October 14th, 2013.
Some background. I’ve been practicing a lot (for me) and reading a lot of dharma, and last night I re-read for the third or fourth time something by Khempo Gangshar, and for some reason i can’t recall, i made a point of looking up “karma.” Oh, i remember.
i’ve realized that i can actually give up habitual patterns i’ve developed over almost my entire life, just by giving them up. There are imprint of them in my mind, but those imprints are just imprints, memories so to speak. So what he reminded me of was that even when you see the ultimate nature of things (absolute truth) you might still have karmic imprints that come up.
Now, a few days ago I read a posting my a student of mine, AC, who shared a teaching story “two tigers.” basically it says there are two tigers in you, one wants good, one wants bad, and it is up to you which one you feed. Whichever one you feed gets stronger.
So in terms of karma, or habitual patterns, if you feed a pattern, it gets stronger.
And last piece of background before i get into the dream. When I was in college (1972 or 1973 or so) I used to trip two or three times a week. I’d never done any drugs before getting to Cornell, but really liked tripping. When i would trip i was often the center of the universe, and people would do things to benefit me. Beneficent Paranoia is a term I used to describe it. This was before I got into Buddhism, but I was reading “Be Here Now”, that was my dharma text at the time. When i say “I was the center of the universe” it was really more like I was God. I also used to dream that I could fly, which made me a little nervous since i was afraid that some time when i was tripping i would think that i could fly, which could have bad consequences – like trying to fly out of the fourth floor window of my dorm room. So i decided that when i thought i could fly i would throw myself backwards, so i landed on my back. That would knock the air out of me, and if i was dreaming it would wake me up. So back to the dream.
I can fly. (I haven’t had a flying dream in i don’t know how long. And I was doing Vajrasattva mantras before i fell asleep.) So I’m flying, but I am really flying high, into space. And I’m trying to get home, back to Joanne. (Cornell is located in Ithaca, New York, which is the same name of Odysseus’ home town,and occasionally I’ve thought of writing a story the mirror’s the Oddyssey, only the hero is trying to get back to the Ithaca in NY, not the one in Greece.) At one point i’m in Odum Library at VSU, which is being remodeled for an art exhibit. Somebody gives me – or i take – a bunch of flowers that seem to have come from Texas. Throughout the dream I’m trying to get back to Joanne, and will give her the flowers. I’m aware that she won’t believe I’ve been flying around in the sky, but the flowers might help.
Several times I manage to land, but never near home (which is not our home in Alexandria.) Once was a place I think was Oxford England (where my sister occasionally lives/teaches)
The last place I land is in Texas (yesterday I saw “Machete Kills” and loved it, but would hesitate to recommend it unless you like that kind of movie”) and meet a young boy. An older man, probably his father shows up and i think he wants money or something and is not very hospitable, and I realize I’m in Texas, and the flowers come from Texas, so I give him the flowers. He looks at me like I’m crazy, but then remembers something and takes the flowers. He opens them up (this is a dream, so the flowers can be a container for something) and when he sees what is in them he’s overjoyed. I look inside the box and see what’s look to be sexy underwear, maybe trans stuff (for guys who want to dress up like women.)
And I wake up.
Thinking about the dream
So the first thing I think of is that i haven’t had a dream like that in years, and it really seemed to be a better flying dream than anything i can remember. Then I remember how much i used to trip, and how i really thought i was the center of the universe, and had powers. In Sanskrit there is a word for powers called “siddhis” and there are siddis that help you in normal life (like being able to make money and influence people, and siddis that are realated to being or becoming enlightened. One of practices i do is supposed to result in you gathering riches — though what those riches are is not clear. In the practice you visualize yourself as Avoloketishra – the Bodhisattva of compassion. The Dalai Lama is an emanation of A. In this particular practice you give cooling water to Jambhala, who in turn grants you riches. I recently started on an s-function posting based on that kind of exchange.
So back to the dream, what struck me was:
- I have a lot of karmic imprints or habitual ways of thinking that come from time at Cornell, my drug days
- Some of those imprints are related to my thinking i’m the center of the universe, and something special
- Maybe my style of tripping was related to earlier karmic imprints, possibly a previous life – though I’m not sure i believe in that.
Now the instruction from Khenpo Gangshar is that when those imprints come up, when you have those thoughts, you just let them be. You don’t:
- You don’t chase after them or act them out, and
- You don’t push them away and pretend the weren’t there.
So I’m not sure what to make of the dream, but it has confirmed for me that following those instructions makes a lot of sense.
And I thought i should write this down, so you can see it (I meant to write ‘so i could remember it.’) Maybe the “you” in that sentence is like the guy from Siren’s of Titan (I think) who leaves himself notes to find after his mind is wiped – if i remember it correctly, which is highly unlikely.
OH! Fifteen minutes after I finished writing the above, i remembered that i woke up saying “Om, Ah, Hum, Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum.” Which isn’t one of the mantras i usually say.