a better world, I would argue that the single most important thing we can be doing is the systematic, daily development of our consciousness to contain ever greater levels of the silence, clarity and peace that is the very basis of sentient human consciousness.

  4. Step O'Rafferty Avatar
    Step O’Rafferty

    One way that I find useful to (momentarily for me) recognise and feel in harmony with with the universal consciousness is to think of all the wonderful aspects of my life and feel gratitude for them. I know that the ‘all one’ is within me but I also know that for the present time I am residing in a physical body. So it’s OK not to always be aware of the underlying spiritual essence. We are experiencing physical life on a planet for a reason. Eventually our spirits will be free of our bodies but while we are residing in them we should use them wisely.

  5. Thank you Caitlin Johnstone. Thank you !

  6. My life and dreams are pretty busy and choppy, and poorly edited and jumpy, and full of lots that I don’t figure out, and I never finish my tasks, but I’m always doing them, and I’m some kind of exemplar.
    Yeah, yeah, I’m a manifestation of universal consciousness, working with all the rest of us parts of consciousness to solve this problem together. It hasn’t been worked yet. We’re working it together.
    I’m not feeling the peace yet, but I’m trying to be helpful I feel the suffering and despair a lot.
    I help some with that, when I can remember to embrace it, which is not my reflexive response at all.
    Peace, though, if that’s your part, Peace…

  7. Tomo Stojanovic Avatar
    Tomo Stojanovic

    How interesting to read this article this morning (it’s 11 am in Toronto)
    after dreaming about this exact thing last night.

    In the middle of my dream , I suddenly became aware (in my dream) that it’s me who controls the dream and what it is about.
    Then I found your article about 6 or so hours later.
    Thanks for another great article

  8. Michel Bélisle Avatar
    Michel Bélisle

    I agree with you Caitlin, but in this world, as Sir Thomas More reminds us in his famous book “Utopia”, there is also this:

    “…if pride, that plague of human nature, that source of so much misery, did not hinder it; for this vice does not measure happiness so much by its own conveniences, as by the miseries of others; and would not be satisfied with being thought a goddess, if none were left that were miserable, over whom she might insult. Pride thinks its own happiness shines the brighter, by comparing it with the misfortunes of other persons; that by displaying its own wealth they may feel their poverty the more sensibly. This is that infernal serpent that creeps into the breasts of mortals, and possesses them too much to be easily drawn out…”

    So, the people who follow their pride have to denigrate other people to maintain the upper hand and justify the injustice.

    And in our days which are the return of the days of Noah just before the Second Coming of Jesus, this trend is stronger than ever. So, I pray the Rosary to hasten the return of Jesus because I do have seen enough bullshit.

  9. What you are describing is the seeking of something greater than ourselves. The desire to be not just spiritual but seeking a relationship with God himself. God set man upon the earth but they were corrupt. He destroyed them and then took one nation Under more direct control through prophets. He shielded these people and had them prepare the coming of the Christ who preached this peace you speak of. Many do not believe this and take other paths but many do believe.

  10. Please return to your hard analyses and stop the drippy nonsense.

  11. Beautiful Caitlin. But you know as well as any of us how long the Way usually is for us to reach these depths. And maintaining continuous awareness of the deepest states of knowing is rare indeed. Usually our “enlightened” moments come and go for a long time before gaining any kind of stable presence. But even brief moments of these states is precious beyond anything experienced in our usual unconscious and confused states.

    1. I suppose even a little is enough since a little of the infinite is still infinite!

  12. Every religious and spiritual system on the planet teaches this same lesson, one just has to be able to let it sink in and enlighten the consciousness.

  13. Keep it coming!!! That was great!!! How does that old song go? Whatever will be will be?

  14. We are all part of a fabric of life that heaves and plunges. We have always been and always will be. Connections is what we seek; we seek to connect with one another, yet we fear this at the same moment. Love, oh yes, love, seems to transcend thought, it seems to emanate from our heart, but then we have been told, our heart is only a pump that keeps on beating like a metronome; yet I don’t perceive my heart as something equivalent to on oil rig, I see my heart as something more akin to a shining star. Yet I should be careful here, because it isn’t my heart, it is our heart. I only feel love for others, I don’t feel that same love when it is only about me myself and I. Love and life is a shared experience now and forever. It is true that it is only when our mind is stilled that we realize that we have a heart that is something much more than something that just pumps blood. And it is when we manage to still our mind while in the presence of others that we become aware that they too have a heart that shines like a brilliant star for those with the capacity to feel love, that is those who have made it a priority to let go of the anger and hatred they feel for being wronged and just experience non-thought for as long as they can bare it.

    I’m looking at myself reflections of my mind, It’s just the kind of day to leave myself behind. The self we leave behind is the intellectual construct of our self that has been carefully woven into our minds since we first learned to talk. So gently swaying through the fairy-land of love, If you’ll just come with me you’ll see the beauty of – Tuesday afternoon. And here we have to be pretty sure they were talking about any Tuesday afternoon for anybody. The sign posts have been there all along, we just learned to ignore them all too well.

  15. For you Caitlin and your many wonderful perceptive awake readers I offer this gorgeous profound video which addresses many of your wise observations and hopes. The narrator is a great voice for peace to all people viewing it as something that has it origin within each one of us. “When the power of love becomes greater than the love of power the there will be peace in the world.” ~ Jimi Hendrix
    I strongly urge you to watch this and share it. We humans have such great potential if we can apply our innate wisdom and compassion.

  16. Charles Andrew Robinson Avatar
    Charles Andrew Robinson

    There are so many things dragging, clawing at your attention, at your consciousness.
    Years ago I got into a practice of meditation. Not TM but meditating. I meditated for over twenty years as soon as I got up in the morning. It sets the pace and the balance for the rest of the day. I some how stopped for about another twenty years. A friend of mine sent me the link below of Jerry recently. We are both not TM meditators. But it reminded me of what I once knew. I started meditating in the morning again after his prompting / reminding me and just like riding a bike I am right back in the habit and it feels good! It allows one to center with – you fill in the blank – and it is healing and calming and it carries you through the rest of your day in a more gyroscope connection to your true self. But Jerry knows that too.

  17. Great reminder – love how you articulate it. Compassion for all beings arises from the awakening you’re describing, and vegan living just as surely….

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