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.

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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.

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