I’ve recently taken an interest in lucid dreaming, especially its potential as a tool in exploring consciousness, investigating the psyche, and gaining psychological insights. In beginning this practice it’s useful to know the landscape of one’s dreams so I’ve begun keeping a dream journal to record my dreams. Additionally, I’ve been going through my personal journal in which I’ve recorded remembered dreams over the years and transcribed them in dream journals. In the process I came across a dream about my mother I had a couple of years ago and it brought to mind a couple of other experiences I’ve had since her passing.

Since she left her body on 21 May 2008, I’ve had several moments when she has touched me in in a significant way. These moments don’t confirm any particular belief in life after death, an afterlife, rebirth or reincarnation, but they touched me deeply, nonetheless. I don’t subscribe to any religious persuasion nor do I consider myself particularly spiritual. However, I am open to such possibilities and I strongly suspect that there is something that lies beyond our range of perception and our concepts of conventional waking reality.

The first two events are extracted from my Padawan Yogi blog (no longer online) and the third is from a dream I had and is extracted with notes from my dream journal.

Chants for Ma Kirtan
Sun, 08 May 2011

Michael and Melissa led a wonderful Chants for Ma Mothers’ Day Kirtan this morning. I’ve enjoyed the energy of the kirtans I’ve attended but this simple kirtan really moved me in a profound way. The first chant, Jai Ma, opened something inside me and a lot of feelings and emotions came to the surface. I had tears on my cheeks and my voice was breaking. It’s hard to describe but it was powerful and intense. At the time I wasn’t able to identify the feelings, it was just raw emotion. Looking back I can only guess the predominant feelings were love and loss. Even several hours after the kirtan, the intensity had ebbed but the feelings still weighed heavily on my heart.

My mother passed on three years ago this month and on Mothers’ Day she was going through the process of dying so I guess I’m always going to have that association with the day. The kirtan obviously triggered something inside me and brought it to the surface. Maybe I’d been holding them in for the past three years and they needed to come out.

03-17-2013 Meditation & Yoga
Sun, 17 Mar 2013

My practice since injuring my shoulder in October has been sporadic and it shows. My pranayama, asana and meditation practices have all shown obvious signs of neglect. Now with spring coming and my shoulder almost fully recovered , along with a couple of good sessions, I’m feeling motivated to get my sadhana back on track. My good friend and teacher, Melissa, will be leading a week-long spring detox next month and the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that I should do it. Hopefully, I’ll have more success than I had with the fall detox. If I can at least become semi-competent at making kitcheri, I should do alright.

I had a good home practice yesterday. Parts of it were challenging but I worked my edge and it felt good. For the first time in nearly five months, I was able to do Savasana in relative comfort without placing a blanket or something under my head. It seems strange that a pose like Savasana would give me such difficulty. I’m happy that my shoulder is finally almost healed. It’s not 100 percent yet but it’s getting close.

This morning I made the effort to make it to Melissa’s guided meditation class and her hatha yoga class at Day Yoga Studio. They were my first Sunday classes with her since she stopped holding them at S.W.O.R.D. back in September. I found that, while I enjoy classes by other teachers, I really missed Melissa’s classes. Her Sunday mediation and yoga classes will be a priority.

This morning’s meditation was a heart meditation using visualization, drawing in what you wanted to bring into your life and releasing that which you wanted to let go of. I have a little trouble imagining the process she describes but often, into the meditation, a vision will form. I saw white, fluffy clouds and in one cloud there was a hole through which I could see bright blue sky. Occasionally, I could see a refracted ray of sunshine on the edge of the hole. I don’t know if this has any significance or how it relates to the meditation, but that’s what appeared to me.

In the time between the meditation and the asana class, I rested in Supta Baddha Konasana, resting my shoulder blades and the back of my head on blocks. I find it quite relaxing along with being a nice hip opener, back bend, and heart opener. It turned out that she would have us start the class reclined either on a bolster or on blocks.

The class itself was challenging, keeping me at my edge. No particular pose or sequence stands out; it was all good. Again, Savasana was quite comfortable and without props.

