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

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Anaïs Nin and the Secret Self: From Blindness to the Mountaintop

Henry Miller

In the last few years one sees quite a few either writings about you or quotations from you about dreams and the dream life and I feel that they haven't really understood what you mean about this. I don't think you want people to be living in a dream state while conscious, do you?

Anaïs Nin



But you mean that dream has its uses, its effectiveness in life afterwards.


No, I meant something else, I meant that what we could arrive at a state where what we dream at night would be the blueprint for what we wish to fulfill, or to reach, and if we understand the dream then we know what the secret self is and then this secret self we can fulfill.

Anaïs Nin, whose literary renown is most prolifically exampled in her posthumously published diary writing, is also respected and admired for her role in encouraging and stimulating the work of Henry Miller. Her opening preface to the Tropic of Cancer, Miller's first book, is one of the most incisively written dedications to the literary spirit that I have ever read. Her quotations on dream, are poignant in their truth and magical in their realism, vibrant in their imagination and open in their accessibility. 

Similarly as with Carl Jung, both Nin and Miller drew liberally from interpretations between Western psychoanalysis and the traditional religious learning, thought and practice of Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist cultures. As highly creative minds, who lived richly balanced in heart and mind, stood for a conscientious human being, who through developing thorough self-awareness comes naturally to be a part of compassionate change in the creative universe. 

“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living,” said Nin, in a comment that affirms the dream psychology of Jung, who considered the dream life, or the life of the imagination, of the mind and of creativity as more real, meaning a more direct form, or manifestation, of experience, than the life lived through the senses. Thus, Nin determines, “Dreams are necessary to life.” 

Indeed, Nin would press ever on into conceiving the dream life as integral to meaning, to holism and self-truth. She asserts, “Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together.” Further, one might add that when woven together, the dreamer, as artist-visionary-thinker-writer, becomes the seer, as in the mystic of unmediated experience, of eternal unity in the present, of enlightenment in non-being. 

Eventually, dreams are life, as life is certainly made of dream, and that we are the substance of dream, as the subtle nature of perception, meaning, truth and self-knowing. In reaching the transformation of necessity to becoming, in the paradigm shift of dream action fulfilled in daily living, is for Nin, a miraculous occurrence, likened to the rare and precious goal of enlightenment. She reminds, “The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.”
Night in the forest, like soot and anger, under a flattening sky. I fell from Paradise into History in the moment of a sting, the lunging insect-antennae, electric, lunged into my paranoid flesh. Hooked under the stark and opaque canopy, obscuring starlight into the bitter and directionless flood of need, anxiety and hope. I sprang from the petrified mud to the swaying vegetable maw of a blind quake, a wild charge.

Georges Lacombe, La forêt au sol rouge
Extinction moved in the sad, ghastly wave of moonlight over frostbitten leaves. Bone-white spears upended my eyes, as I dodged a full-grown bull. Adrenaline-shocked, I sped, scanning the immobile trunks, weighing the Earth down with inhuman strength. And the soil broke in a jarring flash of bestial rage, as another bull, of sturdy, muscular build, spun me around, my heart waning of life.

Bull's head, painting by Johann Heinrich Baumann
I tore through the endless nothing. Then, one bull split my body from the waist up the gut. Marching on my hands, stomping and cracking bone with its merciless strength, adrenaline rushed and spilled out into the open air as I climbed back to my feet, nearly wasted by the crushing jeer. Countless bulls encircled, as I fled, bleeding, the pain yet to reach my brain, grabbing for low-hanging anything, my stomach burning, my feet turning to knee-splitting daggers and brain-flushing mush.

Animals in a Landscape (aka Painting with Bulls) by Franz Marc
Pit against an escalating fever and white with near-mortalizing blood loss, I fainted under the powerless impression of my death, only steps from the forest edge, still besieged under the sightless underground forest of the human Earth. A single house stood at the edge of a rock face, and I was carried to its door. From a window fogged with subzero condensation, I could make out the moonlit peak, and with every second that my mind ascended, my body shrank with fear, and I gasped for each breath as my last.

Mountain Peak with Drifting Clouds by Caspar David Friedrich
Staring at the summit, and then was enshrouded by cloud-cover, my eyes closed, I stole beyond the body, and time, beyond death and need, beyond blood and truth, beyond the waves of human flesh that rode on this belligerent tidal sway of hope and tragedy, to summit the Everest flight of dream, and survive through this tyrannical flood of mortal reality.

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