In the next dream, I am not even there! I know this sounds a bit bizarre – but it’s simply the house, the front yard and back. I am not walking around, raking, baking or doing anything, yet somehow the dream started and continued. The dream flowed from inside the kitchen, out into the front yard, swirling around to the back. There was movement and awareness, of the trees, the fallen leaves, the crickets and cookies, yet I was not there. It was as if I merged into the dream, fully and completely- flowing and following it as it naturally went along. There seemed to be a circular movement through and around the house, with each pulse, each pass, a little different. Most trees grew taller as some decayed away and the crickets yielded grandchildren that chirped with delight. The swirling and circling of the house became faster and faster, yet somehow it slowed everything right down. It was like time was slowing down on the outside of the dream, which itself was speeding up, yet I was nowhere to be found. It was beyond beautiful, and then all the grass, grains, trees, cicadas and cookies, and the house itself, everything, just faded into the timeless swirl and only a sphere remained. I say sphere, yet it wasn’t- It was a circle, yet it pulsed and swirled, yet it also had depth – but that depth was empty, except for its own swirl. My words fail to describe this – and even though it was my own dream, I was not involved at all – but yet somehow I was fully aware of its beauty. And this awareness did something inside me – inside my heart. I am not sure how long I dreamt this dream, as it was as if time stopped – or did not exist at all. I woke up after this dream different – I felt complete – whole. Like I knew my life’s purpose, even without needing to define it. It would simply define itself, constantly, over and over, without end, effortlessly – by simply being in that awareness throughout my life.
In my next dream, I find myself waking up inside my childhood home. Perhaps it should have felt rather peculiar to dream that I was sleeping, and dream waking up, but it didn’t. It is my old house, my old home, but is also different somehow. It seems happy – relaxed, and even slightly glowing. Not that my home seemed unhappy as a child – but rather that the house now has a sense of its own mood, happy or otherwise. But even that doesn’t quite explain it correctly, and I am not sure I can do that. But suffice it to say, it was beyond merely pleasant. It was nurturing, comforting – with the sound of morning crickets mixed with the breeze through the screen windows. The Ocean once again filled my lungs and I sat up and went outside. I stand on the front doorstep and look at the yard and it’s all overgrown. I realize that no-one is home, none of my family – and GreatMa. GreatMa – she isn’t there either. But I don’t worry because just as she helped bring me home, I helped her get home too.
I notice a rake on the grass and pick it up and start raking some leaves. Nothing more, nothing less – I simply raked leaves until the front yard was clear. I walked through the chain link fence into the back yard. It was wildly overgrown – our old sizeable vegetable garden in the corner of the yard, complete with weeds upon weeds. The rest of the backyard is full of trees – with a magnificent walnut tree surrounded by ash, oak and elm. I walk over to the garden and look at the weeds and notice they are full of grains, and seeds, and there is even oatmeal growing. The weeds that overgrew and overtaken the vegetable patch were, in fact, not weeds at all. I begin collecting the grains, the oatmeal and the seeds. It takes quite a while inside my dream, and it went on quite a while in this quiet solitude of gathering. When my sack, that somehow appeared when I started, is about three-quarters full, I finish as there’s enough room to close the sack. I carry it inside and into the kitchen and place the sack gently on the counter. I begin opening cupboards and collecting the ingredients to make some oatmeal cookies and take some seeds and oatmeal out of my sack. I start mixing up all the ingredients and think about raisins – I didn’t have any and I also realized that I wasn’t in the mood for them anyhow. I went back outside into the back yard and looked again at the trees – and there amongst them was the black walnut tree. I went over and collected some walnuts off the ground from around the beautiful tree. Back inside, I broke open their shells and removed the nuts and added them to the cookie mixture. I bake up the cookies and I find myself eating them in the front yard, watching an occasional falling leaf land on the grass.
The dream was very long, and it is now the end of the day, the sun setting on the leaves and grass in the front as the moon rises over the wild oats out back. I am content, peaceful, and my cookies nourish and compliment the effortless work of the day.
