Desert Island Disk

Now as I go upon my way
So let me go upon my way
Born of a light, born of a light

The wind rushing round my open heart
An open ravine
In my spirit white
Totally alive
In my spirit light

Through an open doorway
Across a street
To another life
And catching my reflection in a window
Switching on a light
One I didn’t know
Totally alive
Totally released

Waking, waking up from shutdown
From a thousand years of sleep
Yeah you, you know what I mean
You know what I mean
You know what I mean

Standing on the edge of you
You know what I mean
You know what I mean
You know what I mean
Different types of love
Different types of love
Different types of love
Are possible
Are possible
Are possible
Are possible

Dreamwork on the Secret Path Dream

All right, I’m going to engage this dream with one of the key questions from the dreamwork manual I’m now working from. The dream narrative is recorded in the previous post, “The Secret Path to the Rainbow Heart.” The dream was incubated as explained in the post, “Incubation Spell for the Dream of the Secret Path.”          

Almost Lost Dream Recall                  

Interestingly, this dream occurred this morning as I slept in for Memorial Day holiday. Ironically, it answers my request for teaching on how to recall my dreams, yet I almost lost this one. In fact, when I first woke up, all I had were slippery flashes of a few images. I lay there starting to anguish and struggle to reach back for the whole narrative thread. But then I remembered that the other day I recalled a dream that was almost lost, and I did so by dropping in samatha breath meditation and letting go of the struggle. So I did so again. I stayed still in the bed, began deep breathing, relaxing into the liminal state again. And – yes – the jewel floated up, a dream ball, as my DreamWalker calls the packages of information, and I had the whole gem in the palm of my mind’s hand. The unpacking was easy as I applied my hand to keyboard before coffee.

List of Relationships between Dream Symbols

So now the question I’m going to answer is “What are the dream’s central symbols and the relationship between them?” This question is easily dispensed with, and I’ll do so with a list to make short work of it:

There are a number of instances of the word “Old.” This is because DW and I have been discussing his thigles and the Oldes couple who finished the Path of Togal.

Vehicles figure prominently, as they have since last October, when Daniel banished me and I wandered homeless. Here they also figure as -yanas, or Theravada (liberation), Mahayana (love), and Vajrayana (transformation).

Old Chapel Hill Road leads to where Daniel and I first “met” a quarter of a century ago, as we earned English degrees in the same building during the same years.

Two visible right turns lead to two parts of our airport. Airport Blvd. leads to the Greater Vehicle of the commercial jets; Aviation Pkwy. leads to the Smaller Vehicle of private planes. Accordingly, I’m looking for a secret, unmarked Middle Path between Theravada and Mayahana. I’m seeking my own way, as in church I’m shouting over the chanting with my own voice, in plain English.

The color green figures in the green hymnal from a key scene of destructive sectarianism from my youth. I quit the Lutheran church when two elders almost got into a fist fight over whether the church would adopt the controversial green hymnals over the old red hynmals. Green also figured in the last teaching dream I had, which featured a white goddess dressed in green. In my tarot deck, green is the color of individuation, and that is what dreamwork is all about. Green is my favorite color.

There are sets of twos: two roads/yanas, two heart lockets to choose between, two hymnal colors, two cushions, two editions, two vehicles besides individuation (self-powered).

There are two characters from Game of Thrones, which Kurt and I have been watching before bedtime recently: Sam and Theon’s sister Yara Greyjoy. Both have abusive fathers, as did I. A reader of this blog recently contacted me to ask me to write about the issue of low self-esteem.

The key on the heart lockets means that the key to opening the heart is the heart itself. This is a reflexive paradox: There is nothing outside me, my own heart, no teacher, map, or key that is going to point out this path for me. I have to propel myself forward by delicately balancing and rebalancing effort with surrender. Rather than forcing the lucidity of the day into the night, I have to allow the jewels of the night to float up into the morning light.

