My Vampire Takes A Bow And Other Tales Of Dream Theater

Bat Transforms to Dracula.2019-02-28 17_39_18

By Douglas McElheny

This article will hopefully be an interesting follow-up to my last one, ‘There’s Color In My Keyboard,’ since it shows how a dream prompted me to finish that article and get it posted. Let’s start with the dream:

This was a multi-part dream, but it was all related to my starring in a play as a vampire. There was a part where I’m looking at myself in a mirror checking out my phony fangs. Then there was another part where I don’t have fangs, and know I need to go to the costume store to buy some so I’ll have them for the performance. In the last part of the dream, I’m actually in the audience during the curtain call, and I know I have been sitting here as an audience member watching myself give the performance as the vampire. Other actors are on stage, and I can’t remember for sure how ‘I’ came out on the stage, but I seem to recall it was by flying down from the rafters as a bat and transforming into the vampire before taking a bow.  I do remember though, once ‘I’ join the other actors, five more actors, who are tall shadowy shapes, drop down from the rafters and land behind us, joining us for the curtain call. One of them falls over and stays down once he hits the stage. Afterwards there’s a shift, and I’m in the vampire costume down in the audience area talking to people who are congratulating me on my performance. One was a gay guy, and there were also two attractive young women. Someone, I think it was the gay guy, compliments me on my eyes and the women agree. I admit that I know I have beautiful eyes.

Performing in live theater was a big part of my life during my childhood and teenage years, so it’s no surprise being involved in the theater is a common dream theme for me. For a long time, I wondered what some of those dreams might mean. Within the last year or so, it came clear that, at least in some cases, theater dreams represent my creative endeavors, which are mainly writing, but video work also. That makes sense because theater was my main creative outlet growing up. I also put most of what I create on the web, so one could see how the idea of ‘performing’ would apply to putting yourself out before the public online, even though only a handful of people read this blog.

As I thought about the dream afterwards, it seemed to me this theater dream was related to the nearly completed and aforementioned article I was working on because in it I’m basically putting the vampire part of myself on public display. Now in this particular article, I was trying to show how I was allowing sexual/romantic feelings to color my email exchanges with a business associate, Alex. At the time of the dream, the article had been lying idle for a week or so, since I wanted to have Donny take a look at a few small changes I’d made to it. But as he was quite busy with other things, I didn’t push the issue. So I took the dream as a message from my inner to get Donny to have one last proofread, and to then post the article.  So I dusted off the article, and actually ended up reworking some of it a bit more extensively, as well as putting the finishing touches on a GIF I created to accompany it. I asked Donny if he would take a final look at it, which he did, and then I posted it.

So if I’m on target here with the meaning of this dream, then the beginning of the dream, where I’m looking at my fangs, and thinking about how I need to buy fangs, would seem to be indicative of the last minute re-working of the article. And if that’s the case, the curtain call and the end of the dream must have to do with the process of the article after it was posted, and the way readers felt about it. Dreams often exaggerate things however, as I often point out. So the actual reaction of the readers might not have been as glowing as the praise I received after the curtain call in the dream. The post got three likes though, so perhaps at least one of those readers felt like they got something valuable out of the article. It also seems possible to me that the praise after the curtain call may just be an acknowledgement by my inner for a job well done.

Regarding the other characters that were part of the curtain call, I’m not sure what they represent, though it seems to me the shadowy figures probably symbolize obscure or hostile forces that are having their play or influence during the sort of sexual/romantic indulgences that I describe in the article. I never mentioned the possible involvement of these kinds of forces in the article, and I only briefly brought out the idea that allowing these movements to have their play could possibly be harmful to Alex, that they might still have an effect on her even though she’s on the other side of the globe. But the dream I think tells it like it is, showing not only that it’s a vampiric thing to do, but also by revealing the presence of these shadowy hostile elements that are involved.

