Monday, May 15, 2006

Practical Dreaming #5: Who's Driving? And Where Are We Headed?

We live complicated lives in a staggeringly noisy world full of difficult choices. So much effort is expended in simply getting through Monday that it isn't easy taking time and energy to evaluate where we will be Tuesday and beyond. The blaring media overwhelm that in the last few decades has crept into nearly every crevice of public space (both physical and mindspace) screams/wheedles for our conscious attention and diddles away at the edge of our unconscious mind as well. Reflective time is nearly annihilated unless we make a deliberate effort to clear space for it. And as Socrates said, "an unexamined life is not worth living."

Our dreams are one of the last places our mind and spirit are able to range out unmolested by the physical world and its stentorian babble. And even then, the ravenous culture of consuming can bleed in from time to time -- indicative of its omnipresence in waking life. However, when we make time to quiet ourselves and listen for the clear voice of our authentic self -- its needs, hopes and aspirations -- that voice helps us steer a true path through the neon and chrome haze of the Shiny Materialist World. I find dreamcrafting to be a potent practice for living a good life true to myself -- and not some Good Life concocted by the corporate shamans of Madison Avenue.

"Hephaestus Rides the Rails" (4/5/05)

I am riding in an old-style railroad carriage. The interior of the car is dark but lit faintly by the sunrise outside the windows. Out of the window of the car I catch sight of a second set of rails running parallel to the ones my train is on. A flatcar comes up next to me on the other rails. A solitary burly man stands astride the center of it. He's clad in a heavy leather blacksmith's apron and leather gauntlets and boots. Worn welder's goggles hide the upper half of his face. Chains run from each corner of the flatcar, coming up over his shoulders and then twisting down around his hugely-muscled arms. He pulls and twists them to control the car. When the speed of his flatcar begins to wane, he pulls a shotgun out of his apron and aims it at the sky. He fires it and a metal harpoon trailing a chain flies up into the overhanging clouds, attracting a lightning bolt. With a clap of thunder the bolt runs down the chain from the harpoon, through his body and into the flatcar, powering it forward with a burst of speed. The screechh of the flatcar's wheels is deafening and sparks fly up from the tracks. After a few minutes of observing this (at one point he turns, grins fiercely and nods at me), the tracks on which his car is travelling diverge from mine, upward and to the left and he rolls out of sight behind a copse of trees. Shortly after that, my car arrives at its destination -- a terminal with shiny plastic floors and sculpted metal walls. It's all very New and Modern and as phoney and sterile a hell as I could imagine. The latest muzak wafts quietly yet insistently out of hidden speakers. The walls are plastered with suave advertising come-ons. In the center of the terminal space three bored teenagers man a kiosk selling grotty junk snacks that are as far from actual body-nourishing food as can be and still be labelled "food."

When I awoke I had two feelings: the first was exhiliration/envy at the flatcar rider's display of raw power. The second was dismay and annoyance at the flat, fakey place I ended up. In this dream I was a passive rider. Someone else was driving the train. Someone else laid the rails. Someone else designed my carriage. Whatever happens to me, wherever I end up, I'm about as far from being in control as is possible. My burly friend (clearly a visitation from Hephaestus-- the Greco-Roman god of blacksmithing/the arts [and husband of Venus/Aphrodite]), on the other hand, not only controls his car, but draws on bolts from the sky for a power source. This dream was a clarion call to get off of the train somebody else is controlling and onto my own tracks -- and to call down the power of heaven to make it so.

To practice active dreaming is to listen to your soul. To dream actively is to return to the boundless well of true inspiration which spirit offers us, and to drink its mind-clearing waters, and remember why we came to be here. To honor our dreams is to call spirit's strength into our mind, body and soul as we walk the path of this life. Once we remember our true nature, our life is enriched and deepens with meaning beyond anything offered by the cheap counterfeit of material having. In dreaming we find the courage to become who we were born to be.

And courage we need. To walk a different path is not simple. Far easier it is to follow the superhighway so many others travel than to seek out one's own way. The creating soul of the universe did not bring me into being to eat mass-produced burgers and drive a Hummer. Nor did it gift you with the divine spark that you might do the same. Without sincere effort, our liferoad slides closer to -- and eventually becomes -- the path of least resistance. And that path is lined with megamalls and fast food joints. Dream something better for yourself -- and the world. Dream true. Dream strong.

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