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Friday, April 4, 2008

A Dream Narration

This dream brought me an enduring peace. I am now 65 years old, and early one Spring morning in 1968 when I was 25, I watched as a fairly lengthy lucid dream unfolded. I can still recall it in detail though this is the first time I've written it down. At the time I was finishing a masters degree at Cornell and living in Prof Frank Rosenblatt's farmhouse commune near Brooktondale, 5 miles out in the countryside.

At the point where the dream became lucid, that is, when I became aware I was dreaming and watched it unfold, I was walking leisurely and emptymindedly along a beach similar to Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Ahead of me, maybe a quarter mile ahead, crossing the beach was a 60" sewer pipe carried on pilings, sloping out into the ocean, and disappearing below the surface about 200 yards out. Continuing to walk along the beach at the edge of the surf, I noticed that the water was gradually receding, and when I reached the sewer pipe I turned right and followed the receding ocean. I was wearing a navy pea jacket in the cold fog, but now with the increased exertion I began to sweat, and so I took the jacket off and hung it on one of the piers, to pick it up on the way back.

Continuing to follow the receding ocean, I saw up ahead aways that there was a sudden drop off, a very small cliff in the sand, about a 4ft drop. It was crumbling up toward me, and when it passed under my feet I dropped down with the collapsing sand, and at that moment suddenly "woke up" from my emptymindedness (though still in the dream) and realized that this was a TIDAL WAVE in progress, that after the water drew out a certain distance, it was going to come crashing back in as a massive wall of water, and that I had better head for high ground, fast! So I turned around and scrambled back up the crumbling 4ft embankment, striding up the wet sand to reach the dry beach, then up the beach to the base of a 30ft bluff, and finally up a foot path to the top of the bluff. But even this height would be inundated by the tidal wave, I thought, so needing to get further inland I continued my brisk walk and soon encountered groups of people coming this way, toward me and the beach, chattering among themselves.

Evidently they had heard radio reports of the immanent tidal wave, and out of curiosity were coming to the beach to witness it. I tried to warn them that it was dangerous, that they would be swept away by the wave, to turn around, to go back. But they were murmuring among themselves as if in sleepwalk, and didn't seem to be able to hear my voice, and they continued en masse in the direction of the beach. Just then I remembered that I had left my pea jacket on the pier, and for an instant thought about going back to get it, but the urgency of the situation made that impossible, so I continued my resolute walk against the flow of the sleepwalking and murmuring crowd.

Now the crowd began to get thinner, and also I was far enough away from the beach and the danger, nevertheless I went on walking in the same direction and on up into the low hills. At this point the dream ended and I woke up. The room was starting to get light in the dawn, but I was thinking, "Hey, that's not the end of the dream! What happened after that? I want to see more," and I dropped back into sleep and the dream continued.

Now I reached the top of the hill, and below me was a small valley and then a somewhat higher hill on the far side. This pattern repeated itself over and over, maybe six times: climbing the hill, reaching the ridge top, only to see below me a valley and on the far side another higher hill. The valleys were getting higher and more rugged too, and each time I needed to descend from the ridge top and cross the valley before starting to climb once more. I was getting tired from all this walking, and so felt a big letdown when upon reaching the latest ridge top, I saw in front of me an especially wide and flat valley, and way way off in the distance a tall range of snow-capped mountains. But what could I do? I sighed and began the descent, then crossed the long flat valley, then climbed, climbing, climbing, coming at last to a high rocky icy pass, and a view beyond, a vista opening before me, a warm sunny pastoral valley, incredibly beautiful and colorful, at the sight of which my heart filled with happiness. And at that point I woke up the second time, and this ending was satisfying, very much so. The feeling of joy lasted for days, the peace and contentment. I attended classes and worked on the masters thesis in the library, accompanied by memories of the dream.

As to the meaning of the dream, I felt that somehow it was showing me the future of my life and that the end of the dream coincided with the end of my life. Beyond that, and as to the earlier parts and details, the meaning wasn't apparent to me and so I just let it be, put it in the back of my mind, didn't try to analyze it. But somewhere I had read, or maybe had heard from somebody, that for this type of lucid dream to manifest its meaning usually takes about one year. While not knowing if this were true or not, it seemed plausible enough, and so I put it out of my consciousness and went on with life.

1 comment:

Doko said...

This story reminds me of the evening Gatha.