The Pupil and His Divine, a Harmony in Five Measures – 2

Sleeping Arrangements

[Although formatted to fit your screen, the poem was originally written in 2014. It’s in the form of a dialogue with multiple speakers: the poet, his divine, various people in the audience, including children, and even a hostile being. Paying attention to punctuation and listening to the poem read, the voices dramatized, play key roles in interpreting it.]


Mark my words,
a behavioral challenge
amplification wrong.
We poetry in our notebook
understand the behavior.
Get all listened out.
I do believe you’re excited about this.
There’s no place in our notebook
to gather wrong afield
so that we can see it better
and amplify its heal.
Are you with me Houston?
Ground Control to Major Tom,
put your seat belts on.

We have a reason.
Wrong could come break the relationship.
Finish thought:
you need control.
Wrong’s measuring basket:
to drink or drink more?
It’s a field show.
It’s a lessons study.
No ‘what daddy’
my son’s been imaged right.

Your measuring stick,
your wrong.
Do the exercises,
as long as you take the right one
above the window:
good history.
Did you see this?
That’s your heart song.

What happened?
Said to me.
I don’t want him going in there.
I act, we put there.
This is the first page:
yes you can sleep in your daddy’s room.
Sometimes we fail to see a better arrangement.
Sometimes we fail to see the solution at all.
Can get serious:
family court.

May we have your attention?
Please hold onto the exits.
A blue door
a thousand rupees,
that’s a spiritual way out.
Daddy I want to kiss you.
He’s green labeled that.
Whatta we do?
A different time,
a different thing.
Important that you don’t involve matter.
No swimming on the ground.
All need will read
God’s book.

What we’ve got here is a behavioral animal.
It has sharp teeth.
Stay in front.
If he pulls his gun out,
leave it blank.
I’m sorry I’m dividing.
We’ve got to arrange things
so that the muscle
get anybody complicated,
change house.

This is clear music.
You’ll sleep together in peace.
Watch those corner edges.
They rub a body mean.
I’m a happy song
you sing to your children
when she’s not in the house,
a line Molly.

Why did Molly come?
I’ve seen only skin much,okay?
Place the truth in your hands.
You know it won’t control them.
And it’s just like it was now,
trying to figure what was going on.
I’m just telling you something before you react:
I’m bringing you change.
That’s the technique.

The rude imperious surge,
that didn’t get you.
Do you want promise?
The Dallas runway.
You see some good
in this arrangement.
Don’t blow me away.
Keep the tickling hand free of charge
and the alphabet.
Study it please.

Doing things together
don’t let paper weigh you down.
What you want is a free, easy, spontaneous
gift hand.
You take this
you show it to them.
Must be nice to not have any fetters.
Just remember why you’re here.
It’s not to aggrandize the show.
A growth going on,
and the body carries its charge.
Sleeping arrangements made easy,
I go to sleep.

What Tamil movie?
We image sleep,
make it our breakfast song.
It’s the dream image that we care for.
That is molding the show.
You don’t know how sensitive the hand is
in the area of dream.
It is like another house,
another house owner.
It can fasten itself
to the waking movement,
and wrong behavior,
convinced of itself,
plays the hand.
But not when it comes
awake.
That’s the prime time TV.

Your hand has license there.
It meets them in dream.
They seem arranged for the movement,
probably asleep.
You have to go to clean.
You can’t.
A deaf movement.
Which one is that?
The life hand
has no will in it
to move.
Your head
and all its arrangement
is sleeping in the bed.

What you do?
There’s a program to put on.
It’s called make the body safe.
Call on divinity to help you,
some divine name.
Open to them,
and close the hand.
Hercules had no stronger task.
You see,
we can mess up;
we can come abuse
so early.

There is a physical culture.
The body has its own field.
Your body
wrapped around another body
ignites imagery in sleep.
I dreamed that I was in here by him,
next to him in bed.
Doubled doors are open.
Hot red hold me wrong.
Hot red you see,
hot red.

Hidden desire
can play.
These are occurrences in sleep
that hold us down in life.
They can arrange things,
pass this on to another child.
The waking world is full of such traps.
And we don’t even remember our dream,
even though our lightened load
is acting its ground.
This is a double pleasure.
Our child wakes up from his sleep
and waits for a buddy to fulfill it.
Physical culture I’m mad at you.
Though you are mad at me,
you like it
in the dream.
It’s a body arrangement.

What will put peace here is your spiritual test.
Who do you sleep with at night?
Your own dream?
Who it is you are open to
will single out your sleep,
open in the sense
that’s where you move.

You see my connection.
It’s a high note.
A practice song this is.
A night is drama to cross.
Put a pillow under it.
Only names
are personal enough
to put it together.
The name should rhyme with God.

There was something else.
The child in bed with you
isn’t even there.
They represent God’s feelings,
an image in the night
made in both areas:
I have walk in
and close the door.
We move to God’s nature
the sleeping child.

Have you fastened everything?
I can arrange it some.
You didn’t contact me,
subscriber.
A pulled image,
give me a dime to see.
We keep our images and our heads together
or they lose reality.
Bases cover this program,
the high note
we put our money on.

Yeah you hear:
hold your child a little.
Keeps safe with him.
We do not encourage sleeping with children.
No,
it’s just not a big deal.
You wouldn’t be able to
hand out body bags.

You’re not gonna get clearer than that for fifteen minutes,
the poetry of another song
even closer.
I sound your sleep.
Hear a whistle?
You’re an area dude.
You carry your first one folks.

Please dog go.
I gave you one rupee.
He’ll have a warm spot in his freezer.
He’ll want to put something there.
It feels warm to him,
and that’s all that’s interesting.
It’s nine or something no?
I don’t want your answer.
Tell me.
He can’t ride you like that
if you’re going to heal his movie.
He has grass ready.
You just need to cut on it.
We feel good.
That’s the problem.