So these dreams are now beyond something of an overnight saga. They are engulfing my waking being. Somehow, I don’t find the need to analyze or dissect them. This is quite unlike myself, always needing to formulate some logical understanding of my experiences. I simply don’t have that inherent urge to do this with these dreams, which, while peculiar, I also don’t feel the need to question. They just feel right, just as they are.
The next time, I am there again, eating GreatMa’s cookie. She is next to me, with our overflowing sacks by our feet, as she eats a cookie too. We stand there in the golden warm sunshine, silently enjoying the delicious cookie. I look down as I take a bite and I notice the cookie looks different – it’s actually made up of all the wild seeds, nuts and grains we have been collecting. They were all raw, and looked like they had twigs in them and perhaps sap was holding them together. But it is an oatmeal raisin cookie, no doubt and one of GreatMa’s too! In dreams, these things don’t have to make logical sense, and that’s fine. The cookie was perfect – the result of our effortless effort – and the result was much more than the parts. Somehow, once I took a bite, it transcended from an ugly chunk of meadow litter into the most divine tasting oatmeal raisin cookie ever.
We take our time, eating slowly, enjoying and immersing ourselves fully into the moment. I look over at GreatMa and I realize she looks different – lighter. Her face is less heavy and she is truly enjoying her cookie. I noticed early in the dream that her sack was at our feet, but it was only now that I realized that this was the first time I saw her not holding her sack, her work.
We finish our cookies and look at our sacks laying open and overflowing on the ground and then at each other. A squirrel comes bouncing along and bravely starts helping itself to our collections, all our hard work, inside our unguarded sacks. We laugh knowingly as we walk towards each other. We lock arms as we start walking side by side, letting the squirrel feast and call its friends. We both know where to go – my childhood home, which is a few blocks away once we get out of the meadow and woods. As we walked and walked, I noticed I was helping her quite a bit. She is quite old in the dream – like when I was a boy -in her 90’s. But she is still strong, and has energy and we continue on heading out of the meadow, leaving the feasting squirrels behind, fuzzy tails sticking out the tops of the sacks. As we leave the meadow and enter the woods, the sun suddenly sets. On our path, prostrated by pines, rhododendrons and crickets, the awakened moon was on the horizon and full and pulsating at us with waves of love. I woke up before we got home – I think before we left the woods. The energy, the love, the power of the Moon, the path, and GreatMa all deeply touched and transformed my heart. It feels like I’m truly going home in my waking life, but not to a physical place, but some place I have always known yet have never been.
Oatmeal doesn’t really grow wildly in Stratose, and probably not really many edible seeds either for that matter, but this is Stratose of the dreamworld. Seeds, nuts, and yes, even oatmeal, were all overflowingly abundant, and somehow not in anyway out of place in this deeper world.
I had figured out that by simply attending to GreatMa’s presence, without my mind wandering thought after thought, that she remains in my presence. To fully embrace her though, takes fully embracing myself – my form and my function – through the effort in helping her. But it’s not just helping her, it is a joining with her in mutual effortless effort. My following dreams were truly beautiful – even though I was simply collecting. But that collection was done with GreatMa. The first dream or two, we quietly freed and gathered the grains and seeds. We spoke, but I don’t recall what we said, but it was little – not as in content, but in length. We mainly just kept our mouths shut, heads down, directionlessly focused at the task at hand. It was like when you see some crows marching together in grass looking for worms, at least it reminded me of that. As the dreams progressed, we began talking more and more. We spoke about many things, I was so curious about her life, her adventures, and the more we spoke, the more I was curious about anything and everything about her. She had such a special gentle wisdom about her, she always had. Her stories always seem to be told on many levels at the same time – and I am not sure how to explain, so I will use the excuse that these are dreams where nothing needs to be logical. Nevertheless, I will try. So, for example, she would be recanting to me a story of her life, such as when she was 19 and moved from Germany to America. In the dream, I would hear all the details, and on the surface of it, it was just the story of coming to America. But… but… at the same time, somehow, she was using that story to explain something deeper – that each part was symbolic of something deeper. Germany was her unaware young mind, the Ocean ship was her growing, emerging mind, and America was her arriving on the other shore, a fully emerged being. Additional layers of meaning seem to be there as well, such as Germany and a young mind reveal themselves as an Origin – a place of Purity. In these dreams, the layers seem to flow into each other, creating eddy currents. GreatMa breathing in the deep, salty air, sitting still on the Ocean ship, always moving, making progress, yet nothing moves but her mind. Her effortless effort finds her on the other shore.
