Monday, March 21, 2011

Lucid Dreaming

I've decided to seriously get back into lucid dreaming. I was really into it for about a year when I first found out about it, then my waking life became really busy and it seemed like my dreams dwindled down to almost nothing for quite a while.

Lately I've been thinking about dreams more, and that alone seems to make them clearer and more interesting... I've even had a few (very brief) lucids where something in my environment would be a little off and I'd announce, "Hey, I'm dreaming!" I didn't do a whole lot with these dreams except trying to change simple things (make boxes disappear, fix a warped door that wouldn't latch, lol).

So my new goal for lucid dreaming: create a dream scene in as much detail as possible, then keep trying to come back to it and/or recreate it. It'll be interesting to see if I have to do less work to maintain the scene over time. My first project is to create a lighthouse. I already wrote out a detailed description of how I want it to look, and I'll be using that to help me visualize it.

I was inspired to do this after realizing that there are certain "locations" that are common between several of my dreams, often with a certain feeling, directional orientation, and characters associated with it. Sometimes these locations resemble a place I've visited often in my waking life, but other times they're completely imaginary.

This made me think that when conscious (or unconscious) thought is given to such a location, it imprints it on the subconscious mind, making it more "stable" (less vague and changeable). So in theory, if I created something in a dream and kept thinking about it and visualizing it, eventually it should be there without hardly any mental effort.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"I Am a Rock"

A couple months ago I rediscovered the Simon and Garfunkel song, "I Am a Rock", and it led me to a new realization. See, there are some very interesting lyrics to this song. They aren't what one would expect. For example, "I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain. It's laughter and it's loving I disdain. I am a rock, I am an island."

Something about this song resonates with me. I can understand it, I've felt this way. It's those times when you're left forgotten by those around you. When you realize that others don't care about their connection with you the way you thought they did, the way you care about them. Those times when you feel alone in a crowd, surrounded by people laughing and loving each other.

Yes, I've felt this way. And it's so hard not to, at times. And so often I would just blame myself for feeling so bitter. At the same time a part of me would want to mindlessly embrace the words of the song, to find relief from the pain of lack of connection by not needing it in the first place.

And yet, I've never been dedicated enough to this view to actually believe it fully. After all, friendship doesn't always cause pain. It's only when you lose it that it hurts. And then I think, if I only knew how to keep such connections, it wouldn't be so bad, would it?

"I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries." That's the goal of a person with this view, isn't it? Those last words? But at the same time, it's those last words that show so clearly where error is: isolating yourself doesn't protect you from pain, it just protects you from pain caused by other people.

One day I was feeling the bitter loneliness, listening to that song and trying to decipher my confused emotions. I'd been doing so well socially, at the time, but I still wound up with one of those days when my connections felt... devalued.

Then the realization hit me: what if others were feeling just as lonely as I was and I didn't know it? What if it wasn't even the type of thing that could be seen just by looking at someone? They could seem fine, happy even, have people they talk to, and yet they could still be feeling like others don't value a true connection with them.

In fact, I reasoned, with over six billion people in the world, there absolutely has to be people who feel the same. Duh. How could I have been so willfully blind? Here I was feeling alone and there are all these other people feeling just the same.

I began to wonder how many people there are like this, separated only by their own protective walls. I began to wonder if I knew any, if it is even possible to tell who they are without really, truly getting to know them. I even began to wonder how many people are silently in love with each other, seeing each other every day but never daring to say a word about the way they feel, convinced the other couldn't possibly feel the same.

Does it sound depressing? I don't think so. It made me realize I have to keep trying to connect with people. Because sooner or later I'll find people who need me as much as I need them. If I haven't found them already. Whenever I find myself beginning to pull away because it seems the less painful route, I remember that I have to keep trying, for there are others who need the love just as badly.

Thank you Simon and Garfunkel! You've led me to a discovery.