Between Sleeping and Waking

Woke up after 4:00 in the morning, and stayed awake, lying in bed, eyes closed. When I caught my mind wandering like a dog to the same old “subject-smells” I yanked it back into focus. No, I thought, I am not lying alone in this bed. Christ is within me, lying on this bed with me, literally. At once, I felt a warmth, peace and comfort which is the soul’s equivalent of a lover spooning me from behind, but so much deeper and infinitely better.

For several weeks, I had been trying to come up with an intent I could really be excited about when I became lucid in a dream. I kept juggling the same ideas over and over, but none of them truly excited me. But it came to me then—was given to me by the Spirit—the request I will make the next time I become lucid in a dream:

“Lord, may I please have a glimpse of Your dream of me?”

Still trying to fall asleep consciously, and thinking about how such a lucid dream would be perceived should I be blessed with it, I asked:

“Lord, how can I best respond to people who think that everything that happens to them in a dream comes from their subconscious?”

And I received the reply:

When you open your eyes in the dark, can you make yourself see?

“No, Lord.”

Your soul was made for the Living Light.”

And like a pupil, the smaller I become in my own eyes, I thought, the more clearly I can see.

Loving the Dream Space

Everything, dreaming and all, has got a soul in it, or else it’s worth nothing, and we don’t care a bit about it… If I were only a dream, you would not have been able to love me so.” –  George MacDonald

Ever since I stopped attempting to will myself through the dream space and began treating it as an all-powerful and loving Person, to Whom I address my lucid intents as hopeful requests, I have been richly rewarded.

I have been lucid dreaming for five years and have learned that it is sometimes possible, with varying degrees of success, to change, or creatively modify, a dream scene, to “fast travel” or to “teleport” to other dream scenes, and receive answers to my questions. I have also learned that it is a mistake to simply assume the dream space is obeying me with no will of its own. I think that on this point, most lucid dreamers can agree, but they are divided into primarily three camps:

Those who believe thinking and feeling are confined to our physical brain, and necessarily deny the dream’s autonomy, regarding it merely as part of their own personality and subconscious.

Those who believe that consciousness rather than matter is fundamental and are open to the concept of the dream space being autonomous, at least in certain respects.

Those who, like me, believe a Supreme Being created our minds and everything else.

I feel that my lucid dreams have been a way of developing an exciting, profoundly stimulating relationship between my soul and its Divine Artist, God.

A dream ceases… as we wake. But it does not become a nonentity. It is a real dream: and it may also be instructive. A stage set is not a real wood or drawing room: it is a real stage set, and may be a good one. (In fact, we should never ask of anything “Is it real?,” for everything is real. The proper question is “A real what?”)…The objects around me, and my idea of “me,” will deceive if taken at their face value. But they are momentous if taken as the end products of divine activities. Thus and not otherwise, the creation of matter and the creation of mind meet one another and the circuit is closed. – C.S. Lewis

Our religious beliefs, or lack thereof, notwithstanding, the fact is that we cannot always do whatever we want to in a lucid dream, or completely control it, no matter how lucid we feel/think ourselves to be, or how experienced we are with employing various methods, old and new, for achieving our intents.

In my view, our lucid dreaming minds are like children in kindergarten, and the dream space is the Teacher who, for example, we might order to immediately give us a chocolate ice cream cone. If judging the time and situation appropriate, the Teacher may metaphorically smile upon us, and appear to obey our command, but in truth, it is the Teacher—actively engaged in a relationship with us—who makes the decision to gratify our desires, or not.

My first lucid dreams were full of childish fun as I flew over the earth before diving down into magnificently detailed landscapes and cities while feeling joyfully invulnerable. But as I grew older, more knowledgeable and practiced, I began to understand that the dream space really seems to determine how best to interact with me in order to help me learn and grow in the most rewarding way possible.

I now have ample reason to believe the dream space cares about us, and for us, very personally, with exquisite, patient intimacy, and for that reason—and for other reasons we can no more fathom than a toddler can attain a PhD in quantum physics—I think there are rules in the dream space which appear to be limits to us but are actually there for our protection, rules which can change and evolve in proportion to how we mature as persons and, by extension, dreamers.

