a short story
I am in a house I do not recognize, walking through an endless hall. This place is a stark whiteness. I know it is unreal but am powerless to stop myself from remaining. I can’t shake the feeling that I don’t belong here. I know I am in danger. But keep walking because I know there is value at my destination. And I have to get there. My destination is a certain door. What lies behind the door is unknown to me. But I know for sure it is at the end of this hall, if I could only reach it. I keep on walking and walking and walking, it feels like years that I am walking. I am exhausted but can’t stop. I don’t take any special notice of my surroundings but I do know that there are many other doors all around me, I am passing them by every second. In my mind I know I am missing lesser opportunities, compromises to the real prize. Eventually, I see an end to the hall up ahead. It’s a door, maybe even the threshold I seek. But then I wake up…
~ This was one of the most vivid dreams I’ve ever had. I could feel the weight of this walk all along this hallway. I was scared but at the same time exhilarated. I didn’t want to wake up. As soon as I woke up, I had the thought to try going right back and picking up where I left off. But I was too worked up to go back to sleep, so I just started writing it here and meditating on its importance. This was an incredible first dream instance after using the technique. I didn’t write about day 1 because I didn’t dream, or at least I couldn’t remember it. Now, I need to focus on my reality keys, those binding objects, sights and familiar notices in waking life which work to bridge the gap between tactile reality and the limitless power of lucidity in dreams. It’s simple things such as doorknobs, mirrors, adjusting my glasses, blinking, deep sighs, the trees – aspects of waking life that can be grasped within the dream, by my dream self. In the dream, I shall continue forging this connection, opening gateways until the breakthrough to lucidity. Using mantras before bed, mindfulness meditation, writing my own dream plots – all part of the equation. There’s no reason not to try them all alongside the technique itself and then apply them to the dream sequences. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t supremely excited for this journey I am undertaking. And dare I say, even hopeful.
I am driving in a car. I am relatively sure it is not my own car. It is, however, a car I could see myself wishing for. The car glides along a body of water. I am going insanely fast. No water kicks up around the car, it doesn’t seem to make sense. I try to continue thinking about this but the next thing I realize is the Sun. It lies directly ahead of me, along the horizon. It is peeking just above the edge of the sea. It is bright orange, blazing in the glory of morning. I am not wearing sunglasses and yet I don’t feel the need to squint, it doesn’t hurt my eyes. However, I do become conscious of the sudden need to blink my eyes. When I do, I realize it has suddenly become night. The moon spreads itself full across the waves of this body of water, moving with my car’s progress atop it. I blink once more, helplessly. Instantaneously, the Sun returns blazing its familiar path along the water at full break of midday. Blink again and the dark comes back. Each time I blink it reverses between day and night, the Sun and then the Moon. This happens in the timelessness of my shifting eyelids. Over this course, I begin to feel my hands upon the wheel. I grip it and I look into the Moon one last time, unblinking. The car begins to go faster and the dark horizon approaches quickly, beckoning me to some kind of realization…
~~ This was it, I felt myself gaining control – noticing the car gliding above the water, the weirdness of it, like I knew it was a dream I could wrest control of. And I had the genuine feeling to blink and then do it repeatedly. I knew I was in a dream. And then when I gripped the wheel, I felt it like I hadn’t before. I was really driving at the end, I think I was in control. But it didn’t last long enough, I woke up before I could cross the horizon, whatever that would’ve led to I am not sure. I’ll continue using the focus keys, I feel myself becoming better, even this early in the process.
There is a talent show at school. It is voluntary. I watch the acts. There is no one that I know. They act, sing, dance, recreate entire movie sequences from Fight Club and Batman and some musical. I am sitting on a computer some distance away. I am not really doing anything on the computer, I am just sitting there, hands near the keyboard but not typing. There might be a test on the screen, but I am not looking. I am too absorbed in the action on the stage of the auditorium. Before long I realize that I too want to be on the stage. I have something I need to act out, some inner art waiting to be released for the audience of this talent show. And yet I cannot bring myself to move. I remain sitting at the computer, all the way until the end. My time has passed, the lights on the stage go out. I am still logged in, the command prompt awaiting my elegant touch…
~~~ Frustrating. I felt no control, I was helpless in this one. I couldn’t even move, what the hell? This was a setback, better to be soon forgotten. Need to reapply myself to it now.
Observing a young man sitting down in a waiting room. He’s waiting for a long time, for something. After many hours, years, he gets up. The man is in the jungle and he brings to his lumbering body to a run, to a destination or to escape. He struggles to get going, as if he is unfamiliar with this body, despite it being his own. Eventually, he adjusts. He runs through the trees and through the night. Eventually, in the darkness, he collapses from numb exhaustion and sleeps. But there is comfort in his breath, a smile crosses his resting form.
