A recent educational dream:
I dreamed I was in a foreign city, a huge city somewhere in Asia. I had gone into a building with my two good friends. We came out and somehow turned opposite directions. I had not gone more than a few steps when I realized they weren’t with me, and quickly turned around. I backtracked, thinking about the travelers rule: don’t wander around, always go back to the place you last saw each other. But of course we had not discussed this ahead of time and I didn’t think they knew about it. So I went the way they had gone.
I stepped out into the street where I could see the people on the sidewalk as I passed them. I checked out every person’s face one by one, but when I came to the end of the block I still had not seen them. We had no way to communicate. I knew where we were supposedly heading, I had a picture of it in my mind, and I turned that direction. When I turned, the scene suddenly changed. Nothing looked familiar. The streets were crammed with moving people and cars. I had no idea where I was. I was lost.
I woke up from this dream with a feeling that is all too familiar to me after brain injury––complete disorientation. It occurs regularly in my daily life, even in my very small town, even in my own home. It is the sensation of being unmoored from reality. Sometimes, when I am very tired, I feel momentary panic or despair. When it is prolonged, I might start to cry. It is a feeling of being so vulnerable that even my ego is useless. I have learned, however, to breathe and relax into it, to let the moment Be As It Is. I have learned to let go of my need to be oriented.
Once I relax, I expand into space and wait for the arrival of creative energy. It always shows up. I don’t know when, but I trust that it will. Then a way forward appears. It’s rarely the way I would have “normally” have coped, since I cannot conjure a memory of what that would’ve been. The way forward is usually something new and interesting. It’s often humorous and I laugh out loud. I have come to know that it’s not important to do things the same way twice (in even basic tasks like cooking or dressing). Often, the “new” way is much more interesting and helpful and useful.
I woke up from this dream not only with the familiar feeling of disorientation, but also with the awareness that this was an important place to be. It’s not a mistake. This disorientation is giving me many opportunities to practice Not Knowing. Expectation of a known or predictable outcome holds me down on a very small point, where energy movement is restricted. Stepping off the path of expectation opens me up to space, where energy expands. This is the way into the Great Mystery, into transcendence, into the Void. It is outside of me. It is within me. It is the joining of every thing and every not-thing. It is beautiful.