I found I began finding out answers to some of my internal mysteries and struggles just hearing her stories. No, actually, it isn’t just that simple. I wasn’t just listening, I was also talking too. We got to know each other so well over these dreams, and I too, began telling her stories of my life. And these stories, somehow too, had layers of meaning embedded within them. I say somehow, even though they came from myself, because they seem to just naturally come out that way as I told them to Greatma.
The last of these recent dreams was different. All the stories had now been told and retired. We simply were collecting the grains. In the dream, we did this for a while, perhaps an hour or even longer. It was tranquil and quiet, with the same warm summer evening enveloping us. Then a thought popped into my head. I’m not sure what the thought was, but I looked up at Greatma and I noticed she was getting quite tired. There was even some sweat dripping down her face. I stopped and walked the few feet I was away to her. I used my tee-shirt to slowly wipe her face and I noticed her sack was overfull. Looking at her deep blue eyes, I asked her, “GreatMa, you are the wisest person I have ever known so why don’t you realize that your sack is more than ready?”
Looking straight back into my deep brown eyes, and with tears in hers, she utters “Oh Richie, even the wisest have barriers too…. and some are so simple that even fools can cross”.
When she spoke these powerful words, many things unfolded all at once. The ground jolted and the cicadas erupted into their blaring sirens. My nose was flooded with the Oceanic seaweeds and salts. Her message had literally shaken all the seeds from all the grains as the words dropped from her mouth.We were showered and bathed in overflowing abundance, overflowing our sacks. As I realized our collecting work was done, I noticed I was eating and enjoying an oatmeal raison cookie. I don’t think there was any way I could have not woke up at that point!
I have had several more dreams – all again continuing where the previous left off. I don’t really know how to explain how that is happening, or rather, I don’t actually know. I suppose now I do have a strong desire to immerse myself back into this world, so I have this held into my mind as I drift off asleep each night. And each dream is not merely a continuation of some random collection of places, times and Greatma – I can feel the meaning within each unfolding. Where this all leads, I am not quite sure, but I am excited to keep following it! So, the first of the recent dreams was short. I was standing now, at the same spot as before in the woods, with Greatma still in the meadow. I was excited – really excited and my excitement seemed to somehow shake the air and earth and this seemed to startle or even scare Greatma and she started to walk away. I wanted her to stay where she was – so much- and I started to tremble- and she walked further and further away. She was soon out of sight and I must have woken up – as there was no more memory of that dream.
The next night, the next dream, I was standing there again, in the woods. And Greatma, she was there too again, in the meadow. I felt myself trying to make sure I kept myself calmer than the night before. I was taking measured, slow deep breaths, and following them – and this worked to calm me. I then felt the gentleness of the dream all around me again – the nurturing air, the soaring birds and cluster flies, the damp mosses and crinkly crab apple trees. I was standing there and as I was watching her, I was trying so hard to study her as she collected the seeds. As I did this, well, examination, she simply walked away, and as I tried to follow her, I woke up.
The next dream, I was stuck – not physically you see. I wanted to see Greatma – but I also knew that everything I did to try to see her, made her go away and end the dream. I was stuck as to what to do to get to Greatma’s attention. I looked around me, down at my feet and saw some pinecones. I thought of something! Something playful yet clever, at least to my mind – pinecones are soft yet aerodynamic – so I picked one up and threw it towards Greatma! I have fairly good aim and wasn’t worried about hitting her, plus it is fairly soft in the worst case. But oh, what an idiot I am! My ‘playful’ act to get her attention was really stupid! The pinecone landed a few feet from her, but because of its non-uniform shape, like a rugby ball, it bounced at a funny angle. I was horrified as I saw it ricochet off the ground straight towards her face! Sure, it is somewhat soft, but not that soft and she is old! It all seemed in slow motion, and, as it was a dream, perhaps it was all slowed down. But as I felt the guilt of my brash decision bubbling up inside me as the pinecone approached her face, it disappeared even quicker. This is because right before that pinecone hit Greatma’s face, she pulled a Karate-Kid wax-on move and karate chopped that pinecone into next week! Bam! That woke me straight up!!
