For What It’s Worth



Dreaming Update (9/15)

Lately, I haven”t been remembering many dreams and what I do remember seem to be small isolated fragments with only a few details. I’ve also noticed that the dreams I remember aren’t as vivid as they were a month or so ago. I still haven’t had a lucid dream.

Looking over my dream journals, I’ve noticed a general lack of continuity in my dreams. There are a few general themes that come up fairly often but most of the time they have few common or recurring elements. That’s even true of dreams that fall into one those themes. I don’t recall ever having having recurring dreams.

My meditation practice has been becoming more regular over the past month or so and I’ve been doing at least one session a day and two a day is my goal. I’d been doing a mantra meditation but for the past week or so I’ve been doing a simple Vipassana (mindfulness) practice which seems to be working well for me. From what I’ve gathered from guided Vipassana meditations and what I’ve read online, I see to be on the right track. The hope is that this meditation practice will increase my mindfulness and awareness while awake and carry over into the dream state.

During meditation I usually hear a continuous high-frequency tone in my head. Actually, the tone seems to be always there, I’m just more aware of it when I’m meditating and at other times the mind is quiet. I’m not sure what it is but it’s been there for as long as I can remember. Another phenomena that occurred frequently during mantra meditation but not so much in Vipassana, was a vision of swirling, red cloud-like shapes behind my eyelids. It’s like watching clouds float across the sky while looking through a red filter.

This afternoon I laid down for a nap. I covered my eyes with a towel folded over several times to block out some of the light and I mentally repeated “When I dream I will see my hands and realize I’m dreaming.” I was hoping that maybe I would have a lucid dream. I can’t say for sure whether I slept but a couple or hours later I was still mentally repeating it.

I seemed to be very much aware of the tone in my head the entire time. Could that tone be some kind of a mental barrier or white noise created by my mind to block conscious access to my unconscious? That’s an interesting thought. I’ve been hearing the tone a lot today even when I’m not resting or in meditation.

09-15-17 Update

What I’m reading
I’ve barely touched my Kindle in the past week. I’m still in Chapter 18 (last chapter) of Lucid Dreams: Gateway to the Inner Self.  I’ve been reading articles from the online magazine Lucid Dreaming Experience and YouTube videos about lucid dreaming.

Events I attended
I attended the high school’s home game on Friday. My son and I worked at the concession stand for most of the first half of the game. It’s something that band parents have to do to support their kids in the making band and since he has two kids in the band this year, he’s expected to “volunteer” twice as much so I help him out and work the concessions with him. We were done with out shift before half-time so we were able to see the band perform. I missed the school’s annual band festival on Saturday due to another family event but they have another home game this Friday.

On Saturday my wife and I attended my niece’s wedding. It was a nice outdoor ceremony held at a wedding pavilion located in a scenic rural area just north of where I live. Since all my sisters and I were in attendance along with my father and a nephew and his wife, my sister (mother of the bride) decided that a family picture would be included in that standard wedding party pictures. It’s not that often we all get together. My brother didn’t make the trip but my nephew stood in for him.

The reception was held in the pavilion itself which open-air but screened. The catered meal was pretty good. It was nice to talk with my nephew and I’m sure he felt likewise since I’m about the only one in the family with whom he feels he can have an intelligent conversation.

Miscellaneous happenings
This week two aggravations disappeared from my life. The neighbor’s crabapple tree was cut down so there will be no more crab apples or the other associated filth from that tree raining down on my driveway. Now I’m waiting for someone to cut down the neighbor’s tree that’s leaning against my fence.

The other thing to disappear from my life was the 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix that had been sitting next to the house for the last 10 months. It had been my grandson’s car until he bought one on his own (sort of since I co-signed the loan). I had to use jumper cables to charge the battery and get it started. Yesterday afternoon my daughter-in-law sold it. I was relieved to have it out of my driveway.

Quote I’m pondering
“Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.” ~ William James

09-08-17 Update

What I’m reading
I took a short break from Lucid Dreams: Gateway to the Inner Self and read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. It was a nice change of pace and a pleasant diversion. I found the play script to be quite engaging yet, in some ways, a bit disappointing.

