"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where -- " said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
" -- so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
-- Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
So my life was a little odd, I'll admit. But I gradually accepted my "weird life" by assigning it the label of "interesting but unimportant." I was busy with business most of the time; it was easy to relegate anything outside my job and my computer into some other aspect of reality and just ignore it.
Yet other areas of this part of my life were more difficult to integrate, ignore or deal with. As time went on, it began to seem as if my life had been cordoned off into "sections."
There was first and foremost the "work" section, which for the most part nothing interfered with, except the exhaustion issues. (I still hadn't figured out how I could be sleep deprived when I slept all night.) I was employed by an entrepreneurial firm at the time, complex and understaffed, and that part of my life was intense. I've always had a good deal of job stress -- the nature of the positions I fill -- so that part was nothing new. I point it out because I worked many hours, far more than standard, and so after awhile it became nothing but work and my bizarre night life -- I had very little other stimulus, which tended to polarize my thinking into one area or the other.
It also had the effect of giving me no time to do much dwelling on any of this. I didn't have time for friends, for a social life, for a balanced life that might have made me take action related to the problems I began to suspect I was having. Though I suspect I was avoiding that, as well.
Then there was the "dream" part of life, which is what I called anything out of the ordinary that happened while lying down or sitting down. Although I wasn't asleep for much of this, I figured if I were lying down or relaxing in a chair, then I should consider it a dream, just to be a bit skeptical about it, since it could be a hypnogogic effect, especially considering the symptoms similar to sleep deprivation.
Then there was the "normal" part of life, which was when I was doing errands or socializing -- it rapidly diminished in quantity until it was nearly gone.
Then there was the "mental" part, which was almost a cross between the dream and normal parts, as if they were getting mixed up. The mental part confused me. This was basically split into a few pieces: symptoms, such as "dis-attaching" from everyone and everything; aberrations, such as dreams when I was awake, and underlying thought processes I didn't seem to control; and phenomena, physical things while I was absolutely wide awake, such as while driving, cooking dinner, or talking to someone at work.
The last part in particular scared me, because this was where the subject departed from being merely a very creative dream or fantasy life, and started to sound like insanity, and at a level serious enough to be dangerous to me.
I can be sitting here thinking about one thing, or not doing much with my brain, and I suddenly realize that whatever I'm thinking about "underneath" is completely non-related to what I thought I was thinking about. It's as if there are numerous "layers" of thought all at once. My head is filled with places and people I've never seen, as if it were sort of a waking dream, and I don't know where it came from. I'm wide awake.
Sometimes I have the impression that I'm simultaneously actually living many lives, as if I exist on many planes of existence, and that these are just brief spots of being aware of the others. It's as if I'm thinking on separate "levels," as if my mind is "layered," with "this" reality (and my identity) as I know it being the top layer, what I normally pay attention to, and there being an almost infinite number below (or around) that... but I'm watching the others without conscious awareness of doing so. It's mild in intensity, and as soon as I become consciously aware of it, it stops.
At this rate, who am I going to be dependent on? Attached to? In some way? My "dis-attaching" from everyone and everything continues. It's a strange feeling. Every day, I lose another person, I disconnect. I want to make this clear: this isn't anger, it's not a closing-off thing. It might be an independence thing, but is not one I'm consciously initiating. It's just that they suddenly become unimportant to me in the larger scheme of things -- or to be more precise, I realize that nobody is important to me (and the latest person in particular) in the grand scheme of things. This doesn't mean I dislike them, or that I don't care about them. It just means their relationship to me became... external instead of internal. Like a conscious decision that they will be my acquaintance is the source of our connection -- as opposed to my being emotionally connected to them at a level somewhat below my conscious control. I don't know why this continues. I've gone over the psychology at length, I've tried to analyze it, but I just can't find any reason for it.
Seems like I never sleep normally anymore. I fall unconscious in my recliner every night, and often so early. My weird thing about the bedroom is still at full tilt and I can't sleep in it. Even the times when I do go to my bed to sleep "normally" (whatever that is) -- and that only happens once in a great while -- I sleep terribly and have bad dreams. Last night something like the second Terminator (not him, but an entity morphing like he did) and a bunch of other assorted bad guys are all around me (anything worth doing's worth overdoing, as they say!), and I was trying to get away, and I found myself hopping around this big multi-story building, with these loud crashing sounds which for some reason sounded like "big rig" trucks. The dream was such a drag. Thick, filled with this morbid sort of dread. But since I almost never sleep normally, they're rare. The inability to sleep in my bedroom continues, so most of the time I sit in my recliner in the living room. I go "out" so immediately, it's weird, often I'd planned to do something else, like read or watch a video but I'm out like a light, within seconds. I don't know if it's the bed or the room that bothers me. I just feel like I have to be in the living room, preferably with a little light, and preferably sitting up just slightly.
