Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sheer Terror

A classic thriller: an upper middle class family is terrorized by unknown, invisible assailants. The threat is clear and imminent, but unspecified. The father is in a state of high anxiety, needing desperately to protect his family. I watch all this as one does a movie, anxious and scared, but somehow for them, not for myself. But totally engaged, "on the edge of my seat." It's "so real." Intense. Then I wake up for a bladder break in the middle of the dream and realize that I'll never know the end. I'll never know who these people are, or who is threatening them, or how, or for what reason. I'll never know if--or how--the family manage to extricate themselves from their predicament. Very Kafkan. Before heading off to the bathroom, I lie in bed and try to write an ending that feels right, but you know that never helps. The dream is a world unto itself, and an ending written in the waking world just doesn't quite do it...

This morning we leave for Ojai, with a stop in Santa Paula. Exciting times. We have chosen the hottest weekend since the September heatwave, with fierce Santa Ana winds blowing in from the deserts. Wish us luck.

5 comments:

robin andrea said...

I try to write the ending of dreams too. I wonder if that's something we all do. I've never thought about it before.

Hope you have a safe and good journey to Ojai. Those Santa Anas can whip things up pretty fiercely.

Carly said...

P: Funny you should write about a dream. I was just reading about the history and origins of cultural aspects of dreams. Apparently, dreams are the source of the concept of man's "soul" and I think have much to do with the origins of meditation too.

It is a very interesting window to many of the things we talk about: spirit, soul, death, fear, religion, superstition, meditation, artificiality, and how man looks at himself, from the point of their origins, in large part, because of dreams, waking and sleeping.

There is much to it, but the basic points are: primitive man thought his spirit leaves the body during dreams, an idea verified in today's most primitive cultures. Heavy sleeping was thought to be "temporary death". Witch doctors and shamans were used in ingenious ways to get the spirit or soul back into the body in various situations, such as when the person was awakened in the middle of the dream. People would wake up and think their soul was gone and nearly die of fright. Souls were thought to go and inhabit another person too. This was a very important function of the witch doctor, the forerunner of the priest, caring for souls. By the time of the Egyptians, dreams had taken on very important status, being considered divine oracles. Philosophers and poets became important decipherers of dreams. Dreams were proof of a nether world and hence, the basis of religion, replete with clerical social structure. Prophetic dreams so influenced the Greeks as well, and played heavily in Christianity, in a circular dependence for explaining reality and the unknown.

The realness of dreams contributed to the development of dream states, especially, artificially induced dream states, in order to contact the other side, or be at one with gods. I have no doubt this was part of the origins of meditation long before Dharma, and is particularly characteristic of Indian practices of inducing mental states through pain, fasting, blood flow control, and breathing, sensory deprivation, etc.

The natural occurrence of dreams was a model and caused man to seek the artificial inducement of states of religious "being". Today, this is forgotten and only the practice remains - stultified in dogma while dreams, since Freud, are a separate study.

It all shows how primitive people still are.

Robin said...

good luck...

and do take care.

Robin said...

Isn't life itself a dream too?

Or are we just watching a movie as the world goes by.

Mark said...

row row row your boat