Penultimate Day – 2019

Once again, it’s Penultimate Day and it also happens to be the penultimate day of the penultimate year of the current decade. I had to get that off my chest because it irritates me when I hear people refer to a year ending in zero as the beginning of a new decade or century. Year ‘zero’ marks the end of the decade or century while year ‘one’ marks the beginning.

The Christmas spirit did not come to me this year. I didn’t put up a tree or any decorations. Other than the gift-giving deadline, it was just like any other day. I can’t say that I’m feeling any excitement about New Year’s Day either. For me, it’s just changing the calendar and creating new files to document the year to come.

As I noted in last year’s Penultimate Day post, I found myself becoming increasingly involved in the First Fil-Am Christian Fellowship of Greater Dayton. Well, a year later, I find myself much more involved than I ever could have imagined I could be or wanted to be. Early in the year a council member-at-large stepped down and I found myself a member of the council, a position in which I have become increasingly more uncomfortable with each passing week.

Lucid dreaming has eluded me for yet another year. In fact, I’m remembering far fewer dreams than when I began this pursuit a couple years ago. The interest and the desire are still there but there have been no tangible results in at least two years.

I Became a Christmas Zombie

I’ve been under nearly constant assault by the Christmas season since around Labor Day and I’ve grown quite weary of the holiday. The assault came much too early and has overpowered my senses. I don’t think that the holiday spirit is going to overtake me this year. I have retreated into a defensive position, endeavoring to hold out for the duration.

I’ve had too much exposure to Christmas advertisements, Christmas music, retail displays, and the most evil aspect of the Christmas season of all, Black Friday. It seems like there has been much more advertising airtime devoted to Black Friday in the last month than to the holiday itself.

Despite declaring myself a conscientious objector and a non-combatant in the War on Christmas, I count myself an early casualty of the initial assault. The relentless attacks have destroyed my capacity to acquire the Christmas spirit.

Pagans are the reason for the season but I can’t hold them responsible. They were usurped by Christianity who later formed an unholy alliance with the Capitalist gods and commercial interests and made it the horrible mess that it is now. I’ll likely go through the motions of having a secular holiday but I will be a Christmas zombie, my holiday spirit walking among the undead.

Testimony

I committed a grave sin and found myself in Hell. After several years of anguish, tears and gnashing of teeth, I came to a realization, an epiphany. I realized that my Hell was self-created and my anguish was self-inflicted. Since I had created my Hell, it stood to reason that it was within my power to destroy it or just walk away from it. It then occurred to me that I had held the keys to the gates of Hell all along. Then I found that the gates had always been unlocked and I could have left at any time. So I did.

In that moment I was free from a terrible burden. I had found the forgiveness I’d been seeking. It didn’t matter if those I had wronged had forgiven me, that was up to them. What mattered was that I had atoned for my sins and learned from my mistakes. The forgiveness I had so desperately sought came from within. I forgave myself.

It’s been my observation and experience that true forgiveness is very powerful and the one who derives the greatest benefit from it is the one who forgives, not the forgiven. We heal ourselves by own own grace through our own inherent divinity.

I did not have the luxury of therapy or counseling so I had to be my own therapist and counselor. The idea of appealing to a deity never occurred to me as a serious option. At the time, I already had one imaginary friend, the great and powerful IVOR (Irrational Voice Of Reason), a voice that has been absent from my head for many years now.

During my time in Hell not a single prayer was uttered nor did I invoke the name of a deity or a savior. I did the work. I found a path and I followed it. There was a lot of introspection and self-analysis. I took a hard look inside myself and I didn’t like what I saw; it was ugly. I studied and analyzed the causes and the effects of my actions. I researched the problems and sought out answers. I did not always agree with what I found but I took to heart what was applicable, made sense, and worked for me, setting the rest aside for future reference.

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk on the path. Work out your own salvation. Do not depend upon others. However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do to you if you do not act on upon them?” ~ Buddha Siddartha Guatama Shakyamuni

Searching in the dark

As I related in my most recent Penultimate Day post, many of last year’s posts related interesting dreams as I pursued the very elusive target of having lucid dreams. I can no longer recall when the pursuit began but I’m sure it’s been well over a year now. As much as I would love to experience awareness and lucidity in a dream and be able to influence dream events and ask questions of awareness behind the dream, I’ve pretty much admitted defeat.

Am I trying to hard? Or am I wound a bit too tight? Is my subconscious a black hole that won’t allow any light to escape? Sometimes I feel that way. Was there something so traumatic in my early childhood that caused me to go into lock-down mode for a lifetime? I just don’t know. I recall having a fairly normal and reasonably happy childhood although I can only recall maybe two distinct memories prior to my sixth birthday.

I’ve explored various methods to illuminate the secrets of my shadows. I’ve tried yoga, meditation, automatic writing, pendulum divination, I-Ching, along with trying to remember my dreams in the hopes of achieving lucidity in them. I don’t know what else to do. So far, nothing has penetrated the wall.

Sometimes I wonder if, starting at the age of six, our memories of prior events begin to be put away into some kind vault or a time capsule. Why are we denied these memories? Is this a common occurrence. Is there a universal need for the subconscious to shield us from the trauma of early childhood?

These are the questions for which I seek answers. What in my early childhood formed me into what I am today, into what I was as a young adult, as a teenager, as a preteen, as a schoolboy? I’ve gone through many changes over the last 65 years but there are many traits that have remained unchanged. There are many behaviors and defense mechanisms that I have not been able to unlearn. How did I learn them in the first place?

