Are dreams meaningless nocturnal hallucinations, or meaningful nocturnal visions?
Off and on throughout my life I've kept a dream journal. I leave a notebook and pencil on my nightstand and if I wake up from a dream I try to fight through my grogginess to jot down as much detail of the nocturnal adventure as I can. I hadn't been keeping a dream journal for awhile, and in fact hadn't been remembering many dreams at all in the past year. So when the library gods steered me to the book "Transforming Dreams" by Kelly Bulkeley, I was reminded that a key component of my creative diet was missing. Determined to re-balance my psychic nutritional menu, I placed a fresh yellow legal notepad and newly sharpened pencil on my nightstand once again.
In this book Bulkeley, a noted dream researcher, places his attention on the Big Dream, that dream that shakes us up and and leaves us wondering for days what it was about, often becoming a catalyst for a new behavior or a transformation to a new kind of consciousness that permanently alters our way of looking at our place in the world. I've had a few Big Dreams over the years, but it had been a very long time since the last and I felt a pull, a kind of anxious yearning to have my psychic juices stirred once again.
That night, I woke up from a dream:
I'm at a club or gym of some kind. There are lots of teenage boys and young men milling about in white robes and cotton pants. I realize it's a martial arts academy. It seems strange that I'm here since I've never taken martial arts training of any kind, preferring yoga to judo or kickboxing, and indeed I've never been one with an interest in any of the fighting arts. I look across the room, and to my surprise I see Captain Picard of the Star Trek television series. He's wearing a shimmering multi-colored robe, Japanese in design. I realize that he's the head teacher of the academy.
Much to my surprise, Picard catches my eye and motions me to join him. I cross the crowded room and he greets me, suggesting I accompany him to a back room. He explains that there is a tournament about to begin and he will have to change into his fighting clothes. He pulls the elaborate robe over his head and tells me to put it on. I'm flabbergasted, but he insists so I slip the robe on. As we turn back to the main room Picard explains that everyone picks a partner who will fight with him, and I will have to make a careful choice for my second. As I'm walking alongside him I keep tripping awkwardly over the hem of the robe; it's way too long for me, and I'm embarrassed at my clumsiness.
We get back to the fighting room and everyone is hastily picking their partner; my range of choice is narrowing quickly. I look around frantically, finally spotting a fellow I know sitting alone at a table. I stride over to him and put my hand on his shoulder, indicating I've chosen him as my second. He looks up at me and I remember that he isn't much of a fighter either, but he'll have to do. He grins and shrugs, and we both see that we're going to get clobbered. The absurdity of our situation hits us and we break out laughing.
I woke up from the dream laughing out loud, and the more I thought about it the more I laughed. There I was, a gentle, pacifist non-fighter who wouldn't harm a flea, being given a ceremonial warrior's robe and promptly tripping over the hem because it was too big for me! This struck me as one of the sillier dreams I've had in awhile, definitely not in the category of a Big Dream. However, It was my first dream since I brought out the dream journal, so I dutifully recorded my comical exploits and rolled back under the covers, still chuckling to myself, and drifted back to sleep.
But that was not to be the end of it.
To be continued....