Perhaps the example I’ve shared above might not be enough to get the reader on the same wavelength as me regarding this idea that some of my theater dreams represent my creative work, and the placing of it on the internet. So I would like to share one more clear example. This one happened back in July 2018 on the night following the posting of my article ‘You Have To Read Between The Letters.’

I’m in a production of Peter Panstarring as Peter Pan. It’s towards the end of the performance, and I remember giving a short monologue, and then going outside and flying up to the top of a building, and then flying back to the stage for the curtain call. The theater is only about 15% full. We don’t get a standing ovation, but the people are giving a lot of applause. I tell the people in the audience to bring their friends to the performances we are having over the next few days.

As I said before, not many people read this blog, so that would fit with having a small audience in the dream for my ‘performance’. And perhaps the few people who read this article liked it, and that’s reflected in the dream by the hearty applause. Or, as I postulated about the vampire dream, maybe this dream is also or even primarily just giving an acknowledgement of a job well done on my part by my inner being. Here again I can’t say for sure.

I’m also unsure as to why Peter Pan was chosen to represent this article, which was about a dream that was an example of very specific and blatant guidance about a book I should read. Peter Pan is an adventurer though, and his world is one of dreams and fantasy, so I’m guessing it has something to do with that. Perhaps he represents my ongoing dream exploration, which, in its own way, is an adventure with new discoveries happening all the time. I don’t think it has anything to do with being mischievous or shirking responsibility in some area of my life, though I can see how Peter Pan couldrepresent those things in a dream.

Regardless of whether or not my speculation is on the money as far as the symbolism of Peter Pan goes, I hope the reader can follow my logic here and see how the symbolism of performing and theater could represent one’s creative work and putting oneself out in the public eye creatively and artistically. As for myself, as you can see, I’m convinced enough that I was able to take the first dream as guidance and finish an article.

In the future I hope to have more insight into other things a theater dream could represent. It hasn’t come up recently, but I’ve had a recurring theme in theater dreams over the years that a performance is imminent, but I’ve missed most or all of the rehearsals, and I’m not sure what that relates to. Perhaps dreams like that are related to my creative work also, and indicate times where I haven’t given something I was working on enough attention, and then finished it up in a hurry. I don’t know, but I will be paying more attention the next time I have one of these dreams. There is definitely more to uncover here.

There’s Color In My Keyboard

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I recently had a dream that was clearly prevision and is worth sharing just from that standpoint. What’s perhaps more interesting though is the way the dream portrayed what was going to happen, because, even though there was a correlation, the events in the dream were much more dramatic and momentous than what happened waking life. Because of this, it’s a good example of the way dreams do things.

Here is the dream:

I’m working at the Mermaid Grill as a server. Alex also works there. We find ourselves out in the entryway to the restaurant and start kissing and fooling around. Stefanie is sitting there at a desk and tells us in so many words to get a room. There was more in between I don’t recall clearly, but then later on (or in a different dream of that night following the same scenario) it’s six months later, and Alex and I have broken up after being in a relationship during that time. She has shown up with her new boyfriend at the Mermaid Grill to have dinner while I am working in order to rub my nose in it.

The two women in the dream, Alex and Stefanie, both work for an advertising company that has been a long time partner with my employer as the publisher of our visitors guide. The first thing I should mention is that I find Alex very attractive. She wasn’t someone I saw or interacted with very often however, so the attraction wasn’t something that came up much. You could definitely say though that I fancied her a little bit. Then, almost a year after I relocated to India, my employer expanded our partnership with her company, and they designed a new website for us and also took over handling all advertising sales for the site. I was instructed to pass any referrals for advertising on to Alex. So about once a month or so I needed to email her about something related to website advertising or the visitors guide.

The day following the dream I got an email from Alex. In it she told me that her coworker Kate would be handling all the advertising from here on out, and to refer everything to her. Looking at Alex’s signature I saw that her title had changed from Account Executive to General Manager, and I realized that was the reason. Then I noticed that the vital was a little bit deflated by this news. It realized I wouldn’t be emailing with Alex anymore, or at least not nearly as often, and experienced some disappointment because of that. Seeing this, I realized how the vital had taken pleasure in corresponding with her simply because of my attraction. And even though our emails were all business, it was still a little pop for the vital to get an email from her or to send her one. There was a thrill in that little contact.