Sometimes in these spontaneous "weirding" episodes of late there's a really odd variant. It's like the feeling will be less intense, but somehow I'm in a dream and the rest of the world isn't, and I'm trying to keep my behavior and conversation "normal" so nobody notices. Sometimes it's more complete, and then it's more like "the world went surreal," and on those occasions, other people notice it too, I can tell by the way they suddenly react, and start looking around with that weird look on their face... the level of perception of it varies with the person. I realize finally that it's not just me, but I'm still afraid to say anything or ask... since it seems like a matter of just perception, even if a group is sharing it, and it's likely not objective reality, I mean that wouldn't make much sense. It's happened a few times at work and that really makes me mad, it's as if that's "sacred ground" this weird stuff of late shouldn't be intruding upon.
The "surreality" is difficult to explain. It's as if the air suddenly became... more tangible or something, like the... degree of density of all things became more equal... and I'm suddenly not as aware of my body... and everything seems very... smooth, flowing, and it's as if everything slows down just a little bit, not slow motion, just more sluggish... in some ways it's like I'm "getting lucid in my dream" -- but the dream' that I'm "waking up in and realizing" is waking life! It's so difficult to explain. The first couple of times, since I was alone when it happened, I thought I was having some brain chemical problem, I was so baffled. But now that it's happened a few times, when other people react as well, I'm thinking it's some kind of weird phenomenon affecting a certain time/space coordinate and everybody in it... even though I've been too chicken to mention it to anyone to find out.
I'm getting really scared about this stuff. Sometimes I can't get conscious! It's the middle of the day and I'm driving down the street, entering something in the computer, having a conversation, normal stuff, and I'm suddenly in the twilight zone and I can't get out! It's not sleep, it's like a profoundly deep trance. It's starting to scare me because it's making things like driving and conversations sort of... experimental.
It's as if I went from fully conscious to a very deep somnambulistic state in a split second. For no apparent reason. (This is not blood sugar -- I can recognize that.) I don't just mean I "space out." I mean my conscious mind is just gone. The feeling it gave me at first was as if something "moved in on me" from the side, don't know why I got this impression, maybe consciousness is lateral and not vertical as we pretend, ha. Like some huge thick energy moved into me. Anyway, that was only the first few times, not anymore, now it's like just getting bopped over the head with a Deep Trance club or something.
I should note that I have one major impression in all this: that if I weren't so developed in lucidity, I wouldn't be aware of it. My ability to be in very deep trance or sleep and yet be lucid helps me notice this stuff... but I have the feeling that if I didn't have that ability, I wouldn't notice it much, I would block it out. I'm not sure if that means my mental "abilities" are helping me be aware -- or causing this somehow. Hard to tell.
At any given time during the day I realize "half of me is gone." I force myself to act, a tremendous act of will on a distant body, it feels like. I've been shouting at myself in the car, at the top of my lungs, "Wake up! Wake up!" but it isn't working. Yesterday this woman in the car next to me, I realized she was staring at me, I had the windows down and was yelling at myself to wake up, over and over, I mean shouting as loud as I could. It was like my mind understood the problem, and had control of my body to do the shouting, yet the dominant portion of my mind -- the main conscious part -- was gone.
Stranger still, I can barely hear myself shouting! Like it's coming from a long way away. And it feels as if my mind and body aren't 100% in sync. Now I seem to be driving okay. It's like I'm on auto pilot, I mean I'm stopping at lights and staying in the correct lane. But when I become lucid and realize that I'm not consciously in control of what my body is doing, and that I feel like I've been "split in half" somehow, it scares me. I suppose I could just ignore it; my body seems to be doing alright. But I can't ignore it -- it upsets me!
Is this the next stage of sleep deprivation? How can I be sleep deprived when I go to sleep every night? Could sleeping in the chair matter?
I was getting nervous. Now and then, in particular after some spontaneous, ultra-vivid "dream" while awake (usually of some kind of catastrophic nature-type doom), I'd find myself sitting on the floor of my apartment against the wall, arms around my knees, literally trembling. What could I say? I was afraid to say anything to anybody, because I was obviously crazy and didn't want to be locked up or drugged -- I could see my entire life, my working career, everything I'd tried so hard for, vanishing. But I was afraid not to, lest I hurt myself.
Up until the dreams got my attention, I felt I had been one of the most rational, well adjusted people I knew. I was aware that a lousy childhood and a tendency to lucid dreams and creativity put me in a psychological group diplomatically described as "having thin boundaries of reality," but that had never seemed to apply to me.
While half of me assumed it had to be only in my head, another part believed more every day that it was something real, that no matter how illogical or impossible it seemed, that it was something literal. Thing was, I couldn't decide which answer was scarier.
It seems like every time I put something down, two seconds later it's gone. I can't keep track of anything, it's a good thing all my body parts are attached! I'm losing things right and left. At first it was only at home; now it's at work too, though not as much. It's so frustrating. Happening sometimes I would ignore. Happening more often, I'd think I was just absent minded and disorganized. But there are days when it happens all the time! I mean, far beyond what is easily explained. It's so illogical.