His sleep knows this distance.
He’s practicing in dream.
You have to arrange it to watch his tower.
You hold the boy with your sleeping arm.
This is a measure of sleep.
No leave the stuff there.
All that we need is what you’re bringing to school on Monday,
okay?

Hey Donny,
his sleep you can’t ride,
but I can.
Go on, get some paperwork.
If you can just move for a minute,
that penis clouded,
you hit the note
that images safety.
You felt a strong glow,
Him.
The divine
had muscle.
He’s favored in sleep.
The urge is there,
but nobody eats.
You’re walking him out of this program:
exclamation point
in his area down there.

Though I’m sure it won’t be understood,
he gets dressed every day.
You must learn to read the music,
siren songs,
then move accordingly.
This is your fifth gear.
Man, speed up.
Do you know what ten miles serve?
Hey man I pass everything.
I’ll see you later.
Life being predictable,
same cost.

What is this?
The harmony of attention.
If I were you
I’d probably prefer to be
part of the program:
let me love you what I do,
but let’s get this story straight.
Touch those together.

A Dark Day In The Driveway

sore loser

In Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem Savitri there’s a series of cantos where the heroine, Savitri, journeys inside of herself to reach her soul. This, however, is more than just a story, but Aurobindo’s presentation of a significant step in the process of the integral yoga. A few years ago I started aspiring to try and remember to use my instances of lucidity in dreams to try and reach my soul. Though I have not yet succeeded in doing so, along the way I have had dreams where I think I have made some progress toward that goal. I want to share my most recent example of a dream like this, but I need to physically describe where the dream started which was in the driveway of the house I lived in during high school.

driveway house in Richmond

I was able to find this picture of that driveway on the internet. What you don’t see that’s important is a descending terraced path that runs along the left side of the driveway down to the back yard. The path was gravel and each terraced step was about five to ten feet long or so and ended in a railroad tie turned sideways to hold the gravel and that particular step in place. There are also railroad ties running along the side of the driveway all the way to where it meets the house. Where the latticework fence is there’s about a 12 foot drop to the back yard. That fence was not there when I was living in this house. There was also a basketball hoop over the middle garage door, and we often played basketball in the driveway.

So having set the scene let me share the dream:

I’m in the driveway of my old house in Richmond, and I am looking at some improvements the new owners have made. The rail ties that run along the edge of the driveway are covered with something smooth and white like the cement in a skateboard park and decorated with rows of something like painted stones or pottery. The pieces are circular and of all different colors. The path that goes down to the yard is also paved and decorated like this. The whole thing is very beautiful to look at. Right at the curve of the driveway a piece of the rail tie has been removed, and it’s possible to go down a step and reach the path here rather than where the path starts. In the dream though it was only a foot or so down to the path at this spot, whereas in waking reality it’s almost the full 12 foot drop. I walk back up the driveway toward the street, and I’m with a couple of other guys. Then I realize I’m dreaming. I jump up into the air and start being taken up by a force. I ask the Mother to take me, and I’m going up fast as things fade to black. I move through the blackness for a long time and see some different vague images and patterns. I remember some five pointed stars and also a sun either setting or rising. There’s one part where the space I’m in seems constricted like I’m moving through a tube or something. Then I notice I’ve come to a stop, and I open my eyes and I’m lying in a bed. The bedspread has been pushed back and is rumpled at the end of the bed. It’s a light blue color if I remember right. Lilo, our yellow Labrador, is at the end of the bed, but it’s strange, like she’s melded with the bedspread. I’m still lucid, but I start losing the dream and have a false awakening.

So what I believe happened here is, as in other dreams I’ve had, I was journeying toward the soul and reached a waypoint, a deeper level of dreaming. Some of these deeper levels of dreaming can be kind of weird like this one with the dog strangely melded with the bedspread. I’m not sure what that might mean, but on one level maybe it’s showing something about my relationship with the dog who sleeps in my room frequently, though I don’t allow her on the bed. The light blue color of the bedspread, if I’m remembering the color correctly, would probably have some spiritual significance since blue, according to Sri Aurobindo, can represent the spiritual consciousness that lies above the normal human level of consciousness. It’s possible I was actually in my bed in the cataleptic state, but I don’t think so, as the usual sensations I have of a sort of numbness in the body and difficulty moving were not present.

Regarding the events of the dream before I went into the blackness, I would guess that the beautifully decorated descending path to the backyard represents the journey towards the soul since that’s where I went as soon as I became lucid. Donny suggested though that the path might also show the light getting down into the lower levels of my being as part of the process of sadhana. I think it may have that meaning as well for reasons I’ll explain later. The gap in the rail tie with the step down at the curve of the driveway (basically a shortcut) is maybe showing a way is open to some of these deeper levels of dreaming, showing that if you reach there once, the way is clear to get there again, though you may not find yourself there frequently. So maybe in this dream I reached a level I’d already been to before and didn’t actually go any further. It’s hard to say because I’m quite far from being any kind of expert on how to differentiate between these different dreaming levels.

Now in the first part of the dream I only observed the beautiful downward path but didn’t actually go down it. Everything I did took place in the driveway, and before this dream I’d never given any thought to what a driveway might mean as a symbol. Though I think there’s much of dubious value in dream dictionaries, I do consult them online frequently because I’ve found they can be quite insightful at times. So when I looked this time I found a couple of sites saying a driveway represents the end of a journey. That interpretation would make sense and fit in this case I think, even though I didn’t reach the end of the journey and actually arrive at the soul. And a driveway of course leads to a garage or in this case a three-car garage. Donny has come to believe that a garage1 represents your dream life and if that’s right that would fit into things too, even though I never went in the garage, nor were the garage doors up. All of this would be enough to explain why my dream builder chose this particular location to represent where I am in the process of completing the journey to the soul, but I think there may be another reason why this particular driveway was chosen, and it relates to something that happened there in waking life, something that was a manifestation of a major character flaw of mine. Let me explain.