When I awake, I am lying down in a field of dead grass at sunset. I am able to get up, but my strength is still low. With the sun beating down on me, it is miserable and I’m not wearing shoes so the hard, dead grass hurts my feet. I realize what I must do, and begin trying to run west, in the direction of the sun. It takes considerable effort, as I am no longer just numb but in pain as I try to move my legs and run. Eventually, I am almost at full speed and I reach a hill with a tree at the top. In the crevice below the tree are hundreds of different animals, including tigers, monkeys, all kinds of birds, and others milling about. At the top of the hill, a figure is standing. Without thinking I begin running and jumping up the hill, through all the animals, and my adrenaline keeps me from looking behind me as I pass the tigers. I can hear them chasing me. Claws swipe at me amidst deathly growls. Just before reaching the peak of the hill, I fall down and my leg gets caught in a root. Behind me the tigers are gone, but insects begin to crawl on my leg. I reach down to swat them away but then hear a voice. It is the figure at the top of the hill, it looks down upon me and tells me: “now I am ready to live.” When I reach the figure and come face to face, the person’s countenance is in shadow. It’s not until I speak back to the shadow with considerable effort, “show me how” – do I then see the face revealed. It is my own face, smiling. Then, without effort — I awaken…
~~~~ I am not in this dream until the jungle running man collapses and falls asleep. Do I become him in his sleep? Or is my part a completely separate dream? This is not uncommon in my long experience with dreams. Sometimes there are multiple dreams which run up against each other and it is hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. But I awaken and am running towards the setting sun. I feel there is some sort of symbolism there? What is the meaning of the animals? The insects? And who is the figure standing at the top of the hill, none other than myself, his face a reflection of my own. What does this mean? Was this a step further to lucidity? I am realizing more and more what these meanings within the dreams might mean. But there’s so many variables, so easy to misconstrue the meanings. It’s all cryptic, purposefully so. The subconscious wants me to put in the work, it wants me to want it. It is a way for my subconscious mind to reach out and guide me. I believe it is leading me down this path, to lucidity, to assume control over the realms of the sleeping self. Once there, it will be my choices that come to define my subconscious dealings. And once I have mastered it, perhaps something like enlightenment awaits me. It is exciting. Only one way to find out. I have to go back.
Me and a group of people are on campus. It is night, raining and storming heavily. We weren’t prepared for the heavy rain, we are trying to find shelter. Running together through the campus, we come upon a raised grassy hill and begin climbing. Right as I reach the top, gripping my hand on a patch of grass, I see our destination – the tower. Right as I look upon it, the rest of my group turns away and says we have to go back and figure out a different place to shelter ourselves. I am the only one facing the tower, at the peak of the hill, as a bright strike of lightning comes down and hits the tower. Immediately it begins to topple, crashing apart and collapsing violently. The lightning vanishes, but I can see the building fall and realize with terror how many people are inside. Then the thunder hits. When I close my eyes and open them again, I am staring down from within the clouds…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ This didn’t feel like a dream. When I awoke, I could feel those souls on my own conscience. Why? The feeling will permeate through the whole day, I know it. It is raining outside and I don’t want to get out of bed.
I am here again. At the door.
This was worse than in the past. The chaos beyond it felt unstoppable. It was ridiculous to think it could be contained. The sound and the fury and the anxiety behind this threshold was punishing to his sanity. He couldn’t take it any longer. Yet here was, standing before it and waiting in the grey.
For the door to open? Never, absurdity.
That must never happen, it could not. will not happen. Beyond the door was everything he feared, everything he despised and despaired about this world, about himself. He couldn’t look upon it. He couldn’t bear to even know the door could open. The thought of the door being opened was impossible. The thought of him opening the door of his own volition was unthinkable, detestable, impossibly impossible. His life would be forfeit if he was the unleasher.
Yet, here he was. Standing, staring. Its continued existence was as requisite as his own. Without one, the other wouldn’t matter anymore.
All he ever thought about was opening the door.
But how did he actually know what would happen if the door was opened? He had never done it, never even come close. What if his senses, his fears, his instincts were all wrong? What if the door and what lies beyond it were nothing? The chamber behind the door didn’t house a monster to topple or a transformative storm, but instead it was simply another room, an empty space. It was embarrassing to consider all the time he had wasted in front of a meaningless threshold to nothingness.
Maybe what he felt was an illusion. Some mystic effect brought about by someone or something hoping to drive away inquiring eyes from the value behind the door. There was something to hide within and any potential thieves were consistently driven away by dark thoughts of evil and death and fear.
He reached out to the handle.
Truly, what is the worst that could happen?
Well, he could perish instantly.
He pulled his hand back unconsciously.