I didn’t dream the next night, but I did the night after that. I was back to being ‘stuck’. I wasn’t going to throw anything else that was for sure! I wasn’t going to stare at her either. So, where did that leave me? Stuck again. So, I stood there, looking at my feet and trying not to feel like there was an elephant in the room, so to speak. What to do, what to do? I know, I thought- and I set off and collected all the largest sticks that were around on the ground in the woods. Some sticks were a bit deeper into the woods, some nearby, and some were actually a bit closer to the meadow. I paid the sticks’ locations little mind and brought them all to the edge of the woods. I would sometimes look up and see Greatma – as she continued her work of collecting. After a while, I had enough sticks to start building a stick hut- though in my dream it was supposed to be a fort. I wanted to play with GreatMa you see. I was inviting her to come and play as I placed stick on top of crossed stick, over and over. I kept peeking over to look at Greatma and I noticed during a couple of my glances that she was facing me. I didn’t hold those glances long enough to tell if she was, in fact, looking back at me, but I am pretty sure she was. It felt very strongly as if I stared at her, she would not keep looking at me and would walk away again – and I didn’t want that! So, I kept my glances just that- just a glance and not a stare, not even really a look. As I was on the meadow’s edge now, I grabbed some tall grass and started tying the crossed corners of the sticks together. I was feeling more and more pride in my fort, my hut, and surely GreatMa would be amazed at my creation and accept my wonderful invitation! As I feel these prideful thoughts build inside of me, I finish up the last corner and the hut is done. But I find that I am standing alone inside it, barely able to see out past the thick sticks. I find a gap and look, look into the meadow for GreatMa – and she’s off into the distance, walking away, with her seed bag full on her shoulder. I feel defeated- that is- until I notice she stops. She places her bag down and turns around and looks at me! Then waves!!! I am not sure if the dream would have continued, but I burst with excitement so much that I woke straight up!
In the following night’s dream, I am still in my fort, my hut. I am now sitting, light splintering though the sticks, casting stripes of shadows and light across my face and arms and body. I am not moving, I’m just sitting there, feeling the sun and air – and thinking inside my dream – thinking about how my fort felt correct in someways, yet why was it still not quite right for GreatMa? As I am sat there thinking these thoughts, I notice a squirrel bobbing and scurrying through the fallen leaves and pine needles. It’s foraging – seeking, finding and collecting food. I keep watching it and it does it so seemingly without effort – it just keeps moving and lifting leaves and twigs and pebbles, and sometimes there’s a seed, but most of the time there’s not, and yet it just keeps moving. It is working hard but it seems effortless all the same, and I begin to notice that its movement amongst the undergrowth is that not simply of an uncoordinated animal, but it is elegant. So elegant – and graceful, in fact, that I realized that this squirrel was dancing! A beautiful dance that was a natural outflowing of its effortless effort. My mouth fell open in amazed wonderment and then naturally closed as a huge smile grew on my face. I watched this in awe and amazement, yes, but also in deep reverence – and recognition in some fashion. The squirrel danced and danced, doing its job of life without effort, yet it was exhausting itself at the same time – I started to notice and my simple watching became staring and thinking. I began thinking all about this– and I kept staring and thinking… That is when the squirrel simply ran up the backside of a tree, out of my view. I realized that my probing, my over-thinking, instead of simply fully immersing watching the impossible dancing squirrel, was what triggered the critter’s retreat. When I had a simple, calm, open mind – I felt I somehow understood the dance. When I began thinking about it, over and over, my understanding retreated as with the squirrel. That is when I realized that I now knew how to keep Greatma from leaving– and with that realization, as on cue, I awoke.
