Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/30/2017

Dreams and Loving-kindness

Last night I had a kind of a nightmare that actually caused me to ruse from the unconscious depths and into wakefulness for a few minutes. The particular part of the drab that caused this took place in a mudroom basement that took on the aspect of my childhood home’s basement, especially as it used to appear in dreams. I recall standing (although there was no body in my view) in the middle of a large, dark room whose walls were made of black earth and large stones. The smell of humus and damp permeated everything and the space stretched out into a blackness beyond which I could see nothing. At this point I heard a disembodied voice whisper “Mike” and I was instantly filled with dread.

I realized that there was no good expansion for this and I felt my body begin to tingle all over as the cold fear paralyzed me. Somewhere within I realized that the only way to combat this would be to raise metta which is exactly what I began to do. I believe I visualized a ring of light spreading outward from my heart and also recall just the word “metta” flowing out into the darkness. Somewhere here I began to awaken to my body and felt the same fear as I had in my dream. Here, too, I began to radiate metta but this time it wasn’t accompanied by the appearance of am expanding halo of light (naturally).

As I woke I worked a little more with the fear and contemplated the suffering of an incoporeal being who might try to reach out from the darkness. What would that be like? Imagining this I was able to access real metta and karuna.

As I think about it, I’m not sure that it all took place in dream, especially since I woke so easily and my actual, physical body felt like pins and needles as I did. I know that spirits often come to us in dreams so this may have been a case of that. Regardless, I’m glad my first instinct was to go to metta rather than anger or abject terror.

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