But why did he care? What else mattered in his small life but the door and the mystery behind it? Life, if you could call it that, seemed to consist mostly of either standing at the door or when away, pondering the door’s possibilities. Because that’s really what it came down to. On this side of the door, everything was known. Organized, figured, checked, understood, categorized and old, old, old. The door represented an escape. The door was endless possibilities. Nothing, maybe. But maybe, something. Something else. Something beyond the old, tired past of his existence. If opening the door meant terror, death and darkness, would that not be preferable to the mundanity of the present? Would he not prefer to try something new, even at the cost of everything. Of his life.
The threshold must be crossed.
He took another step forward and reached out.
No more thoughts.
He gripped the handle and turned the latch.
He pushed it open.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Something has changed. The feelings were incredible in this. The control is there. It was my mind, my thoughts. I was at the door staring into, I don’t know what. The mystery of the door remains uncannily prescient for the challenges I currently face in my waking life. I awoke before I could see what it was that I so feared that was beyond its threshold. But waking up now and I come to realize all of this was already written. I wrote it in my sleep, into the journal, without even realizing this as I do it njow,
As I said, something has changed. There is certainly a feeling here that I cannot quite grasp yet. But this could be the breakthrough I have been waiting for. Whatever was beyond the door was powerful and perhaps I have tapped into it, become a part of id.
I awaken sitting, meditating. For many moments, there is a peace I have truly never felt. I am in a white blank space as far as the eye can see. But I can see. It is my eyes and my thoughts.
I know exactly where I am.
My first notion is to build, to create. With a wave of my hand, I construct a shining city on top of and within a mountain. The streets are imbued with life, with peoples with imaginations and ambitions to match my own. They each begin to formulate their own individual worlds, within the city and without it, entire realms – different flavors for different days. The growth is exponential. I witness this creativity with a smile on my face; I know I am the source, the parent of this activity and growth and excellence. I begin to fly over the world, I am witnessing the birth of the world, of many worlds, a personal multiverse. I survey this origination with a smile on my face because I know it is mine for me to do what I want with. I am back in the city, in a castle I have wrested free from the depths of my childhood imaginings, it is filled with the women from my most surreal fantasies. I can do anything and I do everything. It, all of id, is happening over instants; but the instants last for eternities, if I want them to. This is the paradise I have been striving towards. But there is something missing. No, there is something here that doesn’t belong. There’s a structure in here that I have not built. A keep with walls as high as the blue sky. I don’t know where it is, how it came to be, but I know it exists and I know what lies within. It irks me. I search for it, in this world, for 10,000 years. I learn much, I learn everything there is to know in this time, I see the generations of my bloodline grow and advance the world into further and further eras. I am even more powerful. I am as timeless as the mountains I cannot remember imbuing with the life they pulsate with even now. But I do not find this hidden place. I cannot, but I know it is somewhere out there. I awake, at long last, unwillingly…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ This was it! Full lucidity in all its glory. I could do anything, flying, building, creating people, romance, omniscience, all the power I could imagine. but, there was something else there. Another entity. Mucked everything up. I wanted to stay longer, I knew I could control when I awoke from the dream space. But this other thing, the entity in the keep, with the impenetrable walls – it took me out. I did not have control over its actions, over that place. This is troubling, but also exciting. I have much to explore. I need to get back as soon as possible. But I am finding I cannot sleep again so easily,
~ art by Michelle Blade
I am back.
I am flying into an eternal reminiscence. Eventually, I touch down to continue my good work.
I walk through the streets of the city. People I know, people I care about and trust move about, going through their days. The society appears to be thriving. They continue to build the city on the mountain, higher and higher from the base of the mountain. I am here walking among the streets for years and years, time races by with unwavering progress in my wake. Skyscrapers reach into the clouds above the mountain. On its peak is a temple that I am venturing to. At the base, are walls rising in defense. I don’t fully understand their presence, I didn’t sanction it. Unconsciously speaking, it perturbs me to have them. My city needs no defending, none of my creation does. They don’t fit the aesthetic of the rest of the city; this is important to me. Ominously large, grey stone walls, with apertures and guard towers at the long intervals of the mountain. It turned my city of Wonder & inspiry into something closer to a fortress. But I knew they were necessary for whatever reason, function over form, the walls had a purpose to serve. Even as I continue walking peacefully among the hallowed arches and awe-inspiring towers of my own origination, there is a deep-seated angst, an almost primal fear within me. This place I have made is in danger and I don’t know what to do. My walk up the mountain is effortless. I choose not to fly because I want to feel the cadence of the stone steps upon my feet. I come upon the temple. When I enter it my entire mindset changes. I am not supposed to be here? I find I have no control. There is nothing in the temple save for a single object in the center of the room, on a pedestal lies a reflecting thing I find it hard to behold, I awaken before I can see…
~~~~~~~ ~ I woke up sweating, scared. This was unnerving. I was still in control but there are cracks forming and I am not sure I am strong enough to hold it all together. My powers there only reach so far. It seems lucidity can be achieved relatively easily using the technique, but maintaining it is another story altogether. Was I too ambitious? Did I go too far? The dose of reality in waking life, it’s magnified in a lucid dream and the mind wants to return to what it knows. Limitless possibility and power is so foreign that it, my subconscious mind, seems to be actively working to undermine my efforts. This existential dread being levied upon me in the dream, not unlike the feelings we often experience in waking life, is magnified and inescapable. I have no doubt the temple was created for this purpose, why I was drawn there was to abdicate this control. The last bastion of the subconscious domain. I am finding more and more difficult to enjoy myself in the world of the dream. A message is being conveyed in this uneasy dread. It almost feels as though being lucid is a forbidden knowledge from which I should’ve never been able garner this mind space I have now built so meticulously. I will return, warily. It is upsetting to think I could lose what I have rightfully earned.
