The past month or so, I’ve found myself thinking on freedom. I’ve had all sorts of thoughts on the topic, and after weeks of churning on the ideas, I ended up having the strangest dreams. I’ll tell you all about two of them, but there have been others which I don’t remember as well.
In the first dream, I was in a classroom with some old friends of mine from the basketball team in high school. We were sitting in a math class and we were at the far side of the room. None of us were paying attention and I remember telling them, “I already know this stuff. Why am I in here? This is such a waste.” The teacher was handing back exams, and I showed them that I got 100%. My friends laughed and eventually the bell rang and we were released.
The three of us got up out of our seats and headed out of the building into the parking lot. This is where things get strange. I turn around and notice a jock in a letter jacket and his girlfriend walking out the school doors, and then I turn back and notice my friends who were about to get into their car. That’s when this strange feeling comes over me like some invisible presence entered the dream and handed me some sort of key. I was given full control of the dream world and entered a fully immersive lucid experience. And you want to know the strangest thing? Most people will tell you how wonderful lucid dreams are, but it was the total opposite for me. I immediately was angry! Why?
Well, I grabbed that football player with my “mind” and drew him toward me, like those Star Wars Jedis do with the force. The strange thing is, the football player didn’t even get nervous or even change his facial expression. He remained in the same bodily position, staring off toward his girlfriend. As he came toward me under my mind’s influence, I remember thinking of him as a sort of computer rendering. I write a lot of 3D simulators, and at that point he was not unlike a complex static 3D model, not moving, no emotion, lifeless. I then put him back and found that everything had stopped. Everything stood absolutely still. If something else was to happen from that moment onward, I had to make it happen. I had to specify what was going to happen, think it out, and consciously use my little pea brain to direct the workings of everything, and I mean everything. If the wind was to blow, I had to tell it how hard, the direction, everything. Will the wind rustle the leaves, or will it just be a feeling on my cheek? Will it make any sound in my ears? Every movement, every sound, every spoken word, I had to direct it. Everybody was just mindless puppets and the world was lifeless, without any spark or even wonder.
I immediately exclaimed to that invisible presence, “I’m not qualified for a job like this!” Then I levitated myself a few feet off the pavement (I was in the parking lot) and went into a lotus position, just floating floated around this world that had suddenly stopped. I thought to myself, over and over, “I don’t like this. I don’t like this one bit.” I looked over to my friends who were just about to get in their car and exclaimed to that presence, “What are they? Puppets? They’re my friends! Move!” But they wouldn’t move, not on their own at least. Like I said, I was given complete control.
There was no love in that world. No friendship. No bonding. It was just a thing. A super complicated thing which was waiting on me to direct it, but I didn’t want that sort of control.
Disgusted, I ended up levitating my way to this sign in the parking lot and noticed some strange words in an unknown language. They were written in normal English letters (Latin script) though, sort of like how you can see Japanese words written in the Latin script (Romanji). I stared at the sign for quite a while. It was a wooden sign, with the words painted in blue, and there were green trees painted as well. It was very nice. After memorizing what the sign said, I yelled out, “I want out of here!” Then I woke up and found myself in my bed. That’s a recurrent theme among all these dreams I’ve been having. I’m given some sort of control but then get angry, disgusted, or disappointed, and then say, “I don’t want this…” and wake up and end up back in this world, the real world.
The whole dream had me puzzled, so I turned on my computer and wondered what the words on that sign meant. I expected it to be garbage, meaning nothing. Random letters strung together. I googled the text and after doing a little digging, I found a translation, which freaked me out. The words, which I had written down after waking up, not having any idea what they meant, translated to, “A playground for God’s friend.” They were Hebrew. They were real. And even stranger, I don’t know Hebrew. I’ve never studied Hebrew. I know nothing at all about Hebrew. I paced up and down the hallway, up and down, up and down. I’ve never been exposed to Hebrew. Why are Hebrew words showing up in my dreams? Maybe I had learned a little Hebrew at some point but just don’t remember it? I just kept exclaiming to myself, “This can’t be! I don’t know Hebrew, at all!” It was an experience which left a strong impression on me.
But as I mentioned, that wasn’t the only strange dream I had.
A few nights later I found myself in another dream world. I was a bit older than I am now, and I was in this beautiful wooden home, in a secluded forest. There was also someone living with me and it wasn’t a woman, to my surprise. It was a crippled old man who couldn’t move. I knew him and we were friends, but he was completely paralyzed and wasn’t even able to speak. He couldn’t move at all. So, I would sit there in this secluded home, talking to him. I then told him, “You know the problem with this place? Friends and family are what make a place home. It’s too lonely out here, just you and I.”
That’s when I quickly learned that my disabled friend had great powers. Tremendous powers! Without moving he just thought of “change” in his head and all of the sudden all of my family, and all of my friends throughout my entire life were packed into this woodland home. Everyone was laughing, eating snacks, and having a great time, but I still felt lonely.
I walked around this beautiful home, and though everyone was smiling, partying, and in utter delight, none of it felt right. It felt empty. It felt forced, if that makes any sense. I knew, deep down, in some way I couldn’t explain, that I wasn’t in the right place. I then told the disabled man, “This is the past. This is all old. This isn’t right.”
Nobody seemed to notice my disappointment, and they all went on their way. It was a party at my house, but it didn’t feel like “my” party. It felt like a bunch of other people just getting together in my house and I wasn’t integral to any of it. I then found my disabled friend off in the corner, all by himself. Expressionless, emotionless, lifeless. He sat there paralyzed, unable to move. I sat beside him and said, “This is no party.” He then “thought” again and we were again alone. Everyone but us disappeared and we were left alone in the log home.
Realizing this man’s powers, I thought, “You can make any life I ask you to… This is the home I’ve been dreaming of for years and you made it for me, didn’t you?” But he sat there, not moving at all. He couldn’t even control where he looked and he was locked into some stare at the corner of my room. Then I sat down in a chair beside him, frustrated. “But this isn’t right. This is no good. No good at all.” Words then sprang out of me, “My life right now, as I’m living it, is more interesting than this.” Then I woke up in my bedroom again.
That dream also had a profound impact on me. After all, who was the man in the wheelchair? It took me some time to realize it, but eventually I figured it out — it was God. Instead of letting the great powers of the universe write my life’s story, I instead wanted to, and I found myself woefully inadequate for the task. The great power of the universe was bound to following my wishes, and I had no idea what I even wanted to experience.
As I’ve often mentioned, I’ve grown up in a deeply religious home. Obviously you can see religious themes in my thought and even dreams. But you know, I used to think that faith was believing you could achieve something you set out to do. After thinking deeply about freedom and having dreams like this, I’m realizing that faith is a sort of blind commitment, an openness to the world, letting the old man (the world) fill in all the complicated details of your story, even if you don’t know what’s going to happen or fully understand what’s going on. If the world had a voice, it’s a willingness to listen and let it reveal itself to you. That’s how you let the old man out of the wheelchair. He (It?) can write a much better story than you ever could, but only if you let it loose.