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Monday, August 11, 2014

Normalizing Seership

Last night, my daughter Weens woke me up for the hundredth time around midnight. I was kind of grumpy, but nevertheless interested in recording a batch of dreams from early in the night, which would have otherwise been lost. One dream went like this:

Weens and I are walking inches from an ostrich who's guarding a bunch of her eggs.

Today, we got up and decided to go to the zoo, where we hopped on the first train ride of the day, and immediately found ourselves faced with this guy:



The only thing the conductor shared about the emu (not an ostrich, but I honestly don't know the difference) is that they lay 15-20 eggs at a time. 

This kind of dream-to-wake-world bleed-through happens all the time. Nothing major in and of itself, except that it illustrates the continuity between waking and dreaming, and the simultaneity of existence. 

A few minutes later, while riding the Sky Train (a great metaphor for dreaming, and in this case also denoting cars suspended by cables that overlook the zoo), we passed a woman who had recently been referred to me for instruction on dream yoga, or ways to cultivate and practice awareness while dreaming. We waved. I laughed. 

I think about the notion of continuity a lot, about corroding the distinction between day and night with awareness. Don't get me wrong; I love to be unconscious, too, and value the restorative function  of the deep black void. The punctuation of sleep. (Or of death.) Right after I spoke the ostrich dream, I whispered into my recorder, "I feel better now, like a heart remembering how to beat after a day of wraith-like fluttering. In this case, sleep was my defibrillator." 



I practice dreaming as a way to navigate the bardo, after death, so everything I encounter in dreams I consider fair game for future arising in some or other transitory state. I figure the more I face without (or in spite of) fear, the more likely I am to make a graceful transition between incarnations. And, you know, the more likely I am to manoeuvre gracefully while I'm awake, which I haven't really been doing lately. So, that's clearly just a theory.

Usually my dreams are good/benign/ illustrative, but sometimes in lucid dreams, which can feel even more "real" than waking life, mortal danger and death present themselves. It is fun (ok, terrifying) to practice facing them, always unsure of whether I'll wake up. Dying sometimes is good.

Then this other thing happened this morning while I was awake and tidying up. I "saw" Weens fall down and get a bloody knee. So, I told her. I said, "I just got a pretty strong hit of you falling down and getting a bloody knee today, so I recommend putting pants on under your dress." She said, "No, thank you." I said, "Okay, but just know that if you do wear pants, your knee will be more protected, and if you don't wear pants, there could be blood." She declined pants a second time. So, I put Neosporin and bandaids in my purse.

Of course, the bloody knee happened at the end of our visit to the zoo. I brought my screaming girl into the bathroom, blood dripping down her little leg. It happened when she was dismounting the ostrich (of all things) on the carousel. I cleaned her up, spoke soothing words, and set her to the task of opening her dinosaur bandaid. 


I bring up both these instances of precognition to normalize seership. One of my mentors Bob Levine calls it "awareness." "Psychic," he says, can lead you off on some weird tangent. But awareness is natural. You can just notice, accept, and let go (and of course, navigate life more easily from all the heads-ups). 

When I was a wee lass I felt (and at times acted) like a lunatic (I do love the moon) because I didn't know what to do with all the unbidden "mystical" experiences. Neither did the church or the people around me. I have since learned that there is nothing I need to do, but that keeping good records helps, and service is good. 



As a teen, I wanted to be a "particle physicist." It's all I wanted to read about and think about. I spent lunches with my physics teacher, Mr. Klein. That obviously didn't happen, but I have developed a science out of marginalized experiences. The first step is to move them out of the margin and into the median. I make note of what I see, dream, or feel. I track symbolism, matching it against wake-world counterparts (sometimes only in hindsight), and note repetition. 

Eventually, a dictionary of awareness arises. For me, it's taken about ten years. I might court the fringe, but I feel like a scientist in my approach, acknowledging and partnering up with inevitable subjectivity. I'm playing the ball where it lands, which is in the laboratory of oneironautics rather than at CERN.

Another reason I'm also sharing this is because I frequently see people a) freak out or b) get a very inflated ego when something "out of the ordinary" happens, when the truth is, awareness is ordinary. If you can see, you're not special--or rather, you're exactly as special as everyone else. 

When I was a girl, I assumed I was special. But I'm here to tell you that anything in the diverse, yet relatively minuscule realm of human experience is absolutely normal. And I just thought you should know because maybe some of you don't, and I wish someone had told me sooner. 



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