In my next dream, I found myself right at the boundary of the woods and meadow, the transition area of crabapple trees and small bushes with grasses where mice play and enjoy the early evening warm air. I see GreatMa, and she is collecting as usual, and I simply watch her as she does this. I hear the crackle of the dried husks as she frees the trapped nourishment inside. I notice all this, so much more so than previously, yet she continues and doesn’t walk away. This is because I am simply watching, not thinking about why she is moving her thumbs a certain way when cracking the grains, or something like that. And in my simply watching, I am learning so much more about her- so much more is opening up to me. As I hear another crackle between her thumb and seed, I believe she is humming, or softly singing perhaps, as a warm glowing smile beams on her face. I could smell the sweet deliciousness of her warm oatmeal raisin cookies in the air – some must have been around but I wasn’t looking for them anymore! My simply watching went on for some time in my dream, and I simply just looked at her effortless work. I listened to the grasses sway in rhythm to GreatMa’s humming, punctuated with the gentle crackling and tapping of the seeds like a drum set’s high hat. It was, well, simply like an orchestra. In one of the moments, I noticed something about her – she was getting exhausted. This made me immediately think – what am I doing just watching her? I need to help her! Without hesitation I walked straight over to GreatMa, looked her in the eyes and said, “I love you GreatMa and I am here now. I will help you”. Her gaze into my eyes was amazing – She looked so young inside those eyes – and she was smiling so broadly- she was so happy to see me! We opened our arms at the same time as she said “I love you too Richie Boy. I am collecting many things, many seeds, but let’s also gather oatmeal for some cookies to bake”. As she said this, we were already in a deep, warm, love-filled embrace.
Chapter Three: GreatMa
I am getting a little freaked out how these dreams are continuing on night after night, like some great saga. If they weren’t so exhilarating and mysterious, I would be downright frightened I think! Last night was no different – I seem to awaken inside my dream where I left off – laying exhausted in the pitch dark. As I realize I am still holding GreatMa’s oatmeal raisin cookie I begin to wonder how I know this – afterall it is pitch dark inside my dream. But, this is the way of dreams, seeing knowledge beyond vision, is it not? With my wondering the birth of my cookie knowledge, as on cue, the blackness of night begins to be replaced with light- and this light – it is daylight, yes – but not daylight from the Sun. You see, as crazy as it may sound, that beautiful cookie somehow was the emanator of my dreamworld’s ‘Sunrise’ as it flooded Stratose with its brilliant cookieshine!
I found myself now sat upright on the undergrowth, silently enjoying the peaceful and luminous daybreak- it was warm but with that cool crisp Ocean breeze yet again filling my lungs. It was calm, with some late crickets and frogs joining some singing birds as the pines swayed to drink the brine clinging in the air. I noticed that the Moon was silently dipping its huge sphere out of view across the open meadow, which wasn’t all too far from where I was sat in the woods. Even with an ancient, somehow Daylight-creating, luminous cookie in my hand, my attention is purely on the beauty and calmness of the woods, the meadow and trees, the Ocean and sand and heartbeats all around me. The beetles and woodpeckers and deer and sandfleas – flowing minds wandering and wondering in beauty and harmony – and then my mind returns to the dipping Moon. I watch in stillness, still sat in the wooded undergrowth, as the Moon falls lower and lower until it meets the horizon across the meadow.
With the Moon about to disappear, looking perfectly balanced on the horizon for that moment, I noticed GreatMa standing directly in front of the Moon in the meadow! I froze still and watched her- I simply watched her. I miss her very much and it was so wonderful to see her. She looked so – free, – natural – and I watched as she was simply collecting seeds from the wild grains growing the meadow field. I simply watched her – her simply collecting seeds and I felt a deep peace and contentment inside me. It is rather hard or perhaps impossible to properly explain, but it was as though GreatMa, or her presence somehow, was, well, blessing me. Several minutes pass, with the tranquil sounds of the wind in the trees and tall grasses, squirrels bouncing through fallen pine needles and seagulls gulking in the distant air. I breath in deep, and that beautiful, alive Ocean fills my chest, filling me of its depth of restorative power. I feel the warmth of the breaking day as I continue to watch her collecting the grains, the seeds. I then found myself becoming rather intrigued – and I became fixated on her collecting of the seeds – what types of seeds is she collecting? How is she removing them from the husk?, and so on. But as this happened, she began to walk away. I tried harder and harder to see her, and the harder I tried, the further and further away she walked. I noticed that she was almost out of my sight completely, and the Moon was almost completely under the horizon now, so I stood up and I tried to run after her. That is when I woke up!
