WILD Experience

A couple of mornings ago I had what I thought to be an unusual experience while attempting the WILD technique. After a couple of minutes I felt a vibration throughout my body and sort of a sensation of paralysis. I attempted to tap my fingers (FILD) but could not move them although I could feel the tension in my muscles in my fingers as I tried to move them. There were also various images flashing through my mind. I felt as if there was an impenetrable barrier between the hypnagogic and dream states and my attempts to will myself through it were unsuccessful.

Throughout the entire experience I was aware of my surroundings. I could feel my wife’s body pressing against me and I was aware of sounds around me. After what seemed like an hour or more I was exhausted by my efforts and fell into a sleep state in which I recalled no dreams.

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Pendulum Divination

IMG-2990I can make no claims about the credibility of pendulum divination but I find the idea of it interesting and I’ve dabbled with it occasionally. This morning I got out my pendulum and posed some questions. I can’t say for sure that the answers I got came from deep within my unconscious mind or were wishful thinking but some of the answers were unanticipated.

I started with general questions about my efforts to have lucid dreams. My divinations with the pendulum indicate that I may very well be having lucid dreams but not remembering them because I’m unconsciously blocking or repressing the memory of them.

Further questioning indicated that I believe my dreams to be important and I want to remember my dreams and that my conscious mind wants to remember them as well. Another line of questioning inferred that this blockage may go back to unresolved repressed memories of childhood nightmares which set in motion a pattern of repressing dreams and creative endeavors. It may even be possible that I could be having unremembered recurring nightmares.

I’m hoping that through this divination process I’ve opened up a dialogue with my self to allow myself to have (and remember) a lucid dream in which I can resolve the issue and be more open to remembering my dreams.

All this brings up a couple of questions. Is it possible to have a lucid dream and not remember it? Could I have a lucid dream where, in the dream, I’m fully aware that I’m dreaming but, afterward, my memory of it is blocked or repressed?

I changed my mind about…

I’ve been reading What Have You Changed Your Mind About? , a collection of essays by some of today’s leading minds about what they’ve changed their minds about and how the change came about. In the prologue, the editor John Brockman presented the 2008 Edge question:

When thinking changes your mind, that’s philosophy. When God changes your mind, that’s faith. When facts change your mind, that’s science.

What have you changed your mind about? Why?

Science is based on evidence. What happens when the data change? How have scientific findings or arguments changed your mind?

Here’s a response that I came up with:

I change my mind often and it’s usually because I’ve given a matter much thought or because I’ve found new facts, revelations, or insights and thoughtfully tested my beliefs against this new information or caused me to look at things in a new perspective. If God has changed my mind about anything, I’m certain it was not through faith but through other means.

It’s unlikely that God has ever changed my mind but over the years I have certainly changed my mind about God. I never had strong religious beliefs and for most of my life I basically assumed that I was, by default, a Christian as that was the predominant religion of the culture in which I was raised.

As I grew older I began to consider my own mortality and began to take matters of the spirit more seriously. I can’t say it’s true for anyone but that was the case for me and I’ve witnessed this change in others.

My sister once described our family’s religious preference as “non-church-goer” and that seemed to sum it up rather well. When I began to think about spiritual matters I began from the assumption that I was in the broad category of Christian yet I could not see myself as a member of any particular church or denomination. I noted that the one thing they all had in common was the Bible so rather than have pastors and priests interpret the Bible for me, I decided I’d read it myself and come to my own conclusions. (I’m sure that priests and pastors will tell me that this was the wrong approach.)

I opened my Bible to Genesis 1:1 and began reading. As I pored through the Old Testament I didn’t find my faith. Instead I found seemingly reconcilable inconsistencies, incongruities, and contradictions. The god I found was wrathful and vindictive with more than a few personality disorders.

I moved on to the New Testament and began reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I found several discrepancies between them and more inconsistencies, incongruities, and contradictions. I also looked at some of the Gnostic Gospels (declared heretical by the Church back in the fourth century) and found many passages in them that were nearly identical to passages in the Canonical gospels. To be fair, I did find that many of the teachings of Jesus had merit.

Reading the Bible did not make me a better Christian nor did it help me find my faith. It did, however, cause me to question my assumption of Christianity which I eventually abandoned completely. But it was not only my reading of the Bible that led to my renunciation of my assumption. There were many other factors which included exposure to non-Western philosophies, theologies and cultures, engaging in deep contemplation, and applying seemingly unrelated disciplines as quantum mechanics.

I found that I could not reconcile the concept of a personal deity especially the Abrahamic traditions. As one who has stepped outside the box and peered back inside, I’m inclined to view a relationship with such a deity as dysfunctional. The Western theological view of man’s relationship with nature and the universe also seems contrary to what I’ve experienced and observed.