Toward the end of Savasana, thoughts about death popped up. They were mostly about deaths in my family, particularly my mother and my paternal grandmother. One thought that came up was that my mother’s atman had either been reborn or was about to be and the body she occupied was (or would be) nearby. There was another recent death that appeared in my thoughts. It wasn’t anyone I knew personally but her unfortunate and random death in Afghanistan had touched my heart. I acknowledged the thoughts and let them go.

It was nice to talk to Melissa for a few moments after each class about my shoulder injury and my practice. She has always been one of my favorite teachers and I’ve learned so much from her.

30 June 2015 Dream
I see my mother and give her a hug. While hugging her I feel a sensation of unconditional love, untainted by any feelings of sadness, grief, or loss. I felt that I had transcended to a higher level of consciousness.

Notes: The dream resonated with me for several days afterward. I found it interesting that in the dream and when reflecting upon it later I felt no sadness or grief. If anything, I felt a sense of relief and it may have signaled an official end to my grieving.

See also: Ninth year remembrance


Dreaming of a White Easter

Today’s Quote: “The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for the deliverance from fear. It is the storm within that endangers him, not the storm without.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

No, I haven’t disappeared from the face of the Earth. I’ve just been busy, bored, depressed, or away. Or I may have not have had anything to say. Some people post because they have something to say, others because they have to say something. I think I fall in the somewhere in the middle, slightly to the left of center.

So, what’s happened n the last week? At work I was busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest but I can’t say that I actually accomplished much. I successfully maneuvered through the minefield that is TriCare Online and made an appointment for my annual physical exam, only to go back and cancel the Friday appointment and reschedule it for Monday. Friday afternoon, I got a call from the clinic and rescheduled it for next Friday. What a great birthday present — a finger up my ass! (At least it’ll be lubricated for a change.) I’ve got a lot going on that day. I hope the doctor won’t be too surprised if my blood pressure is up a bit.

Thursday night I journeyed north through the snow. Why does it always snow when I head up there in April? My mom had her dialysis site moved because the old site was pretty messed up by all the infections she’s had there. She was supposed to come home the same day but her surgeon was concerned about bleeding from the old site so they kept her there overnight. When I saw her on Saturday morning, she looked pretty good, all things considered. The old site was no longer bleeding/oozing and she was alert. I spoke with my dad this morning; they finally left the hospital around 8:30 last night. It’s as difficult to get released from a hospital as it is to get released from jail. I drove through several snow squalls on the return trip as well.

Our family Easter gathering was a very pleasant affair. The dinner was delicious although there are some Easter traditions that puzzle me. I understand about chocolate bunnies and colored eggs; they have their origins in the pagan fertility rites that were appropriated  by the Church in their efforts to Christianize the pagans. What I don’t quite understand is why we eat ham on the day we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was a Jew. Like so many other holiday traditions, I’m sure it’s origins are pagan rather than Christian. Or it couldn’t have completely secular. Maybe some clever butcher was trying to sell a lot of ham around Easter. There are many ideas we attribute to our religious beliefs whose origins are purely economic.

Milk Bath

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (And The Shopping’s Not Done)

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Giddy-Up-A-Ding-Dong

Today’s Quote: “God bless us, every one!” said Tiny Tim, the last of all. ( A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)

Happy Birthday Number 3 to my favorite granddaughter, Abigail! Happy Birthday, Princess.

My Christmas shopping seems incomplete but, alas, I’ve run out of time. That, added to my usual cluelessness, makes me feel as though I’m a woefully inadequate Christmas shopper. I went to Target late this afternoon but I was unable to find a worthy gift. There was a bit extra in yesterday’s paycheck so next week so I’m planning to give our vehicles the gift of much needed oil changes.

My mother went into the hospital yesterday evening. When she went to her dialysis session in the morning, the place where they hook her up was infected and looking pretty bad. The doctor had my dad take her to the hospital and she had surgery this afternoon to set up another hook-up place. I’m told that the infection was localized and didn’t spread. With antibiotics, it will heal. She’s got to be running out of places they can put a dialysis hook-up. I also have to wonder why the people at the dialysis center didn’t notice anything before. An infection like that doesn’t get that bad all of a sudden; someone there should have noticed redness or something in that area on Wednesday or Monday. But anyway, her surgery went well. The doctor is keeping her there over night and she’ll be home in time for Christmas dinner. Now there’s a scary image — my father cooking Christmas dinner. Well, three of my sisters are up there so I’m sure they’ll be taken care of.