As a child and a teenager I was basically skinny and a wimp as well as fairly unathletic, though not to the point where I had the unenviable distinction of being last kid picked for kickball. But I more or less always found myself on the losing end of any individual contests in sports, video games as well as the wrestling matches that boys often engage in. You could imagine that was very frustrating in a culture that places so much value not just on athletic prowess, but also being strong and tough. What made matters worse though were some things that had to do with my brother who was fourteen months younger than I. Despite the age difference Rick, who was very strong and a star athlete, could basically whup me from the time we were small children, and that was a bitter and humiliating pill to swallow, since the big brother is supposed to be able to whup the little brother. In addition to that, since he was my brother there was sibling rivalry, and the fact that he was so much better than me at sports was very frustrating for a couple of reasons. One was just competitiveness. I wanted to be as good as him at everything and got very angry about the fact that I wasn’t. The other was the fact that his athleticism won him the approval of my father, who wasn’t so interested in the things I was good at like theater. Another thing about me I should mention is that I didn’t like losing in general, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to do something like flip a board game over in frustration if things weren’t going my way.

So with that as the psychological backstory let me tell you what happened in that driveway in Richmond, Indiana. It was a winter day, but it wasn’t too cold, and there was no snow on the driveway. I was sixteen or seventeen. I was playing one on one basketball with my friend Jeff. As usual I was on the losing end of things, and there was some roughhousing on both our ends, though nothing unusual for boys playing sports. As Jeff continued to best me, I got more and more angry and frustrated. At one point on the crest of it Jeff and I were both going for the ball near the edge of the driveway, but near the top of the downward path where the drop was only a few of feet. As we went for the ball I didn’t outright shove him, but leaned hard into him knowing that that would be enough to send him over the edge. And it was. I’ll never forget the utter horror I felt as I saw Jeff fall back flailing over the edge as the more reasonable part of me kicked back in. Fortunately as I said, the drop was only a few feet, and Jeff landed flat on his back on snow-covered gravel, his fall further cushioned by the winter jacket he was wearing. So he jumped up unhurt to my great relief, and we continued playing. The way I had done things had been quite sneaky, and just appeared like normal roughhousing. If Jeff had noticed or sensed that I had purposely tried to hurt him he didn’t give any indication.

Now while I had had plenty of tantrums and outbursts over losing, I had never done anything quite like this. And unlike a lot of descriptions of people’s reason being unseated by the vital, I didn’t have the sense that I was watching myself do it or that it was like I was another person. It was more subtle and insidious than that, but it was still an act that went beyond my normal ethical boundaries. Fortunately it didn’t end in a way that would have haunted me for the rest of my life, because even though it was a short drop, Jeff still could have been seriously hurt or killed if he had landed on his head or hit one of the railroad ties. I think there may be more people out there than we realize who could relate an instance like this and who through luck or grace were spared a lifetime of regret or even imprisonment. And then there’s the cases where things didn’t turn out so well, people who, even if they’re not sitting in a prison cell over what they did in the heat of a moment, are sitting in an inner prison of guilt and regret wondering how in the world they could have acted that way and wishing very much that they hadn’t.

One thing it seems obvious we’ll have to do in order to evolve as a species is we’re going to have to start bringing these sticky and unsightly things into the light of day and start talking about them. If enough otherwise ‘good’ people came forward and admitted they’d been temporarily taken over in the way I’ve described here, we could perhaps start to realize that we aren’t the masters of ourselves that we think we are, and that in the right conditions many of us are open to what for a lack of a better word you could call temporary insanity. And it’s not just on the level of the individual, but also in groups, as the examples of angry mobs and Nazi Germany will attest. Understanding this would be one of the things that would get us on the way to a right way of dealing with harm and wrongdoing, forgiving others for the hurt done to us, and forgiving ourselves for the hurt we do to others. Punishment would eventually be taken out of the equation, but that wouldn’t mean you still wouldn’t have to try and take responsibility for harm done even if it was done in a genuine moment of temporary insanity. There couldn’t be any fixed formula though for how you would take responsibility, since for whatever reason it might not be possible or appropriate to help the person you wronged. If you were open to it though the universe would present you with opportunities and situations to balance the harm done by helping or being involved with other people that had nothing to do with the original harm, or even just having to endure a difficult trial or situation as a way of balancing things out. It would take a very plastic society with spiritual growth as its aim to implement this sort of thing, and it would be hand in hand with many other changes. The time where we’re doing this as a global society seems to still be a ways off, but a beginning could be made now on a small scale in small organizations or communities. This was a bit of a digression here, but one that I think was worth taking the time to make.

Getting back to me though, how does this event from my teenage years relate to the dream. Well as I said earlier Donny suggested the dream was showing the light getting down into the lower parts of my being. That interpretation makes sense since this competitiveness in me is a major stumbling block. Perhaps this particular locale was chosen to show not only that this character flaw is something blocking me from finding my soul, but also that I’ve made progress with it. Some aspects of this weakness I let go of many years ago. I no longer get really bent out of shape about losing for example. The only area it really comes up is with the only thing I really value or have a strong interest in anymore and that’s spirituality. And it’s mainly something that comes up in my relationship with other seekers I’m around which most of the time is just Donny. With all the spiritual experiences he’s had and the mountains of muse he’s had come down on him, it’s hard not to feel that I don’t measure up, since I’ve no ‘big’ spiritual experiences I can talk about, and what I get from the muse is hardly a trickle, which I often can’t interpret. And while my mind can see that all Donny’s grace is one level a sort of compensation for a difficult issue in his vital, my vital, like everyone’s, is an irrational creature and has more difficulty grasping that. Nor could my vital grasp when I was a boy that I had talents and abilities that were more developed than Rick and be content with that. Ultimately I think feelings in the vital of inadequacy or lack or not measuring up are what usually underlie most movements of competitiveness or jealousy, and it’s also a lower movement, though perhaps it’s more legitimate because it’s emotional pain. It’s still egoism though and has to be dealt with. One thing too about competitiveness I’ve found, is it breeds on proximity, and if I didn’t know Donny and wasn’t close to him, and just read about his experiences online or in a book, and never saw him or had anything to do with him, it might still hit that painful inadequate spot and produce jealousy, but it would be much less significant. But because he’s close to me I compare myself to him, and also since our work is side by side online I don’t like feeling like I look like a second fiddle.

