Sunday, August 07, 2011

Dreaming of the Will to Live

A slight headache from too many dark beers rolled me out of bed this morning.  On the way to the kitchen cabinet, I rehearsed the dream which had just abruptly ended.  This dream was powerful and affected my emotional status the rest of the day.

Dream scenery is often not shocking until recalled during waking hours.  Walking down a busy street inside your high school, cars cruising by while you head to your locker.  This is pretty normal--and seems normal--in a dream.  Incidentally, I've developed a habit of recalling dreams in the morning to better retain them.  This habit came out of a fascination with lucid dreaming, inspired by The Waking Life.

Now, about last night's dream: it manages to bring together some powerful subjective elements into the same scene.  I found myself sitting on stage in a large church, playing the piano.  Looking around, there were friends from past and present.  Some of them looked to be behind the stage in a choir.  Others were in the audience.  A dozen well-adorned couples marched in an elated progression down the center aisle.  Was this a wedding?  If so, it was quite a rowdy one. This video comes pretty close to capturing it:

(The scene of this dream may very well have been supplemented my memory of this video, who knows).  All my friends are in this big church with me onstage playing music.  Believe it or not, I cannot remember who was walking down the aisle!  I only remember observing how happy we all were on this occasion.

Weddings always bring out a sentimental side: friends and family from all stages of life gravitating around the imminent married couple.  Celebration and nostalgia.  Vicariously watching our lives unfold in a communal moment.  Chairs of people bowed out in neat little rows, pointed at the front center-stage.  Why do we like ceremonial entrances so much?  Probably because they grant us permission to drift into abstraction.  To ponder our way past marriage into the deepness of marriage.

So, I am on stage at this crazy ceremony, what to do next?  Make something musical happen!  Thinking to myself, "The intensity needs to escalate here so it settles at the appropriate time," I began clapping and the whole room joined right in.  What a rush of energy!  Here we are in this happy moment, and we are all thinking about the transition to adulthood.  We are nostalgic and hopeful.  Much life is still ahead.

Just when the sweetness of this scenery had enveloped me, a strange thought dislodged my attention: "How could this all truly end?"  "How can there be an end to this?"  "Will this really just fade away?"  My dream-self tried imagining a dark, empty void.  Perhaps to see what it would be like to be permanently unconscious.  Could I discover any communicability between the wonderful scene and the dark, empty void?  Not at all.  The idea of  a truly empty void was simply not available for me to compare.  No matter how hard my mind focused: there was still a spark, a soft whisper of existence.  And yet this unimaginable void was so terrible, issuing anger within me towards its possible but inconceivable finality.  How deeply unjust to think that all sentient creatures will pass away.  Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

That was my dream.  Hoping to think about it more this week.


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