This is the first time I can ever remember dreaming of Alex, and I think the prevision is obvious, though as I’ve found with prevision in my dreams at least, there isn’t an exact correlation. According to Sri Aurobindo, in this regard I’m the rule and not the exception. Aurobindo states in his Letters on Yoga that the power to have dreams with exact physical prevision “is comparatively rare, for ordinarily such previsions come in inner vision but not in sleep. In dreams vital or mental formations often take shape which sometimes fulfill themselves in essence, but not with this accuracy of detail.”1

I think we can see how this applies here, because this wasn’t anything like a romantic split in waking life. Nor was Alex’s email anything but congenial, and there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be. I’m pretty sure she likes me as a person, and it was, after all, just business. And the truth is my vital wasn’t really that upset about the whole thing, just a little disappointed. The disappointment though was because of the attraction, and that seems to me to be why the dream portrayed what happened as a romance and a breakup. While writing this article I read something the Mother said which supports this idea as a reasonable explanation. She was talking about visions in the subtle physical plane, but I think the same mechanism would apply to dreams. In her words:

If you have a power of vision that is objective and sincere, you see the thing accurately; if you add your own feelings and impressions to it, it is coloured by them. So accuracy in the subtle physical depends exclusively on the instrument, that is to say, on the one who sees.2

To conclude the analysis of the dream, I’d like to take a look at the fact that this dream took place at the Mermaid Grill. As Donny once pointed out, a restaurant is a logical symbol for somewhere people are exchanging life force. That would fit in this case since I feel that actually occurs when you’re corresponding with someone or, as I pointed out in a recent post, during things like social media interactions. I honestly hadn’t ever given much thought to what a mermaid might symbolize. Nor can I remember ever having a dream of an actual mermaid, though that may have happened. I wasn’t sure what to make of it so I ran it by Donny, who said that to him, in the case of this dream, it suggested a desire that was still somewhat subconscious and unformed, still ‘under the water’ to some extent. That idea makes sense since my attraction to Alex has been more of a fancy, and not something that has really taken a hold of my mind or my vital the way an actual infatuation with someone would. It could perhaps be compared with having a celebrity crush. Unless you’re deluded or it’s an obsession, you don’t really take it that seriously, though it’s fun to think about, and you might go see every movie that person is in in order to bask in their on screen presence. In the same way, I’ve been basking in these kinds of feelings in my emailing with Alex. And like my celebrity crush example here, I’ve also had some fun along the way thinking about what it would be like to be the center of her universe.

Now compared to the way people living a normal life indulge these kinds of fancies, I’m not indulging them all that much. As a sadhak, however, I have to keep setting the bar higher and higher, and the goal of the yoga I follow is not to indulge these things at all. That’s been my goal for a long time, but I haven’t reached it yet due I think to a combination of excusing it, but also by being carried away in the groove of a habit I indulged for many years. One thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes you can catch these things when they enter the mind and in that moment you can make the choice to push them away, while there are other times where they get in and start having their play for a while before you wake up and objectively realize what’s happening. So I think the best thing I can do is to take the writing and posting of this article as a call to make the most definitive push I can to stop entertaining these things whether it’s right at the moment they enter the mind or once I become aware they’re having their play due to the groove of habit. As far as Alex goes, this isn’t just for me and my attempts at purification, but for her too, because if I’m basking in my attraction while emailing with her, that vibe still colors the exchange and has an adverse effect on her, however small, even if I never drop the slightest hint in my emails that I have these feelings.

