Controlling a Dream Called Waking Life

The normal progression in attaining lucidity in dreams is this:

  1. Remembering the dream
  2. Realizing in the dream that it is a dream
  3. Controlling the dream

I’ve been having some, but by no means total, success with Nos. 1 and 2, but have not experienced No. 3 – until yesterday morning. Interestingly, I didn’t experience No. 2 while experiencing No. 3. Instead, my dream persona apparently concluded that waking reality is a dream and can be controlled through intent.

The Dream

I am younger and slim, a college student, and I’m going to school. I wake up feeling sensations of anxiety and misery, caused no doubt by my weaning myself off Cymbalta, an SNRI antidepressant. I drag myself to class, and it is in the same elementary school classroom featured in this important dream about my being led around by people in disguise:

I am seated in a little child’s chair at a little table. My dharma teacher John is teaching at the blackboard. He stops talking and asks me what is wrong with me. I say I’m withdrawing from Cymbalta because it causes weight gain but the withdrawal is making me miserable. He tells me to go home and nap, so I leave, walking through college campus landscapes reminding me of Florida State and other similarly red-brick-loving universities of North Carolina.

At home, I nap. When I wake, I’m again anxious and miserable. But I start driving my red Honda Accord back to class. While driving, I remember John’s words from my recent retreat about how people who attain very hard jhanas can pass their hands through walls. As I drive, I say, “This is a dream,” but I don’t mean it is literally a nighttime dream. I’m simply doing Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s daytime practice, which is to say and feel into how waking reality is a dream made of dreamstuff, not solid.

I step hard on the accelerator, and as I approach the brick schoolhouse at mad speed, I form the intent to drive right through the wall. I’m not trying to commit suicide; I’m convinced that John is correct, that all of reality is a dream. Indeed the car and I pass unharmed through the wall, and I turn off the car and exit it near the principal’s office. Then, instead of walking the halls, I simply pass through wall after wall, and through the ceiling, in a straight line to John’s classroom. 

I’m on a roll.

During class, John says I look like I feel better. I say, “Yes, but these little kids’ chairs are a bad fit.” Then, as he resumes lecturing the class, I stretch my body and float above my chair and recline back on the thin air in a sleeping position. Ah, that is much more comfortable. When I need to look at what John is writing on the blackboard, I roll over on my side the way that Wangyal instructs the lucid dreamer to for most of the waking intervals during the night. I’m floating about 3 to 5 feet above the heads of the other students. I feel that John is going to think I’m showing off, but when he calls on me to ask me to share my most recent realization, I say only this: “No harm will come to me if I live without Cymbalta.”

The Evaluation

The significance of this dream is obvious. Like my last dream about the Pokemon pantheon – this one is showing a radical shift in the wakefulness of my dream ego (”dreamgo”). Instead of being weak-willed and led along by others, I’m directing actions in accordance with my own intent. In the last dream, I refuse to wear the costumes and play the roles assigned me by patriarchy. I can leap unharmed from tall buildings to cut the root of delusion. In this dream, I can drive and walk through supposedly solid walls and levitate. 

Moreover, this dream takes place in the very same elementary schoolhouse, shown here, in the very same classroom, that this significant other lucid dream from 6 months ago did. This is the local elementary school close to where we lived when my son was small. I toured it once when I was considering placing him there, so I’ve seen the inside, the classrooms. A particular second-floor class room, leftmost, was the scene of two significant and interrelated dreams of mine had 6 months apart, the first one being audio recorded and titled “Deceptive Practices and Homelessness,” and my lucid dream yesterday which features a much more powerful driving Jenny:

In that earlier dream, I was deceived by a series of people, exited the school by conventional means, and was led by a Captain Kangaroo figure into a gypsy caravan that a disguised Daniel Ingram was driving. It was upon recognizing the true Daniel through his disguise that I became lucid in that dream and tried to work out our differences over MCTB2. But when I told that dream to John, he said, “No offense, but why the fuck would you get in the back of a van that some clown led you to? That is a dream of a little girl’s abduction.” 

John’s evaluation initiated a whole series of discussions I had with him about my need to evaluate the way my dreamgo moves through dreams and how my identification with the role of victim keeps me from embodying my realizations and power. He said, “If you can understand what obscures the ego in dreams, you will more clearly see where you are limited by the same obscurations in everyday life.” And this discussion led to my spending months opening the third chakra, the solar plexus, where dualistic fear/anger was hiding out.

And since the final blowup with Dan Ingram, I’ve had many dreams about traveling, whether by car, caravan, or truck. In fact, in daily life, while I’m driving in my car, I practice the daytime lucid dreaming techniques relentlessly simply because my Honda is such a potent triggering image that I may be dreaming. I’m not sure why traveling is such a constant dream theme. It may be because I am homeless: was abandoned by Daniel and banished from the Dharma Overground and Dharma Underground even though I had broken no rules, which Claudiu, who is a terrible moderator, admitted in writing to me. It may simply signify that I’m on a path.

So here I am now in real life, struggling to wean myself off Cymbalta, which I took for anxiety and migraines. I’ve never taken the officially therapeutic dose, and going from 40 mg to 20 mg, slowly, was fine. But dropping below 20 mg initiates a bad withdrawal syndrome, particularly in the morning before I’ve had my next dose. I wouldn’t bother trying to go off it right now, but my neurologist thinks it is causing weight problems, which is being shown to indeed be a side effect, which I definitely don’t need. When I’ve gone off it before, I quickly dropped 20 pounds without trying. When I have those feelings in the morning, I can do a rapid emptiness practice, which is useful, but the sensations are unpleasant for reminding me of my former nervous breakdowns viscerally. I have to tell myself that these are only sensations and that my life is going very, very well and there is no real threat. 

Most interesting to me about this current dream is that I never became lucid in the sense of realizing that I was moving through a nighttime dream. Instead, I began controlling the dream as waking reality, which, in the dream, I did not distinguish as essentially different from a dream, because it is not.

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