My experience, and the experience of some lucid dreamers I have spoken to, indicates that a humble, loving, hopeful and faithful attitude continues to bear remarkable fruit, enriching our dreams in ways we ourselves would never have imagined.

What Shakespeare’s Juliet says to Romeo as they embrace on the balcony outside her bedroom very much expresses how I have come to feel about my lucid dreams, and the loving Presence within them Who came courting me in the dark, with transcendent rather than tragic results:

And yet I wish but for the thing I have.
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep. The more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

Published in the Lucid Dreaming Experience, Vol. 4, No. 4, March 2016

Big Little Miracles

My soul was like a little lost ship before, but now I navigate humbly yet confidently, obediently and faithfully, by the Light of the Son. And when the wind of the Holy Spirit appears to die down, Mary – the Star of the Sea – comforts me as I stand at the foot of the cross-shaped mast flying the sail of Christianity, the Divinely drawn chart keeping me on course. Until the final day and night, when I can at last throw away my cross like an anchor in the Port of Heaven. Although I will have to go through the station of Purgatory first, I will be more than glad of it, for my exile will have ended. I only hope I can bring with me as many beautiful gifts for my Lord as possible in the form of dreams, poems and books.

I feel I am truly dancing with Reality, Who is our Lord, because every little thing happens in perfect time with my inner thoughts and outward activities in such a way that each day I know, more deeply and clearly,  God is with me at every moment as I experience His touch in subtle yet breathtakingly obvious ways. What many would dismiss as meaningless coincidences, I experience as messages from my Lord. I call them “Synchronicity Kisses.” Synchronicity: the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. 

June 1, 2015

Listening to C.S. Lewis in the car, he had just made reference to Christ’s urging that we must become as little children again if we wish to enter the Kingdom of God, when at that very moment, a small white car veered into my lane, directly in front of me, bearing the license plate:

KNDRGRDN

This was hardly the first time I had experienced a wonderful, teasing, loving hint of God’s Presence by way of bumper stickers and license plates. For a long time, I had been meaning to keep a record of them, yet had not done so (some foolish part of me thinking it was silly) but after this delightfully obvious “kiss” I finally began doing so.

Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted… What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience.  
– C.S. Lewis

September 27, 2016

South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, is not as rich in customized license plates as rural Virginia was, but to date, I have experienced two wonderful “kisses”:

On my first time driving up to Mami’s house, thinking about her, and how happy I am to be able to go and visit her as often as we please, I saw in a lane to my left the license plate:

LUVJRP

A completely accurate expression/synthesis of my thoughts: I love Juana Rosa Pita!

And today was a big one. Driving home from Stop-n-Shop, I was imagining what I would say to my priest in my first confession here, because it became painfully clear to me yesterday that some wounded part of me suffers from a lack of faith in Love. Part of me is afraid love is a lie, and that what we idealize as love is just need, attachment, essentially a selfish thing, and therefore when someone who loves you promises you something, it is a lie, only true as long as it satisfies their needs, etc. etc. Of course, I do not BELIEVE any of this, but there is a stain on my emotional soul from the negative experiences I have had which were the result of bad choices floundering in the sea of sin, before being rescued by the fishermen who had brought the Good News I was raised to believe in but neglected to truly live by.

The principal way the devil seeks to torment and influence me is to make me doubt love, because if I doubt the reality of Love, I doubt the existence of God. The truth is, I am – like all fallen humans – guilty of being selfish, needy, etc. But I have felt, and known, since I was very young, that life is all about love. “Love, love, love, without love, where would I be?” I asked myself in a poem I wrote when I was nine years old. The answer is “Hell” into which I sink whenever I fail to trust in the Eternal Truth of Love.

