Dream ...................................11.29.09
I was a little blind girl living on a tree-lined street in Any how town and I wanted to show my friends I could fly and I took a running start and jumped and I was flying (and I thought of my friends watching me – I wanted them to see) and I really was flying, up and farther than I could jump and I crossed the main intersection of town and was flying through the leaves of trees on the other side.  Finally I landed and was frightened and wanted more than anything, as a blind girl who now couldn’t even walk, to get back home.  I managed to crawl back to the main intersection and crawled across the street without being hit and stopped at a restaurant on the right and asked the owner, who looked and sounded like the actor James Earl Jones, but sort of a Wizard of Oz character, in  a kind of soft gray costume, if he could help me get back home.  He consulted something, a text of some kind, and read me my future – three choices: Either I could go back home, now off to the left somewhere and live forever in torment (but he at least would accompany me and live there with me) or I could do something else  (I cannot remember the second option) – or I could immediately confess my sins and beg forgiveness and live the rest of my life in bondage, in a place further back up the road in the direction from which I had originally flown.  I begged forgiveness and confessed my sins immediately, but then I hesitated there, simply didn’t go, now a little further up the street, but on a barren plain.   I kneeled down and drank water from a rock, and then a voice said, “She did not stay, she did not go,”  over and over, and I took comfort in that and then I  began repeating something like  “But  (some nationality – I’m not certain –  I think just American) girls do not live in fear,”  over and over, and I began to walk upright and without fear repeating over and over “But American girls do not live in fear” and then saying  “And neither do Swedish girls live in fear,” which made me quite happy to think  about.


Comments:  This was “one of those dreams” for me – one of a handful I have had that have been qualitatively separate from the rest of my dreaming life and have carried their own import.  By that I mean I don’t need some outside evaluation, even my own judgment or conclusions, to validate their significance – they are more real than my waking life (well, most of it, anyhow) and I find that to be validation enough.

The thing for me about this one is that for all the strangeness of it – the semi-comical nature of the James Earl Jones character and the Swedish girls, the obvious reference to a children’s book (Where the Wild Things Are), and of course the essential oddness of dreaming myself as a little blind girl (is there a Freudian in the house?) – the most striking characteristic of it from the inside was that it was a serious, even terrifying, and yet ultimately positive dream.  I almost want to say cheerful.  I mean this essentially in the tone or feel of it.  The actual events of most of my other powerful dreams have been less frightening, but the overall impact has usually been far more ominous. The dream was so strong, so serious, and so “dreamer-friendly” in a sense that I don’t even feel funny about writing “I dreamed I was a little blind girl.”  Go figure.

What seems singularly important from the space of a few days later is that I was “seeing” myself as a blind girl.  The street I lived on was totally black, I was blind, and yet I was functioning not only like the other kids, but as a sort of leader.  I was young and athletic, as in fact I was as a child – as in fact my mother was as a child, and my wife, and my now-grown daughter.  I do associate my dream self in this with those three members of my family, and I think most of all with my mother.  Let the experts take that where they wish, but I believe that is not only because of the strong connection I feel with my now long-dead mother, but also simply because the tree-lined street was so dark and I think of the town as more like my mother’s hometown in 1920’s America than anywhere else.

This then takes me to what I think of as the heart of the dream:  the barren plain at the end.  It was quite inhospitable, except for the water I drank from a hollow in a rock, but it was visible, if just barely - a gray, seemingly bleak landscape but one that ultimately gave me great comfort and hope.

Now that part I can sink my teeth into.  My first thought in regard to this after waking up was what I remember as almost a throwaway comment in Black Elk Speaks to the effect that in the real world of spirit everything is much clearer than it is to our physical eyes.  Then I thought of Sensei Nakazono talking once of the experience of camping out and hearing just off in the distance a continual rustling sound and of being frightened all night long, barely able to sleep, and then of waking in the morning to see that the sound was caused by the movements of a beautiful flower, and then Sensei concluding, “That beautiful flower is reality.”  It wasn’t just that I had had that camping experience, in essence, and understood immediately the leap to the beautiful flower and reality part, but that everyone else in the class seemed to be nodding in agreement as well.  And then I thought of Plato’s cave.  So while the barren plain was anything but a beautiful flower and was just barely visible to my eyes, it was nonetheless a glimmer of a different way of seeing. 

Let me be clear:  I don’t want to wish myself bad luck, but I don’t think I’m a visionary or a seer of any kind.  What Black Elk saw, for example, with great clarity is merely the grayest of outlines at best for me.  I am barely scratching the surface here, and I am not being sickeningly humble but just matter of fact about that.  In fact, I do give myself some credit:  This is the surface that I believe all of us, or many of us, or some of us (or at least one other person, goddammit, or what an idiot I will feel like) are going to be making contact with in the very near future.

This is an important concept for me:  The very black night of my dream is a metaphor for the blindness of our current state of existence which cannot see anything but physical reality.  The only light in the first part of my dream, and it was a lovely, beckoning presence, was the artificial light of the restaurant on the corner.  My idea now about much of the technological advancement of the past century is that it is the culminating effect of centuries of being afraid of the dark, and even more the metaphysical, spiritual blindness of our lives than the literal darkness, and this fear has spurred us on to physically light up the night.  I thank god I have been lucky enough the last fifteen years or so to live in a place where there is no light pollution, or very little.  For several years shortly after the millennium I enjoyed saying to myself as I stepped out my back door each night (and I nearly always did so, simply to see what was going on) a slightly paraphrased line from e.e. cummings:  “I step into the not merely illimitable, into the dear beautiful eternal night.”  I wondered about this a little – it was just a spontaneous expression for quite a long time. I think now it simply was an assertion that the natural night is where we belong.

This brings me back to the first line of my dream and the name of the town, which also is a cummings reference.  My dream was not “lucid dreaming,” whatever that may be, but there were things about it I seemed to know either at the time or immediately after I woke up, and this allusion to cummings was one of them.

I’ll conclude with one final observation and opinion – it is very striking from where I live just how intensely we have lit up our cities the last decade or two.  I personally don’t think fighting crime is answer enough for this phenomenon, and what I have been thinking the last few days is that the lights of our cities are a sort of electrical Tower of Babel, trying to reach God, or spirituality, or at least fend off the darkness of our inner lives, purely through physical means.  That didn’t work so well the last time, and I don’t think it’s the right way to go now either.