Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dream Catcher:

Those urban among you, gentle readers, may not find this image as odd as I did in 1982. Soon I would have some experience of tough neighborhoods in Paris and Rome, then, in some ways tougher, E. St. Louis and Denver, but at the time I had this dream, I knew very little about such places.

When I realized that I was dreaming, I was standing on a dark side street. I looked at my hands, then around at the dark cityscape, in some amazement, since I'd never seen one before. A young man, a bit older than I was at the time, came quickly up to me and said - "You are not safe here." Somehow I knew that he knew I was in a lucid dream. He quickly wrapped me in a blanket, got me off the street and into a room nearby. I wasn't able to speak, or really do anything but be grateful and think about how strange it all was. I wondered if I'd ever get out of the lucid dream and back in my own world again. I had no idea how to do it. Eventually I went back into ordinary sleep and woke up.

That was early in my lucid dream experiments. Later I'd acquire more skill - it takes a long, long time. After I finished work on The Stone Man in 1990, I continued to have occasional lucid dreams, but I ceased actively pursuing them. The result was that they came less often. In the past several years there have been very few.

It would never be out of place to use the opener "Then, suddenly..." as a beginning for a lucid dream, as they always, in my experience, begin suddenly. They're called lucid dreams because of the awareness of having crossed a threshold between dreaming and being conscious of being, as we say, in a dream. It's a philosophical quandary that puts our sense of being in a peculiar kind of jeopardy. Realizations, though they may be prepared in time, come of a sudden.

Suddenly, the other night, I realized that I was dreaming. I was standing in the road about a quarter mile north of dandyland, in the dark, and I decided that since I was dreaming and the dream seemed to be stable, I would fly home. This is a perfectly viable option in dreams and I choose it every chance I get. I read somewhere that flying dreams are sublimated erotic dreams, but that seems a reductionist position to me ~ why should every fabulous sensuality default to sexuality? The usual problem, for me, with flying dreams is that the state of flux brought on by flight tends to accelerate until the forms of the dream become incoherent, or, much the same, I wake up. But this dream was different.

I flew through the darkness, past certain hazards on the way, with space and time all just as you'd expect it to be if you were flying over farmland at night. It was glorious.

When I woke up my first impression was that dreams and art are much about the correspondence and inversion of images.


Cathy said...

Fascinating. I've had lucid dreams but have never attempted to induce or control them, other than making myself wake up.

I so agree that dream flight isn't about sublimated sex but a glorious experience in its own right.

Dan Dutton said...

This morning I've been pondering the poles of dream theory ~ one that posits the integrity of the dreamed world as a separate reality - the other, rudimentary and possibly faux science denies their autonomy or significance. A peculiar kind of solipsism, that, which claims the power to invent worlds of absolutely deceptive detail but avoids any responsibility for them!

My take on the correspondence/equivalence aspect of lucid dreaming is that our power to shape experience while dreaming is exactly equivalent to that in our so-called waking life. So - tenuous, at best! Bachelard said if you want to dream well, live well. I'd imagine the dream law of inversions applies there too.

Dan Dutton said...

I think of lucid dreams as being internally (?) staged performance art. Maybe that should be "infernally"...

I'd like to see mine, in order - again.

Cathy said...

A peculiar kind of solipsism, that, which claims the power to invent worlds of absolutely deceptive detail but avoids any responsibility for them!

Well said. Only an impoverished soul would contend that dreams are mere cerebral garbage or psychic noise!

Dan Dutton said...

As I swept the moss garden today - (He! what a line. True tho, and it has to be done.) - I was thinking more about this. One thing that struck me is how lazy I am.
You hear all the time, or much these days anyway, about "following your dreams" - and by this is meant daydreams or aspirations. (The French word reverie - noting that there's a return, is better, I think.) We expect to toil away at our jobs, HOPING that we'll have moments of ecstatic perfection worthy of being tagged as dreamlike - the dream vacation, the dream home, the dream of love - the perfect kiss, so dreamy. BUT - if you're like me, you're far too lazy to invest even a little time in learning how to dream in the first place! Ok, I'll admit that I have invested some time in it, but I'm an artist and that's my job in the first place!

What I'm getting at is that I know how to work on my lucid dreaming - all it takes is reminding myself before I fall asleep...( if I dream, I'll notice that I'm dreaming and look at my hands.) - AND I know I've accomplished some wonderful things by that simple formula, yet I seldom do it. One could, for instance, shoot for something mundane like the love they'd always dreamed of, or something really fun like breathing underwater.

We dream every night, why not do something creative with all that time in the otherworld?

Cathy said...

We dream every night, why not do something creative with all that time in the otherworld?

Or, since it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it?

"Lazy" is not a word I would even consider applying to you.

Dan Dutton said...

Thanks! If only we did relax in our dreams. More often it seems we spend them anxiously unpacking the baggage from unrelaxed waking hours that we insisted on dragging with us.

Oh, I know you're right! And a raw food diet too.

My only defense is to return to sweeping the moss garden ~ if you want to see the moss, and not have it blanch and die under a no doubt equally lovely blanket of smothering leaves, you have to sweep it!

Cathy said...

A truly enterprising person would persuade Alf the Elf that he should collect all those leaves for his nest. ;-}

Dan Dutton said...

HIS current enterprise is milking the surges of sympathy and pity he gets every time I replay him being hit by that car. He does have a lot of little injuries, nothing serious, that I didn't see right after the event.

Today I hauled away a pile of leaves as big as a small house! There was a huge wind ~ now if I could only have convinced THAT to take care of the job. But the emerging shoots are uncovered, so all's well.