Dream of  John the Baptist,  John Divine

Some guys from the Seattle Pragmatic Dharma group came to do a weeklong retreat with my teacher. I sat a half day as a guest, to throw my shakipat, as it were. We all went out Friday night for supper, including my teacher.

Table Talk after Retreat

The conversations renewed my former interest in dream incubation, but now as a possible vehicle for deepening and extending sleep lucidity and joining it with perhaps some Charlie Morley lucid dreaming techniques. I’ve long been far from wanting to practice any techniques. My practice deepens just by my drawing breath and sitting quietly without agendas. Often, “techniquing” feels coarse and doing it feels burdensome. Lucidity in dreams has continued to increase without any techniques, but results are documented mainly in my private journal because the dream lucidity is connected with my other esoteric practice.

Also discussed at dinner with my teacher was the intermittent fasting I’ve been doing to loose the weight I gained from Depakote and, to a lesser extent, Cymbalta, both of which I took to treat complex persistent migraine auras. My neurologist put me onto intermittent fasting, too, because it prevents plaque buildup in the brain. I was telling my teacher that I was surprised how much more energy and bliss I experience on days I do not eat. He encouraged me to do a three-week fast and cited Gabriel Cousens’ book Spiritual Nutrition.  He spoke about dehydration, too, the need for more water for detox.

Dream Background

All week the two guys and I have been having interesting dreams. I had two lucid dreams featuring one of the guys. Both guys had dreams of my teacher. Finally, last night, after this dinner, I had my own dream featuring the teacher. Part of the background of this dream, I feel, is that the retreat I sat in April with him was just bodily horrible. It was just the most painful retreat I’ve ever sat. I was coming down with a bad cold, couldn’t sleep, and then was made to endure this partnering meditation in which the two paired sangha members gaze into each other’s eyes for what felt to be 15 minutes. The exercise induced an actual panic attack in me. I felt exposed because I was born with crossed eyes, had to wear an eye patch to train my eyes, and was mercilessly tormented by children from nursery school through early elementary school. I wanted to get up from that exercise and blow the retreat. I almost did. 

Dream Narrative Featuring John the Baptist

I am standing beside a perfectly round, calm silver lake surrounded by retreat cabins. I’m in a kind of ashram, and a ritual is taking place. I look down into the lake, and all these naked bodies are swimming in the lake, clean and dazzling. I know that I’m expected to disrobe and jump into the lake, too, but I’m petrified. I look down and see that I’m wearing a white terrycloth robe that is untied and somewhat open, but I will not take off the robe, because I do not want to be seen. I look to my left and my teacher appears there. He is looking at the bodies in the lake below us. He has the robes and aspect of John the Baptist. I understand that the ritual is a purification, a submersion of the body in the clear silver mirror of the lake, a baptism into new life. I become lucid, realizing on seeing him that this is a dream situation. This in turn makes me realize that I’m sleeping. I say to  this John the Baptist, “I cannot do this right now.” He says, “Why not?” I blurt out, “Because I’m actually asleep and am pretty sure I have bad breath! I have to go brush my teeth!” Mainly I’m ashamed of my body and ashamed to say so to him, so I want an excuse to run away and avoid the whole question of purifying myself bodily. He laughs and laughs at my worry and says, “Silly girl, just take the plunge!” 

But before making a decision whether to take the plunge, I woke up from the dream.

Dream Evaluation

At lunch today, one of the retreat guys, who is a major lucid dream practitioner, said the following after I told him this dream: “Thoughts on your dream earlier: Embarrassment about body was a habit that was called out by the dream, and rewiring that will pay off. Pretty much anything you do in a dream that doesn’t kick ass is a signal for room for improvement.”

Now we are talking about lucid dreaming and lucid fasting collaborations. 

“John Saw That Number,” by Neko Case


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