By this time, I simply had to pay more attention to my "symptoms." As they got more frequent (not to mention more intense), it felt like my life was getting more out of control by the day. But as much as I wanted to take control, to "fix reality," it became obvious that my attempts to "get a grip" were almost as harmful as the events themselves; they only focused me on the anomalies. The fact was, the facts of my life didn't fit into the picture I called "reality," and so the more I compared the two pictures, the more upset and confused I got.
I psychoanalyzed myself only until I realized I was obviously a lunatic, at which point I concluded self-analysis was only giving me a complex so I might as well stop.
I'm blinking out. Well... I guess? It's the most logical explanation, and it sure sounds more rational to say I'm narcoleptic than to describe it at face value: it's as if either time simply spliced itself and some period of time didn't exist, or like my mind just cut out -- like there's just "here" and then "there" with a brief moment of disorientation in the beginning of the "there," as I realize there was no linearity between the two pieces, yet the pieces are quite different -- and I'm in a different place in each. While losing track a few seconds here and there may not seem like much -- in the car, it could be life and death. Or is it more than seconds?
It's so sudden I don't feel myself moving out or coming to, and yet constantly I'm realizing that for instance, in the car, I'm not where I remember being a moment ago, and I've obviously driven a few blocks with zero recollection of doing so. Now everybody "spaces out" familiar routes, but this is different from that. I'm well familiar with hypnosis and this is way beyond anything considered normal. I don't know if this is some far more advanced version, or an end result, of the former deep trance-thing or not. But this is not like a trance. It's more like a momentary coma -- I'm completely out in the middle, and fully alert to each side of the experience.
Stranger still, sometimes I'm going in the wrong direction when I get aware of myself! What kind of subconscious thing would make me completely turn the car around or take the wrong route, without paying any attention? What a trip. The other day I got lost. Literally lost. I suddenly just "came to" and realized that though I remembered being on my way home from work a second ago, now I was somehow on a long two lane road with fields around me. Since this could be almost anywhere, I was clueless. By the time I found a street sign I discovered I was in Oxnard [the city South of mine] and then had to turn around and drive all the way back home.
Good grief! Spontaneous dreams and meditations are one thing, but if this is some kind of metaphysics, it's dangerous. Considering my luck with cars, I think I'll skip receiving enlightenment while driving down the road, thanks. I don't want to be that one with the universe that soon.
While it was sporadic dreams and experiences, in the early stages, I felt alright, even though I figured I was secretly crazy. I didn't feel touched by it; I was a bit tuned out, not focusing on the details, going through life like it wasn't happening.
But some things have a more inherent threat. For instance, a dream is easier to integrate, no matter what the content, than suddenly realizing you are blocks away driving the wrong direction -- let alone a whole city away. This seemed like a very serious problem, and for all I knew I could be in danger of killing myself. What if I spaced out on train tracks, or in traffic?
Could I have Multiple Personality Disorder, I wondered for the thousandth time? Or some kind of advanced schizophrenia? I couldn't think of any good reason for not remembering how I physically got to where I found myself.
On the other hand, I told myself reassuringly, I'm rational in every other way. So if I was insane, at least I was harmlessly creative about it -- I mean, the walls weren't talking to me in Napoleon's voice or telling me to shoot anybody, and I was fine with my job which certainly required logic and rationality, so I told myself to relax about it, that maybe it was all some freak thing that would surely pass.
My skeptical side pointed out that these things only seemed to kick in during the night or after work -- seldom during work or on the way to work, where a time shift or getting lost in the car surely would have been noticeable. (Well, there were times I left very early for work and got there very late, which baffled me, but I might have looked at the clock wrong.) I appreciated my mind's ability to limit my new insanity to convenient off-hours. That was to change, though.
Things are not staying where I put them. I've thought it was my imagination for some time, but now I'm sure it's not. Half the time, if I so much as put my brush down while I reach for a hair band, if I turn my head away, when I turn back the brush is gone. I later find it, like in the kitchen or someplace impossible for me to have put it in those few seconds. So you know, I thought, well I'm just getting really absent minded lately, right? I now have about 20 of every small item because of this, I keep buying more when things disappear, I bet I have about three brushes in every room.
It happens so constantly that now, if I put something down like a cooking spice, the VCR remote control, and I go to reach for it and it's not there, I don't even look. Not even for a second. Because I just can't deal with not finding things, and I can't explain it, and so I'm pretending it's not happening. Instead I just decide, "I don't need it, and didn't want it anyway." The level of my denial is simply huge.
But sometimes it makes me furious. I was late to work the other day because I was searching for my other shoe, which I finally found in the hall closet, by which time I was bawling my head off because I was late and so frustrated. Give me a break. I live alone, took them off in the living room and passed out seconds later. So how did it get there?