So, I had just confessed all this, in a condensed form, to my priest in my head, when I stopped at a light behind a blue car with three bumper stickers arranged in the shape of a pyramid, with one on top in the center, and the other two below on each side. The one on top was composed of three words, but I could only make out the third one clearly. There was some small print on the two bottom bumper stickers impossible to read, so this is the message my physical eyes received, and which my soul “saw” completely:

 GOD

  Angels       Believe

I emailed my brother and Mami these two “kisses” and they replied:

Mario: Those are great! LUVJRP is so precise as a message that would not have meant anything to other drivers! Regarding your thoughts on love, I think I understand completely what you mean, and the way I have seen it is the Platonic way that human love is a very pale, imperfect and incomplete reflection of Divine love, in the same way that a star is reflected in a pond, sometimes brightly and sometimes not at all, if the pond is wavy and muddy.

Mami: Amazing grace!

“My tender care is ever around My children. But they don’t see it. They look upon all the happy incidents in their lives as only natural and are inclined to attribute them to chance. Yet a word of happy thanks would bring Me such joy that My joy would rebound to them in new gifts. Oh, when evening falls may they think of coming to My embrace, their hearts overflowing with gratitude, asking Me to come again with new blessings. And I will come again. And in this way we shall approach the end of life and the last of My blessings. For this last blessing, My child, give Me your tender thanks now.” – Gabrielle Bossis, He & I

 

 

Dogs and my Soul

Months ago I had a vision
driving back from the Vet
in which I saw my Lord
dressed in black walking
up our drive to St. Francis
accompanied by Merlin
and Arthur, my dear dogs
one dead, one in the car
with me blessedly healthy
and immune to my dread
of a future without him.
Sadness became a Sense
in which I saw my Lord
looking toward my mind
His gentle smile knowing
so reassuring to my soul
promising my dear pets
already are safe with Him
in a Life freed from death.
Then I saw the road again
just beyond the windshield
yet the daydream remained
more vivid than what seems
reality to my rational brain
accusing me of imagining
a miracle real as my heart
happy to embrace the Truth
of this unexpected blessing
peace a gift from my Lord
responding to my pure love
of sweet helpless creatures
I adore as God cherishes us.

Surely a loving relationship
between a human and a dog
is pleasurable to our Master
Who, Supreme above us all
in every conceivable fashion,
cherishes and gifts us treats
despite how dumb we can be.

“I Dared to Call Him Father”

Publisher’s Summary

How do I give myself to God completely? What happens when I do? This is a book for everyone who has ever asked these questions.

I Dared to Call Him Father is the fascinating true story of Bilquis Sheikh, a prominent Muslim woman in Pakistan who faced these questions at the crossroads of her life and found the astonishing answers. Her unusual journey to a personal relationship with God turned her world upside down – and put her life in danger – as a series of strange dreams launched her on a quest that would forever consume her heart, mind, and soul.

©1978, 2003 Bilquis Sheikh (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

I began listening to this Audio Book three days ago, and it is completely blowing my mind and scouring my soul. The Lord put it before me now, because I wouldn’t have been ready to listen to it before my own similar experiences of meeting Him in dreams. Through this wonderful woman, God is showing me where I am still weak in my faith, and what I need do about it. Yesterday, after listening to a few chapters, I got up and went through my home office like a human tornado. I couldn’t believe the strength that filled my 54 year old body to move and lift, and do everything I did in just a couple of hours! It was a symbolic act of what I am striving to do with my thought and emotional processes. Yesterday, I cleared away many old habitual ways of thinking and feeling that were tripping me up in my desire to walk closer to God day by day, depending only on the stimulating peace and promise of His Presence.

When would I learn that I cannot worry and trust God at the same time?”

A very salient point for me, because for the past few weeks, I have been obsessively worrying about how “my” book will be received, when it will get its first review, how many copies it will sell, etc. etc. In truth, His Presence is all that really matters. What happened to Bilquis happens to me: whenever I find myself thinking in certain ways, resisting doing something I wouldn’t normally do, I  lose the glorious sense of His Presence – a spiritual “sensation” akin to standing in warm sunshine on a cold day when the sun is suddenly obscured by a cloud. When I prayerfully strive to untangle decades of ingrained thought and emotional processes, obediently listening to what the Lord is telling me (sometimes through opening the New Testament at random) and I realize there is something God either wants me to do, or wants me to stop doing, the deep, steady, quiet joy of His Presence blessedly returns.

I highly highly recommend this Audio book! It is a joy to listen to.