Monday, August 4, 2008

Flight: Part Two

I have had this dream ever since I was a child. The dream has become a sort of refrain in my life, endlessly repeating and replenishing my interest in it.

I am trying to pry into my subconscious; I am trying to decipher one of the many mysteries I hold inside me.

Waking from my flying dream is one of the most pleasant sensations I know. Upon waking I am reminded of my secret powers, and I go about the rest of my day with a foolish grin on my face.

The interpretation of dreams may be a provocative and stimulating pursuit, but one never arrives at a final solution—or the key—to his or her dream.

I suppose I can look up the symbol of “flying” in a dream-encyclopedia and find a generic, albeit satisfactory, explanation to my night-visions. It might even shed some light on the variegated herds of animals that haunt my African savannah . . .

But, on second thought, I don’t care to know the true meaning of this dream. I simply want to carry the sensation of flying. I want to carry it until I die, never knowing what the dream means or why I had it so often . . .

There is no doubt that our dreams are trying to tell us something. If you believe in the subconscious, then you’ll admit to the importance of this crystal bridge between worlds--

The vaguest memory of our dreams suggests we have access to them; a doorway, a brief crack of light. In rare occasions, a person might awake within her dream, which is called lucid dreaming.

Once I had a lucid dream. The world (of the dream) was totally fantastical, and yet I had some control within it, to move around and uncover things. I moved inside the dream as if I were playing a game, like a video game, but there were also some aspects I couldn’t control.

Don’t tell me the meaning of my flying dream. You’ll reduce it to psychological mumbo jumbo. For life is greater than psychology and its theories. And interpretations, like judgments, reduce individuals to abstract concepts. If I were to accept any interpretation of this flying dream, the mystery would be gone instantly, and the dream would lose its power of enchantment.

Sages continually remind us to “enlighten” ourselves. But the language of dreams is darkness and half-light.

What if I prefer my dreams to so-called real-life? What if I’m enjoying this ongoing hallucination, this overflowing stew of desires, dreams, and drives?

Besides, I prefer flying to walking long distances.

I will always vote in favor of dreams and darkness. I feel comfortable in the shade. I’m more likely to wander at night than during the daytime, and to follow my true desires in the wildwood. There are no pretenses at night. In your dreams you are never pretending to be someone; you just are.

During the daytime I feel the burden to be someone. I’m playing a highly-skilled part with expectations to fulfill, and there is always something that must get done. At night, in contrast, time loses its grip on me and my sense of inferiority melts away.

What is commonly called “real-life” is usually a mere trifle. I get worked up about the smallest things. Items I label with greatest importance and greatest consequence turn out to have minor importance and minor consequence.

All of my fears can be summed up: my real-life will fall apart.

What’s beautiful about dreams is that there’s nothing to fall apart because nothing has ever been static or fixed together (as we pretend to make life during the day). In a dream, the pieces are scattered to begin with. Dreams are wild, fitful, mutable, and delirious. Time does not exist, at least not in any ordinary conception of the word. And because of the emptiness and formlessness of this world, we tend to have more freedom.

But really there is no difference between real-life and dreams. Real-life is also wild, fitful, mutable, and delirious. One can even argue that time doesn’t exist here . . .


Brigid said...

I really enjoyed reading your reflections on the dreaming life & the waking life. I can completely identify with how exhausting the waking life can be--always striving to accomplish something and to be someone. I feel the same way.

Lethe said...

Thank you for your comments, Brigid. Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream . . .

I am an arch-perfectionist, type A personality, with outsize ambitions and a huge capacity for Quixotic dreams and illusions, but that is also my strength

Zen said...

One's spirit shines the brightest when it is laid bare in the light. I really, really like this post. Landed here after watching the 48 masterpiece (also an excellent post).

I used to think that to step forward or to move up is to improve. But then through buddhism I learn that duality is an illusion. There is no good news nor bad news, there is only news.

I saw this post and something occurred to me: that more importantly than 'improving' is accepting your own self, through and through.

Of course, we still needed to "improve" our life - but now that I have seen the light, perhaps I should say, we should simply grow.

Thank you for sharing. May peace be upon you in your sleep.


Jazo said...

I'm also flipping through after landing on your vintage photography post. Very interesting work here. I wanted to mention in passing a tangent on a passage that particularly struck a chord with me--your proclivity for darkness. Have you ever read "In Praise of Shadows" by Tanizaki? If you haven't, it's a treatise on the magnificence of Japanese aesthetics, and the inherent role of darkness and dim lighting. There's a bit of irony and self-deprecatory humor involved, as Tanizaki was monomaniacal in his adoration of the West for years, but his indulgent prose extolling the beauty of traditional architecture, desserts, lacquerware and even lavatories in Japan is quite satisfying. One of his key arguments is that the imagination and mind-play that shadows provoke are integral to experiencing Japanese aesthetics.

Well, I'm sure I'll be back again. Looking forward to more of your work.

Lethe said...


I'm sorry I missed your comment for so long . . . Thank you for this book recommendation, something I would be very interested in reading.


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