No way. It isn't me. It can't be! No matter how much I ignore it, it just won't stop! It gets more extreme -- to the point of terrifying me -- by the day. I didn't imagine this. I know I didn't. Damn! I know I didn't. I mean it seems like I would have to have, but I know I didn't! This morning I pulled out a dress and ironed it, and laid it out on the bed in the bedroom so it wouldn't wrinkle, lying my long slip on top of it. Then I went into the bathroom and took a shower. Coming out, I toweled off and then walked into the kitchen to get a Dr. Pepper. I closed the fridge, and as I turned around I nearly dropped the can. On the kitchen table, lying there neatly, was my dress, slip included.
I didn't put it there! I know I didn't! I never do, and I never would. It's illogical, the rest of my stuff is in the bedroom, and the table is seldom empty or clean, anyway. It was lying there over scattered books and bills and such, laid out neatly just like I'd had it on the bed.
Damn it! What is going ON? Is it a poltergeist? Aren't those supposed to be around kids? No kids anywhere near.
You know, I think I'm faced with a couple of options here. First, something truly bizarre, on the order of a change in reality and all I know about it, is happening. The second option is that I have some terrible brain dysfunction and am losing it, and am probably going to die like mom. I know, her dying when I was a kid just makes me rather neurotic about the subject, but it could be possible. I've certainly been weird of late.
The whole situation just makes me feel intensely... disconcerted. Things disappearing constantly is weird, and then their reappearing constantly in odd places is weird, and now and then I trip over something I'm sure wasn't on the floor 60 seconds before. One time I used a brush that I could swear wasn't mine and I'd never seen before in my life -- with a sort of dark ash-blonde hair in it no less! Certainly not mine! I felt like I was in the twilight zone. A few minutes later I went back to get it and look at it again, to assure myself I didn't "just imagine it" -- and it was gone. Now sure, I have lots of brushes, or maybe I imagined it, but this weird stuff is becoming regular!
It's becoming so constant that I'm "tuning out" reality as a defense. It's so common for things to appear, disappear, change, alter, physical things and even time, that I'm getting to where I just can't pay attention to any of it anymore. I leave work at 6:00pm and get home at 9:30pm and I live 15 minutes away and ok, obviously I was just confused about the time, I tell myself. I don't concentrate on it. I put something on the counter, go from the kitchen to the bathroom and trip on it in the hallway, and I just refuse to think about how impossible it is. Similar to how I refuse to look for things at all, I think this is my frustrated denial of it.
If I'm not paying attention and so barely notice, I'm ok. If I try to pay attention it scares me and makes me feel crazy. Every time I make an effort to "get a grip on reality," I feel like, if I force my brain into that linear pattern and try to make circumstance fit, I'm going to "break myself." As if "'that which is me' is dependent on a linear reality." As if I would have to force a schizm that created two separate personalities entirely to deal with the two very separate aspects of my life; a terrible psychological doom, it seems like.
So instead, I pretend it isn't happening. That works much better.
[My boss] and I have sure been arguing lately. I know he has enough stress for an army, but geez, I'm so frustrated!
Lately at least once a week he'll come in and say something like, "So is X done yet?" and I won't have the slightest idea what he's talking about. And we'll end up in an argument, because he swears we had a whole conversation about it first thing that morning or the day before but I swear he's never said a word about it and it's the first I've heard of it. Sometimes he leaves and I think, but wait, he wasn't even here then, how could we have discussed it? And at times another employee would verify this, he wasn't even in the office, so he must have been totally confused.
But my memory is obviously getting strange, because other times I remember him being there -- and I remember him not being there! Or an employee backs his story, instead of mine. It's like either one of us is totally spaced out, or I have two complete but separate memories of the same time frame. It's impossible! And it's happening more and more often, in more situations.
It can't be me. It must be him. I have an excellent memory and am willing to bet his isn't as good as mine. Still, to be objective, if it wasn't me he was arguing with, I would believe him. I don't know. It upsets me.
And then today he said something like, What the hell is going on with you Palyne? and with a sinking feeling I realized maybe some of this weird stuff is really affecting me even at work. I mean I haven't thought so, but he's the only one who's around me enough, and knows me well enough, to notice.
Even so, I don't get the connection. Having weird dreams is one thing. Spacing out long detailed conversations I participated in -- well, so he says anyway! -- is quite another.
As I thought to myself back then, Reality just won't stay still. My time-tracks, memories, became confused -- but this is the important part: they were perfectly clear, it's just that often they were of a "track" that never happened, or stranger still, I remembered two tracks which contradicted each other. Sometimes my memory seemed perfect and somebody else would seem to be having my problem -- a different memory. After awhile, I would have no idea "which morning was attached to the afternoon I was standing in," for example. I'd have to sort of hint and ask indirect questions of people around me to try and narrow it down.