Here is the next chapter of Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, which it the ‘title track’, as it’s named ‘Oatmeal Raisin Cookies’!
Chapter Two: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
It’s those cicadas! It must be. I had another dream last night and the whole dream was about those bugs! They are loud! So, instead of following my feet, who were blindly following the paths tread before me countless times, I followed the sounds of those cicadas! But they must have been shifting on me because as soon as I thought I was getting closer, I wasn’t. I was all over Stratrose last night, wandering into the field, and back into the woods. Every time I thought I was getting more certain of their location, was when they became more distant. It was like they were messing around with me, playing with me, but also bound to act within their own story. I don’t understand that last sentence, but that’s how dreams go, no?
I didn’t dream of Stratose for a week or so after that, so I had thought perhaps those adventures were over- but alas, last night I was back there. Back chasing the cicadas! It was different in the woods – the meaning had changed – I was hunting those screaming loud cicadas now. Not hunt hunting – I wasn’t going to eat them when I found them – but I was determined- and their screams seem to make the meaning of my determination clear. I didn’t catch up to them, just like last time, but I tried! I was bookin’ it up and down the paths, into the field, back into the woods, all over, in and out, all around. I simply couldn’t catch them – and the harder I tried – the further away them seemed to get. I woke up pissed off and sweating! What was that all about?!
Holy cow! My dream last night picked up exactly where the previous’ nights’ dream had ended. It was a long and winding dream of searching the fields and deep into the woods. My seeking took hours inside the dream and the gentle beginning of evening had turned into the full darkness of night. I was so fixated on getting to the cicadas, any cicadas, even just one, I kept moving and moving and moving. Finally, exhausted, in the pitch-dark woods, feeling utterly defeated- I collapsed to rest on the undergrowth. This is deep into my dream, and, somehow, I am almost past-out asleep in the dream. But then I realize that my hand is touching something on the ground. I pick it up and the item’s identity crystallizes – it is an oatmeal raisin cookie! It’s not any oatmeal raisin cookie – it’s one of GreatMa’s home-made ones! Bam – awake! I woke up immediately upon realizing it was my great-grandmother’s homemade cookie. Is that the great mystery in my life? Oatmeal raisin cookies!? Well, GreatMa’s cookies were amazing, but why am I dreaming of one of them now, 40 years after eating my last one? In the dream it felt..well..right, correct .. not in any way a questionable item, and now awake, I wonder why that would be.
I fell in love with a children’s movie a few years back when my kids were toddlers. It was a Curious George movie. When i thought about why i liked it so much, I realized that I loved the fact that most of the movie had no ‘conflict’- most of it was simply a beautiful story of a monkey’s adventures of wonder and love. The smooth jazz, easy listening of movies perhaps! lol. But sometimes I just want a simple, easy, beautiful story – real life is heavy enough!
So, I wrote with the intention to write a story that seemingly has no plot, goes nowhere, but in a beautiful meandering way. And if one so desires, there within lies purpose and meaning if one sees it, as the chapters unfold. 10 short chapters. May all beings be super happy.
Chapter One: Stratose Woods
I had quite a vivid dream last night. I was walking through Stratose Woods. They cut down most of it to build houses long ago now, but in my dream – it was like when I was a kid. One of a few patches of woods in my childhood neighbourhood, a town deep in the sprawling suburbs of New York City. Long Island is a geographically stunning place – but it has been paved over relentlessly over the years. Some areas have been kept wild, such as the beautiful white sand beaches, and the pine barrens. Stratose was close to the shore, and full of pines and low brushes that grow in post-glacial sand. I was walking through and it was almost dark out, in the late summertime. Nice and warm, but a cool Ocean breeze started to replace the fading sunlight. I was walking, and quite fast, when I noticed that ocean air. I breathed deep and smelled that beautiful cool saltiness fill my lungs. It felt wonderful, yet I looked down to see I was still walking quite hurried. I was heading where I could get to my childhood house, a few blocks outside of the small woods. And I was determined – yes determined! But why was I so keen to get home? I don’t know! Ha. I woke up before I got the chance to find out.
