I dreamed I flew to the City of Angels, then drove to a college in a coastal woodland. The school had been designed around my particular interests and desires, and its grounds smelled like eucalyptus and orange blossoms. It was my birthday. Then I flew to an island of Aloha with my friend Amy, where we stayed on an estate on a slope 1000 feet above the water. The nights were cool and quiet. We drank strong coffee. We ate fresh papaya, and spicy fish tacos. We rode a boat out away from shore in the afternoon sun, and swam with dolphins who kept leaping out of the water and spinning and spinning in mid-air. After dark, when the moon was just shy of half, we snorkeled with three giant manta rays, each of whom was ten feet across at least. They did a winged ballet below us, in and out of bright flashlight beams that crisscrossed the dark blue water. Then the mantas came to the surface, rolled onto their backs, and swam right with us, their bellies to ours, inches away, over and over and over again. The next day, after passionfruit cheesecake for lunch, I showered, packed, and flew home.
I didn’t really dream that. I lived it in the waking world, just last week. It feels like a dream though–unreal, fleeting, full of wonder–so let the interpretations begin!
Ok, what have we got? We have many changes in elevation (air, land, ocean), i.e. a suggestion of moving up and down through different realms of consciousness. There’s also Aloha, which means much more than hello/goodbye. It’s a way of being, having to do with love, affection, respect, and harmony. Then we have the dolphins–playful, joyful, sociable, strong. And of course the manta rays, creatures of grace, peace, patience, fluidity.
Ahhh, great stuff. But I have no idea what the larger meaning might be. I’m still too close to it. All I know is that the whole thing was a tremendous gift, and I am tremendously grateful. Any actual interpretations are welcome, especially answers to the key question: how do you make waking dreams like that happen more often?
Yesterday a twenty-year-old in Connecticut shot and killed his mother — his mother — then drove to an elementary school — an elementary school — and killed twenty-six women and children. Then he killed himself. If NASA had satellites that could scan the planet for emotional and spiritual well-being, they would register massive wounds radiating from the crime scenes. Everyone is saying, Enough with the guns!, and I agree. But we also need something more. These wounds need a deeper treatment as well.
I say this because of something that happened once when I was studying the biochemistry of how muscles work, an intricate choreography of ions swinging back and forth across cell membranes. I’d never encountered anything remotely so complex and elegant. I remember looking up from the textbook in a state of wonder. Without conscious volition, my hand lifted up in front of my face, and my index finger bent and straightened. In that moment, I felt like I apprehended the entire chemical dance happening in my own muscles. Then that perception broke open, and I apprehended everything. I mean the entire Universe, its operations and majesty and beauty, and I was engulfed in an overwhelming, everywhere presence of love, like a fundamental force of physics.
I’m here to tell you it exists, it is infinite, it is available, and it eclipses all our ridiculous evaluations of worthiness. It loves you, it loves the victims, the families, the town, the nation, and it loves the shooter. It is where healing comes from. But we block it, each in our own ways and for our own reasons. We block it by not loving. Which brings us back to today. The holidays have been gruesomely destroyed for too many people. It’s time for whomever can to be the season, to embody its spirit. It’s time to wage peace-craft like grown-ups, to live our love like we mean it, and bring light to the world out of darkness.