I considered every mental disease I'd ever heard of, common physical and psychological and even neurological problems, and anything that might be used to explain the symptoms. Sometimes I even went to the library after work and just sat there reading up on mental and neural disease in a reference book. But no matter what subject I picked to focus on, none of them explained all the symptoms, or the whole range of things. I would have had to have combined so many different "illnesses" into one that first of all, it was unlikely I'd still be walking around and working and rational otherwise, given all those; secondly, combining them and having them all happen at once (out of the blue) to an otherwise normal person was such a stretch for a practical answer that it seemed as improbable as just taking it at face value as a "phenomenon" in need of explanation. I was left baffled.
It was when things began to take on a spiritual quality that I really began to view them differently. I still thought I was insane of course, but suddenly the insanity meant something to me. Instead of being disconnected, random and paranormal events in my life, my dreams and experiences began to be something that appeared to be personally involving me, as if it were a spiritual thing, and often contained elements that after the fact, analyzing them, I could recognize as being something mentioned in what I'd heard of some Eastern religions.
I began to wonder if I had overdosed on the archetype work in self-psychology and my archetypes had taken on a life of their own, autonomously, without my conscious input. That seemed like a good explanation. But none of my regular archetypes ever occurred, and none of the regular situations occurred, and it never seemed to work the same way at all, and we were never in the place where I always worked with my archetypes, and I couldn't fathom what any of them were, etc. So, there was as much argument against it as for it.
A few of the dreams (and "experiences") were decidedly archetypal -- vivid "symbolic imagery" as opposed to fairly repetitive "entities." These were rare but amazing. They would usually happen spontaneously, when I was awake, like a sudden "vision:"
I found myself in a strange, indescribable place. A number of things occurred which I can't translate, and then I found myself in front of this... Being (as a noun). It had the lower body of a man, the upper body of a woman, the head of a ram, and something on its head... like fruit between the horns. It was nude. I looked at it in hilarity and astonishment and was so taken with its appearance I simply blurted out, Good grief! Is that actually fruit on your head?! I was both amazed and amused. It replied, To you it is, but to me it is not, and in Truth it is something else. It took something like a purple grape off its head and handed it to me. Eyes wide, not sure if I should laugh or be terribly serious and feeling both simultaneously, I took it with a gesture of almost ritual thanks, and ate it.
Recurring thought processes I hadn't had since childhood came back. Sometimes I was nearly overwhelmed with an emotion I had quite a bit when I was younger: As if I were here (alive) to help or save mankind, and I'd be overwhelmed with love for humanity, determined to single- handedly carry the species forward if necessary. (I'm not very altruistic, and am rather cynical about our species all things considered, so I don't know where this came from.)
When I was a teenager -- always the analytical one -- I gave this some thought, and concluded that these sorts of feelings were just psychological daydreams: perhaps a need to be important, probably not unusual for abused children. So I'd learned to ignore them, and they had seemed to go away.
Or here and there I'd be aware of myself as "the center of the universe," like the entire fabric of reality reflected the core of me, and for a moment I knew I could command anything and have it be so. (I was always too caught up in the amazement and analysis of the situation to think of something I really wanted prior to the feeling going away.) Little psychological things like that acted up and wove my mind in and out of "normal" patterns of thinking. One moment I was commanding the universe, the next I was taking out the trash. Just another day.
As for the dream-vision characters, there was the detail of their seeming autonomy. More and more I became convinced that certain dreams and experiences weren't a matter of something in my head, but were actual places. Which, granted, I might encounter via mental or "astral" trips, but I still felt they were a "real" place. And I felt the people or entities were actual identities, which might be accessed by, or even affected by, me -- but they didn't seem limited to my creation or interaction.
The dreams that felt so strongly physical were usually the ones more inclined to be mundane, or just disconnected, druglike memories, the "here" and then "there" types. Once in a great while I would have a complete and linear account -- but of the 2+ years covered in this letter, with regular experience, the only complete or detailed accounts I was able to retain, I've put in this letter. The vast majority of experiences I could barely make sense of, or remember. And there is a great deal of experience I couldn't put in this letter -- pieces and fragments of things on a daily basis. I've only included things I remember completely or wrote down at the time.
In a different "shade of feeling," the "metaphysical" dreams were vivid and very intense -- yet without the same sense of thick "physicality" as some of the non-linear' dreams.
I came home from work, ate some dinner, and wrote a letter to a friend. I sat down briefly, and found myself abruptly in a vision or dream. There was this blonde man, who as it turns out, was me. I don't mean he was symbolically me, or 'male energy' of me, or anything like that. I mean I literally shared his perception because we are really one, but we are still separate identities as well. I saw him as "another aspect of me." As if his consciousness is combined with mine but his... perception is slightly... larger. Because he's smarter, I mean, a slightly higher order of species. A separate individual than me in the physical, though, even though we could share our perception at times.
(He reminded me, in a moment of lucidity, very much of a young Rutger Hauer, that actor in the movie Ladyhawke. Rutger wasn't meant in the literal sense, the guy just looked like he did when he was young, except with even bluer eyes (rather intensely blue), they seemed large and slightly slanted, and he had a bit longer white-blonde hair -- but otherwise, they were so much alike they could be brothers.)
