Friday, January 20, 2012

Dreams: Impotent Justice

Last night I had several haunting dreams flow together into a funeral. Before going to sleep I a series of auspicious and unusual things occurred.

First off, the lock on the front door broke. This lock has been there for decades. My mom came home and was struggling with the lock. I went to open it and found that I couldn't either. The seal had been broken and now the lock just turned, around and around with the key, never settling down. I had to open the storage room side door.

The next thing that was unusual was my general mood that could be described as anxiously nauseous or resentfully uneasy. To alleviate this I swam in the gym pool, also out of the norm for me. For the last two days I have been annoyed at what I perceived were personal sacrifices on my time. Resentment sickened and sapped my mind. I was not in a happy Buddha space, but in resentful martyr mode. None of my old appetites appealed to me. Hence, my trip to LA Fitness.

I jumped in the empty pool and began doing leisure backstrokes and froggies. My glasses were in my locker so I could only see the colored blurs swirling around the pool. I stared up as the ceiling as I swam and thought. This resentment was not healthy. It was not real. I felt I was being asked to do too much, from too many people, for too little in return. I rattled off my lists and thought of the daily meditation. Letting go of grievances. Thus, I was presented with my litany today and then told that my schedule would have to change to accommodate the plans of others.

God's law is the only law. 

I thought about all that people were expected to do for me. All the things that I thought were owed to me. These were my laws and when they were broken, my ego demanded punishment. But unable to find and inflict punishment on anyone, I just seethed. Not a lot and certainly not at the point of rage. But just enough anger to keep my mind nauseous with resentment. I  was the courtroom with no power. I was bringing up charges against criminals, sentencing them in absentia, and then watching them walk around right outside my window. Screaming would be beneath the judge,  so he just sit in the room, sneering at all the convicted criminals roaming around outside.

My laws, my judgment, my resentment. What would it be like if I didn't have that? I am so tired of this courtroom. What if it didn't exist? What if no one owed me anything?

I swam for a half hour before another swimmer jumped into the lane right next to me. He was gliding through the water, zipping up and down the pool, splashing me with water as I leisurely swam. I looked at how fast he was moving. My mind started commentary: he's a much better swimmer than you are. He's showing off. Did he have to get in the lane right next to me and start splashing around like he's Michael Phelps? Asshole.

Enough. God's law is the only law. The guy isn't showing off. I don't even know if he's a better swimmer than me. I don't even know if he's a man. I just see a blob. That's my story. I created all of that instantly. I continued swimming along. After an hour my hands were prunes and raisins. It was time for bed.

I fell asleep more at ease on the surface than when I began swimming. But obviously my mind had other ideas that night as a series of bizarre dreams crept up.

In one setting I am driving around looking for a drive-thru. I'm not finding any places and there are no signs. The roads are empty and the hedges run along both sides. I turn into a Burger King parking lot. The building is colored chalk white and looks to be under construction. There is a giant truck blocking the drive-thru lane. Staring at the building from my car I determine that the place is empty. As if to defy me, a light flickers on. I zoom in closer and see that it's a flame burning inside. There is someone in there cooking. I could go in. I get scared and decide to keep driving.

And I moved into giant procession. I have lost my car. There are pilgrims migrating toward a great site. I notice some men in orange tunics, others in maroon robes. This must be something holy. I follow the crowds who have orange paint on their faces and move toward a structure that can only be described at this time as mountain-building hybrid. The steps are carved into the earth and people are seated on them. I stop at the outskirts of the sitting assembly. A monk in maroon robes looks at me. His face changes from curiosity to dislike. I'm hurt. What did I do to him? There is another man in orange robes, who may be a monk or jut a pilgrim. His face shows neither like nor dislike. He just looks at me. I make my way through the crowd but I'm scared. Singing, chanting of unknown origin is going on. Suddenly an intermission is called. Significant amounts of people wander away, some turn to their neighbors. The break in group concentration gives me the courage to move forward.

As I get closer to the front I see there is a coffin there. I feel sick and sad. Some poor, great saint has passed on and now people are honoring him. I intuit that this would be someone I never met. At the front of this structure which has now shifted into resembling an open-air temple, I see a friend who I shall call Ross. Ross is grieving. She says the name of the deceased and I'm shaken. It's an old friend from college who I shall call -for the sake of anonymity- Nathan C.

The dream has become frightening. This feels very real. In fact when I woke up this morning I instantly went to the computer and checked my old college friend on Facebook. I went to his status and made sure no one had posted any condolences. Apparently he is still alive. In the dream he was not. I didn't want to know any more. Suddenly I wasn't an observer. I wanted to cry and mourn. I recalled all the great times we had together. Nathan was such a free spirit and always made me feel better. When I lived in the dorms at Northwestern I would go to Nathan when I was depressed. Now he was gone, his life ended abruptly and much too young.

Ross informed me that the cause of death was impotence. Or to quote verbatim from my own dream, Ross said 'He died from impotence' and continued crying. Wait. No one dies from impotence. This is still a dream. I reassured myself that no one dies from impotence. This is a dream, yet the power of the setting was so strong that I kept slipping back into depression about Nathan's death.

When I awoke this morning I checked my phone for messages. Then I went to the computer to make sure Nathan wasn't dead. After my senses had been restored I began thinking what that was about.

It's very unusual for anyone to say something in my dream that I would remember. But I definitely remember the 'he died from impotence' line. It was too Freudian to forget. If I read it in a dramatic script I might roll my eyes as the psycho-babble.

I went to acupuncture and then the beach. That line and the dream have haunted me all day. What died? Perhaps some of my resentment died, unable to exercise its power any more of my subconscious. Perhaps some of my anger perished in my search for Burger King. Or were they memories of past wrongs, drained of their ability to enrage me. It seemed like a happy impotence.

The overwhelming feeling last night and throughout the dream was nauseous and anxiety. I kept thinking "I feel sick,' and then I'm in a funeral dream talking about impotence-induced death. Maybe I don't have to judge as much today. I can surrender my impotent law to a higher power.

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