HAGART wrote:... Are there places, like an Astral Plane, that exist beyond our own subjective experience, and can be verified by more than one person. If you describe the place to someone, can they answer, "Yea, I've been there too! I etched my name on a tree and you can go and find it there." Or you might meet a dream character who is not just in your mind, but also visits other people as if it has a life of it's own. ...
Fascinating thread! You're right, defining 'real' is key.
I heard somewhere 'All realities are illusions, and all illusions are real', or something like that...
I think one issue comes from taking physical reality as the standard for what is real. Maybe there are other 'real places' out there that don't follow the same rules as physical reality at all. Maybe there are realities where if I etch my name in a tree and tell you to go find it there, you will go and you will find it there, but only because I told you so. Maybe anyone else who does not know I etched that name in that tree would never see it.
Some talk about 'collective fields of consciousness', that can be experienced in a similar way by many people of similar beliefs. That makes some sense to me, and it's one of my goals to try to get out of my 'personal field of consciousness' during lucid dreams, and try to visit collective fields that I am interested in. Maybe a shared dream between two people would be one step closer to that, a mini-collective creation between two people.
Concerning creatures in the astral having a life of their own, maybe those 'exist' in the collective unconscious of humanity, if such a thing exists? Maybe there are some cultural archetypes, that one might encounter depending on their culture, time in history, etc... Some talk about 'resonance', meaning that I will not encounter something that at a consciousness level I don't resonate with? Again, the laws 'out there' might not be the same at all as physical laws, and maybe something 'out there' cannot hurt me unless I believe it can. That's what I chose to believe until proven otherwise, though I admit that my personal experience in those matters is very limited.
Speaking about personal experience, I can only mention two very basic ones: first one, in my second LD, I found myself in that place I called a void, very odd and disorienting, with no reference points, no ups and downs, just darkness with pale flashing lights here and there, and then I saw that exact description of this place in Frederick Aardema's book and he called it 'the void' too. That's not something I had ever heard of before. Second experience: in my third LD, I had a very strong desire and a very strong intent to meet another consciousness. I did instantly end up in a very odd place that looked just like TV static noise. I could not go beyond. I did share that story here and there, and recently I found another person who experienced the exact same thing when she intended to meet someone else in her LD, even though in her case she was able to push through this 'TV static plane' and make it to her target. Interestingly, she posted her story BEFORE I had my experience, on a private site which I had no access to, and she used the same words I did, also describing it as 'TV static noise'. Maybe that's a type of barrier one encounters when trying to exit the personal field? Those two examples don't prove anything, and I am sure there are tons of more interesting stories out there, but as a beginner, they do intrigue me and certainly motivate me to keep exploring.