The rainbow colors of the rightmost locket are about the heart opening leading to Togal visions and Rainbow Body. The locket I buy is mine to give away. The locket is transmission. This dream is in part about my finding my own voice to write my own dharma book that will draw on all traditions and be in plain English for Westerners. It also is about my concern that I find or make the path that is fastest for me lest I die before I finish.

Dream Resolution

Another question I can ask of this dream is whether it leaves anything unresolved. Well, the answer consists of a pile of paradoxes. In some ways that is a disappointment, but leave it to a Buddhist narrative to leave you with only a house of mirrors for a finish line.

Dream of the Secret Path to the Rainbow Heart

Lost and Mapless

I am in my car, driving up Old Chapel Hill Road toward Chapel Hill, trying to get somewhere, but I’m not sure where. I pass the right turn onto Airport Boulevard, which leads to the airline terminals. I know that coming up on my right will be Aviation Parkway. But I do not want either of those two clearly visible routes. What I’m looking for is between those two roads, but that is all I know except that I’ve never before seen a road between those two turn-offs.

I am frustrated as I drive, because not only do I lack a navigator and map, but I am not even sure of the the name of the turn-off I’m looking for. It is a secret route; it appears only if one can remember its name, which I cannot quite do. I know it starts with an O. So is it Osolo?  Is it Orca? Is it Ochre? No. I am thinking that maybe I should turn onto Airport Boulevard after all, that maybe the path I’m looking for is a V-off or a service road. Or maybe I can abandon my car and, since there is no one and nothing to help me, walk through the dark woods alone on foot in the hope of finding it.

Letting Go and Recollection of Lucidity as Path

As soon as I give up and start to backtrack, the name of the path I seek occurs to me: Ösel. It means luminous clarity, as well as rang rig pa, which means reflexive apperception. It is generally included in the Six Yogas of Naropa. The sign of the road appears, and I turn right onto this secret route. The route dead ends at what appears to be a horse farm that has been transformed into some kind of testing track for various vehicles. 

My Confrontation with My Teacher

There is a tight, U-shaped, circular way to turn around. I go around it and pause at this window where apparently people can order smoothies. A woman there asks me if I want refreshment. (This woman was Yara Greyjoy from Game of Thrones, the badass warrior princess who tries to rescue her abused and traumatized brother, whom their father first rejected and abandoned cruelly.) I tell her that my organic mango lassi recipe is superior to anything she is offering and so I must politely decline. 

I drive up a little further, park, and exit my car. I start walking back toward the track and under the shade of some oaks, where John is sitting at a picnic table, across from a student who resembles Sam in Game of Thrones. Sam is a character who was traumatized by his father, is overweight, and has low self-esteem. I quietly nod hello to John, who is teaching this student.

The student is saying that he is experiencing intense fear and misery from meditation. John is launching into some advice, but I interrupt John and Sam: “You need to read MCTB before you do anything else.” Sam says, “What’s MCTB?” I reply: “Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, but unfortunately the really clear, beautiful, and complete second edition is being held hostage by its lead author, with whom I collaborated on it, all because he refuses to give me even a factual editorial acknowledgment for my 800 hours of work that amounted to authorship.” 

John starts to contradict me about the usefulness of MCTB2, and I again interrupt him, asking, “John, have you even read this book so as to understand the insight stages, particularly the Knowledges of Suffering?” He says no. I apologize for interrupting him, say I will let him get back to teaching, but I also write out the title of the book on two scraps of paper and tell both of them “Read It!”

Dream Outtake of the Sectarianism Scene of my Youth

Suddenly I’m back in the little Lutheran church of my childhood. I left this church after a fist fight almost broke out over abandoning the old red hymnals for the new green ones that altered the familiar melodies and harmonies unacceptably. But this time everyone is chanting in Tibetan out of the red hymnals. Everyone except me. I hold a drab green book that contains Theravadin meditation instructions in plain English. I start reading these aloud, shouting with my one voice over the din of the old Tibetan obfuscations.