In many places I got the feeling that in some of the “alternate realities” some of the characters didn’t quite ring true. Being a play script, the back stories are left to the the reader, actor, and director to interpret and fill in whereas in a novel, the author, more often than not, fills in the details.

There also seemed to be “facts” that didn’t line up with the history from the books and movies. I realize that the films often deviated from the novels and I can’t always place in which medium the events took place. One instance is that Cursed Child has Bellatrix LeStrange in Azkaban but in The Deathly Hallows, (book and movie) Molly Weasley kills her in the Battle of Hogwarts. There is also the matter of the Polyjuice potion. In Chamber of Secrets, it takes Hermione at least a month the create the potion and it tastes incredibly foul while in Curse Child, it’s readily made and the taste, while unpleasant, is palatable. I’m not by any means a Potter-geek but ever I noticed these aberrations.

Probably the one thing that stuck with me with this story was the dangers of using time travel to correct mistakes in the past. If we could change things in the past, we can’t know the ramifications that will result. In my reading, I saw a line about “infecting time” that I have not been able to locate again. That line, resonates well with my own thoughts about the potential consequences of traveling in time. I’m opposed to the idea. I think the past has played out just as it was supposed to but in the present moment we make choices that shape our future.

In Lucid Dreams: Gateway to the Inner Self I’m in the last chapter. I read the chapter on interacting with the deceased earlier in the week. I found that chapter quite intriguing and the possibility of making contact with long passed ancestors is exciting. The chapter talked about how religious beliefs or beliefs about an afterlife may be obstacles but I have had a few experiences in the years since my mother’s passing that have hopefully left me open to the possibilities.

Project I’ve been working on
I finally got around to making the step-stool that my wife had been asking me to build for months. I made it the correct height for her and now I just need to put a protective coating on it and finish it up. It’s no masterpiece but it does the job but she’s happy with it. If she’s happy, I”m happy.

Quote I’ve been pondering
“Your religious beliefs should never be imposed upon anyone, including yourself. ” ~ R.B. Romig

Weekend plans
Tonight I’m scheduled to work the concession stand that the high school football game with my son. He has two kids in the marching band this year and band parents are obligated to pitch in and I’m helping him out. With any luck I’ll be able to see them perform at half-time.

I’ll miss seeing them perform on Saturday at the 50th Anniversary Half-Time USA Marching Band Festival because I’ll be attending my niece’s wedding. I always try to attend the band festival. It’s a chance to see my grandchildren perform (and this year will be the only year they’re both in the band) and it’s a chance to see other high school marching bands strut their stuff. It’s not a competition but a showcase for the bands. It’s an enjoyable evening watching a lot of talented high school kids perform. Not everything has to be a competition.

08-25-17 Update

Event attended
This past Saturday my 45th high school reunion. It was a small, low-key affair held at a local Italian bistro. I’d estimate that maybe 40 out of about 325 graduates (yearbook count). We had a larger turnout at the Class 60th birthday party three years ago (about 85). We’ve been having annual gatherings since then.

Until the 60th birthday bash, I hadn’t attended any reunions. I was overseas when they had the 10th and 20th reunions. I tried to make it to the 25th but something came up. I’m not sure there were plans for the 30th and 40th reunions.

Truth is, I lost track of my classmates almost immediately after graduation. Other than having gone to school with them for 6 to 12 years, I didn’t feel that I had that much in common with them. After 45 years, that really hasn’t changed much. I’m not particularly nostalgic and I view different periods of my life as chapters in my life story. Sometimes characters make cameo appearances in later chapters.

My life since high school hasn’t been anything I could have imagined while in high school. Nor can I imagine my life if I had not left my hometown. All I can be sure of is that it would have been quite different. I’m grateful for the life I’ve had and the blessings I now enjoy are a result of path I chose long ago. Would I have done some things differently or made different choices. In hindsight, maybe. But every choice I’ve made, good or bad, has led me to where I am now. Who can say how any deviation from that path might have altered my present? I really don’t see any purpose in pondering that. In some ways I’m much the same as I was then but in many other ways I’ve evolved and grown so the last 45 years haven’t been wasted.