He (who was I) was attempting to "free himself" and "claim his power." Many small birds of various sizes were around, most looked like blackbirds. They were everywhere. A huge black human-crow, about my size, stood next to me as a guide and narrated the entire dream.
The man was on a stage. I was in both places simultaneously, and my attention to one point of view, mine or his, moved back and forth. He was dressed in a manner like royalty, the old fashioned kind with a cloak, and he stood on the stage facing some small group of people I could not see, and made a formal "petition" to them. (They were invisible to me, but I knew they were there. I was disturbed by not being able to see them; I took it personally that they were invisible, like it wasn't their inherent state but rather was their comment on my deserving or ability to see them. But I finally ignored that subtlety, and turned my attention back to watching the man-me from my own eyes.)
His petition wasn't merely a request, it was a demand; not in an angry sense but in a knightly-sense, an "honor" approach of strength. Finally I could sense the other people on the stage, the leaders, more clearly; one of them came out to the blonde-me, and it was as if he suddenly became visible to me when he did. The blonde-me kneeled, and this other fellow put a heavy (crown?) on his/my/our head.
Then everything just... blew up. There was this incredible, amazing fire, it burned through everything, it was like a lightning, blinding flash of the most bright imaginable purple and all the birds simply "were" no longer. It passed through me like a shock wave. In stunned surprise, recovering from the explosion speechlessly, I found we (me and the large bird-guy) were standing in an empty area. I was a bit blank from the shock of the fire, but I was concerned about the little birds. Where did they go? I finally asked the human-crow next to me. He said that they gave themselves for this: that what they live for, what they work for, is that one moment of fiery glory when a person "comes into Being." I realized suddenly that he meant they had all died at that moment -- to make it possible. I was disturbed by that, but awed with the whole situation.
The dream seemed to have many components, most of which I can't translate to words very well. At one point I found myself in a high place, wearing a black cloak, and I realized that it was symbolic, and like wings, it enabled me to fly. I flew to different places, finding myself on balconies of towering buildings that seemed to look down at whole cities, then planets and stars, then galaxies, and finally in my random wanderings I came upon a large group of children, ragged but also in cloaks. Physically they were clearly unrelated, but they seemed to think they were siblings. I wandered near them curiously.
At first they ignored me; then with shouts of the exuberance of children they tried to take me prisoner, as if they were wild and considered all other things their property, and they were going to take me back to their... parents, or their cave where they lived, or something. They kept trying to tie my hands, and I'd go along with it, unworried, but after a moment I kept slipping free as soon as they had, and none of their knots would work. I was mildly annoyed but mostly rather amused, and wondered, couldn't they see that they were so much smaller and younger than I, it was unlikely they could outsmart me?
It shortly became apparent that I was better at flying than they were, and as that began to make them more comfortable with me, through a sudden change of circumstance I ended up having to save them when their wings failed them. We were on these balconies near incredibly high spiked spires, when a strong wind, blowing hard enough to blow away anything not part of the building, came up and nearly overwhelmed us. It was clear that anyone not strong enough would be blown away, and would fall through a universe before they even began a descent to earth, and might not even make it to earth... and of course if they did, falling, it would injure or kill them, so I had to get them down.
It was abruptly colder than cold, as if my bones were being frozen from the inside, as if the balconies and the spires were frozen. I gathered my wings around me, and set my determination to save them, because they were children and I realized I loved them just for that. One by one I tied them to me with this thin gold rope so they wouldn't fall. I took a different route than those who left earlier, but we all got back safely.
The entire dream-vision was filled with birds of various kinds, and with these masks of gold, often held on a stick like those masks in the old ballrooms; with boats on the water, and people in them; there were people in these shiny colored cloaks who seemed like "ancient royalty." Their boats would pass mine, and they would hold a gold mask up to their face to view me through, and sometimes hand me a mask like theirs to use. Sometimes the masks would hang in the air, and at one point somebody replaced my cloak with a golden cloak so bright I couldn't look at it without having to cover my eyes.
A woman who was also a golden metallic (but living) bird was looking for me once, I remember that, as I was standing on the bank of the river. She found me and tried to give me jewelry, all gold with these huge gold pendants at the end of chains, all were some great gift and recognition. But I noted that the symbols were on chains, and I thought to myself, Chains equals prisoner, right, this is important, and I knew that this many would be constrictive for me, too heavy for me to fly easily or stay above the water easily, and so I only took a few. Off and on there were all these beings who were somehow part bird and part human.
I loved the dream! I felt that whatever I was supposed to do there worked. I feel more relaxed today than I have in so long, like I've finally gotten enough sleep, for the first time in eons.
Could that blonde man really be me also? I felt it so completely that it still feels... literal. Could that be what I look like in that "realm?" Could it be true that our "consciousness" exists on many levels? Or perhaps I'm just becoming more aware of literally being my dream characters? Boy if all my dreams were this intense there'd be no point in spending any time awake.