From a Jungian perspective I’m quite sure there are secrets locked away in the shadows and I have yet to crack the code that will open the locks and break the chains that imprison my childhood and my potential as an adult.

I don’t have the answers and the answers are as elusive now as they ever were. Maybe Douglas Adams was right about the question and the answer being mutually exclusive.

“The Question and the Answer are mutually exclusive. Knowledge of one logically precludes knowledge of the other. It is impossible that both can ever be known about in the same Universe. Except, if it happened, it seems that the Question and the Answer would just cancel each other out, and take the Universe with them, which would then be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable. It is possible that this has already happened, but there is a certain amount of uncertainty about it.” ~ Prak in Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams

Penultimate Day 2018

Dreams

There were only eight posts on this blog this year and most of them centered on some interesting dreams I remembered. Throughout the year I continued my quest to have lucid dreams with out much success. I related one dream here in which I may have had a brief moment of lucidity but I’m still not absolutely sure about that. In general, my ability to recall dreams significantly diminished in the course of the year.

I do want to have better dream recall and to have lucid dreams but so far nothing has seemed to work. I’m wondering if there may be something buried deep in my unconscious that blocks my efforts. Looking back on my life, I see a pattern of repression of my intellect and creativity, even my spontaneity. Occasionally, these attributes express themselves but it’s usually short-lived and not as well executed as it could be.

Did something happen in my early childhood that brought on self-repression as a defense or coping mechanism? I’ve been looking for techniques and methods to help me uncover long lost memories but so for, nothing has shown any promise. I have apparently built up some rock solid barriers.

Work

I worked nine and a half months with a company that I’d worked for previously on a new project for them. About four months into it, I started working four evenings a week imaging systems. The work was rather simple and mindless but at times I still found it frustrating and stressful. I think much of that came from my observations of how the project as a whole was being managed by the team and the client. I had some ideas on how to improve the processes but knew that both parties were already so heavily invested in them that nothing was going to change.

I had an income limit to keep aware of so that my Social Security benefits wouldn’t be affected but I left the project before I got really close to the limit. I could have easily worked into mid-December but I felt I needed a break from it. I’m considering returning after the first of the year only for the additional income. I’d only want to work three evenings a week for a maximum of about 24 hours a week. I’d also have a much better idea of what to expect and know that I probably won’t find the work satisfying.

It’s interesting to note that in September of 2017 I had a dream in which I was offered the job but, in the dream, I turned it down. Should I have paid attention to that dream? I don’t know.

Fil-AM church

Over the course of the year, I found myself becoming more involved in the local Filipino-American community. In the third quarter of the year, I found myself among the founding members of the First Fil-Am Church of Greater Dayton, participating in establishing church committees and electing church leadership. I even played Joseph in the Nativity scene during the Christmas worship service.

“What’s so strange about that?” you might ask. For one thing, I’m a non-believer and I haven’t identified as a Christian for many years. I actually don’t claim identity with any religion. Most of my ideas about divinity and spiritual matters are diametrically opposed to Christian dogma and doctrine. In the last year or so my ideas about these things haven’t changed, despite regular attendance for the past three months. If anything, I found myself evaluating my ideas, often finding they still hold true for me.

At times I feel like a hypocrite but then I remember that my ancestor, John “The Emigrant” Warren, had differences with the Puritan church and some researchers believe he may have actually been a Methodist. John Warren realized the benefits of maintaining his membership in the Puritan church despite believing differently. In a way, I have ancestral precedence. Even if I don’t actually believe in the theology, I support the pastor’s goal of unifying the Fil-Am community here. Just the same, it is a continual source of conflict in my mind.

Seeing images in her mind

crossIn a dream this morning I am shopping with my wife and she buys a plain sliver cross. She senses that I’m not happy about spending the money on it and she starts brooding about it. I hold her close and I begin to see images of myself flashing through her mind as if she’s trying to find a particular image of me. As the images flash by I realize that she’s trying to find an image of me wearing a cross around my neck but there are none. Suddenly, it occurs to me that she had purchased the cross as a gift for me and but it will not have the meaning nor the significance she’d intended. I find myself wondering how to explain my lack of religion to her in a way that would not be demeaning to her beliefs.

Although I found seeing images in her mind interesting and unusual, it did not trigger lucidity.

A Shadowy Figure

hooded-figureI’m on the ground floor of a large building. It’s dimly lit and has an almost monochrome feel to it. I’m walking in a large locker room intending to take a shower. The showers are at one end of the building and it’s a big, open shower area. I enter the shower room and look around. There are large windows made with glass blocks on the outside walls. I have a feeling that someone or something is after me or wanting to kill me and I think that the block windows could somehow provide them with easy access or someone could shoot at me through them. I don’t feel safe there so I turn around and leave the room. I try to find a shower stall in the interior of the facility but all I can find are individual toilet stalls. Suddenly, I come face to face with a tall, dark, ominous figure. He is much taller than me and he’s wearing dark robes and his face is hidden. He grabs me and takes me up to the second or third floor of the building as I struggle to break out of his grip. Finally, we reach an open door at the end of a hallway. The dark figure is trying to push me out but I am pushing back. Then something suddenly bursts out of my chest and as it flies out the door it takes the form of big, black birds. I feel a sense of relief and calm and I’m ready to accept my fate. I say to the figure, “Whatever you wanted from me is gone now.” Then I awaken.

The dream was longer but I only recalled the very end of it. There seems to have a lot of symbolism which may come to me later. In the dream I was intending to take a shower but I can’t recall my state of dress.