Lucid dreaming

Once Chuang Chou dreamt he was a butterfly,
a butterfly flitting and fluttering around,
happy with himself and doing as he pleased.
He didn't know he was Chuang Chou.
Suddenly he woke up and there he was,
solid and unmistakable Chuang Chou.
But he didn't know if he was Chuang Chou
who had dreamt he was a butterfly,
or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou.

I have experienced long periods of time when it appeared that I did not dream at all. I'm sure that I did. Its just that I didn't awake during the night or arise in the morning remembering any dream state at all. Then there were those periods within which I would have dreams of epic proportions much like a well directed movie. I have experienced very vivid dreams with well proportioned characters and locations. Some are worthy of analysis and others are beyond what Freudian or Jung would be able to comment on. Some dreams do appear to be the result of some mental Asclepieion that I may have constructed and they beg for my attention.

But this was something different.

As was my custom, I would arise early in the day and prepare a small pot of loose tea. The ritual of the preparation was in itself both calming and invigorating with the reward of a nice fragrance and warming morning drink. I would settle in front of my altar, a place of meditation and openness before the universe. Naming this surrender of my self upon the cushion as prayer, or worship was useless labeling but I felt like a young boy in an ornate cathedral or church. With the sipping of tea, the lighting of a candle and a stick of sandalwood incense, I was invited to enter that state of being. Empty being. No expectations, no avoidance, just sitting.

On this morning, the candle flame slightly flickered while the smoke of the incense wound its way up through the spiral of the candle's rising heat. The stars could still be seen beyond the altar in the early dawn looking east through my big plate window. The frawn of several large ferns envelop my area and lends to the air of seclusion. The morning was quiet. No dog looking to relieve himself. No curious cat. No cars outside the window.

I began to realize that I wasn't alone. That there were others present and that they, like me, were sitting in meditation. We were sitting in a circle around a small potted fire with coals of incense giving off that familiar smell. We were assembled upon the top of a walkway or a temple porch. I was aware of the arched overlays perhaps leading to multiple doorways and adjacent rooms. The others were quietly reciting mantra while others quietly fingered mala beads. I also began to notice in the dim light that we, myself included, were not Caucasian. We were of the East. Tibetian? Chinsese? Too big to be Indian or Vietnamese, I thought.

And then I began to examine. To analyse. To wonder and look about. As I did, the temple stairs, my fellow meditators, the glow of coal lit incense began to fade while my altar reappeared before me. My signal to arise had come and I arose to meet the day.

It was an interesting journey.

No more - no less