By Aditya Prasad

(This is a guest essay submitted to the Metaphysical Speculations Discussion Forum and voted for publication by forum members. All opinions expressed are those of the author.)

It is very hard to know at any moment whether or not you are dreaming. I taught myself at age 4 to dream lucidly, and have had over a thousand lucid dreams since, and I still find myself frequently generating false positives when I investigate whether or not I'm awake.

On the surface, this might seem absurd. Surely when green dragons are flying around your living room, and you even have the presence of mind to check whether you're dreaming, you cannot fail to discover that you are.

And yet, this kind of thing happens all the time for me.

"When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God apart from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God."*

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

One of the most important ideas discussed in my new book Brief Peeks Beyond, particularly in Chapters 2 and 9, is the notion that empirical reality – all things we see, hear, touch, smell and taste – can be understood as a nervous system.

Someone very close to me – a person intimately connected to the matrix of life and nature, as expressed in her highly symbolic art – had a dream this morning that I found extraordinarily significant for reasons I'll soon explain. In her words:

I remember being chased by a huge mud monster that came to the shore from the sea. It would eat anything in its path: bushes, plants and eventually all humanity, because it was heading inland.

To mark the launch of my new book, Brief Peeks Beyond, I am publishing today its editorial reviews, table of contents, complete introduction (Chapter 1), as well as the introductory text of each subsequent chapter. The list of materialist criticisms refuted in the book is also provided. The intent is to offer a complete and representative overview of the book. I consider this my most important published work to-date and hope you find value in it.

By Don Salmon

(This is a guest essay submitted to the Metaphysical Speculations Discussion Forum and voted for publication by forum members.

Today I've received the latest sales figures of all of my books, as is customary in the beginning of the year. I couldn't help but find it striking that my least popular book is also perhaps my personal favorite: Meaning in Absurdity.

(This is a new, revised and extended version of a poem I originally published in 2012. I feel that this version is the only appropriate and complete one, the earlier one having missed a crucial half of the 'story.' This is also the final version. The video above was created by Peter Jones and imbues the poem with life.

By Larry Malerba, DO

(This is a guest essay by Dr. Larry Malerba, adapted from his new book Metaphysics & Medicine: Restoring Freedom of Thought to the Art and Science of Healing, with a Foreword by Don Salmon. For my own perspectives on the topics addressed below, see my earlier essay on the subject.)

For quite some time now, freedom of thought has been under siege within the medical profession. More often than not, the war against new ideas is justified in the name of science.

As many of you know, last August I gave a talk and participated in a panel at the Sages & Scientists Symposium in Carlsbad, California. This is an extraordinarily interesting and balanced event, where most sides of the metaphysical spectrum are represented. Deepak Chopra envisioned and hosts the event every year. Carolyn Rangel, of the Chopra Foundation, masterfully puts it all together and runs it. The result is unique and that weekend will stay with me for years.

Recently, arch-skeptic Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and field-marshal of militant skepticism worldwide, wrote a surprising piece for the Scientific American. In it, Shermer relates a synchronicity that happened recently to him and his wife (both of whom I've had the recent and sincere pleasure to meet in person), in the occasion of their wedding ceremony.