It looks as though it’s going to be a white Christmas with patches of brown. I, for one, am not complaining about the warmer temperatures or the melting snow. I can dream of a white Christmas but if I don’t get one, that’s okay. I’ll live with it.

Where did the weekend go?

The Beatles (George Harrison) – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Today’s Quote: “How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.” — Anais Nin (1903-1977)

Another weekend has either faded into oblivion or history, depending on how you look at it. The only eventful happening was dinner at my sister’s house. My folks were visiting, accompanied by another sister. It was good to see them and get caught up on the family news and gossip.

Mom is holding steady. She hadn’t had an episode in almost a week. A couple of times last weekend she was totally out of it for a few moments then she was, as the English say, right as rain. It was probably a momentary lack of oxygen to the brain. She recovered but Laura says each time it happens, brain damage occurs. The disease is starting to take over even more than before. It’s a matter of time; no one knows how much time she has. We hope she’ll make it through the holidays.

Is that what awaits me in 20 years?

A good day

Jonathan Edwards – Sunshine

Today’s Quote: “Sometimes I like to run naked in the moonlight and the wind, on a little trail behind out house, when the honeysuckle blooms. It’s a feeling of freedom, so close to God and nature.” — Dolly Parton

I took the other half and eventually the pain subsided enough so I could sleep. Apparently, the sleep was good. The pain, while not gone, is tolerable and my blood pressure this morning was near normal (for the first time in 10 days).

Except for the occasional flash of pain today was a pretty good day. I got plenty of fresh air and exercise, and I worked up a good sweat. And to top it off, I had two good blood pressure readings. I talked to my mother this morning and she was having a good day. I can only think of a couple of things that could make the day better but I’m not going to get my hopes up.

And I thought it was muggy here

Cat Stevens – Miles From Nowhere

The trip up to the ancestral stomping grounds was pretty good, except for the humidity; it was damned near suffocating. I don’t remember it being that humid when I was growing up there. Maybe it wasn’t. It had rained every night for the past week and everyday had been overcast. But it was nice to take a break and see the folks. My mother seemed to having good days lately, which is a good thing.

My dad never fails to surprise me. We watched Thelma and Louise on Saturday night. I was surprised he sat through it. I hadn’t seen it before and it had more action than I expected too. At the end of the movie, he made his usual movie comment — “Piss poor ending.” It’s rare that he likes the way a movie ends.

I visited some dead relatives in two cemeteries in Madison. I didn’t find everyone I was looking for. After I got back home and checked the tombstone inscriptions, I found the ones I missed were in the section next to the one I was looking in. If I’d only crossed the driveway. Oh well, now I have a reason to revisit that cemetery on my next trip.

Sold my soul

Jethro Tull – My God

Today’s quotes:
“You can pretend to be serious; you can’t pretend to be witty.” — Sacha Guitry (1885-1957)
“No Sane man will dance.” — Cicero (106-43 B.C.)

That’s right, I sold my soul to the Devil. Satan didn’t appear before me, offering me power and riches. There was no contract signed in blood. Satan is much more subtle than that. He purchased my soul on the installment plan, buying it in easy monthly payments over several years, almost without me realizing it. For every Visa and MasterCard purchase we make, Satan receives points and credits, which he can redeemed towards the purchase of my soul. Isn’t that special?

There are only 22 days remaining until the first of the two most important days of the year. As usual, I haven’t a clue. Nor do I have the means to purchase one. I do have an idea, a dangerous idea that borders on being practical. I may be going out on a limb with it and I hope I don’t chop it off behind me.

I’m not sure why but I feel a bit better today. It’s warm outside so I bathed my trusty steeds. I’m sure they appreciated that. While I was obtaining new wiper blades for her chariot, I got myself some new underwear and a new hat. Having new underwear tends to give one a sense of well-being. I think I read that somewhere but then again, I may have just made it up.

My mother is home again. I guess they didn’t keep her overnight this time. She sounded pretty good. I just hope it will be quite a bit longer before she has to go in again.

I’d better eat a good dinner tonight because I have to fast. I have a physical exam on Tuesday morning but the doctor wants me to get the blood work done ahead of time. I’m going to feel so hungry tomorrow.