(Another 15 minute flash-fiction from my writing group. We got a sheet of prompts inspired by Mary Oliver; I put the ones I used in bold.)
I had a lucid dream last night—I’d been trying for a while. Mid-dream, I walked outside and saw the ground curve up vertically and then curve over me as if I were in a hollow cylinder, a la Rendezvous with Rama. I knew then that I was dreaming.
On the rare occasions I dream lucidly, I’m impressed with the fidelity of my surroundings. Awake I can’t imagine a tree so lifelike and present as while I’m asleep, when every leaf on the mountain is aflutter.
Everyone around was made for me, but acts nonchalant as if they don’t want to clue me in. It just so happens that wherever I am, the world comes after me. It offers me its business.
When I realized I was dreaming, I saw the people walking with me as skilled actors. I saw them through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly. Oh lord, how shining and festive is your gift, the mind, if we only look and see it.
I am always trying to figure out what the soul is, and where hidden, and what shape. I decided to tell a dream-character—-my mother—that they didn’t exist because they were an actor in my dream, like a hand-puppet I controlled with one of my own hands which was itself asleep and numb.
Her eyes flared like matches. “You lie!” she shouted, and I woke up. Maybe I was close to discovering something.
I drank water and returned to sleep, and regained lucidity immediately. I ran to some dream-characters and said, “You don’t exist.”
They laughed. “Sure, sure.”
I took an online course about Buddhism where I learned of no-self, the idea that there is no self. When I told my mom she doesn’t exist, does that mean I also don’t exist? In dreams, the vessel of my ego is only one tendril of myself. My self includes the mountain of fluttery leaves and all the characters around me. My mothers shouts “You lie” because disowning the self is fighting every impulse of my literal being. But the other characters, who said “sure, sure,” are a more subtle distraction from no-self. “Maybe the self doesn’t exist, so what? Tomorrow you’ll need groceries. You body has desires from which a layman’s grasp of the nature of the mind cannot free you.”
Suddenly, as I drift awake, I live in the open-mindedness of not knowing enough about everything. My dream only shows me that I am not a human experiencing the universe, I am the universe experiencing a human, a human who sometimes has the opportunity to shed his sense of self by getting a glimpse behind the curtain. All that must be done, is done.
(I enjoy trying to use as many prompts as possible, but I think my own ideas shine through clearly. See you next time!)