Stevenson, Robert Louis - And his out of body adventures
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Mystical Life – J H M Whiteman
For R. L. Stevenson, the plots of some of his stories were dramatically enacted (himself sometimes one of the actors), but in a state which he describes as 'dream'. If they were 'dreams', then they were of a very remarkable kind, exhibiting many features which he regarded as objective. The plots were quite rationally worked out, without his foreknowledge and sometimes in a sequence of 'dreams'.
The frequency of the 'dreams' could be greatly stimulated by the need to obtain plots suitable for publication, and his judgement was watchful with that end in view, accepting some and rejecting others.
When the course of events became irrational he felt he had fallen 'too deep asleep'. And he returned at intervals of months and years to a certain 'happy valley', beholding it 'under new effects of noon and dawn and sunset'. On all accounts, therefore, there seems to have been a recognized persistence and rational direction in what was presented to him in those states.
Stevenson himself imputes the direction of the scenes to 'the little people who manage man's internal theatre' and who, he insists, are 'substantive inventors and performers'. And he seems to have been dimly aware of the same kind of objective guidance or creative influence being continued during the actual work of literary composition in a fully waking state :
“Who are the Little People? . . . they have plainly learned like him to build the scheme of a considerable story and to arrange emotion in progressive order; only I think they have more talent; and one thing is beyond doubt, they can tell him a story piece by piece, like a serial, and keep him all the while in ignorance of where they aim. That part which is done while I am sleeping is the Brownies' part beyond contention; but that which is done when I am up and about is by no means necessarily mine . . . by that account the whole of my published fiction should be the single-handed product of some Brownie, some Familiar, some unseen collaborator, whom I keep locked in a back garret while I get all the praise."