I am in the city again. But something is different. Something is loose. It’s dangerous because I haven’t understood it. And it knows this. I am tired, more tired than I have ever been. I walk through the streets and for the first time am unsure of my direction. Uncertainty taints the ground I walk upon. So much so, in fact, that it’s all I can see. The ground. From my perspective, there is no sky, no tower reaching into the stars from the mountain. I simply no longer have the mindspace to witness the grandeur of the world around me. I walk with no conception of the world as my home, as it used to be. Those feelings are a distant memory. I look up and see a reflection, a holistic and stylized rendering of the very city I walk through. All the buildings, the peoples, the forms and figures I created with my own hands, idealized in my mind. It’s all there. Including me. But it isn’t me. I look down upon the streets before me and they crumble. I wade out into the crowd to find someone to hold onto and they dissipate into misty shades. I cannot even weep. My reality is breaking because it isn’t mine. The towers topple; there is no screaming. The people aren’t here anymore. Were they ever? It is just me now. I can feel everything collapsing around me, I need to escape, I need to wake up before it can find me, I have to get out. Before me through the wreckage is a wall. I reach up, frantically grasping handholds and begin to climb. Restlessly reaching up, my heart feels as if it will explode. The wall reaches far into the sky, up into black clouds of infinity. there is no hope and yet still I must try. I continue climbing, cold and gasping for air, until I am so tired that I no longer can remain asleep. I fall from the wall and descend…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ n o t h i n g to say//
‘I am alone, raining, jungle. I am cold, exhausted evermore. There is the stench of death in the air. It is familiar to me. Even so, I am lucid. The conditions have worsened but I have never lost conscious awareness of the dream world, I have simply lost all semblance of control, of power, of the God-like creation. Right now, I know I need to continue moving, but I am so cold, the rain drenches me. I do not move; same as in wakefulness – there is cowardice and weakness here. I want to wake up, I want to go. But I can’t go. I don’t believe I will ever be afforded the privilege of awakening ever again. This isn’t just a dream. I am hunted by a great beast which has scaled these jungles for eternity. Its inexorable pursuit is killing me, consciously ravaging the previous chaos of my subconscious into, what? an unfamiliar and oppressive order? or complete desolation? It knows me better than I know myself. It is my inner secrets, my unknowable potential. It is my unforgivable, tenebrous shadow. No chance. I am no longer within the realms of civilization, the safety of walls, confines of my sanity, this jungle resides outside my know-how, it is not of my creation. The trees of the wild envelope me in a darkness unrelenting. I can feel the hungry eyes gazing upon me through the darkness. When I look out, I can spot two red orbs in the trees’ abyss. Immobilized by fear, I stand and bear witness to the monster’s full form emerging from the shadow. A tiger of the abyss, its fur a black void, immense in form, I bear witness to its power. Id approaches its kill in measured steps. There is a weight to the creature’s presence which breaks my composure. My eyes close and I can feel my blood flow seize through my newfound formlessness. I cannot run now, It would catch me before I could even turn, before I could even think it. The beast drinks in my fear and enthralls itself on my helplessness. I do not move, giving it to the hopelessness. I grit my teeth and prepare for the end, my unconsciously wavering soul to be rendered now. power devours me.
It is over , who will write ‘
I am awake. I stand in blackness. Eyes wide open, finally. I can see something. I move forward. I cross the threshold, emerging into a new world. I feel the void’s unconscionable reach behind me, but I don’t look back. There is nothing back there for me now. One’s end is another’s beginning. Anticipating the impending release this moment brings, I speak it – my own self – into existence, into awareness, into being: