My eyes are closed. I lie there, vacillating between sleeping and waking as the tension slowly seeps out through the extremities of my body. The proliferating languor is disarming; I know I should haul myself out of bed otherwise I’ll just end up zonking out. Calling up my last reserves of strength I lift my head off the pillow and examine my immediate surrounds, searching for visual cues that I’ve penetrated the frontiers of the dream world. After scanning the room multiple times, I realize that my digital clock has jammed on 3.00am.
I must be dreaming, I tell myself.
Quickly, I browse the catalogue of things-to-do once I’ve experienced conscious awakening in the dream state. There’s a tonne of experiments to be conducted, festivities to be organized, and goals to be achieved. Which should I pursue first? Should I trace an arc across the heavens on my way to visiting Disneyworld in California, seep up the sun’s rays as an evergreen tree, plummet over a precipitous ridge as a cascade of water, or call forth the gods and goddesses to ask about the meaning of life? The possibilities are undoubtedly endless. All the while I try to maintain dream consciousness by silently reiterating the positive affirmation, “The key to mastering the dream world is concentrated imagination. The key to mastering the dream world is concentrated imagination…”
What could I possibly imagine? Instantaneously, I realize that my unconscious will has already decided for me. Splayed out on the bed, I picture the semi-translucent form of my white subtle body disengaging from my corporeal shell. It begins to ascend like tufts of hot vapour escaping from a corked flask; like a layer of delicate sunflower oil bubbling up from beneath a mass of freshwater; and like an army of colourful helium balloons being released into the atmosphere all at once. There is a perplexing sensation connected with the whole phenomenon, as if my ego-self is splitting into two separate conscious entities. One remains inside the head of the vacated body whilst the other floats off in unison with the disconnected soul energy. The ascension of the latter is mind-blowing and titillating; who in this universe wouldn’t be taken by an outright transcendence of physical law? My field of vision is orientated skyward so I can’t see the form of my own sleeping body. Just like numerous other astral travellers the temptation to look supersedes the anxiety of what abysmal unconscious characteristic might there be witnessed or perceived, and I find myself pivoting even before the idea has fully concretized in my mind’s eye.
I’m somewhat relieved to see my body sprawled out on the queen-sized bed in exactly the same position that I fell asleep in. The slight mound of my ribcage rises and falls like a tire being inflated and deflated by an electric air pump, indicating that I’m sound asleep. I levitate in that position for a few seconds, catching sight of my reflection in the full-length mirror of my wardrobe. Then I avert my eyes and refocus them on the reflective space parallel to my privileged position near the ceiling. The other I, my astral self, is a carbon-copy of my physical form matted with unblemished powdery white skin and decked in the vein-riddled and transparent double wings of a dragonfly. And just like the latter I reap the exclusive benefits of being able to hover about in any direction or remain suspended in a particular locus. For a while I just float about enjoying the realm of disembodiment and the immense degree of freedom it facilitates; I peruse the ceiling of my room, crawl on it, and experiencing an upside-downness that waking consciousness just doesn’t allow for.
Imagine that… I stop myself from coagulating any mental images before they bubble up from the primordial unconscious, for a mere thought can cause the nature of that thought to come into being. Rummaging through my psychic storage unit, I come across the extensive list of experiments, deeds, and goals I want to descry in the lucid state. Conscious memories rendered inaccessible through the change in psychic channels are slowly beginning to de-fossilize.
I know what I’ll do, I tell myself. I’ll visit Solim, the entity who visits me at times when I am being held captive by the metal shackles of my own subconscious.
I allow myself to rise, higher and higher, until I reach the uppermost echelons of the stratosphere where ice crystals are plentiful. As I ascend, I bring to mind the physiognomy of Solim together with the syllables that comprise her name. “Solim, Solim, Solim!” I call out internally.
The change of scenery is spontaneous. I am now amidst a series of jagged snow-capped peaks randomly arranged around an orbicular plateau. Sprinkled along the slopes and ridges are towering oaks, cypresses, pines, and palms. Judging by the sheer size of their trunks and fronds, I’d estimate that they’re at least five thousand years old. Suspended from some of the tree branches are clumps of plump, bulbous fruits of every shape and colour. The colours are more salient and intense that anything that might exist in the phenomenal world. Some have a synesthetic quality to them; a taste comes to mind just by glancing at their fruit. Red is strawberry, green is lime or mint, blue is blueberry, yellow is banana, white is vanilla, brown is chocolate, orange is jaffa, and black is liquorice and molasses. “Taste me!” they all shriek.
Things are definitely connected, I assure myself; they’re connected, beautiful, and odd.
The quiescence is somewhat disconcerting. One would think that the landscape is nothing more than a three-dimensional painting able to beguile the dreamy and overtly imaginative into believing that it’s fundamentally natural and animate. But then, out of the clear blue sky, a giant butterfly flutters from in amongst the crowning branches of a nearby cypress, breaking the illusory sense of inertia. Beating its double wings heartily, it hovers like a dragonfly beside the tree for a while before sweeping down and landing on a rocky outcrop no more than a few feet beside me. As soon as it makes contact with the ground, it morphs into a feminine entity I recognize quite well.
“That was quick,” I say.
“I heard the vibrations.”
“Like a spider, hey?”
“Yes, what you see is a web and everything is connected. I know when somebody has come.”
“I brought you to mind. I thought I’d visit you on your turf and return the favour.”
“How thoughtful of you,” she says. “Why have you come?”
“I have a question for you.”
“You must hurry up.”
“The One doesn’t allow this,” she says.
“Who’s the One?”
“You wouldn’t understand if I told you.”
“There’s no time for it. What do you want to know?”
“Is there something behind evolution?” I ask. “You know, like a reason for it? Or is it all just an experiment based on chance?”
She laughs. “Is that it?”
“Tell me this,” I plead. “I want to know!”
“The forms we see in evolution were all mental images first,” she said. “Think of a woman in the first trimester of her pregnancy. Sometimes she’ll see certain things–for instance, a war veteran with amputated hands and feet or Siamese twins–and the unconscious fear that ensues as a result will cause her child to be born with exactly the same defect.”
“I don’t get it. What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Think maternal impressions.”
“A mother’s thoughts can affect the physical form of her unborn baby.”
‘Exactly,” says Solim.
‘So what you’re telling me is that there’s some disembodied mind behind experimenting with the mechanics of the universe, right? There’s a mind impressing endless forms onto matter. It’s kind of like an aerospace engineer who bides his time pioneering and making modifications to aircraft in hope of realizing the perfect model. Am I right?”
“I can tell you no more,” she says, biting her lower lip. “You have to leave. They’re looking for you.”
“Just go back before it’s too late!”
Peering down from Solim’s floating heaven in the sky, I catch sight of an enormous hand with veiny knuckles shining a torch through a globe which I intuitively recognize to be planet Earth. The network of imagined longitudinal and latitudinal lines that crisscross its surface are clearly manifest now. Each time the torch is positioned over a coordinate and turned on, it illuminates the entire surface area of the quadrilateral block containing that specific location.
Call it instinct, but I know “they” are looking for me. Terrified of what consequences might lie in stall for me if I am caught transgressing all bounds of natural law, I let myself plummet back through the tiers of the blue sky to my room, back into the safety of my own corporeal vessel. Once I am certain that all systems, kinaesthetic motion, and physical senses are in fine pecking order, I will myself back to the consensual realm of waking consciousness.