I don’t know about other people but I seldom retain the contents of my dreams. I remember them for a bit, but unless I mention them to Melisa, they fade pretty quickly. The key to retention is to voice them as soon as I wake up, but even then, even as I’m speaking, details fade and what appeared a cohesive “experience” quickly breaks down into a jumbled mess of nonsensical and unrelated stuff.
What does occasionally linger — sometimes, with a vengeance — are emotions associated with events in the dream. It’s rare, but I’ve had a number of instances — probably between five and ten that I vaguely remember — where the dream was so vivid as to seem real. Not only that, on the occasions when something “bad” happened in the dream, the associated feeling — dread, fear, sadness, or whatnot — lingered for hours after I got up and repeatedly assured myself it was a dream. Side note: I have at least one “memory” I know is from a dream. It’s about events that never happened, could not have happened, but manifest themselves as a memory indistinguishable from other memories . . . which, coincidentally, brings into question the veracity of other memories.
I had one such instance last month and while I now have no memory of the specifics of the dream, I remember walking into the kitchen, grabbing a coffee, and all the while being really upset about the events in the dream. Upset as in something bad had happened, something that would have lasting consequences to my life . . . were it not for the fact it was a dream and it never actually happened.
I remember I went to the computer and rather than check my messages and stuff, I just sat there drinking my coffee, trying to calm down. Even with the awareness that it was a dream, that nothing had happened, my emotional balance was off-kilter. It didn’t overtly affect me, but it took a focused effort to get past it.
Let me be clear about one thing . . . I hold no notion that dreams are harbingers of anything. They do not predict anything and there’s been no time in my life that a dream acted as a prophecy of future events or an explanation of past events. They were just dreams; unconnected and unconcerned with reality.
I’ve also had some great vivid dreams that left me — at first — the opposite; in a great mood because something great had happened or I had “experienced” something great. Unfortunately, it was still a dream, and so eventually there’s an associated sense of loss knowing that’s all it was.
Odd that realizing it was only a dream both does nothing to better my mood after a “bad” dream and worsen my mood after a good dream. I guess our brains default toward us being miserable no matter the experience.
I like, admire, and think that Sam Harris is a smart man . . . except in one area. The man is hung-up on meditation as a path to achieving or duplicating what he experienced while under a controlled hallucinogenic trip. I wrote about my feelings with his reasoning HERE but I’ll summarize them below.
I mention all this here because I’ve listened to Harris once again explain how we would all be better if we could achieve the level of experience espoused by proponents of meditation and exemplified by what he experienced while “tripping”.
As much as I admire the man and think he’s multiple time smarter than I am, he cannot convince me that what he experienced is anything more — and in fact might be exactly the same — than what I experienced in dreams that felt so real that I had to check myself and prove to myself they were not.
Unfortunately, history is ripe with examples of people experiencing all manners of mystical dreams, visions, and whatnot, often aided by this or that mushroom or synthetic hallucinogenic.
To many — and apparently Harris as well — it seems as if this altered experience is another realm/level of consciousness and one we are meant to achieve and perhaps eventually reside in. A level that is better than the one we experience in our “normal” state.
The reason I take issue with his view is that his argument holds no more legitimacy than if I were to argue I entered another reality in my dreams and that reality is as real and relevant as this reality.
People who artificially achieve these “higher levels” are invariably unable to bring anything “back” from that experience. All they can point to is an overwhelmingly good feeling . . . much like my vivid dreams (when they are good). And, guess what? They agree that it’s also possible to have a “bad” trip in which case the experience is extremely bad and disturbing. Again, that too sounds familiar to me.
Now, I can’t say there’s no other reality . . . but I can and do argue that it’s a moot point. We live in this reality, and even if we were capable to “experience” another reality, what do we do with this one, with our family, our friends, and the life we have built here?
As described, the experience involves “leaving” the physical self and the limitations of the physical senses and even abandoning the awareness of oneself as an individual. That sounds a lot like the idea of “something” beyond the physical associated with our existence. Perhaps that’s where the idea of a soul comes from . . . a couple of guys (or gals) chewing on some mushrooms or smoking some funny-smelling weeds and concocting the notion as a way to explain what they felt.
In fact, I’m more apt to believe that mushrooms induced these feelings so that we would establish religions, eventually kill each other off, and the mushrooms can then use our decomposing carcasses as nutrients.
. . . if that’s true, it makes mushrooms truly diabolical . . . Some do try to kill us by way of more direct means, so it’s something to think about . . . next time you’re tripping.
And now, the photo:
You tend to see odd stuff when you pay attention to what’s around you as you walk. That’s why I like having the phone always with me but also carry a proper camera (in this case, the Nikon P900) with me when out for a stroll.
I try not to abuse the tolerance Melisa shows when I stop for a photo. I mean, I know full well I could turn a ten-minute stroll into a four-hour photo session, but that would be kind of rude.
For the record, I don’t think there are pelicans in Hawaiʻi so I’m not sure what that’s doing outside one of the homes on Aliʻi Drive. Perhaps they came from Texas and miss the Bad Boys.
You have to love W&E . . . I certainly do. Also, I was looking at the art itself . . . those are pretty simply drawn lines that express a lot. Not that I want to plagiarize the style, but I’m going to try and copy it as a way to practice drawing.
I say that but I know full well the reason Martin can do all that with just a few lines and some shading is that he is a professional with many years under his pencil. It takes talent to make things look easy and simple.
I’m taking a break from the glowing GIFs doodles and what better way — based on the above writing — than to present this piece which I appropriately titled Vivid Dreams.
And . . . that’s it
Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.
You can read about Project 313 HERE.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.
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