Tuesday, May 03, 2005

himalayan dreamin'

Most of us in the West consider dreams to be "unreal" as opposed to the occurences of "real" waking life.

But Eastern philosophy teaches that dreams hold great potential for the spiritual journey, that there is nothing more real than the dream, and that normal waking life is nothing more than a "different" dream. And that all experience, waking and dreaming, has an energetic basis (known in the west by its sanskrit word "prana").

There are many different kinds of channels in the body; from anatomy we know the "grosser" ones (blood vessels, lymph circulation, the digestive system, the nervous system network, etc). There are also channels, such as those recognized by acupressure and acupuncture that are conduits for differnet forms of prana. Dreams, i believe, represent the channels for an even subtler psychic energy . . . these channels can't be located in the physical dimension but we can become aware of them. These "dream" channels conduct energy that underlies both wisdom and emotion (negative emotion in the form of "nightmares").

I'm writing about this because for the past two nights i've had dreams of extraordinary nature, unlike any i've ever had before. last night, in fact, was stunning and woke me wide awake at 2:30am. without going into detail, i've been dreaming about things oriental: people, language, places, names, energies. Emotions "dreamt" have been the fear one feels when prey (of chinese soldiers, oddly enough in the apartment in which i lived as a child), comfort, serenity and puzzlement. These dreams have all been lucid and vivid, with the feel not of the "surreal" but of the "real." And they carry with them a sense of familiarity that makes the knowledge they come from deep within inescapable.

Sitting here the next day writing about these dreams, and guessing about what they are and represent seems silly now, once conscious we really do separate from that which occurs when we're asleep, and it (the sleep happenings) seem almost irrelevant. But last night at 2:30, as i sat in front of my window, overlooking the rootops of mcleod ganj, the dreams i had just had were not only relevant, they seemed very important. So, reflecting on the peace and serenity outside my window (and in that space where it all seemed "graspable"), i tried to determine from where the energies that created these dreams might have originated. And it was a very small leap to the clear insight that i was dreaming the results of being here, and inviting the energies that dwell here into my heart . . . and what had happened was the internal circuits that channel this energy had met the challenge of the overload of these new energies by widening, and allowing it all to flow.

I remember years ago, in nyc, having the realization that although we couldn't see what was in the air, the air was completely filled with "things" . . . radio waves, tv waves, x-rays, high-frequency sound waves, radar waves, microwaves, alien ufo transmissions, etc. . . . you get the picture, in our western world the sky is blue, the air seems clear, but it's filled with "things" that just need the proper "receiving equipment" to be detected. (No doubt these "things" are not very healthy, but that's another issue.)

Well, the Himalaya generally, and this Dharamshala/McleodGang ridgetop, I believe, have lots and lots of energies in the air . . . not radio or tv or some other "electro-magnetical-cyber-nucleo-blahblah" waves, but spiritual energies of ancient traditions, love, geological awe, awareness, compassion, buddhist logic, horror, inspiration, insight, etc. And to be here, and having one's heart open to all that as much as possible, turns one into a "receptor" of these energies. And you visit the gompas and monasteries and temples, and read the books, and turn the prayer wheels, and listen to the monks' chants, and breathe the air, and absorb the natural beauty, and you naturally open and then you *really* start receiving the energies, which, once inside, begin to swirl, merging with what's already there, "spicing" it most favorably, and you begin to feel and act and think differently. And with all this going on inside, way down deep, much more than you're aware of, when you sleep it manifests, travels along the channels and emerges as dreams. (perhaps all this is what is referred to as spiritual growth, i wouldn't pretend to know . . . )

So, these unusual dreams, vibrant indicators there's subconscious action afoot, have begun coming in the night, and last night startled my awakened conscious. Containing pleasant and not so pleasant images and sensations, i know they are as much a part of me as anything.

So perhaps India's (and the Himalaya in particular) gift to me has been two-fold: (1) directing me to a series of places (agra, sarnath, varanasi, darjeeling) where i was able to absorb the energy, and then to here, the "tipping point", where the energies finally overflowed the brim and began oozing into my dreams, and (2) allowing me to open enough to allow all (maybe there's more coming?) the resident energies to penetrate and merge with my current knowledges and emotions. And now it feels like (in the case of the proverbial open barn door), it's too late to turn back. Guess i'll just have to see where this all goes from here, secure in the knowledge that it *is* going somewhere.

This is what i was thinking and feeling as i sat at my window at 2:30 this morning. It felt good, like everything had been moving toward that moment, that insight. Having that odd quality of being both exciting and serene, it brought on a sense of real peace. After I went back asleep, there were no more dreams.

(this was hard to write and no doubt hard to read, thanks for hangin' in)

hugs, mark