So in conclusion, my main point here was to draw attention to the larger than life element of dreams and also to the possibility of distortion by the dreamer. There’s certainly more to be said though on this subject of prevision in dreams, and I have another recent occurrence of dream prevision I want to share in an upcoming post that involved myself, and our dog, Lucy. This example takes things a bit farther, however, because there were prevision dreams both before the occurrence, as well as dreams afterwards that shed more light on what happened.

References

  1. Sri Aurobindo, Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo Volume 31: Letters On Yoga IV, page 457
  2. The Mother, Collected Works of The Mother Volume 10: On Thoughts and Aphorisms, page 124

The Settling Stone a Carve

The Settling Stone a Carve

Made images out of light.
Feed them to this world.
Beat me.
I’m a meeting of soul wings.
It doesn’t bother me.
Use your head.
Reflected on the walls of the mirror.
In any event,
where I sit and represent God.
That’s the power lines.
What compassionate consideration.
It’s like he loves himself.
He’s the photographer you see,
the photograph,
all these images,
the poem,
pure,
not an ounce of color.
Do you see the address?
It’s in the face of everything.

Image Pondicherry

 

Image Pondicherry

Poetry
I need you.
He fell into the bricks.
Thank God let him through.
He’s an image in a photograph.
What visibility.
All citywide wears one face.
It gathers in the gloom.
Was to fight
till the front soul noon.
Let’s give soft yoga shoes
a copy of The Letters
and give those bored little crazies the cubbyholes.
Came out peaceful Pondicherry.

An Audience Song

I took this at the theater of Alliance Française in Pondicherry and developed it in our darkroom

An Audience Song

Poetry enhances
our little corner of life’s room.
It’s what we splash on our faces
to get the stories out.
You would contradict this song.
That’s the mystery.
And we look at an iceberg,
it roses from the ground.
Underneath it stalls in light.
A brief ocean
has rounded in our ears
the equity
of a larger see than ours.
Alimony this payment
to that stuff in us
at noontide’s sing.

I’ve rounded poetry.
You hear the contradiction?
It’s a blistery see
with what ails yah,
the exuberance
of a state of being
laughing at the stars.
It’s a transaction
between you and sight
that calls all what you don’t see
into play.
I measure my life by it
one poem at a time,
a poet in my room
attended by verse itself.
You are my audience
lines of poetry.
What people there
the contradictory note,
the flowers of which I speak.

You Have To Read Between The Letters

2018-07-25 20_14_07

By Douglas McElheny

For anyone who might be new to this blog, I regard myself as the chela or disciple of Sri Aurobindo and have been reading his works for over 20 years. A month or so ago I was finishing up reading Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, and had decided I would read his Essays Divine and Human next. I was looking forward to reading this particular book since I have never read it before. Then I had this dream as I was working my way through the last few pages of The Life Divine.

I’m in a shop, which has lots of different little items for sale. Donny is behind a counter, and next to him on a table is a huge copy of Aurobindo’s Letters on Yoga. It’s lying flat, but it’s something like four feet in height, and it has a dark red cover. I know Donny can get into a storeroom where other huge copies like this are. I tell him he should get a copy of this large-sized Letters on Yoga for himself. He mentions another book they have in the storeroom, which I seem to remember he called Philosophy of Yoga or something along those lines. The lower half of the huge Letters on Yoga is now covered with a blanket that has a price tag on it of $9.70. I figure that price must be for the blanket and not the book. I can’t recall what color the blanket was.

 My first reaction to this dream was partly one of aversion since it seemed to be giving me the message to read Letters on Yogaand not Essays Divine and Human. For a couple of years recently, when I was living in Florida, Parts 3 and 4 of the Letters were basically my bible and I read them a number of times. I’d also recently read Parts 1 and 2 within the last year or so while here in India. So I kind of felt like ‘been there, done that’ and was more into reading something new.

But in the end, I decided to follow the dream and started to read Part 4 of the Letters. This Part 4, however, is from an expanded version of the Letters that is organized differently and has new material.So to some extent, it’s like reading a new book. I’ve been finding it quite helpful and am glad so far that I followed the suggestion proffered by the dream.

