Are we dreaming?

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

Portrait of Gwen Randall-Young
I recently listened to a documentary about parallel universes. The suggestion is that the visible universe could lie on a membrane – combined strings of energy – floating within a higher-dimensional space. Two of these membranes could lie very close together and gravity could leak from one to the other. Of course, it is much more complex than that, but I started thinking about the concept of membranes. A membrane is a thin, pliable layer that separates what is inside from what is outside and often is permeable to some things.

I thought about how Deepak Chopra explains our bodies are mostly empty space; if you took out all the space, what is left of us would fit on the head of a pin!

I took these two ideas and speculated about what would happen if we thought of our physical form as a membrane instead of a solid object. I was thinking how stress and worry affect people. The body goes into contraction and the thoughts are ‘heavy.’ We talk about the weight of the world being on someone’s shoulders.

If a person holds on to past hurts and resentment do these things somehow ‘solidify’ in the body? Does energy become blocked and does the system begin to stagnate, setting the stage for illness? If we are ‘weighed down’ with worries, fears, distrust and the like, do we end up carrying extra physical weight?

Then I visualized my own being as a membrane. I saw myself just allowing experiences, thoughts, images to simply pass through me. I noticed them, but then let them float away. Instantly, I felt incredibly light, like I was floating. My body felt free and flexible, my consciousness felt open and alive. It was refreshing.

A few days after all this thinking I was flying home from vacation. Travelling can sometimes be stressful, so I decided I would just be a membrane for the duration. I would observe, but let everything pass through me.

I had the most amazing experience. I became a total observer, but more importantly I began to see beauty everywhere. It was like I had just arrived in this universe and was seeing everything for the first time.

I saw beauty in the incredible variety the human form can take. I noticed parents interacting with children, the customs agent joking with passengers. I saw art everywhere, even in the parking garage in the Seattle airport. I noticed the shape of the concrete pillars and the auras around the ceiling lights. Everything seemed effortless. It was a little like a dream.

Since returning, I have held on to my membrane metaphor. Several times each day I take a deep breath and remind myself to be a membrane – to just keep letting it all flow through because it feels so good and because, in the end, we may realize that life actually is “but a dream.”

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For more of Gwen’s articles and information about her books, Self Care CDs and the new Creating Healthy Relationships series, visit See display ad this issue.

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