What I’m reading
Still working my way through Lucid Dreams: Gateway to the Inner Self. I think I’m at the beginning of chapter 16. I still haven’t experienced a lucid dream but I’ve had some unusual dreams in the last couple of weeks. I’ve read that taking 100mg of vitamin B6 before bed can lead to more vivid colorful dreams. I had a vivid experience the first night I tried it but haven’t noted any effects since then. I’m not even sure that one experience was a dream as I seemed to be aware that I was awake with my eyes closed. I’ve also begun to transform my sporadic meditation practice into a part of my daily routine.

Quote I’m pondering
“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.” ~ Unknown

Most people like the idea of freedom but, in reality, freedom scares the shit out of them and they resent or even hate those who choose to be free. When you are free you have to think critically, think for yourself, and take responsibility for your actions. Most are not ready or willing to do those things. Far too many people are content with others granting or withdrawing their freedom as if it was some kind of privilege. Freedom is not a privilege; it is your birthright! You were born to be free.

Weird Images

This occurred early this morning.

I don’t think this was a dream but it was dreamlike. Before bed I took 100mg B6. A short while later I went bed and listened to a 61 points of light relaxation exercise then a 30-minute binaural audio track. While listening the binaural track, I repeated my intentions to remember my dream, to know in a dream that I was dreaming, and to see me hands and become lucid.

I must have drifted off to sleep. Around 1:30 AM I became aware that I was no longer asleep. My eyes were closed, I was aware that I felt warm and was lying atop the bedsheets. I could also hear the air conditioner when it kicked on. I don’t recall waking from a dream though that’s possible and I didn’t remember the dream.

Random images began to appear in my mind. They were mostly swirls of dark colors – red, green, brown, black – and they seemed to be kind of hallucinogenic or psychedelic, like how you see an acid trip portrayed on TV. Occasionally, there would be more cohesive images which seemed to be centered around the New York Central railroad trestle in my hometown.

I suspected that these images might be hypnagogic or hypnopomic and I might be on the verge of falling back asleep so I tried to repeat my intentions but the words would be replaced by these images. When I would repeat the intention to see my hands when I was in a dream, sometimes I’d see my hands though not clearly and they seemed to be detached from my body (almost like a ghost image). The image of my hands would attempt the fingers through the palm reality check but the fingers wouldn’t pass through.

I finally decided that I wasn’t going to fall asleep so I wrote it down in my dream journal notebook. My handwritten account is a bit out of order so I put it in a more chronological organization as I transcribed it into my digital dream journal.

The railroad trestle has some significance in that in April 1973 some friends and I walked across the trestle after my friend’s car broke down and we parked it at an abandoned gas station near the railroad tracks. We followed the tracks and walked across the trestle to get to the house of my friend’s brother.

This was the first time I’d tried taking B6 before bed. I’ve read the B6 can be helpful for more vivid lucid dreams. Probably less significant is that in the last couple of days, I’ve been having more WTF moments in waking reality than I usually do.

08-11-17 Update

What I’m reading
I’m still reading Lucid Dreams: Gateway to the Inner Self. I’m a little halfway through the book, having just finished Chapter 13: Healing Yourself and Others. Once I get the hang of lucid dreaming, this is something I eventually want to investigate.

I’ve also been browsing back issues of the Lucid Dreaming Experience and listening to YouTube videos. I’m absorbing a lot of information and I hope I’m not getting overloaded.

I used to only remember a dream once every month or so and now I remember at least one dream almost every night so that’s progress. The habit of reality checks hasn’t become ingrained yet but I’m working on that. I’ve had a couple of dreams lately that contained dream signs that should have alerted me that I was dreaming. Before going to sleep I’m trying to set an intent to have a lucid dream but nothing yet.

Quote I’m pondering
“Both dreams and myths are important communications from ourselves to ourselves. If we do not understand the language in which they are written, we miss a great deal of what we know and tell ourselves in those hours when we are not busy manipulating the outside world.” ~ Erich Fromm