Reaching the Edge

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The psyche [1] is multidimensional and nonlocal; it is not limited nor constrained by either time or space. It can express itself via inner thoughts, feelings, intuitions, dreams, and body symptoms as well as through seemingly external synchronistic events, whereby an inner situation gets mirrored through an outer event (please see my article “Catching the Bug of Synchronicity”). This should come as no surprise considering that our waking life is indeed a dream, as all the great enlightened teachers continually remind us. For in a dream there is a totally fluid boundary between the inner and the outer; our inner process gets projected out and “dreamed up” into materialization into, as and through the seemingly outer dreamscape. It is as if something within the psyche extends itself out into the world and synchronistically configures events in our lives so as to express and reveal itself.

When we reach an edge in our process and are about to have a potential breakthrough, the psyche will oftentimes express itself in synchronistic phenomena. This is a sign that we have touched the archetypal dimension of our being, a deeper part of ourselves which transcends our limited personal process. We can then discover that we are merely playing a role in a deeper cosmic play, a “divine drama of Incarnation.” Having fallen through the rabbit hole, we find ourselves in a parallel universe where everything becomes symbolic, which is the language of dreams. It is as if the world is an oracle and events in our lives are divinely choreographed so as to reveal something to us beyond our habitual everyday perceptions. Enveloped by a world that is synchronistically expressing and revealing the psyche, we can realize that the psyche is not only in us, but also that we are within the psyche. To know this is to realize the dreamlike nature of reality.

Edge phenomena show the potential of the psyche to split-off and disassociate. If we don’t get distracted by these edge phenomena, but rather stay with the deeper process that is trying to unfold, we can experience a genuine breakthrough. If our alchemical container is strong enough to hold the pressure when these edge phenomena are reached, we then become quantum meta-physicists. We continually re-associate, till we re-member, and re-assimilate long lost parts of ourselves. This is true soul retrieval. To split is a postponement and distraction; it is to miss the opportunity of full incarnation, which is what life is all about.

A clear example of the psyche’s mercurial ability to change channels and express itself multi-dimensionally happened to me many years ago when I was working with a new client. It was the only time I ever saw this client. He came to me with a completely split-off and disassociated aspect of himself, a part that he had never stepped into before. Interestingly, I might add, his name was Paul. We spent over an hour talking about and creating space for this split-off part, and for the first time in his life, he was finally at the point where he felt safe enough to own and give voice to this previously marginalized and unacknowledged part. He was right at his growing edge. I could feel the creative tension, like a birth that was about to happen. At the exact instant that he was about to go over his edge, there was a loud knocking on my door. Astonished, I open the door to find a friend who just happened to be in the area and was stopping by. He had never stopped by unannounced, either before or since. After asking him to leave, I returned to my client, who continued to unfold his process. He went over his edge and began the healing and integration of a life-long process in front of my very eyes.

It was no accident that my friend knocked on the door at exactly the moment that my client was going to step out of his comfort zone and go over his edge. Seen as a dream, in which all the dream characters are aspects of the dreamer, we can interpret this dream symbol many ways. We could say that a part of my client was feeling resistance and not quite willing to go over his edge, so this energy dreamed itself up and manifested─in full-bodied formas a potential “distraction” in the field. This is to say that my friend knocking on the door was a manifestation of the part of the client that wanted to split-off. We can also postulate that my friend knocking on the door symbolized a new part of the client that wanted to come in and be born. Like a dream, our waking life is very multidimensional and has multiple potential meanings.

It gets even stranger. Years later I’m in what I call an “Awakening in the Dream Group,” in which groups of people come together to collaboratively inquire into the dreamlike nature of realty so as to deepen their lucidity. As someone was sharing their process, a “distraction” occurred in the group. I mentioned that an edge phenomena might have just happened. A newer member of the group asked what I meant by this, to which the elder member of the group immediately chimed in with a description, based on his experience, of what an edge phenomena is. I then shared the aforementioned experience of the knocking on the door to give a clear example what an edge phenomenon can look like.

A few minutes later this elder member began sharing that he had gotten in touch with something really “intense” during a previous part of the group, but he wasn’t sure if he could access it anymore, as time had passed. The rest of the group was holding space and encouraging him to see if he could access what had been touched in him. He was clearly at his edge, not sure if he could bring back into a communicable form what he had experienced. There was a certain tension in the room; we were all sitting with him, uncertain whether he was going to be able to retrieve what had gotten activated in him and go over his edge. And then, right on cue, as if divinely choreographed, there’s a loud knocking at the door. Everyone in the group immediately recognized the synchronistic, dreamlike event that we were in the middle of, and the whole circle spontaneously broke out in laughter. I opened the door to find a somewhat irate neighbor thinking someone in the circle had blocked his driveway, which was not the case, so after I assured him that the offending vehicle didn’t belong to us, I closed the door and we continued our process. Instead of distracting us, the edge phenomena served as a catalyst for my friend to then go over his edge and get in touch with the intense process that had been gestating within him.

