Wednesday, January 6, 2010

These Dreams

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Current mood: awake
Category: Religion and Philosophy

These Dreams....

“Descartes, if this is a dream, it is a wonderful dream.” ~me....

I have been trying as of late to dream together with someone very important to me who lives a thousand miles away. I have read a lot of Carlos Castaneda and the concept is hammered out in the pages of his books quite frequently. There are two types of sorcerers in the philosophy of his mentor don Juan. There are stalkers, who handle everyday waking reality and dreamers, who handle the reality of dreaming. Carlos Castaneda and others were able to dream together, share the same dream and interact therein. This is my first real attempt with someone who does not just think I am a quack and is actually willing to give it a try.

I have managed to pull off lucid dreaming before. That is where you are in the middle of a dream and realize that you are sleeping and essentially wake up in the dream. This is super cool! Basically you can do whatever you want. I was always a fan of flying around. The dream reality is fluid so you can control most anything with enough practice. Usually when I get into it I get good at it for about a week and then can no longer do it.

Essential for achieving this is first, remembering your dreams. I find dream journaling really helps this. I tell myself when I am going to bed that I am going to remember my dreams and I keep my journal right by my pillow. First thing in the morning I write down whatever I remember before I get out of bed. This really helps with recall. Sometimes it helps too much. In no time at all I find myself remembering 10-15 pages of dreams per night. Very time consuming and as I am in the middle of writing down one, another earlier dream will come to me. Really works wonders, but it turns into a big time commitment.

Certain techniques I have had for achieving lucidity were to start questioning during my waking hours whether or not I was asleep. Ask the question often, “is this a dream?” Then you have to check. Some things I would do would be to look at something for a little while, then look away and look back. If it is the same, you are probably not dreaming. I would also read things, look away and then look back. Words and text seem to be really fluid in dreams. If the words change however, you are probably dreaming. If you do not often question your state of consciousness, you are not going to be likely to ask in a dream and then will never achieve dream control in the words of Queensryche. (Any 80’s fans?) One of the things Carlos Castaneda was taught to do was realize that he was dreaming and then look for his hands in the dream. I sometimes will do that as well, condition myself to look at and examine my hands in waking life. I think you could use anything, your feet, elbows, etc. The idea is to give you something to do and stay focused on.

I don’t know if anyone out there is into this or has tried it but if you have any other tips let me know. Myself and my partner in dreaming have come up with a few things to try to get into the same dream, we have not succeeded yet but i still feel like they are good ideas. We will talk before sleep and decide on a place we will try and visualize and meet. We have been trying places that we are both familiar with. For example her place where she was living where we spent a lot of time is one we have been trying out. I had another friend who was an avid dreamer and apparently lucid dreams frequently who said that when she wears a necklace that comes down to her solar plexus she has more success. I have started wearing the amulet that my dream mate carved for me. It goes to the solar plexus and also has lots of her energy in it. She mixed her labor with it and put a lot of feeling into the making. I really try to visualize her before I go to sleep as well.

As a philosophy major in college and in life in general, I have put a lot of thought into dreams. Rene Descartes reckoned that sometimes he is dreaming and doesn’t know it, so maybe he could be dreaming right now. Holy cow said Descartes, maybe this world is just a dream and doesn’t exist outside of my mind! This little bit of mind gamery has caused lots of problems for western philosophy and society in general. It has created the great mind-body dualism that has plagued us in a lot of ways. That whole cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am leads to a lot of degradation of the body and feelings that the body is bad and not really what we are. Western society has tended to look at thought and consciousness like this, we are a mind isolated in our skull that sits aloof and watches the world from inside its cage. Very separate and divisive thinking this is. Of course, Descartes could have gone the other way, like hunter-gatherers or Carlos Castaneda’s mentor and said, “Sometimes I can’t tell I am dreaming, so maybe my dreams are just as real as my waking life.” Imagine being a cat. They sleep about 2/3 of their lives. Their dreaming life is more real to them than their waking time. You are a recurring dream in the life of your cat. I believe that our dreams have reality.

Dreams are powerful business. I like to listen to them and pay attention to what they are saying. There are often messages there. They are not necessarily mystical or spooky, but they do come from deep inside you. I once had a student from when I was teaching high school who became my auto mechanic years later. It bothered me that I could not remember his name. One night I had a dream where he walked out of the darkness told me his name, “my name is John Doe.” And then he walked back into the darkness. That was the whole thing. The name was correct and I never forgot again. That came from somewhere deep inside me, but it was still pretty powerful.

Everybody have a good night, and as my friend Brianna once said, dream fierce.

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