Tom, Switzerland(Photo Credit: Tom, Switzerland)

In the first part of “The Never Ending Story” blog post we observed that the characters in the story that Bastian is reading are afraid of the Nothing which is threatening to wipe out their entire reality. Since they don’t actually know that the Nothing is the absence of a child’s imagination, the characters are also unaware that their life source depends upon the presence of Bastian’s imagination. To be more accurate, the child isn’t aware that his imagination is creating a world of characters who believe they are real, nor does he realize that he himself may be part of someone else’s story.

Never ending story-mtv

(Photo Credit:

The fact is that the characters and the story as a whole, are not only a creation of the imagination, but an extension of a living child (who himself may be an extension of something or someone else?). They don’t realize that as long as the child remains living, they are never in any real danger of being destroyed. Conversely, the child (who is real as far as we know) is unaware of the fact that he believes his imagination to be the Truth. He takes the characters of the story so seriously, that he too doesn’t realize that HE, not what HE imagines is real.

We ended the last post with this general question:

“If it turned out that what you believed was ‘my life’ was actually just a dream, who would you (the dreamer) be if you woke up? Would the world end? Would there be anything at all?”


Towards the ‘end’ of the book, The NeverEnding Story, Bastian finally comes to a shocking realization – the story he is reading is not separate from him! In fact, from the moment he opens the book, Bastian unconsciously begins to influence the story! In my view, as long as Bastian seeks the next page his mind is bound to produce the next page by using the imagination to provide itself the story it seeks. What would happen if Bastian were to realize that the author of the Never Ending Story is actually his own imagination? Won’t the imagined separation between “me” and “the story” lose its reality? He would realize that he is not separate from the story, and would become AWARE of reality in a way that he wasn’t a moment ago.

Bastian is not only influencing the story he is reading, but he himself is part of a story that someone else is reading! And on and on the dreams go, one inside the other, creating a Never Ending Story. Who knows, maybe this is our very situation – the particle in the atom in the cell in the organ in the body on the earth in the galaxy in the universe expanding into who knows what other realm. Each is a universe within a universe within a universe, like my reflection in a hall of mirrors. But ultimately what matters isn’t intellectual understanding (which is impossibly limited) , but becoming lucid from within the dream.


(Photo Credit: Palo)

Most of us intuitively recognize that a dream can’t exist without the dreamer, nor can a story exist without its writer. But what happens if the writer isn’t aware that he is writing a story, and not only that, but writing his own story? If I imagine that I’m a “wonderful person, humble, kind, and wise beyond my years – a very respectable person”, then I’ve written my own story using thought as my writing instrument. This story (which I believe as fact) is, of course, confined to my own mind and not to the mind of another who may have a radically different image of me. Isn’t this just like the dreamer who, when dreaming, is totally identified with the dream world and incapable of realizing that he’s asleep?

 Flood G

(Photo Credit: Flood G.)

When Bastian realizes that he is unconsciously writing the story, the story no longer takes on such a heavy and serious theme. How can the land of Fantasia and all the characters that occupy its realm be in danger of annihilation if Bastian, their creator, exists indefinitely? The characters and story no longer have the ability to affect his mood and thought processes. Why? Because the belief that he and the story are separate, has ended. HE has ended the untruth, rather, the recognition of the untruth as untruth has revealed the reality – Bastian is not his imagination, he is the one who is aware of his imagination. Even if Bastian continues to read the story, no longer will it feel so dark and stifling, because the characters and events within the story are now under his CONSCIOUS influence.

Robin Pittman

(Photo Credit: Robin Pittman)


Even the world of quantum physics has been forced to take the path leading to ‘nothing’ as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity ultimately led to the possibility that the very existence and form of the universe are directly related to consciousness itself. That is, nothing can exist without an observer, an idea that Einstein wasn’t crazy about because he preferred the idea of an ‘objective reality’ such as “God”. Essentially, quantum mechanics is uncovering some very strange findings which suggest that the universe we experience NOW (in the present moment) is not at all objective, but dynamically linked to the light of observation that is shined upon it.

Albert Einstein

 That is, what we perceive as ‘reality’ is not made up of definitive particles but of ‘potentialities’ which have not yet been assigned a form. The simple act of looking not only forces these “potentialities” to take shape, but the shape they take (the path they take to form) remains undetermined until the very moment that one looks! Therefore, the observer is not only creating the reality of the present moment but is quite possibly influencing the very form or path which that reality takes! This implies that in the present moment the observer can actually influence the path that a particle would have taken in its past (I will post another blog entry on this topic alone sometime in the near future.)

[I can’t accept quantum mechanics because] I like to think the moon is there even if I am not looking at it. – Albert Einstein

So despite my ability to imagine that the universe exists even if I’m not here now to perceive it, I can’t actually prove that it exists because I’m not here now to perceive it! One may argue, “Yes, but I have seen people die and despite their non-existence the world still exists”. Still, reasoning about perception of death and continued existence isn’t possible unless I’m conscious.  Remove awareness from any equation and there is no equation. So, essentially, the theory is that as long as human beings continue to observe the universe, seeking the next star, the next galaxy, the next planet, the next law – the next page – there will always be more to find.


(Photo Credit: NASA/JPL)


What a play life seems to be – a cosmic play of ants creating entire universes out of nothing but the light of consciousness! How can I, the observer, the thinker, the writer of the story, be totally divorced from what I observe, what I think, what I write – ‘my story’? And who, I wonder, has imagined the ants imagining the universe?

Binu KS

(Photo Credit: Binu K S)

When Bastian realizes the Truth, he thrusts himself into the land of Fantasia and, riding on Falcor’s back, he chases down the bullies who were harassing him in the beginning of the film. The story is now fun and lighthearted, and Bastian can use his imagination consciously to create and do with it what he wills. The ‘ending’ or the Nothing is no longer something to fear because he has actually ENDED his identification with his imagination.

The imagination is not separate from the story, therefore, the part of the boy which becomes aware of this must exist beyond the imagination. Bastian is not who he imagines himself to be, rather, he is the awareness behind the conceptual mind. The dreamer wakes up when the space of awareness between himself and the dream is uncovered. Awareness reveals the true Never Ending Story which is beyond the reach of time, only when the imagination is recognized as Nothing.

More on Eckhart’s Retreat coming up…