I had another interesting dream last night – I was in Stratose Woods again – same thing as last night and I started to try to pay attention whilst inside my own dream. Why was I so determined to get home? That was all that I could hold onto – and in my dream I was only just looking at my shoes – as they walked quickly down the paths through the woods. It was still just getting dark in the late Summer evening and I could smell the cool Ocean mist again. But my gaze never left my feet last night – I kept walking and walking- again I was brisk and I was – determined. I started to notice the sound of cicadas – quite loud and buzzing or chirping or whatever word is best to describe their sound of Summer. Even though my gaze is fixed on my feet and the path, I start to notice that I am leaving the Woods and entering the adjacent prairie-like overgrown field. The cicadas blare and blare so loud they woke me straight up!
I guess these dreams like me – I had another one in Stratose again last night. I think I am beginning to understand them a bit – perhaps. The dream was like the other ones- walking in the woods, into the meadow- and it is simply beautiful – the gentle twinkling of the first stars bright enough to shine through the beginning of the night – the warm ocean breeze- the cicadas, the pines and the path. Yet I can’t seem to find my way home, but I am so determined. As I was thinking these thoughts inside of my dream last night, inside Stratose Woods, the cicadas kept getting louder and louder- thumping inside my skull – louder and louder- until – they woke me straight up again!
Whenever I am faced with a problem, a problem where a solution isn’t immediately apparent, I tend to seek the origins – Many times, simply by understanding the genesis of a problem, how it began, its origin – is more than adequate to ‘solve’ the problem. Many times, it is shown to me that a problem never actually existed.
This is a practical application. But I often, daily, tackle the ‘problem’ of this life – I say ‘problem’ because life, to me, is like a riddle – a puzzle – What is the meaning of life? Yes, I Go Big in my life- why not? This life mystifies me and I want to understand all I can. I am curious. But, also, I am dis-satisfied with this life. So much suffering in this world – and this includes my own. Now please understand my life is great, in so many ways – I am just not satisfied in my understanding of it – particularly in understanding of suffering.
So this riddle of life- seeking the origins – I merge the koan of ‘What did your face look like before your parents were born?’ with where the scientific ‘what were my thoughts as my brain was developing in my mothers womb?’ – seeking origins, falling into an infant, a fetus, swirling and spinning, realizing that it is not I that is tumbling and swirling but rather time – linear time falls into the fetus. I can’t fall anywhere. What do I mean? It’s confusing – and it makes me think about a recent discovery in physics – merging the infinite (gravity) with the smallest (quantum) and spitting out a strange form of ‘time’.
Time flows forward not because of entropy, but because only a thinking mind can make distinctions. When we drop the thinking mind, we drop time.
Dropping time does something quite remarkable – it has to by its inherent nature – or lack there of – See, thinking in nuts and bolts, this universe is real, and in a very real way, 14 billion years ago, all of EVERYTHING, was infinitely tiny – one unified dot. That’s the power of the thinking mind – so powerful we can figure out it is more like 13.772 billion years old. But when we drop this thinking mind – does the Universe revert back to the Big Bang? No – revert implies time. All of all times all exist at the same time – and that time is now – and now now and so on. Now.
When a person speaks how ‘all is one’ and there is no separation between oneself and the Universe, this is what they mean – but these words really suck. They do! Saying there is no separation between two things , well, kinda separates it out. But that’s the limits of words – Are there better words? Perhaps. I am not sure I know them!
So, I am a scientist. But the realm of spirits, angels, goddesses and gods do dwell deep inside the folds of time. How can I say this, scientifically? Well, there are a few very important things I learned about science over my career and education:
One: all of science is through the lens of human’s minds. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but it is a human endeavour. That’s the point to always keep in one’s head when studying science. (To be even more critical, just look at who is paying for the research and why).
Two: Humans find the facts that fit the models we build. It doesn’t mean the facts are wrong (they can’t be by definition) but we can only find facts where we seek (usually).
