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 question 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

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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 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.

A dark dream

bluelights

I’m driving at night in my old neighborhood of Township Park. It’s very dark, almost pitch black. There is no moon light nor are there street lights or lights from any houses. The light from my headlights doesn’t seem to carry more than a few feet in front of me. It’s as if the darkness is absorbing all light. There is no sound either like the darkness was muffling and absorbing the sound too. The scene is quite eerie.

I’m driving north on Hardy Road, toward the park and the lake (Lake Erie). I turn right onto what I believe is Sycamore Drive. I can’t be sure because it’s difficult, if not impossible, to read the street signs. Down the road I can see the flashing blue lights of a Sheriff’s patrol car. As I slowly drive past it, I see no sign of a deputy. The patrol car is the only other vehicle I’ve seen.

After passing the patrol car, I turn right onto a side street which takes me deeper into the darkened neighborhood. I don’t know what street it is because I don’t remember the names of many of the side streets and I can’t read the street signs at the top of the sign posts. But I’m pretty sure that after a few turns I will be on Shady Lane which will lead me to Oakwood Boulevard, the street where I grew up.

I make a left turn onto what I believe is a street that will take in in the general direction of my childhood home but I find myself in what appears to be a small park. There are high-backed concrete benches all around me. There was nothing like this in the neighborhood when I was growing up here. I stop and I sit in the darkness. I feel completely lost in a place I once knew intimately.

 

A Brief Moment of Lucidity

I had an interesting dream on Sunday morning. It wasn’t so much the content of the dream, although it was a bit strange, but my consciousness in the dream. This was the first dream I can recall in which I noticed anomalies in the dream environment and came to the realization in the dream that I was dreaming.

This experience was quite different from other dreams I’ve remembered in that instead of a general awareness (maybe outside the dream) that I’m dreaming, I gained the awareness inside the dream, as my dream self. This may be kind of a break through for me. I wasn’t lucid for very long since I woke up very shortly after the realization. At least now I have a better idea of what to expect and, hopefully, I’ll maintain the lucidity a little longer next time.

The dream:
I’m in a large, open room. There are rows upon rows of men, each with an M-16 or some other automatic weapon. I am carrying an M-16 and I take my place a the end of a line. Someone at the front of the room calls everyone to attention. The we are told to commence firing. I drop down to a kneeling position and start firing my weapon. At first, I aim above the heads of the men at the front of the room but occasionally my rifle lowers so that they are directly in my line of fire. Then I notice that they are unaffected. Once again I begin shooting at the wall above them and I see that there are no signs of damage from the thousands of rounds hitting it. I also noticed that when I’ve emptied a magazine, I’ve fired many, many more rounds than the 20-round magazine will hold. I put in another magazine and continue shooting. I speculate that I’m shooting blanks but there is no blank adapter at the end of the barrel. I realize that I must be dreaming and I’m shooting harmless dream bullets. I also notice that there are no spent cartridges on the floor. Then I awaken.

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.