Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘waking’

Dreaming.*oil on canvas.*128,5 x 201,2 cm.*1860.*signed b.r.: J. Israels

Dreaming – Jozef Israels 1860

The way of the West does not suit the dreaming life. Indeed, we do everything we can to suppress any intrusion of unconscious influence into waking experience. Instead, we work, we party, we spend long hours in front of our devices, numbing our minds with junk images, junk tasks, and junk narratives. When a dream does pierce the blank wall of our materialism, we dismiss it. It was just a dream, we tell ourselves. But what if that dream could tell us something useful we didn’t already know? It would make sense to listen, wouldn’t it?

When the analytical psychologist, Carl Jung visited Africa in 1925, he was interested in studying the dreams of isolated tribesmen, but to his surprise he was told by a medicine man he didn’t dream any more. After the Colonial powers came, he said, everything changed, “that dreams were no longer needed, because the English knew everything.”*

That a people could use their dreams to guide their lives seems primitive to the rational mind. Yet anyone who has sat down with a big dream, say the morning after they have dreamed it, cannot help but be affected by it. A big dream can colour the entire day and provide an emotional undertone that’s hard to shake. Some dreams we remember all our lives. That they can be so powerful suggests that to dismiss them is to lose our connection with important aspect of living.

The art of dreaming is not taught. You have to listen to other dreamers, read their books, sort the wheat from the chaff, and just do the best you can. But it’s inevitable, when we do stumble into a dream, we no longer have the sophistication we once had to deal with them properly. It is difficult to accept for a start we did not create the dream ourselves, that we are the dream’s guest, that the dream is the landscape on which we walk, its characters the fragmentary but autonomous denizens who can help or hinder us on our way. Only by accepting this can we play our proper part as pilgrim and, come morning, reflect usefully on the experience.

It’s natural for one interested in dreaming to want to push the boundaries. To whit, the Rolls Royce of dreaming is said to be the lucid dream where we enter the night-land fully conscious. Then we can make of it a playground, and all the characters we meet there our play-things. But my intuitions warn against the lucid path, and I consider myself fortunate I have never been able to dream lucidly.

Enthusiastic reports from lucid dreamers tell us we can take the dream over and have a hell of a time, flying about and having the best sex ever with whomever we can dream up. But that’s like colonizing the dream world, and then, like the bushmen in Jung’s day, our dreams become mere husks and psychologically useless, because the Ego, like the Englishman, knows everything.

Still, that the lucid dreamers have established such doors are open to human experience suggests a greater role for the dream than we give credit for, but we should tread carefully. The dream is no place for the crass, hedonistic tourist. But if we have lost our way with dreaming, or worse, if we have lost our way with sleeping, the techniques of the lucid dreamers can help enormously.

We close our eyes. What do we see? Do we see nothing? Look again.

The darkness behind closed eyes is not complete. It is grainy, speckled with colour. There are pale areas, like clouds, and they drift in the midnight blue. Deprived of visual stimulation, the mind idles with pattern. But if we can focus the inner eye upon them, the patterns will take on more recognizable forms. We do not willingly imagine these forms into being. They are entirely spontaneous and will show themselves if we allow it. They will be indistinct at first but, with practice, we can develop an inner vision that is capable of staggering clarity and detail.

At some point, say the lucid dreamers, the entire field of vision becomes active and detailed, and we can simply step into it at the point consciousness falls away. This has never worked for me. I am asleep long before this happens, and that’s fine. I prefer to lose my self-awareness and be of the dream rather than consciously in it. But as a way into sleep when the mind is otherwise resistant, this is a powerful method. I also find the dreams more vivid, and more easily remembered on waking.

We are alive at a time of deepening world crises. Without the counsel of dreams our mental well-being depends upon whether we really do trust the English to know everything. And if not, then where do we turn? We each have access to a wise, inner voice, through our dreams, but it’s been forgotten, and it’s rusty. It has forgotten how to speak to us, as we have forgotten how to listen. Few are interested anyway, and willingly join the downward spiral of our culture, presided over by the joker archetypes, and all the strutting demi-gods of chaos.

Chaos is inevitable, but it’s also a bad place to be. It is an indeterminate period of transition, and with no guarantee it’s leading us to a better place. When the ground is shifting daily, and reality is frozen out in a blizzard of lies, the rational mind is of no use to us any more. Only a keen native instinct, born of the dreaming life can tell us where best to place our feet, so we’re not constantly unbalanced by whatever damned thing is coming next.

*Jung – Memories, dreams, reflections (Kenya and Uganda)

Read Full Post »

cropped-southport-beach.jpg

In this last settled hour before the dawn,
I dig my heels to slow the flow of time,
And with each measured breath,
Embrace departing ghosts of dreams,
Until at length, and with sad smiles,
They waste into the thinning night.
And the sun rises,
Ignites first light of trembling day,
And burns to clear blue,
Somnambulant mists of sleep,
From whence souls crash their dancing flight,
Become flesh again,
Fallen in this deep befuddled mess,
Of pillow, sheet, and creaking bed.
Then here am I once more,
Slow ache of a man, rising,
Washed back upon this fractured shore,
Of life.

Read Full Post »

slaidburn nov 2014

Dark Midnight of the soul awakes to weary dawn,
Pale lightbulb of a miserable morn illuminates the new,
While six-thirty fingers to the nadir point, and state,
Get up, you fool, you’re going to be late!

The house glows feeble in a tired beige,
Stunned by this outrageous wrench from rest,
Smells of mould, old breath, and bread.
Levered gently upright now we test,
Our limbs, joints, feet, for steadiness,
Then pee out our first long whimpering complaint,
And fart.

Breakfast ritual, drinking down the news,
Between heaped spoons of porridge,
Sweetened against habitual morning blues.
Yes, yes the news.
Finger flicking through brevatious blatherings,
Picking at sores until they bloom raw,
Yet festering of an incoherence vast,
So each day borrows vagueness of delineation,
From the last.

Same old, same old then,
We begin.

Thin half-light and a grey car glitters in a cold cocoon of dew,
Air stung by smoke of autumn burning wood,
Wipe the shivering glass to a lesser opaqueness,
Blow away the mist, with roaring fan,
Then drive.

The house shuts back its eyes at the parting gate,
Reverts to sleep, and mellow moldiness.
It remembers not,
Nor waits.

Thus I, into black face of morning, stare,
Continuing a slow meander,
Into the dreaming, wakeful blur,
A place,
That is not truly awake,
More these days a soft cushion occasionally spiked,
With the shards of old longing,
Rendered docile now across the years,
Like lost boys.

Dawn deepens to the soporific rumble of the road,
Leading more into delusions of the day’s crass light,
From which we turn our thoughts,
And pray haste our treasured teatime tryst to keep,
That therein we might once more escape,
This melancholic life of sleep.

Read Full Post »