The psyche is continually expressing itself synchronistically through both inner and outer phenomena. The only question is do we have eyes to see, which is what Christ alludes to in the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas (logion 113), when he says ” the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.” Are we able to decode the clues in our waking dream and read our life symbolically, which is to see it as a dream? If the great enlightened teachers of humanity are correct when they say that our life is a dream, if we start to view it as a dream, our life has no choice but to shape-shift and manifest in a more dreamlike way. And if you tell me I am just dreaming that this is so, I will heave a huge sigh of relief, as you will have finally understood.

A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a wounded healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. He is the author of Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil (North Atlantic Books, 2013) and The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis. An artist, he is deeply steeped in the work of C. G. Jung, and has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over thirty years. Please visit Paul’s website You can contact Paul at; he looks forward to your reflections. Though he reads every email, he regrets that he is not able to personally respond to all of them. © Copyright 2014.


I use the term “psyche” in an all-inclusive sense similar to the way Jung uses the word. Psyche refers to the totality of all psychic processes, both conscious and unconscious. Not reducible to biochemical processes in the brain, it is a mysterious “substance-less substance” that exists between and connects spirit and matter.

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6 Responses to Reaching the Edge

  1. Great article. Interesting that the second “distraction” instance where the elder participant was interrupted by a knock on the door while on the verge of his breakthrough, that the neighbor was falsely thinking someone was blocking him! Couldn’t be more thematically precise!

  2. reminds me of my dreamy thoughts…
    One of the new paradigms is A.L., Abilological Literacy, the planned and managed development of Ability.
    Also the new “No Question Approach” to many Life events. Utilizing Contemplative Intuitive moments and the practice of paying attention for insights, that eventually appear unexpectedly.
    Knowing to be accepting & ready for our own fulfillment. Because we can’t receive what we are not ready to accept.
    You’re Dreaming right now.
    We all are literally “Dreaming” ourselves Awake.
    Which is likely another form of dreaming, perhaps not.
    Reminds me of a Zen koan: “Is this a dream? & Who or What is dreaming this?” Vita Sommium Breve Life is a short dream…..

    (Hypothetical dialogue of an omniscient narrator?)

  3. so would you classify all questions that happen in group as distractions that lead a person back from the edge? or just some questions? and, if we are all acting out roles in each others dream, then isn’t the person asking for someone to distract them and choosing to use that distraction to step back from the edge?

  4. Great article paul.

    I think the edge phenomenon happens at almost every group i attend.

    One version of it that happened just this week is when someone says they are confused. Confusion is often the frontline defense of the ego. As soon as it shows up, i know we are on track.

    And then there’s often someone, the lowest common denominator of the group psyche, that will ask a question just as a person begins to sink in to their emotional body. And of course the question brings the person up in to their head, and the group is “off the hook”, ie, back to our more comfortable, habitual mind games chatter.

    i love having a place to talk about this and move forward in our ongoing dream journey. Thank you Paul.

  5. Wow! Very well written and this comes to me at a perfectly synchronistic time in my life. Thank you for sharing and please continue to share your gift.

  6. To Paul Levy,
    -in appreciation
    Notes from the periphery : Psychosemiotic twistor theory (Jung + Penrose)

    -> in the phenomenal stratum (S*ii) of the totality (next above neuro-psychic base S*i)
    Each S* (sign use) level of particularity is a “parallel universe” in the completing totality.
    -> -> S*iii -> material/physical(embodiment of personal consciousness)
    -> -> -> S*iv -> moral agent acting on/in given 3 spatial dimensions
    -> -> -> -> S*v-> Existential/social being (Heideggar)
    -> -> -> -> -> S*vi -> psychosemiotic/philosophical
    -> -> -> -> -> ->S*vii -> theological (“God”) ( its inner hermeneutic circle)
    Every Sign-use, S*, consists of two parts: text (meaning) and token (present sense-datum). Completion of a given instance of totality in communication requires both text and token. For there to be logical predication, necessary for axiom systems of advanced scientific theory, referential S* (names) are required, corresponding, in principle. 1-1 with objects. Consistency of what is communicated by the text with what is communicated by the token (they are parocessed by entirely separate and distinct psychic systems) is required for systemically unambiguous predication. When they do not agree in a given S*, or contradict (as: “The string of words you are reading now is not a sentence”), the sign-use negates itself for cognitive use (as name or predicate). Now, the token negation of any S* can be represented in TokenSpace as “~S” (or, visually, by flipping the S shape to face left instead of right, which gives a token more graphic in representation than “~S/S*”, but the text is preserves by taking “~” from standard logic!).
    By these steps, “~S/S*” converts to representation, in sign-use, of (speaking deliberately) something that cannot exist. Hat-tip to Father Parmenides.
    Every S* stratum, distinguished by token-type (with theory of Token types taken from Bertrand Russell’s original predicate logic) contains an inner reversing principle whose expression results in an essentially incomplete totality in communication. No real message ever gets through b/c text and token get ripped apart. A deficit in the DNA strands is passed up and out to the token periphery. It’s like creating a black hole in TokenSpace at a place where blind spots in experiential fields overlap, with people (ourselves) disappearing by splitting-off and spiraling into. god help their souls and you in this great work.

    -Sid Thomas, quantum conscious meta-physician, via Gurdjieff

    -Twistor Squared life consists in a flow of things

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