Some people might be shocked at what I’ve divulged here or wonder why I’d be willing to admit to such a thing. As I said though we need to start talking about these things so I’m talking about them. What it boils down to is that all of us still living in ego consciousness are dysfunctional to one degree or another, and that’s a key truth to see: that ego consciousness itself is intrinsically flawed. The other key and complimentary truth is that there’s the possibility of getting out of ego consciousness2. Understanding these two truths can provide a framework in which, as I’ve suggested, small groups and communities and eventually all of society can safely talk about and work on integrating our darkness. This is what Donny and I are trying to do on a very small scale here at Harm’s End, with basically just the two of us at the moment, though other people live here. We hope though that in the future more like-minded people will join us here and take part in the endeavor, and that eventually we’ll have a little model here that other people can use as starting point for similar undertakings. Anybody interested?

Notes

  1. Dream symbols often have a simple logic to them, so I asked Donny what he thought might be the logic behind a garage representing your dream life. He said that a garage is where you store things, and also where you work. He also said it’s not where you live. You don’t spend as much time there as you do in the rest of the house.
  2. I don’t know this from personal experience, but I’ve read a lot of accounts of people who’ve made this leap, and in a few cases even spoken to people who had had glimpses or permanent realizations beyond ego consciousness. So I’m convinced enough that I feel comfortable saying the potential to go beyond ego consciousness is a truth.

I Volunteer A Dream

This article will be a continuation from my last blog where I argued that major news regarding the G.I. Joe and James Bond movie franchises manifested in my dreams without my waking mind knowing about these events. Recently I had another dream I feel is an example of this, though this time the dream had to do with a sports team I have a connection with. Here is the dream:

I’m in what’s supposed to be Mr. Godfrey’s1 classroom at RHS, but it’s a sort of amalgam of his classroom and the eating and family room area of my mom and dad’s house in Florida. There are a number of other people there including Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. They are at the front of the room, and Peyton is standing wearing a University of Tennessee football jersey. Eli is sitting, and has a jersey on for some other university. They’re arguing about an upcoming game between the Volunteers and the school Eli’s jersey is from, arguing about who’s going to win. Peyton starts to get angry and tells Eli ‘Let’s step outside!”, and Eli is sitting there looking kind of sheepish and intimidated by his big brother, who is acting uncharacteristically aggressive. The argument does seem feigned though to some degree, and that they’re just egging each other on. They still go outside though through a sliding glass door, and Mr. Godfrey says “Let’s leave them out there for a while.” I figure they ought to stay outside, because Mr. Godfrey has just passed out a test. The test has something to do with these pieces of cookie dough we’re all given on plates.

In the interest of finding further evidence for my hypothesis from my last blog that our dreams can pick up on such mundane things as what’s going on with a movie franchise, I decided to google first Eli Manning and then Peyton Manning. Eli I discovered has been in the news the last couple of weeks because of some new email evidence for a lawsuit against him where he’s accused of selling helmets to collectors that supposedly had been worn in a game, but really weren’t. I found that interesting, but didn’t see how it might relate to the dream, other than the sheepishness of Eli. When I googled Peyton Manning though I found something much more interesting. Two hours before I had woken up and recorded this dream on my voice recorder, the official twitter account of the University of Tennessee football program posted a short promotional video which was designed to generate interest in potential recruits for the quarterback position. The video featured an interview with Peyton Manning woven amongst highlights of some of Tennessee’s most famous quarterbacks (including Manning) with some energizing music as the backdrop. It’s an exciting video to watch, and even more so if you’re a Tennessee fan. At the time of this writing, that tweet has gotten 867 retweets and 1,767 favorites which isn’t a lot compared to what a lot is on twitter, but it had much higher numbers than most of the recent tweets from that twitter page. The tweet I found that came the closest had 407 retweets and 1,200 favorites, but most of them had much lower statistics than that.

The reason I find this interesting is because things go out fast on twitter. And this tweet, because of the exciting nature of the video, and also because it features Peyton Manning, seems to have generated a little bit of a buzz, a little incident in the collective consciousness or whatever you want to call it. So it was in the midst of that buzz that I happened to have this dream of Peyton Manning in a Tennessee Volunteers football jersey, which, if you consider also the fact that this is the only dream I’ve had with Peyton Manning since at least February 15, 20162, seems hard to chalk up to coincidence. The dream parallels the video as well in the sense that in both instances Manning was promoting his alma mater’s team. Given this, I think any open-minded person can see why I’d be willing to postulate that I picked up on this buzz in the collective consciousness, and it worked its way into my dream. It makes sense that if you’re a strong dreamer you would pick up on things of interest to your vital on personal, local and global levels. Donny likes to call this being an ‘area dreamer.’ Perhaps in future article I can show other examples of this, but closer to home, such as a dream I have showing me something going on with Donny or with one of the young people living here.

It seems to me that dreams could potentially pick up on any event, but what’s interesting about this case, as well as the case with the G.I Joe and James Bond dreams in my last blog, is that they correlated with major developments, things that created a buzz, albeit a small one compared to the population of the earth, but regardless ones that involved thousands of people or more. The other thing noteworthy is that in all three cases the subject matter was something I had an emotional connection to. In my last blog, I pointed out how I loved both G.I. Joe and James Bond as a kid, and I also have an emotional interest in the Tennessee Volunteers from the three years I lived near Knoxville when I was a kid. I wasn’t totally bonkers for them in the way I was for the Pittsburg Steelers, but, as an adult, if I happen to turn on a football game the Volunteers are playing in, they’re the team I’ll be rooting for. Unless of course it was against my alma mater Penn State.