That was the beginning of what has been a continuing relationship. I have come to believe that the blonde man really is me, or rather, a "literal identity" (real person) which I have the ability to sometimes "tune into" because we are "different outer manifestations springing from the same inner source." I don't have much data except my occasional experiences with him. I don't think I can explain it in any manner a psychologist, let alone a scientist, would find sense in. I don't know why, and I don't know how. All I know is that through my experience, I have finally concluded that there is a larger "perception" than the one I currently have, and it includes a number of separate identities (I mean physical people, not multiple identities in one body), one of which is "me" and one of which is "him" (and there are others). We affect each other; draw from the same pool of "being," but are different personalities, in manifestation. Like different color-bands in a rainbow; all from the same light, but different manifestations. Sometimes we would become aware of each other is all.
(The image of the actor was used with me when necessary. If I wasn't lucid when we met, I would have these flashes of movie posters come into my mind, until I finally realized, "Oh I see, you mean you're that other aspect of me who looks a bit like him." As soon as I'd realize that and get conscious of his identity, the imagery would vanish. It didn't show up if I realized who he was immediately.)
As it turns out, the symbology of black cloaks as wings, unrelated siblings, bondage, etc. were to play a surprising role a bit later on; I'm forced to think, in retrospect, that some of this imagery foreshadowed things to come.
The dream-vision reminded me of one I'd had about a year before. That was before most of this stuff had begun; I'd considered it a real "trip" but hadn't given it much thought. When I considered the gold bird, memories came flooding back to me:
One day while I thought I was awake, I abruptly found myself in what seemed to be a huge room, surrounded by windows looking out at the sky. I was viewing the room with someone who was trying to convince me to live in this house. Just as she was listing the virtues of it, my mouth dropped in awe. Outside the window this golden eagle was flying. I don't mean like a real eagle, I mean it was literally made of gold, its feathers were gold scales, as if it were both living bird and yet metallic. It flew around outside the window and very specifically came back and did so again, and I realized, It's focused on me. This bird is making a point to be sure that I see it. I felt a rush of joy coursing through my body.
Later, there were sounds of shouting. I went outside and some distance away I could see a crowd gathered. I went toward it and came to this large square thing which I decided was a gymnast's mat; in the midst of the mat was a gymnast who was dancing. As I stood there, a lion pounced onto the mat, and then somehow became a huge snake, grabbing the woman. The crowd gasped in horror and she struggled to get free. I ran to her and freed her from the snake, only to find myself enmeshed with it. We struggled, and as the crowd all but hid their faces and cried in fear, we rolled around the square mat, but suddenly I realized: We're dancing now. We seemed to be struggling, but it was an illusion: really we were dancing and rolling like it was a play we were enjoying. I realized the snake was the lion and they were both sort of me in some sense; I was in no danger, and I enjoyed the sensuality of touching them.
The gold bird struck me as related, the living-but-metallic gold. Talk about symbology, wow! Now if I only had some idea what this sort of thing means...
My meditations or sleeps -- accidental, as it were -- continued.
I can't ignore it any more. I'm being "pulled down," yanked out of my body, nearly every night. It's the oddest feeling. I'm wide awake, sitting in my recliner, reading, watching videos, eating -- next to the 500W halogen light -- yet I have maybe six seconds before I'm totally "gone."
So like normal, last night I "felt it coming on me" and quickly put my book down and reclined and turned the light down, and within about 1.5 seconds after sitting back I was gone completely -- when I came to I had the definite sense that I'd really "gone somewhere." And it's definitely "coming to," not "awakening." Yesterday at work I kept stretching all day, until people were actually laughing at me. I had tons of energy. I think it was something related to the blonde-me guy.
I'm in a lousy mood today. I know, none of this makes the slightest bit of sense. It's ridiculous! What do these weird symbolic things have to do with visions? What does the world breaking up have to do with gold birds? This sounds like shamanic stuff, but then a whole different aspect of things comes up; it sounds like psychological stuff, but then physical things come up; sometimes things that even the most bizarre psychology can't account for.
I don't get the connection between all the symbols. And that doesn't even start on the physical and mental symptoms, which are scaring the hell out of me. I try to make sense of it, but lately I've had to turn my logical brain off on this subject or I wouldn't be able to deal with it at all. My brain can do my daily work for me, but it's just going to have to cut out when it comes to my "metaphysical" (?) life. This stuff has now surpassed even MY wild imagination and to be honest, is way beyond making any sense whatsoever.
This is so silly, but it would be dishonest of me to leave it out of the story...
One night around then I was doing some cleaning. I found a number of things, including an old ceramic dragon that I had bought at a yard sale years before. I never understood why I bought it to begin with; I'm not a "knick-knacks" type of person at all, and was never sure what to do with it. It was dirty and dusty from years of neglect, and since I was in the cleaning mood, I got out a rag and alcohol and some Q-tips and sat down to clean it. As I scrubbed around each scale carefully, I started getting this warm, almost affectionate feeling about the object. I found myself actually talking to it about the cleaning process, and when I realized I was talking to an inanimate object I began laughing at myself and stopped. Finally finished, I set it on the glass stereo cabinet next to my bed, which for a short time I was determined to sleep in again. I thought no more about it.