I do not consider myself an atheist and I disagree with most aspects of the atheist viewpoint. I’m open to the possibility of something that could be described as god-like. I used the word god for the lack of a better term. To me any concept of god would be beyond name and form (infinite, eternal and omnipresent). It could be an imperceptible force or energy, or even an intelligence or a supreme consciousness. I’m certain that there are levels of consciousness and forms of energy that are beyond what our current science can observe and measure. And I suspect that there is something beyond quantum physics that we have yet to explore.

For now I don’t align myself or identify with any religion nor do I see any reason why I should. There are elements of Christianity (or its basic teachings) that appeal to me although many of them are similar to teachings found in many other religions. Eastern philosophies such as Hinduism and Buddhism have a certain appeal but I’m not willing to bind myself to them either.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you believe but what you do in your life that matters. We are all responsible for our own liberation or salvation, however we conceive it. We must all walk our own path; no one can walk it for us.

Starting a new year

It’s been quite a while since I checked in here. The holidays were good. I brought in the new year with a group of friends but I missed bringing it in with family.

I’ve been having mixed success with my goals and intentions for the new year but I guess that’s to be expected. I’m trying to get back into my yoga practice and other physical exercise. So far, the exercise is going better than the yoga but I’m determined to make a go of it. My meditation practice slipped a bit during the holidays too but I was getting back in the groove on that. Actually, going back to work has thrown it all into disarray.

I’m sure that getting back into the habit of these practices will help with lucid dreams by helping me find the mindset and energy to foster my dreams. I hope so because I’ve been in kind of a dream slump lately. Recently I recalled two dreams in one night and one morning I recalled bits of what might have been three dreams. Lately I’ve noticed that sometimes when I wake from a dream and before I open my eyes, I’ll try to replay the dream in my mind to commit it to memory before I write it down. What often happens is that random and obscure waking life memories will intrude upon the dream memories and soon I’m unable to tell them apart. All I’ll be left with is a vague idea of what the dream was about.

The biggest change for me so far this year has been employment. I’ve been retired for almost two years so I haven’t been looking for a job. Last week I was contacted by my supervisor with the company I was previously with. They’re starting up a new project in the area and he was reaching out to the old crew to see if there was any interest. They’re on board with me working part-time though I said I could work full-time for a while to get the project off the ground. Since they’ve already paid out my employee stock option, I’d have to pay it back if I went back as a full-time employee. I don’t want to do that.

Now that I’m two weeks into the project I’m starting to have a few reservations. Going back to work after 20 months or so of retirement has been a big adjustment. I had enjoyed quite a bit of freedom to do whatever I want and I’m giving up a lot of that, at least temporarily. I’m still adjusting to getting up in the morning and commuting. However, one thing is different from other jobs. I’m working because I want to, not because I need to, and that’s a big difference. If I decide that that I don’t want to do it any longer I can quit with relatively few repercussions.

Since I had documented my processes during the previous project, my team lead wants me to do the same for this project. It’s not as easy as it would appear. Before I’d documented the processes I’d been doing and refining over several years. This time I’m trying to write the processes from scratch as we are developing them. That takes a different strategy and it’s harder to visualize.

weird-shit

“You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

“Here in your mind you have complete privacy. Here there’s no difference between what is and what could be.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

The ancestor of every action is a thought.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws

“We can never see past the choices we don’t understand.” – The Oracle, The Matrix Reloaded

“Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat.” ~ Audre Lorde

Penultimate Day – 2017

It’s been an interesting year. Whoever coined the phrase, “May you live in interesting times” probably could not have foreseen 2017. We are, indeed, living in interesting times and I’m sure the next few years will be just as interesting, if not more so.

But now to summarize the year I had. It was interesting but mostly in a good way. I managed to keep most of my ranting confined to my private journal though I did make public some of my commentary on Mankind’s War on Nature.

Throughout the year I supported my grandchildren’s various activities. I worked in the concession stand with my son to support the marching band and drove my granddaughter to Sayaw FilipinOH practices and performances.. My wife and I hosted a graduation party for my eldest grandson. They’re growing up so quickly. I still vividly recall holding them has babies.

I found myself becoming more involved in the local Filipino community, attending numerous events and being asked to assist in administering social media and web platforms for a couple of Filipino and Asian groups. I’ll be getting more involved in those things in the coming year. I’m going to have to learn Tagalog. I think it’s going to be an essential skill.

This year I attended my 45th high school reunion. It was a low-key affair and since the class 60th birthday bash three years ago, we’ve been getting together annually. I think I attended three weddings but, thankfully, no funerals.

I did more reading this year on my Kindle, ebooks, online magazines, and actual paper books. Topics were diverse and included BASH scripting, quantum physics, naturist fiction, yoga and spirituality, British history, witchcraft in New England, the Children’s Blizzard, lucid dreaming, and Harry Potter.

I’ve been viewing an eclectic mix of stuff on YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. I’ve watched a lot of documentaries on a myriad of subjects and I’ve binge-watched a few series although there were a few series that I watched for a while and stopped watching for various reasons. A lot of those that I stopped viewing were starting to bore me with the same old story lines, characters stopped developing, or the plots were just getting too incredulous or predictable. I’ve almost completely stopped watching a lot of talk and news shows because I was getting tired of hearing the same basic rants. Generally, I don’t place much value in simply being entertained, I like learning stuff.

