You may wonder what the big deal is regarding lucid dreaming. I have to admit that sometimes it seems rather silly and pointless to pursue experiences beyond the body when physical life itself is so precious. But things can happen there that are simply beyond our reach in the waking state--things that are necessary and essential for our healing and development. I know you can relate to the idea that we all carry around memories of unfinished business relating to other people, and that it often seems impossible to revisit those relationships in order to work out whatever conflicts still seem to remain. We are often left to deal with such memories on our own, hoping that our prayers and our own personal growth will eventually take care of those lingering wounds. One of my mottos is to have no regrets, but frankly I have many, and most of them have to do with things that I have said or done or left undone in relationship to people who were once precious to me, but who have left my life.
Some background to the lucid dream: Two days ago, I was managing my online stock account and discovered that my ex-wife's name was still on one of my accounts. Not thinking that I was about to set in motion a very upsetting sequence of events, I e-mailed the company and simply asked them to remove her name from the account. It was, after all my account, and her name was a mere artifact of having shared the account with her up to almost 3 years ago. Well, the next thing I knew the company had put a hold on the account, preventing me from accessing the funds. They said that I would have to submit I a notarized form from my ex-wife releasing her claim on the account. I'm usually a pretty cool guy, but this action really upset me. I could've emptied the account and opened a new one, but without realizing the consequences of my request, I effectively created a mess. I did not want to have to contact her and ask her for a favor, even though rationally speaking, I expected her to be kind and to help me. I have a hard time asking for help, but I certainly have a hard time putting myself at a disadvantage with people who might not feel charitable toward me. My fears were unfounded, and she quickly agreed to submit the form that was necessary. But the internal struggle that I experienced set in motion feelings that apparently set up a particularly powerful lucid dream encounter with my ex-wife's daughter, with whom I enjoyed a good relationship until the very end of the marriage when things went south.
Julie and I got to bed very late after watching a movie, and so my early morning meditation took place at nearly 6 AM. After meditating for about 40 minutes, I went back to bed, not sure that I would be able to get back to sleep. But eventually I drifted off. This is what I experienced:
I seem to be in my own home even though it was unfamiliar, and I was moving things around in order to neaten up. I was moving my fly tying equipment to a more out-of-the-way place when I noticed that S. entered the room. It seems that Julie was nearby, but I'm not sure. I was surprised to see S. after the problems that we had experienced around the time of the divorce. I greeted her, and she walked up to me and we embraced. She began to cry, and as I held her I noticed a man who appeared to be myself sitting nearby. His head started to brighten until it became a luminous orb of violet light. Meanwhile, I felt very moved by the sense of reconciliation and forgiveness that was coming over us as we embraced. Finally we parted, and I bent over, and wept. I wondered if Julie could hear me cry, or whether my tears were confined to the lucid dream. I drifted into physical awareness and saw that Julie was fast asleep, and I felt relieved and deeply healed. My eyes were moist.
All my life I have yearned for something beyond my reach. My sense of spiritual purpose has always been profoundly evident in everything I do. (Just having fun can be hard for me.) Consequently, when there are interpersonal conflicts that I can't seem to fix, it distresses me to no end. I'm not the kind of person who can simply blame the other person, even though they may have had a big part to play in our conflict. What I have found is that in my dream journey, I have opened up to countless experiences of deep, direct, interpersonal encounters, which have given way to immense relief and healing. And so when people ask me, why do you seek to become lucid in your dreams, I have to remember such dreams as this one, when I might have reacted less openly if I had not been lucid. Without such dreams, we are left with far fewer options, and a much more difficult path toward healing and enlightenment. One might ask, Was the other person really present? I have addressed this question in another entry to this blog, but suffice to say that my answer to this is as follows: Since we can never know for sure, it is far better to believe that the other person is, at least in part, present in the embodiment of the individual dream character. By believing that the dream figure mediates the actual soul of the other person, it provides us a genuine arena for making interpersonal breakthroughs, and celebrating them with the conviction that the work has been mutually felt on some level.
I believe it's interesting and confirming that I witnessed my own double sitting quietly and witnessing my exchange. Indeed, there must always be a part of us that witnesses the struggles and the breakthroughs-- a divine part of us that celebrates and literally lights up in joyful affirmation of our willingness to set aside pettiness and resentment. I am a much healthier person today than yesterday because of my lucid dream.