11-10-17 Update

Events I attended
On Friday night I watched half of the high school’s playoff game which, unfortunately, they lost. But I did get the see the band perform the half-time show in their Halloween costumes. Several members of the percussion section dressed as blind referees and one of them wandered around the field with a white cane.

On Saturday I got invited to a birthday party for one of my wife’s friends because there would be other husbands there who might need someone to talk to. We didn’t talk much, just watched a lot of college football, more football than I’d watched in a very long time. But there was plenty of good food, so that was a plus.

Then on Sunday we went to a farewell party for one of our Sayaw FilipinOH friends who returned to the Philippines today. She’s completed her studies here but she promised she’d be back. She’ll be missed.

What I’m reading
I’m still reading Dreams of Awakening by Charlie Morley though I haven’t devoted much time to it this week.

Project I’m working on
My aging desktop computer was showing signs of its obsolescence so I bit the bullet and did an upgrade. I found a refurbished desktop PC online and I drove down to the outskirts of Cincinnati to pick it up. Once I got it home, I went about adding more memory and loading Linux on it. I’ve got my data moved and I’m still working out a few issues with it. If there’s anything I’ve learned in 25 years of computer maintenance, it’s that there is no such thing as an easy upgrade. There’s always something that bites you in the ass.

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11-03-17 Update

What I’m reading
I’ve been reading Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep by Charlie Morley on my Kindle. It’s quite engaging, especially with its spiritual aspect (Tibetan Buddhism). I’m taking notes so it will probably take me a while.

Events I attended
On Friday, my wife, granddaughter and I attended the Philippine-American Association of Dayton’s Halloween party. I went as a monk. When asked what order I was from, I responded with “Out of Order” because no one seemed to get it when I answered “The Order of Gnostic Heretics.” I was worried that I might be asked to give the benediction. I had nothing prepared and anything I might have come up with probably would have considered blasphemous. Fortunately, I was not called upon. There were a lot of great costumes and lots of good food.

Things I’ve watched
I just started my free trial of Hulu and the first thing I watched was the first seven episodes of The Orville, a Star Trek like series created by Seth McFarlane. Other than that, I’m finding it difficult to find anything that seems to interest me. I have the same experience with Netflix.

Quotes I’m pondering

“The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.” ~ Rumi

“Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake.” ~ Carl Sagan

10-27-17 Update

What I’m reading
I finished my notes for Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple and began reading Charlie Morley’s first book, Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep. So far I’m finding it quite interesting, maybe it has something to do with his more spiritual (Tibetan Buddhism) perspective on the subject.

What I’ve been watching
I was sick one day this past week so I spent much of the day either in bed or a recliner watching the television, particularly Netflix. My daughter-in-law had recommended that I watch Sausage Party so I took advantage of the opportunity and viewed it. I’d probably seen a trailer for it on TV and I figured it was a CGI-animated frat-boy movie where a bunch of guys get drunk and try to get laid. It was nothing like that, nothing at all. I can’t really describe it yet I thoroughly enjoyed it – beliefs meet reality.

I also watched a series called Norsemen. Again, I didn’t quite know what to expect. The program description on Netflix – “The residents of an 8th-century Viking village experience political rivalry, social change and innovations that upend their culture and way of life.” – kind of led me to think it might be a documentary. It turned out to be a Norwegian sitcom and a very funny one at that. I later learned that when they filmed the series, they shot every scene twice, once in Norwegian and then again in English. I’m hoping Netflix will pick up the second season.

Quotes I’m pondering
“No costume that has ever been invented is equal in comfort to perfect nakedness.” ~ C. Crawford (1881)

“Lying naked on a beach is still a source of suspicion and contempt.” ~ Unknown

“The demand that we always wear clothing while in society causes at least four kinds of alienation: it alienates us from ourselves, from others, from nature, and from the Divine.” ~ Mark Storey

 

10-20-17 Update

What I’m been reading
Finished Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple by Robert Waggoner and I’m going back through the last few chapters to complete my notes. Next up will probably be Charlie Morley’s Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep.

What I’ve been watching
Last weekend I found Seasons 3 and 4 of Canada’s Worst Handyman on Netflix. Home improvement and DIY shows usually attract my interest although I often find them disappointing because many of the improvements done on these shows are done by professionals using professional equipment or are projects that are too expensive (usually requiring special tools or a fully equipped wood shop) for me to take on.

On this show they found five of the most inept handymen (and women) in Canada and bring them to a “Handyman Rehabilitation Center” where they are each given a room to fix up, doing various projects to complete that involve carpentry, plumbing, basic electrical work, flooring, and drywall. The host is accompanied by two experts who attempt to teach each would-be handyman how to do each project. The two experts also accomplish each assigned task themselves. Throughout the show, they monitor the contestants on closed-circuit TV to evaluate them. At the end of each episode, they choose the worst handyman and the most improved.

Each episode also has a group project where the most improved person from the previous episode is made the foreman for the project. On the last show of each season the contestants have to complete as many of the projects as they can.

As I watched this show, there were funny moments but I generally felt bad for these people and there were things they did that I found downright frightening. I did learn a few tricks I hadn’t known (from the experts, not the contestants). Having seen this program, I don’t feel quite so bad about my own skills as a handyman. I’m not a great handyman but I’m passable. I get things done (eventually). And I never use a sledge hammer to remove plumbing fixtures.

Projects I’ve been working on
I finally got around to tearing down the old shed in the corner of my backyard. I’m not going to admit how many years I’d been putting it off. I hauled away most of it. I still need to cut down the small forest the cropped up in one corner of it then tear up the floor and whatever remains of the structure. I’ve also got some other junk back there that needs to be removed.

Quotes I’ve been pondering
“Clothes seem like our natural covering, but they aren’t. A lot of the time we don’t need clothes, we’re just conditioned to think we do.” ~ Will Forest, Co-Ed Naked Philosophy

“Everyone needs to strip down now and then, to get naked and let the wind blow across bare skin, so that every last nerve ending feels exquisitely alive.” ~ Jeanette LeBlanc, Get Naked

State of Dreaming (10/12)

My efforts to have lucid dreams seem to have regressed lately. For a while I was regularly remembering my dreams, at least one nearly every night but now I seem to be remembering them less frequently and most of those I do recall seem to have fewer details and rather generic. I had a solid week where I didn’t remember any dreams or the dreams faded almost immediately upon waking.

I’ve reading Robert Waggoner’s Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple and taking a lot of notes. Since I’m reading it on a Kindle, it’s taking a while. In the book, he has some exercises that looked interesting.

One was a practice for the MILD technique in which you look at a recent dream, find a point in the dream which could have triggered lucid awareness, and rewrite the dream from that point as if you were lucidly aware in the dream. I chose to try it with the pool dream I had on September 20th. [State of Dreaming (9/22)]. The main difference between the dream and the rewrite was that in the dream I just found myself in the air with the others while in the rewrite I had become lucid and chose to fly up there. I was only able to rewrite it as far as the original dream went. I was at a loss as to how I would have moved the dream forward.

Another exercise from the book was an exercise to find symbolism and meaning in dream objects. The exercise was to review the written dream, list all the nouns and then, next to each noun, write three descriptive words or short phrases. Then I rewrote the dream, replacing the nouns with the descriptive words. The results were interesting.

On a couple of occasions I tried a technique from the book called “Countdown to Lucidity.” This is a technique that can be used when you’re already drowsy or have awaken in the middle of the night. You close your eyes and begin counting: “One, I am dreaming. Two, I am dreaming. Three, I am dreaming.” And so on. So far, I haven’t had any success with this technique. I first tried it one afternoon when I felt drowsy after reading and decided I’d try to take a nap. I’d counted up to over 400 before deciding that it wasn’t working.

That same night I tried it again after having woken up around 1AM. I fell asleep sometime after passing 100 but didn’t recall any dreams other than a dream that occurred about five hours later.

This morning I set an alarm to wake me up early so I could attempt a WILD and used the countdown technique to get back to sleep after being awake for about half an hour. After reaching 100, I stopped and drifted off to sleep normally. The only dream I recalled was one I had just before my alarm went off.

On the other hand, I’ve made progress in my meditation practice and have been meditating twice a day. Aside from my meditation, I find the shower to be a good place for contemplation. I’ve been reading the online magazine, Lucid Dreaming Experience, and found some articles about surrendering to the lucidity in a lucid dream or the awareness behind the dream. That got me to thinking about my concept of surrender. In Western culture, surrender is seen as giving up, admitting defeat, or relinquishing control through demand or compulsion. In many Eastern philosophies, such as yoga and Buddhism, surrender often means willingly submitting to a divine power, a higher consciousness, or the Inner Self. I prefer the Eastern connotation but I’m a product of Western culture. Maybe I need to reword my intentions to reflect a willingness to accept the gifts and blessings of the Inner Self or the Greater Awareness.

Letting go is another concept I have trouble with. It seems to imply loss because when I let go of something (an object, an idea, a belief, a habit), I no longer have it. It seems that having “something” is empowering, even if that something no longer serves me, holds me back, or may be harmful or toxic. I’m still working with that one.

09-29-17 Update

What I’m reading
I’m reading Lucid Dreaming Plan and Simple by Robert Waggoner. I’m taking notes as I read so it’s going to take me a while. It’s his second book on lucid dreaming but the book I probably should have read first. Oh, well.

Projects
This week I trimmed trees and other plant life in my backyard as well as in my son’s backyard. On Thursday morning I hauled three truck loads of branches to the city’s’ yard waste site before they closed. I still have at least one more load left. I haven’t decided whether to wait until Thursday when the city’s site is open again or to load it up and haul to the county facility on the other side of the county. At least most people don’t tailgate me when I’m hauling a load of brush down the interstate through downtown Dayton. Of coarse, there’s always one idiot out there.

Events attended
It’s homecoming week here and I happen to live on the route for the homecoming parade. I’ve also got two grandchildren in the marching band. The homecoming game was this evening and I worked behind the scenes in the concession booth during the first half of the game. The game was sold out so I was busy. I spent two hours popping and boxing popcorn, dispensing fried chicken in cups, and handing out slices of pizza. My son and I finished our shift just before half-time. We watched the half-time festivities but  since it was homecoming and alumni night, the band didn’t do their usual show because they had a lot of alumni marching with them. Afterward, we decided to leave early and avoid the inevitable traffic jams.

This week’s quote:
“If there’s nothing wrong with me maybe there’s something wrong with the Universe.”
~ Dr. Beverly Crusher, Star Trek TNG: Remember Me

09-22-17 Update

What I’m reading
I furnished reading Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self by Robert Waggoner. I read it on my Kindle and I took a lot of notes, especially when it came to tips and techniques. Now I’m starting his second book, Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple. I’m hoping to learn more and have lucid dreams.

Projects I’m working on
The weather was nice this week so I concentrated on outdoor projects. I spent a couple of days edging the driveway and the sidewalks, a task that I’ve neglected for a couple of years.

Events attended
High school football game on Friday night. I’ve come to enjoy watching athletic events at this level although I’m primarily there for the marching band. It’s great to see these kids playing music and thoroughly enjoying what they’re doing. They put on a good half-time show but I look forward to when they take the field after the game and really boogie down. It used to be an impromptu thing where the percussionists would take to the field and start jamming while the rest of the band would dance to the beat they laid down. This year it’s a bit more organized. The band forms up and plays a couple of numbers with perhaps a bit more improvisation than allowed for the half-time show. It’s worth hanging around after the football team has left the field.

On Saturday, my wife attended a mass for Our Lady of Peñafrancia at a Catholic church in Dayton while I sat in the church basement reading a book. I probably could have dropped her off and gone back home but I knew there would plenty of food afterward. Food is central to any Filipino gathering.

On Sunday we attended a picnic for the local Philippine-American Society (Phil-Am) annual elections. Of course, there was plenty of food. I overheard one of the organizer commenting about so many people bringing food after being told the the Phil-Am would be providing it. In the Filipino community most feel that they need to contribute something and to share it with others.

Quote I’m pondering
“Questioning our own motives, and our own process, is critical to a skeptical and scientific outlook. We must realize that the default mode for human psychology is to grab onto comforting beliefs for purely emotional reasons, and then justify those beliefs to ourselves with post-hoc rationalizations.” ~ Dr. Steven Novella