Dream: The Black Elephant LUCID
Dream 20030908, 10:35 AM:
This was a particularly cool little WILD (Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream). I had drifted off using the 61 points meditation, but in a specific variation that I had thought about from Robert Bruce’s Astral Dynamics – instead of trying to just focus awareness on these points in sequence, I was imagining touching these points using my fingertips in a circular motion – like a physical version of visualizing something – focusing on the sensation until the spot would tingle. It worked really well.
I become aware of my dream body, sitting at a desk; I am feeling the tingle in the tips of my fingers, just like in the exercise. As often happens in lucid dreams, I feel the need to jump up and down and shake my limbs, as if to get the circulation moving through my body; so I did this, hopping around the desk a little with a two-footed hop while chanting to myself, “Lucid dreaming, lucid dreaming.” It helps me focus. When I’m done, my whole body tingles gently.
Then, I look at a small mirror mounted on the wall. I notice that I look much like my regular self, except that my eyebrows have been almost completely removed. There are a few individual hairs, looking kind of twisted and forlorn, sticking straight out of my brows, maybe six or seven on each side. I remark to myself that this looks very odd, so I reach over to the desk and pick up a black marker that is in a cup with pens and other stuff, and draw my eyebrows in at approximately the right location and shape. I don’t get them quite right, but it seems OK to me.
I walk over to a closet that has sliding doors, and decide that I want to put my hand through it, to gain control over working with the dream environment. This dream seems particularly cogent, and I’m not distracted by urges to run off, so I’m enjoying the chance to experiment. I try a couple of different methods, but my right hand resolutely refuses to pass through the wooden closet door. I open it a little, and slip my left hand behind it; I can see the hand in back, as if the closet door is translucent glass instead of wood, but it’s still thick like the real wood door. This time, I try putting my right hand through, and I wonder to myself if it will pass through my left hand as well, and what kind of sensation my dreaming mind will come up with if it does. Instead of passing my hand through the door, though, the door crumples; it feels like a softer version of styrofoam. I look down at the door, which is crumpled between my hands, and laugh.
I walk through the house, which is now decidedly the Kingwood house. There is nobody else here. Walking through the living room, I think to myself, what should I do? I begin to talk out loud, half to myself, half to the dream – “This seems to be a fairly strong, stable dream environment – should I go flying? Find some fun boy and try some dream sex?” Then, I remember a recent lucid dream where I ran from a bunch of thugs who were beating up a young man. I had tried to go back and intervene, knowing that the thugs probably represented some kind of problematic issue in my mind, and remembering the exercise of seeking out problems in your dreams in order to understand and overcome them. So, I decide that’s what I ought to do – try and find out something about my mind through the dream.
I announce to the dream environment in general, in a loud, clear voice, “Okay… any issues that have been hanging out in my subconscious, and want to come out in the open where I can deal with you, please present yourselves, preferably in a clear and sensible way, and I’ll do my best to understand.” As I’m saying this, I walk through the dining room and out through the back door.
When I get outside, I see a couple of huge piles of dirt in the back yard. I laugh, and say, “OK, I guess this is fair… I do have problems with piling things up.” [note: for all my Virgo perfectionism in some aspects of my life, I’m an organizational nightmare. Many things get lost in piles of crap, and I have issues with things seeming to become immovable “heaps” – where I can’t raise the emotional energy to tackle a task, because it has glommed together with other tasks until they seem insurmountable.]
I walk over to the piles, which are as clean and crisp as if they have been poured from a dump truck. The pile in the front is blond sand, and behind it is a pile of dark topsoil, which is partly covered in grass. I climb up the sand pile, and from the top I can see that there is a shape like a keyboard on the edge of the taller topsoil pile. I laugh, and admit that this is probably fair as well – I definitely spend too much time on the computer, which can sometimes lead to things getting put off and not dealt with (and thus, piled up). There is also a deep, straight-sided hole between the two piles, and I look down into it, then jump nimbly over to the top of the taller pile.
I decide that the best way to deal with this, will be a shovel. I pick one up, and begin to shift soil from the top of the pile, throwing it down to the adjacent yard. I have experienced similar dirt-leveling in real life, where the objective was to turn the pile of soil into an overall even layer. I keep digging it down, bit by bit. I think to myself, I might benefit from a bigger tool, like a backhoe, but I realized that this would not be as realistic; I need to handle the dirt one shovel-full at a time. The dirt is heavy, but also soft, like potting soil. It has roots sticking out of it, like there were trees in it before it was dug up.
As I’m digging, some of the dirt shifts, and I can see a black shape underneath. I move some more of the dirt, and I can see that it’s a black wrinkled shiny surface, like vinyl or varnished leather. It looks large. There is a little shape in the center, like an opening. Looking at it, my mind picks out the pattern, and I realize that I’m looking at the side of the head of a black elephant. Its skin is shiny but wrinkled, and hard like old leather. It startles me, and I wake up, wondering what it represents.
[note: my black cat Buio, whom I’ve had since 1992, died last Wednesday, and we buried him in the back yard. The soil is similar to the dream, including the texture and the tree roots. I don’t know if this explains the image of the elephant, or if it represents something else.]
On Lucid Dreaming
I have always had an interesting dream life. I remember learning about lucid dreaming as a child. As I made progress here I made some reasonable progress against night terrors which dominated me until that time. One interesting thing about lucid dreaming that I learned then was that I learned it from people in the dreams.
As soon as I started studying the topic as an adult, I rapidly concluded that conscious cultivation of this practice was a bad idea. One notion I was especially uncomfortable with was the notion of “taking control” of the dream. I guess my approach to lucid dreaming is the same as my approach to lucid living. I try to be as aware as possible and get the most out of the experience.
In your last dream, earth or soil is a really potent symbol. It feels kind of alien to my own system and I am going to have to do a bit of research. The elephant is your classic shadow atavistic figure. The significance here will shift significantly depending on your own potential totemic relationships here. There is a definite cultural spin pertaining to southern asian cultures filling much of the same roles as the horse does in our own.