When Donny and I were discussing this latest dream and its apparent connection to the tweet, he pointed out that this line of inquiry into dreams is something that could potentially be tested experimentally, and he’s right. You could conceivably take a group of strong dreamers, isolate them from media, and over the course of weeks or months collect their dreams, and on the days they have dreams about things like celebrities or movies or sports teams you could look to see if they correlate to anything recently creating a buzz in the news. Then upon completion of collecting the data you would take the dreams from each dreamer that seemed to have this kind of connection to an outer event, and ask them if that particular movie or sports team or whatever is something they have an emotional connection with. This is just an idea, and there might be a better way to conduct an experiment like this, but I think you get what I’m driving at here, which is that you might be able to find convincing evidence for a collective consciousness, results that defy statistical probability. And anything that contributes more evidence for the existence of a collective consciousness or inner connection between people, that we live together in a field of consciousness as opposed to each living in our own separate bubble of consciousness, would be a good thing. The understanding of this amongst a more general element in the human population seems indispensible for man’s evolution. You’d need a well thought out and conducted experiment though for the data to stand up to the onslaught of materialist skeptics and debunkers that something like this would bring down on your head.

But getting back to the matter at hand, what might the dream mean for me personally if anything? The symbol of the Volunteers could refer to altruism or service, and that does fit since I’m trying to take more of that attitude toward the people in my immediate environment, most of whom are selfish and lazy to an extreme degree. Then there’s the element of a trial or test, and the cookie dough would maybe have something to do with a vital indulgence of some sort. It’s hard to say since many dreams are just kind of a mishmash of things that may be symbolic along with things that may just be impressions of mental activity, as well as other things that may be rising from the inner, but never manifest in the outer. Any experiment like the one I proposed above would have to take that into account and look for very loose connections between the dreams and outer events.

The fact that many dreams are such a mishmash is one reason why in my articles I usually only write about dreams that I can connect directly to something in my waking life. With this latest line of inquiry though I’ve had to get a bit less concrete and more speculative. Like I said in my last blog though I think it’s well worth exploring these avenues even if in the process you make mistakes or find out later you were wrong about things. An experiment like the one I proposed above would be valuable, but what might be even more valuable about what I’ve been discussing in these last two blogs is that it’s something that, with a little effort and with the right capacity, people can confirm for themselves, and through the lens of their own dream life see the collective consciousness and inner connection we all share.

Notes and References

  1. Mr Godfrey was my high school biology teacher.
  2. This is the date I started my latest dream journal. I didn’t look back any further than that.

 

My Name is Joe. G.I. Joe.

blowtorch

Most people who pay some attention to their dreams have no doubt noticed how they will draw upon things from our modern mythos like TV shows and movies for symbols. I’ve also found that dreams seem to mainly use things you like, especially things you liked as a kid. So my dreams will frequently use characters and scenarios from things like Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Men, G.I. Joe, Transformers and James Bond as opposed to Care Bears and My Little Pony. So given this, it wasn’t unusual for me to have a dream like this one I had recently:

As the observer I can see a room where some of the characters from G.I. Joe are lying on bunks. I don’t recall which characters were there, except I’m pretty sure one of them was Blowtorch. An officer comes into the room and rouses the Joes, telling them he has a mission for them. The Joes get up out of their bunks and start to file out of the room.

I took this dream to mean some kind of positive movement in the sadhana. Later though, as I was typing this dream up in my dream journal, the vital had a desire to look and see what was going on with the G.I. Joe live action movie franchise, since it had been a while since the last movie was released. I hadn’t seen the second one, G.I. Joe Retaliation, and probably won’t see any future G.I. Joe movies, but I gave in to the vital’s desire and did some googling, and found it quite interesting to see that, starting a little less than two weeks before, articles had been hitting the internet announcing plans to reboot the G.I. Joe movie franchise. Then I remembered that two days before I’d had this dream about James Bond:

I can see a submarine moving through a manmade passageway that is underneath a city. The sub is beneath a warehouse or something and is looking for a way up into it. The warehouse seems to be falling apart, because stone blocks are sinking down all around that are falling from above. The submarine stops at a place where you can go up into the warehouse, and James Bond (Daniel Craig) comes out of the submarine in a wet suit along with someone else. Two other frogmen show up who are bad guys. Bond and the other good guy point their harpoon guns at the baddies, but neither one of them has had a chance to get completely ready and don’t have their regulators in their mouths.

Curious, I googled James Bond and found that, starting a few days before the dream, articles had been published announcing that Daniel Craig had been more or less convinced to reprise his role as Bond one last time. Now I found this all very interesting because the dreams, especially the G.I Joe dream, seemed to be showing what was going on with these movie franchises. Like the Joes in my dream, the G.I. Joe movie franchise had been lying idle, but now had a mission, i.e. a reboot. The Bond dream is less clear-cut, but maybe the element of danger has to do with some obstacles still standing in the way of one more Daniel Craig movie. After all, an article saying Craig has been more or less convinced to reprise the role one last time, and his signature on a contract are two different things. In addition, as I write this article a couple of weeks after these dreams, the latest Bond news is that five studios are in a bidding war for the rights to the franchise, and people are speculating that a new home for Bond might spell a complete reboot, and sayonara to Daniel Craig, regardless of whether he wants to do one more Bond flick or not.