The next night I wasn't knocked unconscious like often happened. I was relieved, and figured it was a perfect time to try some real sleep, in my actual bed. But later as I climbed into bed, a clear, very low voice said in my head, I am here.
I sat up and opened my eyes and looked around in surprise; even the strange experiences to that point had never included hearing voices in this reality! After a moment I decided I must have imagined it. But the moment I closed my eyes again, the voice said, I am here. This time I thought, Oh great, now I'm hearing voices, now I'm really officially crazy! But there was not much point in arguing, so I said, Who are you? And the voice said something I didn't fully understand, and couldn't 100% remember on coming out of it, but to put it in English letters it was sort of like N'efsana. Baffled, I said, Who? But why...? And after a long string of confusing images I realized: it's the dragon.
Telling myself such an idea was ludicrous didn't seem to matter. It became clear that there was an energy that... focused through the ceramic dragon, for reasons unknown to me, and my attention and eventual affection about the object had allowed it to be used as a sort of nexus between its perception and mine. It wasn't the ceramic of course -- that was just the focus; it has some energy appropriate to the shape and my conceptual feeling about the shape. Suddenly the whole history of mankind and idolatry, and objects used in worship, became clear to me.
N'ef, as I came to call (it?) showed up almost every night for weeks, announcing himself with I am here. When he arrived, I would find myself going into a deep trance, and eventually I got to the "place" where he could communicate with me directly. Unfortunately it's not something I could put into words, or even consciously recall often. And we spent a long time on simple things; we didn't share the same conceptual reality, and it would take awhile for me to understand what he was getting at.
He would try to translate, which made things worse. Once, for instance, we were discussing my concept of dragons, and he was trying to tell me what he -- via the ceramic -- would be comfortable with physically. (I had mentioned idolic worship, and jokingly asked him if he wanted a shrine). We spent an hour while he shared concepts of wooden fences, brick walls, things entwining me -- and I hadn't the vaguest idea what he meant. When I finally understood he'd been trying to convey "enclosed but free to leave" -- like the caves in our myths of dragons -- I realized he'd been trying to translate his concept into one that applied to me, instead of just showing me his own. Whether because I couldn't comprehend that, or because he didn't want to merge to let me sense through him, or because he was just trying to help, I'm not sure. That's just one small example.
In any case, it was a new insight into the idols used in many cultures around the world. It was also embarrassing! It sounded like some kind of "New Age" silliness and I had no idea why such a thing would occur with me.
I almost left it out of this account, but then I decided that idolatry is far less weird than some of the other stories in here, so I should quit being so embarrassed about some of this stuff. It's not like cutting a corner here or there, or leaving out one little story, is somehow going to make me sound sane. Anyway, I've never had anything else quite like that.
Often in the morning when I wake up, I'm in the middle of a lecture, there's this slide show or movie on a big screen, and somebody is monologuing through it. It's about these "deep" subjects, stuff I don't even have a name for, really cosmic-type stuff.
There's something I realized as a result of that dream of the blonde-me. This is hard to explain, but seems to fit into it all for some reason, and I feel it's really important that I understand this, that it relates to all the odd things going on in my life. The realization goes something like this:
All acceptance is by faith. Not blind faith as "trust," but faith as an absolute commitment, and when you make the latter, you realize it is the former.
I feel as if I've made a specific commitment. When I made it, I didn't know the path, or where it led, or anything. I knew only that I would do whatever it took, wherever I was, whatever the conditions, regardless of anything else in the universe. There's a certain point where, when you know you're going to do something no matter what, the how and why and when simply become... irrelevant. When you get right down to it, you either commit or not: there are no "conditional" commitments. Which is why it becomes faith: you quit worrying about, or even thinking about, the ways and means (or even the goal).
I sit down in my chair each night and I'm "falling" -- I have to get comfortable quick before I'm unconscious. I have maybe 6 seconds. Sit back in the chair -- and I'm gone.
It is a bit inconvenient though, I mean, I never get anything done! If I sit down at 7:00pm that's it, it's over, I come to at about 4:30am no matter what time I go out. I haven't done laundry in eons -- and for that matter, seldom get dinner. But it does feel neat. I've been thinking, you know, that it must be something interesting, some advanced meditation maybe?
It's interesting that I never wake up. I'm a light sleeper, or I used to be, and prior to lately if I was anywhere with a little light I'd wake up a few times through the night. But lately, even sitting up with the lights on, I'm as gone as you can get until the early morning hours.
So up until that point, my experience was... innocent. With the exception of "Mother Mary," who wasn't part of my religion anyway, all the entities I met seemed rather... creative. Just symbology. Surely personal archetypes. They're just dreams, I kept telling myself.