Friday, January 23, 2009

A World of Our Own Devising.

Today I woke up in a strange state fueled by staying up past my bedtime last night. For some reason my left thumb felt jammed, as if it was jutting askew somehow while I slept. No doubt my mood was enhanced by whatever remnants of a sinus infection that remained with me. And then too, the dream I actually remember having was filled with tension, and my heart was racing for a good hour after I woke. I'm not in the habit of recalling the activities of my subconscious, especially those that originate in its most unfettered condition. Yet the images and the scenario rolling through overnight lingered like the afterimage of a flash bulb smack dab at the front of my brain.

In that dream I encountered a home invasion by some large creep that seemed familiar but was still wholly unrecognizable. He meant to kill me and I knew it. Different versions of the situation played themselves out one after another. Perhaps there was a large, sharp knife involved. I can say for a fact that I had the impression that this man was singularly demented. And each time it seemed I was rid of him, I had the feeling that he would be back. Of course, the dream state is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If someone were to make one pause in the middle of the narrative, it would be no problem making an easy prediction of what would happen once back in the REM state.

Somewhere in the recesses of my youth, someone told me that if you die in your dream, then you risk doing the same in your daily life. I suspect it may have been Wes Craven who got that canard to stick. Obviously- if that were true, there would be legions of people dying nightly in their sleep for no good apparent reason. Maybe I was suspicious of this Old Wives' tale for awhile, but eventually I resolved to test the theory. I must have figured a cliche would be the safest way to find out for sure. I took a header off of some high place and fell and fell, and then made myself hit the solid surface at the bottom of whatever descent I had chosen. All it did was end the dream. I don't know if I woke up right away.

So I've experienced death on both sides in my shadow existence. Yes, I've made it a point to kill someone in a dream as well. That's probably the most appropriate and effective way to exorcise psychic demons. I recommend that you try it one day. Just prepare yourself ahead of time to compartmentalize. Whatever reverberations that emanate from that kind of violence will manifest themselves very differently in waking hours. There's no need for excessive stress or guilt. You didn't do anything wrong, because you make your own laws while you are alone with your dreams. And if you decide later on that you acted hastily or in a presumptuous manner, you can always bring your victim back.

Ultimately it's a matter of perspective. People don't realize the extent of control that they actually have. Remember that you have the prerogative to define backwards. History is always a retrospective, and there is no compelling reason to constrain yourself with narrow definitions. There's no way to get around the fact that we don't get to construct all of our own rules in our consensual reality. However, that doesn't mean that you have to let anyone else dictate your experiences during that one third (or so) of your life when you are asleep. The monsters will inevitably visit you... they may take any disturbing form you are able to imagine, but remember that they are of your own creation.

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