Now I think probably most of the time if you googled G.I. Joe or James Bond there would be something in the news about it. Maybe an actress who played a Bond girl had died, or there’d be an article somebody wrote ranking the top 20 issues of the G.I. Joe comic book series. Perhaps dreams could pick up on things like that too, but these were major developments for these franchises, which are beings or entities in their own way. Sri Aurobindo points out that our inner or subliminal consciousness has a knowledge of many things of which the external being is ignorant, so it makes sense to me that if you had a strong childhood affinity in the vital for something like James Bond, or G.I. Joe, you could pick up on major developments like this. It’s quite possible things like this are common, but I didn’t pick up on it since I didn’t look online to see what was going on with the X-Men or Star Trek or whatever when I dreamed about them. I wouldn’t think though that a dream about G.I Joe for example would always correspond to some outer event like announcing the movie franchise reboot, and it would often just be something personal, using that as a symbol. Donny said he thought the fact that the two dreams corresponded with outer events puts emphasis on the personal meaning, and he may be right.

Needless to say, I’ll be doing more googling in the future when I have dreams like this to see if it I can find these kinds of connections again with significant outer events. This is still a hypothesis even for me, let alone for a skeptic. As it turns out though I had a short dream about Spider-Man a few nights ago, and while I was sleeping it hit the internet that Spider-Man will be appearing in both the fourth Avengers movie, and also a second stand alone movie with the new lead actor, Tom Holland. All I remember from the dream was Spider-Man sort of dancing around with this dorky kind of music in the background. Is this how the Tom Holland version of Spider-Man will be perceived? We shall see.

One thing I should point out as possible support for this hypothesis is that since I began my latest dream journal on February 15, 2016 I have recorded no other dreams with James Bond, only one other dream that featured a G.I. Joe character, and only one other dream with Spider-Man. I don’t record all my dreams, just the ones that seem more significant, but usually I’ll record a dream featuring characters like these since I know dreams will use them as symbols. So that makes it easier to argue for a connection here. I will say the over the course of studying my dreams for nearly 20 years now James Bond, G.I. Joe and Spider-Man have all made frequent appearances, especially in the past. In some of my older dream journals the appearance of characters from comic books and movies were much more frequent, but that is something that has dropped off over the years. Why that is, I’m not sure though it may have something to do with the fact that over time I’ve become more interested in and one pointed in the sadhana and less interested in these vital interests.

As I said earlier however my first thought about the G.I. Joe dream, and also the James Bond dream, was that they were showing a positive movement in the sadhana, though not one without some difficulty as shown by the Bond dream. I don’t remember anything really noteworthy going on at that time, but I was fairly focused until a few days after the G.I. Joe dream when I was hit with an illness, one that I feel was a hostile attack, and perhaps the Bond dream was showing how I wasn’t prepared for that. The question is though, were the dreams showing both the significant events with these movie franchises as well as a personal movement in me, or was I just picking up on what was going on with the movies? Or as a third possibility, were the dreams just showing my individual movement with no connection to the developments with the franchises?

The G.I. Joe dream in particular so parallels the outer event that I think I can dismiss the third option, so my feeling is the dreams are showing both, but whether that’s always the case or not I don’t know. For example, that snippet I dreamed about Spider-Man strikes me as possibly just referring to the outer developments of Spider-Man with Avengers 4, though it also seems quite possible to me that it refers to something personal with me. I’m not sure what though since the day after that Spider-Man dream my vital was feeling pretty unenthused and deflated. It could very well have had to do with someone else since Donny and I have both seen that we can dream about what’s going on with each other.

There’s another question though I have regarding all this. As I said earlier, I think the fact that I have a vital affinity with G.I. Joe and James Bond is a sufficient explanation for why I picked up inwardly on what was going on with the movies, but was there some kind of deeper connection between what was going on with me personally and these events? Sri Aurobindo has convinced me that the relationship between the inner and the outer is like the proverbial iceberg with the overwhelming bulk of our life taking place on the inner worlds and planes, and with the inner actually giving rise to the outer. So is it possible that the dreams are expressing some kind of shared inner cause, or did my dreams just take what was going on with those franchises and weave that into my dreams as a way to show me what was going on with me, and also to show me how inwardly I was picking up on these developments? I think to really answer that question you have to be a lot more conscious than I am, be able to actually concretely perceive the hidden forces at work, as opposed to glimpsing them indirectly as I am, in the same way you know the wind is there because the flag is moving. As to what my mind thinks about it, part of me admittedly has difficulty with the idea of a shared inner cause simply because it seems to me that the forces trying to bring us more Bond and G.I. Joe movies are mainly lower vital, and not working for the benefit of humanity, whereas the personal interpretation of those dreams as a positive movement in my sadhana would seem to me to indicate the action of forces that would be working for the benefit of humanity. But since things often don’t work according to how our ignorant minds conceive of things, I certainly can’t rule out some kind of inner connection. As I said, I just don’t have the knowledge to say one way or the other.

Getting back to things a little more concrete, I think I should say a few words about some of the symbols in the two dreams. In the Bond dream, being underwater in the sub would seem to me to indicate some action in the subconscient or subliminal parts of myself, or maybe just my deeper emotions, since the sub wasn’t very deep. Also in the Bond dream, the enemy divers would represent hostile forces, and if I’m correctly remembering the presence of Blowtorch in the G.I. Joe dream, I would guess that has something to do with aspiration, since Blowtorch’s weapon is a flamethrower.

Anyway I’ve gone out on a limb here more than I usually would in this article with these ideas, but if you’re going to delve into dream interpretation I think you have to be willing to take some risks and put out some tentative hypotheses for the sake of eventually getting at the truth. It’s not easy though because there don’t seem to be any hard and fast rules about dreams, just themes, trends and tendencies that are very wide and plastic. If in general, though perhaps not in all the details, I’m onto something here, it would be more evidence for the inner connection and larger consciousness we all share beneath the surface.

Yo Joe!

 

Harm’s End or Boyz II Men?

Dreams, in addition to showing things going on with you as an individual, can also give you a look at a bigger process such as a household or an organization. I had a dream recently that I felt was of this nature that was showing the process of our house Harm’s End. Here is the dream:

 I’m with two of the members of Boyz II Men. Myself and another black guy have been hired to fill in for the other two members who have quit the group. It’s just for one show, and we’re practicing a song for the performance. Later I’m with one of the regulars from the group at a restaurant, and I’m laughing and telling him how funny it will look for a white guy like me to come out with the three of them who are black. Joking I tell him that I should tell people I have the disease that turned Michael Jackson white.

