Saturday, April 30, 2011

stream of consciousness

Stream of Consciousness by Jim and Lynn Lemyre

I have been dreaming again lately, and, oh, I know it is said that we all dream nightly, which may be true; however, I am one who has not been lucky enough to remember my dreams on a regular basis -- try as I may, having put into practice the tablet on the bed stand and welcoming my drowsy self to wake up and record what dreams may come in the hours ahead, or, in the event that I do not take myself up on that particular invitation, to at least try to remember snippets of dreams upon waking the following day. In the week just passed I slept deeply the nights through and woke steeped in scenes that held me in a sort of suspension in the first hours of wakefulness, to the point that I had to shake my head and remind myself while behind the wheel that I was actually driving and was, therefore, responsible for my own safety and the welfare of dozens of other drivers on the road with me who may also be in a haze of remembrance and fuzz of feelings or who, worse yet, may not have had enough sleep the night prior and might be driving while actually asleep. I read a long time ago that people who were involved in severe car crashes while they were stone-drunk had a far better chance of coming out of the mess with little or no injury, where a sober accident victim would fare far poorer -- the reason being that the drunk's body was all loose and kind of rubbery, giving him/her the ability to "roll with the punches," so to speak while the sober driver or passenger, fully cognizant of the horror about to happen, is more prone to tense and tighten, go all rigid with fear, which turns the body into a brittle model of vulnerability, the likes of which we see in those crash dummies used in research by auto manufacturers and insurance companies. This reminds me of a Zen quote that I am going to have to stop to go find, but maybe I won't be able to locate it as I am not sure if it is in the top kitchen cabinet where I think I remember putting it, why there? would be a great question to ask myself. I will go look..........

Wow, I am impressed! I took a chair over to the cabinet because I cannot stretch to the back of the top shelf cabinet in the kitchen and can only touch the cups that I have set right at the front because I use those when the mood strikes me: our wedding trip Statue of Liberty mugs, my Frenchglen, Oregon, mugs reminding me of my beloved Steens Mountain, and the two cups from Lake Louise in Canada that my mother and I bought when we vacationed there in the early 90s -- and I stood on the chair and went to the left-hand side of the shelf and underneath an exquisite antique Oriental china soup cup with matching china ladel-shaped spoon was the quote I hoped to find. It is the page torn from The Little Zen Calendar desk edition for Wednesday, July 5, 2000, and says (I am copying now):

A local governor asked Ma-tsu: "Master, should I eat
and drink wine?"
    Ma-tsu without judging, offered two possible paths:
"To eat and drink wine in your natural right. But to
abstain from meat and wine is your chance for greater
blessedness."  --Zen Story

So, there you have it, the only piece of loose paper (other than #4 cone-style coffee filters, natural, not bleached) in an otherwise regular kitchen cabinet holding cups, mugs, drinking glasses, and an assortment of teas is this one small, wrinkled, folded quote that meant enough to me at the time to place up there on that shelf, and still means enough to me to remember it and remember where I might indeed find it.

I was going to try to write about some of my strange dreams and how, in spite of remembering them and living in them for some hours after waking, I have been bewildered by the fact that I forget them by the end of that day, which goes back to the reminder to self to remember the strange things and, if at all possible, to wake during the dream and scatter notes on my tablet to puzzle over the next day. I have been trying very hard to tell myself the dream from two nights ago, the one that kept me tied to it even as I drove into Salem the next day, but it has disappeared altogether and has been replaced with what seems like negatives from a strip of scenes of the dream from not last night but actually from the later morning hours following the Royal Wedding when I squeezed in five hours sleep prior to going on with the rest of the day. It was an awful dream, full of terror and danger of explosives that I was in some way supposed to stop from blasting off and I remember feeling like Angelina Jolie -- brave and buff -- but not looking like her, and that makes sense to me now because I suddenly remembered that I mentioned her in my reply to comments from Don't Forget the Pixies (in reference to William and Kate being a celebrity couple) following my last post so that is how she had a vague part in my nightmare, and now my waking thoughts after that dream make sense too, those thoughts being, "How in the hell after watching such a beautiful and historic royal wedding and seeing the jubilation of the huge crowds and feeling some of that myself right there in my living room drinking coffee at 2:00 a.m. (from my chipped china mug made in France with the Victorian painting of a mother cat and kittens, not from any of the mugs on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet), how in the hell after all that could I have dreamed a violent and danger-filled action thriller?" -- but later on I realized the short portion of Death Wish 4 that my husband had watched while I prepared dinner the night before my all-nighter viewing the royal wedding had a powerful negative influence on my psyche, which is why I did not want to watch the movie in the first place. 


susan said...

