Your place or mine?

February 16, 2005

I’ve been thinking… Our sense of choice, the sense that we have the power to make choices seems to be the least remembered aspect of our participation in this life. But our choices are what make up our lives, our Life. Why do we forget this, I wonder. I know for me, I get exhausted remembering I have that much responsibility, and then when I’m that tired, I have a hard time making a decision about Sea Captain’s Choice or Lamb Gibblets. Really, the cats should be with me during such trips.

There are things that do seem to be predetermined, and, putting aside the belief that we choose this life previous to our birth, we still have choices to make ever since that moment of entry. We make choices about how to handle rude kids on the playground, we choose to tell the truth or not in a tense situation, we choose to pay attention, or not. But many of us don’t experience these moments as choice, but as pressures into one direction or another. Do we not have enough time to wipe our brow and listen to our hearts…? Well, maybe or maybe not. Somehow we forget that we always have the faculty to decide. I’m guessing once we fall asleep to that, it is difficult to arouse that wakefulness in times of stress or fatigue.

The world these days feels beleaguered. Thinking of our personal responsibility may seem perhaps a luxury we can’t afford while we shore up our defenses against everything. As a collective, we are sleepily imbibing in a toxic gas of fear and aggression. We continue in this dream as though our actions make no difference, as though our choices have no consequences.

Oh – the hangover when the waking happens! In our dreams, we are the hero and the villain and the confused bystander. Only in lucid dreams do we realize we have choice, and what a joy it is to discover the dream state in such a way. But the same applies to the waking world, to this life. What if we woke up inside this dream, realized we are dreaming and started to live this dream differently, with power of choice and determination? Suddenly, we would see that the monsters we were running from are only apparitions of our conflicted personae. Literally, the veils would fall to the side revealing a truth we do not normally imagine, but if we are lucky, we sometimes glimpse. If we woke up, as though we were dreaming, anxious struggles would fall away as we checked out every detail of this world. We’d again feel free to decide, to make choices about this world we created. We’d see it for the beautiful landscape it is and look to clean up our dream-state misunderstandings.

For those of us who have never had a lucid dream, I apologize for the lengthy comparison. Have one, soon. Simply tell yourself to wake up inside your dream the next time you’re there. It may take some practice, so don’t be surprised if you actually wake up immediately after realizing you’re dreaming. You’ll get better at it. Give yourself a chance.

Once you get the hang of it during your dreams, then try it out in this life. Set your intention at the beginning of your day to wake up the next time you find yourself asleep in your life. Just like in lucid dreams, telling yourself to wake up may not be enough at first. Keep at it. You’ll get better.

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