 For readers who don’t know, my friend Donny and I are living in a large multi-apartment house in India with five Tamil youths (four male, 1 female) all in their late teens or early twenties, and the main focus of our house currently is the maturation process of these youths into adults, a process aptly and somewhat humorously mirrored by the symbol of Boyz II Men in the dream. The waking reality, like the situation in the dream, is also unusual since it’s two white Americans guiding five Tamils into adulthood with all seven of us sharing the same house in India as a family unit. Definitely not something you see everyday.

The fact that in the dream the arrangement is only for one show is interesting since both Donny and I feel that this type of work is only a temporary situation, and not our true calling nor what we feel the divine ultimately wants Harm’s End to be about. We feel that the purpose of Harm’s End is to be what, for lack of a better idea, you could call an ashram in the midst of life, a place where people can work on going beyond ego consciousness, and ending the harm they are doing both to themselves and their environment.

As it stands now, the youths in our charge are preparing themselves for a normal human life with no aspiration for anything higher. There is one though that we feel has the potential to reach for something higher, but it may be a long time before he’s ready to make that kind of change. So our house really is more Boyz II Men than Harm’s End at the moment, but at some point it appears that will change. When and how that happens is impossible to say, though Donny and I are both looking forward to moving beyond this phase of things. People in this age group are tough customers, and it gets even more wearisome when they’re actively resisting growing up and maturing the way our kids are doing to varying degrees. Donny and I are well aware that even if Harm’s End does evolve into an ashram in the midst of life, it doesn’t mean that the other people involved won’t be hard to deal with, but it will make a difference if those people have or are nursing a divine aspiration, and are actively trying to be sincere and honest with themselves. For that reason, though we do care about our charges, I think Donny and I probably won’t grieve when this Boyz II Men phase of things comes to the ‘End of The Road.’1

 Notes
1. This is the title of a well known Boyz II Men song and their first international hit.

Experience on the Summer Solstice

 

I feel there’s a reason why ancient cultures gave such importance to astrological events like equinoxes, solstices, full moons and such things as planetary alignments. Basically they’re days of power, a day you can get a boost for your sadhana or your dream life if you’re receptive. Usually for me, if there’s any effect at all during these times (and a lot of times there isn’t), it’s on the level of dreams. I’ll have a powerful dream or a lucid dream. However during the last summer solstice, which was paired with a full moon, I had a little spiritual uplift that I think was shown in a dream I’d had the night before. The part I’m going to share however is just the end of a much longer dream since it’s only the end that’s really relevant as far as the spiritual uplift that day was concerned.

I put my backpack on and walk down the street and eventually find myself in some woods.  There’s a stream there and in the water I can see these birds, about twenty of them, that have the heads of peacocks but bodies more like an ostrich’s. They’re about as tall as a man and in the dream I regard them as peacocks.  One of them comes up and peers at me curiously though a gap in the trees.  I can see that we’re at a delta where this stream meets the ocean.  I go down into the water which is only about a foot deep and a very beautiful bluish green.  The whole scene is very beautiful as well. The peacock/ostrich birds are moving out into the ocean, and I’m walking with them.  Though the birds are big they don’t seem aggressive nor do they seem to be bothered by me.  If I remember correctly their ostrich-like bodies are black or greyish black.  It’s getting close to sunset and I want to watch the sunset with the peacock/ostrich birds.

One thing I’ve started to notice recently and have shown in a couple of recent blog posts is how a beautiful natural scene in a dream seems to be showing a nice ‘scene’ trying to manifest inside you in your waking life that day or a day or so afterwards. I believe that was the case here. So let me tell you what happened. On the day of the solstice, in the late morning, I went for a ride in my kayak. While I was out, I encountered one of my favorite water birds around here, a roseate spoonbill, roosting in a mangrove tree. I don’t often see them when I’m kayaking so I just sat there for a while admiring the bird and its beautiful pink plumage. When I returned home I noticed I felt cleared out as I often do after a spin in the kayak, since I can get fully immersed in nature. I noticed also that my thinking was elevated, and I found myself naturally pondering some things I’d recently read by Medhananda and Nolini Kanta Gupta and was looking at the world through the lens of those ideas. It didn’t require any hard mental effort or tapasya though. It was just happening naturally and spontaneously. For the most part I can’t remember exactly what I was reading at the time, but I do recall one little aphorism by Medhananda that was on my mind:

Spirit is tremendously solid.
It is like diamond.
In comparison
matter is only a cloud
of probabilities.1  

A little later I took our dog Rosie for a walk. As we walked I was really feeling the stillness in the plants, and while that’s not a common experience for me it wasn’t the first time that’s happened, and I’m sure a lot of people have felt the stillness in plants. This time though, I could also feel the joy that was in the plants, and I caught it a bit by contagion and was feeling joy inside me as well as I walked. I was also appreciating how beautiful and unique the plants were, seeing them the way you might when tripping on psychedelics but to a much much lesser extent. There was one group of plants I encountered that were nothing but huge leaves on stalks which had been planted to hide a fire hydrant. When I looked at those plants, there was something so delightful about those big leaves that I couldn’t resist the urge to go over and touch one, giving a little laugh as I did so and feeling delight similar to what I think a small child does when they do something like that. That delight continued on the walk, and the uplift continued after that. It might have still been there a little bit when I went to bed. I honestly don’t remember now. It wasn’t there the next day when I woke up though.