That's absolutely quite a wonderful example of stream of consciousness writing. I too thought it would be far easier to remember my dreams once I no longer had to wake up at 6am most days to go to work. It hasn't happened for me and if I awake in the middle of the night it's usually with worries about things I can't change. Those are the times I'll get out of bed to sit in the living room reading a book and then spend some time meditating to find that place that feeds my personal image landscape. I never compute after 11pm since the internet makes my mind buzz all the faster.

Last night we finally got the dvd of Inception to watch. It was so disappointing to see how mechanistic and concrete dreams were portrayed in its narrative.

Nice one, my friend.

Kathe W. said...

Great stream of words my friend! Fascinating how one's mind can ramble and still make sense!

Lydia said...

susan~ Wow, I love your phrase "personal image landscape." That is beautiful, and meditation is a beautiful way to feed it!
I was glad to read your impression of Inception, as I truly did not enjoy the film. Thank you for your comments. :)

Kathe~ Thank you for reading my rambling!

Stickup Artist said...

I just recently read that we are far more likely to remember negative dreams over positive ones! Ew. You probably had a bunch of good dreams but that one stinker was the one that stuck...

Rob-bear said...

I love the picture of your "stream of consciousness," and the story you've woven into it.

Lydia said...

Stickup Artist~ What you read makes sense to me. It's sad that it seems to work that way. But it must be one reason why I feel so joyous inside when I wake up remembering a good dream. :)

Rob-bear~ Glad you liked, and glad you came by. I know this is a busy time for you so I really appreciate your visit.

Hattie said...

"Inception" was loud, stupid, and unimaginative.
And I am so surprised that anyone could work up an interest in the royal wedding. The only clip I saw was of the couple kissing following immediately by the jets flying overhead. Bombs away??? This was pretty clunky symbolism and would be funny if it weren't so obviously pandering to the lowest common imaginative denominator and costing a bundle that that the increasingly impoverished British can't afford.
Lydia, do you think maybe your dreams are trying to tell you that the mass media are committing acts of violence against your imagination?
I have initiated a turn off all media weekend and find myself in much better mental shape as a result after a couple of months of doing this.

Shrinky said...

I love dreams, it's like living a double life, isn't it? But goodness, reading this I felt I needed to draw breath now and then!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

of course - the absolute right place for a zen quotation is for it to be located at exactly the place where it needs to be :)

As for dreams i remember the old urban myth as a kid that if you dream of falling you can die - but it never occurred to me as a kid to ask how this was proven - since you'd hardly be able to give witness statement if it had happened to you!.

Dreams are supposed to be the brain's way of working out and filing away all the information, which only goes to show how weird our brains are!

Lydia said...

Hattie~ Hmmm. I never once wondered if my dreams might be telling me that mass media is is committing acts of violence against my imagination. To the degree that I was not interested in seeing any of Death Wish 4 (or any of the Death Wish series after being mentally scarred by the first one when it was first released in theaters), my dreams certainly validated my aversion. I must admit that I am in the mood to see a really good comedy, either a new movie or a play on stage and will seek that out.

Shrinky~ Thank you for being here! You are right about the double life of dreams/waking. It's pretty fantastic. It is funny that you felt you needed to catch your breath, as I get that when I read it back. But the exercise of writing stream of consciousness was not the same as reading it! If you just let your thoughts run and let your fingers keep up as best they can with those thoughts it is fun, like dancing almost! :)

Pixies~ Thanks for seeing the irony of placing a Zen quote in the midst of a stream of consciousness piece of writing. :)
Good Point on that old wives tale about falling/dying! And how about dreaming you are flying? That is one of the best kinds of dreams, I think...although I used to have them frequently as a child and hardly at all now. Yes, our brains are weird... (have you wondered if people with Alzheimer's dream?....)



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