The Witnessing Consciousness

David Clapper

I'm cycling on the cycle track running alongside a main road in Amsterdam. It is a route I often take. It occurs to me that I might be dreaming. For some reason I decide that the best way to test whether I'm dreaming would be to cycle head-on into the oncoming traffic. I think to myself, "Maybe I'm not dreaming, in which case that would be insane." I decide to play it safe rather than be sorry, and carry on cycling. I come to a hump in the track--which is normally not there--and instead of staying on the asphalt, I rise up into the air. I realise I am dreaming.

Why I'm submitting this otherwise innocuous lucid dream is that although I was fully aware of many safe critical state tests, the only one that popped into my head was a "dangerous" one. The dream led to philosophical speculations on free will. Even when I seem to be an autonomous agent in a (lucid) dream, is that really the case? Perhaps our thoughts are also an experience independent of us, and we are never anything more than "The Witnessing Consciousness."

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