Three: If something is not falsifiable, a key tenet of science, that does not make it untrue.
This last one is the most important. – From the most simple example, say, of a piece of complex electrical equipment that has an intermittent fault – those are the worst kinds as they are almost impossible to figure out as you can’t replicate the error consistently. It doesn’t mean the error doesn’t exist, you just can’t study it properly – and the service engineer will start to think the data is not correct (ie the human is lying or wrong about the error)!! To the most beautiful of Einstein’s theory on gravitational waves – you see as it couldn’t be tested at first, it bordered on being not scientific. He was very smart – and correct- even if it took decades or a century to be proved correct. But back to my point, just because an experience or thought is not repeatable, or falsifiable does not make it untrue. It makes it unscientific , yes, but it does not mean it is not true. This easy thought to grasp took me my whole life to accept, or to realize. It has allowed me to witness those unscientific experiences with more honesty and truth. The true scientist keeps seeking – just like Einstein’s unscientific theory was one day falsifiable, perhaps one day my ancestors who visit me through the droppage of time will be falsifiable.
As I can admit I honestly do not know what lies after death, I am attacking this life I have whilst alive. I want to understand what this life is – and how to help others not suffer or find life unsatisfactory. As a great man says, We are all simply just walking each other home.
So, part of my exploration is having faith in a ‘solution’ to this riddle of life. Having faith that so many various consciousnesses are helping me right here, right now, from the distant past, to the incredible future. Are these all but not oneself and all of us? I used to like to say a-lot “All is one … just time-displaced”. I still like it and maybe I’ll make a bumper sticker one day!
But, when we allow ourselves to drop time, well, All beauty is all unfolded already. It’s home.
Beautiful image. Is it helpful? What is trying to be depicted? Awesomeness!
In Buddhism, there is the concept of Annata. The Buddha, a human being, figured this concept out. It is the idea that we have no soul. Okay, right off, many people will read no further. That’s fine. But if your’re brave, or curious, or want to prove me wrong, then please read on.
So, annata means that what we feel is our ‘soul’ is actually an illusion. For this post, I will use the words ‘soul’ and ‘consciousness’ to mean the same thing….for is it not our feeling of self-awareness that we consider our ‘soul’? Well, perhaps not – but for this post, I will use them to mean the same thing.
Animals can be taught to become self-aware. What does that mean? It means they can awaken. Awaken to a higher level of understanding…. And humans have taught them this.
We all can easily see how our sub-conscious is always thinking behind the scenes, so to speak. But what does that mean? It’s like a secret hidden version of yourself, operating countless thoughts – Have you ever been really grumpy and not realize it at first? Then you realize, ‘oh man, I am sooo grumpy’. Your secret hidden self already figured that out! haha. So we have lots and lots of thoughts we never ‘think’ about – on our ‘self-aware’ conscious level. Even something simple as hunger or needing to pee! – Your brain thought of that before ‘you’ did! – ‘on man, i need to pee!’
So, this hidden-level, we can view it from our conscious-level mind.
So, sages, wise men and women, buddhas, saints, and holy persons – they all seem to say the same sorta thing: there’s yet another level above our ‘consciousness’ – and we can be taught to realize it – exactly like the monkeys can be taught ‘consciousness’ or ‘self-awareness’ . So this next level, a higher consciousness- can we have faith that these wise humans are telling the truth?
The word ‘faith’ has become a dirty word – for those not smart enough to think for themselves. That has some truth in it, for certain, but do not we all have faith in things that touch our hearts without understanding how it affected us so deeply? Or faith in those people who shine brightly and tell us how they figured out how to shine?
So, the Buddha said we do not have an unchanging soul, there is nothing about us that does not change- so what can remain to be called a permanent soul? This may sound depressing, but it is actually the opposite – we are always able to change into a beckon of light at any moment.
Let us contemplate for a moment , or longer, on the illusion of our own selves- how very real it seems , and it is real, in a way – but not the way we desire it to be – it is much, much better!
Remember, your brain is much smarter than you can ever be. See where it expands to and let us meet up in our dreams and smile.