So it’s eight o’clock on a morning and you’re perched on the end of the eldest son’s bed while the lazy toad has you wait on him hand and foot, discussing the merits of beard oil, the latest blog post and the concept of infinite regress. So far so good. It is all going well until you start talking about observing yourself observing and the whole issue of dream versus reality. You mention the bit about the reality of the dream translating into what feels like a reality for one part of consciousness, while the other knows it for an impossibility.

“So, one sane part and one… not.”

“Sort of. But then there is the other part observing the two and laughing at both of them.” At this point I notice a wicked gleam in his eye and fingers being held up to count… I should have stopped there… “Then you become aware of yet another observer observing…” Another finger goes up. “Ad infinitum.” Both hands now…

“Multiple levels of consciousness then.”


“And most of them accepting an impossible unreality…”


“…and therefore not sane…”


“You know what that means…” He makes a show of dialling an ambulance…

“You’re going to tell me anyway…”

“It means you are clearly insane.” This from a man storing combs in his beard? “A schizophrenic hobbit.”

Being out of range of something appropriate to throw, I brandished the camera. It seemed only fair.

We discussed the nature of consciousness and the survival beyond death. Which brought us to memory and why we do not remember our earliest childhood as a rule. I posited the theory that while everything is a ‘first’ in those earliest months and we cannot relate events to known emotions or a personal sense of self, we have no frame of reference with which to encapsulate memory.

“But surely if they are there we can frame them retrospectively with subsequent experience?”

“Possibly.“ This led on to regressive hypnosis, then we talked about the development of the brain itself, of language and the emotional content of memory… of how memories may be available but simply not accessible by the usual means we recall events. He posited that we may block memory as a protection against recalling the traumatic upheaval that is the process of physical birth. We discussed those dreams… nightmares… of long, dark, claustrophobic tunnels in which we are afraid and what they might refer to… Not bad from a man combing toast out of his beard.

“Think about it, it is all warm and cosy and you are just getting to grips with being in your world then it all changes.”

“… And if birth is so traumatic that we block the memory, couldn’t that apply to death too? Which is another transition?”

“Hmm… more Nerk stuff…”And from there, of course, the conversation continued to the survival after death, karma and reincarnation. “Another coffee, hobbit…”

That’s one of the things I love about writing. No, not the coffee… though that too, of course, the one wouldn’t happen without the other! A few words can spark a whole discussion, ideas are shared and expanded, discarded, adapted, expounded… and real eye-to-eye communication ensues.

What’s not to like? Apart, perhaps, from the aspersions cast upon my sanity… oh well, I’m in good company.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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43 Responses to Double-take

  1. So many questions LOL
    I need answers!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. TanGental says:

    When we did antenatal classes we shared the session with 2 committed rebirthers who were convinced the hypnosis they planned to take them back to the moments of their birth and face what it was like would help them empathise with their child’s experience. I never did find out what happejed

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My goodness me, Sue, what a way to start the day. Some people claim they do have memories from their infant days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just read a science article on infant memory – or lack of same until approx. 2 or 3 for most of us. Apparently the brain is not developed for cognition initially, and consolidation into long-term memory doesn’t seem to happen reliably in very young children.

    What’s interesting, however, is that events are stored in some fashion science doesn’t yet understand in most infants – at least in infant mice – but mostly of emotional states. Fear of a place, for example, where a mouse was shocked, can be reactivated by a shock administered in a completely different environment only a bit later. Until then, the baby mice show no fear of the original location – afterwards they refuse to enter it.

    Conclusion: never a good idea to stick a fork in a toaster to dislodge stuck toast. Who knows what you’ll dredge up. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Bernadette says:

    Sue, you and your son are amazing. My big question in the morning is should I have toast or not?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think it’s a writer thing. We see and we observe and we have observers observing the observers and somewhere, a commentator explaining it all so you can write it up later, should you so desire. It’s what makes like so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. And I thought some of the conversations I have are surreal… On the plus side, they’re usually with myself


  8. Jennie says:

    Excellent post, Sue. Much to ponder and discuss. Dominoes, with one idea opening a door of questioning, or discussing. Heady stuff, good stuff.


  9. Helen Jones says:

    I love this conversation, Sue 🙂 Nothing like a bit of deep pondering and multi-level consciousness, complete with aspersions about your sanity, first thing in the morning, especially with someone who has toast in his beard! 🙂


  10. macjam47 says:

    What a treasure trove of thoughts! This takes me back to the days when my own sons were at home, except they most often wanted to talk late at night. No matter how tired I was or how late the hour or how early I had to be up, I cherished these talks.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love those types of conversations where the more you try and make sense of them, the morre questions are thrown up!
    No-one can accuse Nick of having a tatty beard with TWO combs attacking it! 🙂


  12. pollyesther says:

    Interesting to ponder about. That is exactly the effect posts like this have on me. My take on why we have so few early life memories is based on what I learned from Bruce Lipton, who tells us that a childrens brain works on a different wavelength in the first 6 years of life. This is almost like a meditative state which enables the child to absorb information from their environment without judgment.

    They absorb how the parents, siblings and others around them act in different situations, how to talk, walk and many desirable and unfortunately also undesirable things and habits. All This information goes straight into the subconscious mind.

    There lies the clue, this is an area of our mind that we are not consciously aware of and therefore do not remember much of that period of our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Yet the memories are all registered there. Memory is a facinating area to ponder…or sudy. With my son’s injuries, we saw its workings up very close. We came to the conclusion that every single thing is retrievable…if you have the right trigger or key to unlock the memory.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Rae Longest says:

    Fascinating post. Fascinating comments. I’m glad I didn’t skip this one. it gave me lots to think about. Thanks!


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