What about 2018? I’ll continue to pursue the elusive lucid dream. I find it interesting and I see in it a lot of potential for personal growth. I’m interested in exploring my shadow and seeing what’s there. If I’m to believe all the self-help gurus out there, then I’ve been missing out on a lot damage and trauma. Even if I’m not there are still a lot of mysteries lying around in my unconscious that need looking into.

12-22-17 Update

There isn’t much to report this week. I’ve temporarily put Queens Consort: England’s Medieval Queens aside and started reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol again. Though I’ve read it before I’m finding parts that I seem to be reading for the first time. Is that due to failing memory or because I’m reading it again from a slightly different perspective?. It’s always been one of my favorite Christmas stories and I’ve enjoyed several film adaptations of the novel.

Although George C. Scott (1984) played the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge quite well, I’m partial to Alistair Sim’s portrayal in the 1951 black-and-white film, A Christmas Carol (Scrooge in the UK). That film is fairly close to the book and black-and-white is the proper medium to tell the story. I also like the 1938 version which featured Gene and Kathleen Lockhart as Bob and Mrs. Cratchit. Their daughter June played Belinda Cratchit (uncredited). Some may remember June Lockhart from Lassie and Lost in Space on television.

Alistair_Sims
Alistair Sim as Ebeneezer Scrooge (1951)

Much of my time this past week has been preparing for the December 25th deadline – gifts, gift-wrapping, food for the big day, etc. There have been parties to attend each week. I had an opportunity to attend a clothing-optional party on Saturday but I passed on it in order to bake cookies and spend time with my grandchildren. I probably would have enjoyed the party but I have other priorities.

Since my granddaughter is spending the weekend with her other grandmother, she got her birthday presents from us three days early. Because her birthday is Christmas Eve, I always try to put a little more thought into her birthday present. This year I got her a drum practice pad which she loved. She’s a percussionist in the school band so it will really come in handy.

With the new year rapidly approaching I’m starting to collect my thoughts for my Penultimate Day blog entries. Penultimate Day is an observance I came up with several years ago as a day to reflect upon the previous year and to consider goals and resolutions for the coming year.

Quotes I’m pondering
“There are some upon this earth of yours who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are strange to us and our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings to themselves, not us.”
Ghost of Christmas Present, from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“Christmas spirit transcends religion.”
R.B. Romig

“It is not necessary to be a Christian to keep Christmas or the spirit of the holiday in your heart. The season does not need a specific reason; it exists independently. So let us each celebrate the season in our own way and endeavor to keep the season in our heart all year long.”
R.B. Romig

12-15-17 Update

What I’m reading
I finally finished reading Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep by Charlie Morley. I made plenty of notes.

I began Queens Consort: England’s Medieval Queens by Lisa Hilton. I think watching the second season of The Crown on Netflix renewed my interest in English history. I’m only in the first chapter and I’m finding interesting genealogical information. The chapter talks about Matilda of Flanders, William the Conqueror’s queen, and mentions that her ancestry goes back to Charlemagne. Maltilda has another husband, a man named Gerbod, by whom she had a daughter, Gundrada (or Gundred), who eventually became the wife of William de Warrenne, first Earl of Surrey. There’s some speculation that Gundrada may have actually been the daughter of William and Matilda.. Genealogy works in strange ways. History seems more personal when it’s about your own ancestors.

Events I’ve attended
On Tuesday I attended my grandson Nick’s first band concert. He even had a trombone solo. He and the rest of the Sixth Grade Band have only been playing since September but, with practice, they’ll improve and sharpen their skills.

Nick-171212-04 (copy)After the band concert, we made our way to the high school for the choir concert. I don’t have any grandchildren in the choir but at the end, they bring up all the choir alumni for two songs. This is Jacob’s first alumni performance so we were eager to see him on the stage again.

Dreams
Reality-CheckI still haven’t had a lucid dream but I’m starting to see positive indications in my dreams. Two nights ago, although I didn’t remember any dreams, I did recall an image of two hands with one pushing a finger through the palm of the other. The image looked like a crude drawing.

 

This morning I had a dream in which I squeezed an egg until I broke the shell. I looked at my hand and saw no yolk or egg whites, only the shell fragments. In the dream I attributed the lack of a mess to the fact that it was a dream. I did not become lucid so I’m not sure whether or not I was actually aware that I was dreaming. It may have just been the way the way the dream was playing out. Still, the idea of lucid dreaming is working its way into my dreams which is encouraging.

Quotes I’m pondering
“The real you is not a body. Your body is merely a suit of clothes. Physical birth was not your beginning and physical death is not your end.” ~ Marianne Williamson

“No one and nothing can free you but your own understanding.” ~ Ajahn Chah