Primarily a writing exercise, this dream journal-inspired blog is a quiet introspective sojourn into the process that we traverse in going from private dream to public art. I see our dreaming as an internalized mythmaking. As I philosophize and expressively exhibit dreams, both private and public, I encourage and delight in creative language as a way to practice experiential metaphors through a “public dreaming." Writing Theory: Creative Dream Fiction

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Overcoming Fear through a Koan of Dream

Stairwell Lighting at Night by Adolf von Menzel
Buddhist Hermit

"if you see through this world and let go of it...this is wisdom
if you see through this world and but don't let it go...that's just "talking Zen"

here, for you:

[the hermit hands a handwritten koan to the filmmaker]

'ten thousand things
all in this breath
grasping hold of emptiness
there's really nothing to say'

'ten thousand things, all in this breath...' why are people so busy?
just for one breath
they say, 'busy busy, mine mine...
busy a whole lifetime for 'Me'

when this breath is cut let go of the whole universe...why not let go from the start?
'grasping hold of emptiness...' you want to talk about 'real'... show me one thing that is real...there's nothing real from the start

every day morning to night, gathering things...big and small,, name and recognition...gathering it up into your you're holding the golden key...busy your whole life for nothing...acting like a thief...why not put this energy to liberation?

put this mind to the Path"

from the film "Among White Clouds"

I’m in the middle of a desert wilderness outside of a concrete shack which seems to be fortified with wood in various parts. I am with my Dad’s family, specifically I can see my step-sister and my father. They seem very concerned with the time. My father asks us all to be aware of the time, yet he seems very confused and distracted. I ask why would we pay attention to the time, when we are here! I look over my shoulder, and the sun immediately dips down like a perfectly circular satchel of black tea into the boiling water of an endless Sahara horizon. Our surroundings turn to darkness, and suddenly I realize where I am. I can see the Sphynx, with its eyes aglow. Beside the Sphynx are other ruins, unseen in the light of day or at all in the modern ruins around the Great Pyramid. There are faces, of Pharaonic royalty and monuments indescribable. I don’t know how we got here, but I begin to become nervous as I see a local Egyptian, appearing to be a Bedouin trot down a nearby path on a camel. I asked them if they understood where we are and how this place seethes with forbidden territory. They don’t listen and wish to stay permanently, enamored and convinced this is the place they should be.

Together with my wife, we set off. On the road, we find ourselves boarding a mine cart and fleeing swiftly through a desert mountain landscape. As we near insurmountable cliffs, our cart somehow hovers blankly over the cliffs as if their steep inclines were lined with tracks. Upon a deserted hill, we come upon what appears as a Zen dojo or Buddhist shrine of some kind. I enter, leaving my wife behind to wait for me.

Inside the dojo shrine is a hermitage group in the presence of Allen Ginsberg. He is leading a hermitage in exercises of dreaming and fear; that is, how to overcome your fears through dreams. On the walls are psychedelic video art installations. There is an unspoken air of poetic thinking in the room, however subdued by a collective attitude of spiritual practice. When it is finally my chance to endeavor to see out the exercise before me, I am keen to try and overcome my fear through this dream. I am led, to enter myself in the other quarters of the dojo shrine. Its paper walls open at my approach, as I survey the empty quarters. A lightly carpeted staircase leads up to a dark upstairs room. I feel this will be my test. Inside the room, there is a table, upon which my fear resides. Adrenaline rushes. My scalp tingles uncontrollably. I look up, to see an alien figure, hairless and gray-skinned, shriveled and wrinkled, with inflated head. This figure seems relatively docile, however he holds a rope in his hand. Above his left shoulder, a smaller version of the same alien species lies hanged upon a noose. I look into this alien torture victim’s eyes and I see a piercing evil reverberating into every corner of my being with pure driving intensity from the only light in the room, emanating like diamonds from the pupils of the emaciated skull drooping with a deathly gaze, directly at me. I am overcome with fear and immediately exit, having failed at the exercise. I return to the room, the air is a polite majesty of compassion. I leave for my wife outside, who waits patiently.

What was Ginsberg trying to show me or trying to lead me towards; something old, withered with age or neglect, something so inhumane and non-human, yet so eerily resembling our human form, or something hidden deep within me, a part of myself that is all of those things and more, a thing I'm afraid only to confront?

Leaving nowhere

loopy adolescent
and boasting

a raucous
and numb
for nowhere

Tuesday, February 16 2010
Waiting for plane in ugly dim light of celebrity photograph restaurant in Calgary airport. 
Beer and soup.


  1. The film quote is about as shockingly true as it gets...

    but nothing compared to that dream. Black tea steeping sun, the sphinx eyes glowing, pyramids only seen at night, hanged aliens - that's quite a redolent tableaux. Reminds me of an account I recently read purportedly from an underground reptilian who was understandably upset that the planet her species essentially ruled (as its highest evolutionary embodiment) was forced underground by warring groups of extraterrestrials intent on turning apes into the most advanced species -- they built the pyramids etc. and genetically manipulated us and then disappeared (or not). This outsider perspective tells us that we are ignorant of our fears as well as our origins. In the parlance of your post, that means letting go of what has been gathered/acquired is letting go of the evil. Waking up is evolving - if only we could listen to our dreams, which tell us of the part of ourselves that is not real, that we must create to find what we lost.

    Ginsberg of course made quite extensive writings on his dreams - still the thought of him running an ashram in the Sahara is like "Naked Lunch II."

    By the way, I commented on your wonderful comment on my blog. It's always a two-way tightrope.

  2. As an addendum, here's a quote by Robert Graves that speaks more on this topic:

    "Poetry is not an art. It does not even begin as words. What happens is that there is a sudden meeting in the poet’s mind of certain incognizable, unrelated and unpersonified forces; of which meeting comes a new creature—the still formless poem. The poet feels this happening at the back of his mind as an expectance, a concentration which will persist until it is removed. First, he objectifies it by writing it in such a way that it has a general, not merely personal, context; then removes it as far as possible by putting it into circulation."