So what I think happened here was I was able to open to the amplified energy that was available that day and benefit from it in this altered state of consciousness, which was foreshadowed by the beautiful sunset scene in my dream. This idea that a beautiful dream scene is symbolic of a beautiful uplift in waking life is still a working hypothesis for me, but one I’m getting more and more evidence to support. Recently, I had another dream where I was looking at a beautiful blue lake ringed by breathtaking mountains on the far side, and two days later there was a definite shift in consciousness in the evening, a state of peace and quiet. It wasn’t as strong as other experiences like that I’ve had, but it was definitely there.

One thing that I feel is important to point out is the beauty of these dream scenes is beyond the greatest beauty you can see in the physical world or even in normal dreams. I can’t really explain it any better than that, but if you start to have dreams like this I think you’ll see what I mean, see that it’s a certain class of dream or has a certain type of dream substance that can embody that beauty. It might be a glimpse of what Sri Aurobindo calls the subtle physical, but I can’t say for sure.

Regarding the peacock/ostrich birds in the dream I should point out that Sri Aurobindo has said that a peacock is a symbol of spiritual victory and that fits with the fact that I had a little spiritual opening. The fact that the rest of the body was like an ostrich is interesting since the thing that most quickly comes to mind when I think of the symbolic meaning of an ostrich is sticking your head in the ground. If I’m remembering correctly that the color was black that would indicate a hostile force. So I’d guess the element of spiritual victory is still marred by an element of sticking my head in the ground and maybe also a hostile influence. I think the birds in the dream were also connected to the encounter I had with the roseate spoonbill even though the dream birds were completely different. I always enjoy the sight of a roseate spoonbill because pink is the color that symbolizes the psychic being or soul in the integral yoga.

So in closing I think it’s important to try and keep yourself clear every day and not just on days like full moons and solstices. Knowing, however, that you can get a little boost on days like that is a good motivator for keeping yourself clear especially on those occasions.

References

  1. On the threshold of a new age with Medhananda, pg 165 by Medhananda

Going Up?

A couple of weeks ago I had two dreams in the same night featuring a skyscraper.  Here are the dreams:

I’m at the Steel Building1 in Pittsburg and I go rapidly up the elevator to the top floor.  The top floor is like a lounge.  I’m sitting in a chair for awhile and then get up and go to another room.  I realize I don’t have my wallet so I go back to the other room to look for it and  I find it on the floor.  Then I’m talking to two kids in Spanish, showing off my Spanish skills.  They only seem to speak English though and don’t seem to understand me.  Then I take the elevator down to the ground floor to look for my mom.  I go outside the building and find her there.

I’m on top of a skyscraper sitting at an outdoor restaurant.  I’m waiting for some people to show up and finally they start showing up and sitting at my table.

For me going to the top of a skyscraper is an obvious symbol for some kind of ‘rising above’ so to speak consciousness-wise, so I wondered how it might manifest in waking life, if at all.  I would guess most people who study their dreams have found like me that you can have a dream like that, or even a negative dream like getting bitten by a snake, and no outer event happens that seems to correlate with it.  Such was not the case here as I will describe, but let me give some background first.

For a number of days prior to the dream, my vital and mind were wrapped up in some things I was concerned about going on in Donny’s life in India.  The morning after the dream, as I was observing the charge in the vital and the unrelenting grinding of the thoughts on this matter, I just threw up my hands, so to speak, realizing that while I had to buckle down and reject the mental movements, it would probably take some time for that vital charge to move out of the system, and I would just have to ride it out.  One thing I’ve observed in myself  when the vital gets taken over by strongly charged emotion, such as worry in this case,  among other things, is that the worry takes hold of  the mind and creates worried thoughts.  Those worried thoughts in turn feed the emotional charge of worry,  which produces more worried thoughts in a vicious cycle.

What’s important about this I’ve found is that the thought is where you can break the cycle since it’s easier, in my case at least, to reject a thought than to push out an emotional charge.  It’s still not easy though, and it’s not something you do once and it’s over.   I stop the thought for a little while, but then as long as the charge is still there the thought comes back, and has to be stopped again and again.  But what happens is that you can get the thoughts under control, and even if the emotional charge lingers you’ve put a little distance between yourself and the emotion, so it’s no longer in command of the mind.

There are ways, however,  that an emotional charge can go out of you quickly.  For example the thing you were worried about gets resolved or the vital’s attention goes elsewhere for some reason, hopefully to something positive happening in your life or that of someone close to you.  Another thing that can happen though, often for no discernable reason, is some help comes from within, and that’s what happened to me that day.  Late that afternoon as I took our dog Rosie for a walk I noticed that my mind had suddenly gotten quiet and that the emotional charge had given way to a slight but very palpable sense of ease and contentment.  I realized this little uplift was what had been indicated in my dream by being on top of a skyscraper and was grateful for the alleviation.  It didn’t last long maybe 45 minutes or so and then the vital charge and thoughts came back since I guess it hadn’t moved completely out of my system.  It wasn’t as bad though.

Regarding some of the other symbols in the dream, the wallet seems like it would be money or money concerns, and there were definitely some money concerns for me in this situation.  I’m not sure what to make of my speaking Spanish, or being in a restaurant.  Regardless I think what’s mainly important is the movement of uplift and being able to connect that to the actual manifestation of that in waking life.

Here again as in other past posts I’ve put this out mainly to show what’s possible, and I think I should say that such experiences as this are the exception and not the norm for me.  Why such an experience comes in one situation and not in another I have no idea.  The subliminal parts of ourselves seem to have their own law and process which are a complete mystery to our waking selves.  What I think is important to realize, assuming one is on some kind of spiritual quest, is that these things are little glimpses or promises of states that can become fixed and permanent in our waking life.

What’s also important I think from a practical viewpoint is what I pointed out about the vicious cycle of thoughts feeding emotions feeding thoughts, and then showing how you break the chain at the level of the thought.   For many people that’s Mindfulness 101, but for some reading this article that could be a real and very significant revelation, and there are few things I think that are as fundamentally important for a person to see as this.

Notes
1. It might be worth pointing out that the Steel Building is the only skyscraper I have been to the top of.