Sunday, January 29, 2012

On Dreaming

The night before last, I had a dream in which I was on some sort of journey that included stops off at sacred places. But it wasn't a lone journey; it was more like I was with a tourist group with a travel agency. We each received a brochure and map that described the significance of each stop, and the larger group broke off into smaller groups, scattering in different directions, different groups anxious to see certain sites more than other sites. I dallied behind and went to Stop One for the sole reason that few people had chosen it and it wouldn't be as crowded. But it wasn't very interesting. So then I got in line for Stop Two, which involved a larger group and a short boat ride to the site. There was mounting excitement as we approached the shore because it was one of the more popular sites on the trip.

I got off the boat and looked around at the landscape, and I thought, "These mountains look just like those mountains I crossed in that dream I had about Arizona that one time." It was then that I realized, in my dream, that I was dreaming again. In the dream I was trying to piece together what was significant about this particular landscape (mountains, red rocks, canyon) that would make it keep popping up in my dreams when Jerry the cat decided he'd had about enough of me sleeping and that it was time for me to wake up and give him food.

I love stuff like this. For me, the unconscious is this huge reservoir of stuff all mixed in together: memories of this life, imaginings either already imagined or not yet imagined until just now in the dream, past-life memories, and shared human recollections embedded in our DNA (think: Jung's collective unconscious). The unconscious is where the true heart of spirituality resides; we are offered glimpses into it mainly in dreams, in meditations, and in acts of creativity. Stuff that happens in dreams can be pretty powerful, and several I've had have stuck with me my entire life. Surely an emotional dream can affect your mood all day long.

I've had only a few lucid dreams, though, so at least beginning another (thanks but no thanks, Jerry!) was kind of a cool experience. The great thing about lucid dreams is that you turn into the director of your own dream. You know you're dreaming, so you can do "dream things" like fly or magically materialize somewhere on the other side of the globe--you're limited only by what you're unwilling to let out of your unconscious. They say you can't die in a dream because if you do, you'll never wake up in reality, but of course all that is hogwash. I've died in dreams and floated over my own body as spirit. Once I had a dream in which I experienced our 3rd dimension reality simultaneously with the astral plane because somebody I was with in the dream was trying to demonstrate the point to me that there are multiple dimensions, and, depending on where you are, that's the reality you see but not necessarily the whole picture. Heck, I've traveled in outer space and recognized places, feeling the glad relief of homecoming (explain that one). I probably sound crazy. But that's the unconscious mind. It's hard to go in there without sounding crazy.

I wake up; I realize it was a dream. I remain grounded here.

Yet I marvel. As old as the human race is (and maybe we're not really all that old, in a universe space-time sense), we have only just begun tapping into the secrets of the unconscious mind.

Credits: painting Dreamscape 2 by Ronald Peat


just jane said...

I wish my dreams were as vivid as yours. It would make sleeping a bigger adventure!



Joyce said...

They're not like that every night, at least not that I remember!

But I have noticed they've got more vivid and I'm much more able to remember them ever since I quit drinking. Then again, I went to bed totally soused back then and probably was incapable of having dreams! LOL