Now I’m back under the shade over the picnic table, staring into John’s eyes over the title MCTB2 that I wrote on the scrap of paper. I bow slightly to John with my hands folded at heart center, as if transmitting the knowledge of the red-versus-green-book dream outtake, turn, and walk back past the refreshment window to a rack of trinkets that is set up under a shade tree in the clay and sparse grass. 

Two Heart-Shaped Lockets for Sale

I see two heart-shaped lockets. I decide to pay the price for one. But which? The patterns of the hearts are similar: both have an image of a key engraved on the heart, but in different positions. Undecided, I look at John, who is still teaching at the picnic table, out of earshot. He turns and glances at me, as if knowing that I’m staring at him. I turn back to the two hearts, and the one on my right now is giving off intensely saturated rainbow colors. This is the one, then, that I will buy. 

I go to the refreshment window and pay. I test the locket first to make sure that it will open without an actual (missing) key. It does. The woman says the key is included as image in the design itself, the heart and the key to opening it are the same. The locket is placed in a long rectangular velvet box and given to me for my safekeeping.

Dream Outtake about Two Authors Named “Cushion”

Suddenly, I’m back at the rack of dharma merchandise, but now my colleague Sian, our acquistions editor at work, is standing beside me and asking a question about one of my authors, whose name is apparently Cushion. She says there are two Cushions and asks which one is my author. I say, “Oh, come on! What is the chance of there being two ‘Cushions’ as authors?” I’m annoyed and tell her that both are probably mine because of how well she does her job and therefore how overloaded with developmental editing work I am. 

She turns ghostly pale at my words and vanishes. Ahhhh!

Subject Perspective Gone but Self-Powered Game On

Now the sense of an “I,” an ego, is gone. There is only a race of some kind between three vehicles. They are not going around the track, however, but toward Old Chapel Hill Road, toward home. One is a large old V8 truck, I think. One is a car. The third is a rickety cart without shock absorbers, which is powered by this blonde woman’s own legs and feet. Yes, she is peddling under her own power. 

Although he is not visible now, I hear John’s voice saying, “Jenny, this is not a race.” Although I, too, am not there in first or third person, I hear my voice respond, “Yes, it is, John, regardless of what purpose or lack of purpose you declare, for I will give the one who reaches Chapel Hill Road first, most efficiently, the olden rainbow-light open-heart locket I paid for with my own resources.”

The blonde woman moving forward under her own power in the claptrap-vehicle-for-one reaches Old Chapel Hill Road first. The magical rainbow locket is hers to keep. 

So say I, and so it shall be.

Incubation Spell for the Dream of the Secret Path 

“Secret Path to the Rainbow Heart” was a dream I “incubated” by meditating before sleep and asking that a teacher appear from another plane to teach me how to remember and become lucid in my dreams. I wrote out the question, wrapped it around an image of the dakini protector of the dream state, sealed it with wax from my fragrant throat chakra meditation candle, and put it under my pillow last night. Pictured here is a close-up of the dream seal.

I’ve had some crazy-looking Minotaurs and dakinis teach me in dreams lately. But this time the teacher was my real-life teacher on this plane, or sort of. Whenever I tell him he was in one of my dreams, he says, “That wasn’t me.” He’s so sly, playing it all humble, but I know better. . . . 

Quote from the Jungian-Senoi Dream Manual

Consider that each night, when we give over to sleep, we are letting go of our daytime consciousness, that we are giving up control, that we are in fact dying. We die nightly to the day life. How many of us fight this little death by eating, reading, staying up late or otherwise numbing ourselves to the fact of needing to die daily to life? And how many of us wake in the morning dead to the night, wake without memory of a dream, that jewel of the night which transcends the little death? Where has the night gone? What do I bring from it to the new life of my day?

Strephon Kaplan-Williams