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BRICK AND SKIN

Dreamed 1988/10/18 by Chris Wayan

THAT DAY

I'm reading Leslie Cameron Bandler's THE EMOTIONAL HOSTAGE--about people held hostage by out-of-control feelings, whether depression, anger or panic attacks. The section on fear hurts to read; I recognize myself. Phobic!

At least, according to her, I'm doing the right thing. My agoraphobia and social fears are extreme enough to be classified as not just out-of-control emotions, but out-of-control PERCEPTIONS, where you're unable even to observe clearly. I'd never made that distinction.

Her exercises for coping with extreme reactions like mine all involve 1) detaching from your feelings and observing closely... or 2) just plain walking out. Leave! Explore it all later, somewhere safe.

But that's exactly what I do! Pull back and just try to get through social encounters that trigger panic, and leave as soon as I can. Only I've felt like a coward and a neurotic for instinctively doing this--when Cameron recommends exactly this for severe phobias.

THAT NIGHT

I'm wandering through Tibet, with two women, one very emotional, one intuitive, and a very odd man, a thinker whose science looks like magic. Gradually we become a team. We work well together, since between us we cover the four basic approaches to life--

  1. physical, sensual, body-centered, like me
  2. emotional, feeling approach
  3. intuitive, following hunches
  4. the intellectual, reasoning approach
I'm warm and easy with both the women, but though I trust the man, I can't express my warmth with him physically--he radiates bodilessness. Finally, the women finally say "How can we progress in our quest, till you two can touch freely?" I feel fine about embracing him, I just worried he'd panic or be outraged.

Nah. We hug and he's fine with it. He's grown more flexible.

We're supposed to learn each other's powers, next. To demonstrate mine to him, I change into a huge Kundalini snake--a coiling spinal cord, with a huge-eyed brain for a head. I climb a Himalayan peak, my hot body sizzling in the snow, leaving a melted serpentine channel. The local Tantric bobsledders will have fun riding down this track, later, once it cools...

Dream: I become a Kundalini snake--a living spinal cord--climbing a snowy slope in the Himalayas.
It's hard for him to follow me. I'm a sensual person and feel my shapeshifting-changes in my skin and muscles; the power for the change wells up from the earth. All this is alien to him--being so entrapped, as he sees it, in one's body... I would have said I'm at home in my body, but to him it's a cage.

He shows me his shapeshifting powers -- so different from mine! He becomes a kundalini snake too, for comparison. But his body's a cybersnake with shiny bat wings, made of metal and stones that he's casually picked up and interlaced like bricks, structured into a winged serpent, guided by his silver steel spine. The parts stay separate and slide like escalator steps. He, his body, is the PATTERN, is the IDEA, as he passes through his material constituents like a wave!

Just the opposite of me, where organic unity is the thing. Hmmm. I'm analog, he's digital?

Wow, he can reverse entropy with his willpower. Flying up the mountain, he's using will; but he glides back down using gravity. No point in wasting will! He knows his physics as well as his magic...

A living snake assembled by a Tantric master, made of rocks, poles and cloth; Himalaya in background.
But then, so do I. No need to learn that from him. I understand what he does--I could do it--it's just that I feel uncomfortable with it. I want my body to be ME, not an idea I can assemble out of random junk. Even though I know I could.

But by clinging so tightly to my body's integrity, by staying inside my skin (however big or strange it gets) I'm denying the full range of my mind. It too has rights to inhabit its natural space fully, to fill ITS skin. And it ranges wider than I like to admit.

My discomfort is really just a clinging--to old limits I'm ready to outgrow. A single brand of magic's no longer enough.

And that ends our kundalini practice for today.

NOTES ON WAKING UP

I found this dream startling, not because of the magic and mysticism (common in my dreams) but because I was the physical, sensual one, at odds with an intellectual type who can juggle alien ideas, making them part of himself. When awake, I see myself as an intellectual who learned to accept intuition, who's still struggling to accept my body and feelings. But the dream rubbed my nose in the truth--I'm pretty comfortable with my body, feelings and intuition, all three. No, what makes me uncomfortable is my own mind.

I'm VERY surprised. I was a child prodigy, off the scale on math, logic and language. All through school I was called a "brain." And yet the dream felt true! Hmmm. I was raised among American leftists, and my ideals came from feminism and the hippies before them. Harmony, consensus and organic unity were major virtues. It shows in my art--I rarely do collage, for example, with its sharp disjunctures of elements. Nor do I draw conflict much. The dream warns my obsession with harmony gets in the way of my mind's hunger to play freely with ideas, even if they create jarring discords. There are many ways up the mountain... and if I value harmony so much, get out of the way of my brain and let it find its own way to the peak!

So my social discomfort may not be out-of-control feelings, but over-controlled thinking! Suppressed ideas, huh? What a... concept.

So what would happen if I just embraced them, no matter how bizarre? If the dream is right... not much. My feelings and body can handle it just fine. Let go!



LISTS AND LINKS: a precursor dream where I'm a snaky mountaineer: Everest Marathon - ordeals and initiations - I'm Just Not Myself Today - cross-species dreams - cross-platform dreams - snakes and nagas - chakras and kundalini - oops! dreams of mistakes - dream creatures - the four Jungian personality functions - flying dreams - shamanic dreams - diagnostic dreams - dream advice

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