Looking at some of the other elements in the dream, the blanket would seem to me to represent warmth or comfort, while the dark red color of the book might have something to do with the physical since that’s what red often seems to mean in my dreams. Then there’s the price tag of $9.70 on the blanket.  According to a list given by the Mother, 9 means ‘gestation or birth ‘and 7 means ‘realization’.2  So these symbols would all be indications of the positive purpose reading the Letters will serve in my life, something that will give me support and help towards the birth of spiritual realization.

Donny however pointed out something else a blanket could symbolize and that would be covering something up. He suggested this might mean there are things in the Letters I’ve yet to completely grasp, things that are still ‘covered’. That seems possible, since a book like this is one you can keep re-reading and always learn something new. In addition, since I chose to read a new expanded version of the Letters, perhaps the blanket is also indicating new things to uncover in the book. Donny further pointed out that the price tag might indicate some kind of price I have to pay in terms of effort, mental or otherwise, to gain the fruits of reading the book.

I think it’s worth pointing out that a dream giving such a blatant and obvious hint as this is a rare occurrence in my dreaming life. So did I perhaps interpret this dream too literally? From the way I’ve been jiving with reading the Letters I would say not. I do find it interesting though that in contrast to this obvious and spelled out guidance, we have the unseen book in the dream, which I seemed to remember was called Philosophy of Yoga, and which isn’t the actual title of any of Sri Aurobindo’s books. Perhaps it’s an indicator or a hint about something I might read in the future, or as Donny suggested, it might mean something more general, something about philosophy and yoga I still have to learn, and which is still ‘in the storeroom’ so to speak.

To end this article, it seems appropriate to mention that Donny decided to follow my suggestion in the dream that he get himself a copy of the huge Letters. So he went and bought himself  Part 3 of the new expanded version. It bears mentioning that Donny also got a line from his muse that he interpreted as guidance to read the Letters, but he said that my dream was the big factor in making the decision. In fact, the line came after he had edited the first draft of this article, and we had discussed it. That line is the title of this article, “You Have to Read Between the Letters”.

Notes and References

  1. This new version is from a more recent version of Sri Aurobindo’s works called the Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo. All the versions of the Letters I had read previously were from the first version of Aurobindo’s collected works called the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library.
  2. Sujata Nahar, Mother’s Chronicles Book 3: Mirra The Occultist, pg 150.

Honey Do You Sweep Under the Rug?

Video: ‘Lucy’s Cosmic Dream’ by Douglas McElheny

Honey do you Sweep Under the Rug?

by Donny Duke

Hey John Coward,
me too coming.
Standing on the train.
Look at
where is she:
is this a science
or is this evidence?
You look for invigorating theories
brought on by the catchphrase word.
Delve deeper and you might find life.

What’s this habit here?
Only outward tuned.
Tell me you don’t know anything:
it’s all conjecture, guess, and patchwork answer.
Evangelize this uncertainty.
All that can be known is in your little book.
Gimmie that a second;
right here
it says you’re at
a larger historia
than right here taking an inventory of what I’m saying.

Behind closed doors
a muscle romance with dawn
tells your inner life with dream.
Behind walls of thought
you are rounding
2000
go somewheres.
Open your inner life,
spend time there.

Where is the key?
In the realm of your bed,
around the neck of dream
and other things during sleep.
Pour over the books there like a university.

No way
a phantom
I see it.
Superstition idn’t it?
Science’s armchair here?
Science can’t reckon there.

Ambulance
we got here.
Trade anonymous
perfume
for the smell of God at your door.
It’s expensive.

Oh you laugh and say smile?
Don’t try to shut up the bottom mile
Richard.
Alight lookin’ good Brenda.
Still study your cat.
Bank it on the lips of dream
the rest of it.

Originally posted with the title “See Beyond the Peon” and without the last verse as a comment to the BBC Magazine article Point of View: "Ghosts and the Material World", May 5, 2013. It came via the inner voice.