contained spaces

POSTCARD#305: Bangkok: There’s a dream I had once and, as soon as I woke up, I wrote it down on a scrap of paper I found in my wallet. That paper was with me for years, and when I found it again, it was indistinct and the writing, a hard-to-read scribble. So I keyed it in before it was reduced to a fragment of paper and disappeared. Then a few years after that, I found the document and created a post with it, titled: before after’, published on April 12, 2016. There were a few comments including one from Michael who suggested an alternate ending. So, nearly 2 years later, I decided to rewrite the dream and have Michael’s idea stitched in near the end. It goes like this:

I’m standing at a bus stop, waiting for a bus. The bus arrives, stops at the stop, and I get on. Instead of ordinary bus seats, there’s furniture, sofas, armchairs, a small coffee table, TV, curtains on the windows, and it’s laid out like a room interior. I find a place and sit down. Other passengers on the bus are sitting in unmatched furniture, everybody looking around for the person who comes to get orders for snacks and drinks. Nobody comes, there’s a long interval of nothing happening at all and after a while I start to think maybe it’s because the bus hasn’t left the stop yet.

At the same moment I remember I left my shoes outside the door at the bus stop. This is because in all houses in Asia you have to leave your shoes outside when you enter. In the dream, there’s something I’m not sure about here, how to resolve the issue of leaving the shoes and never seeing them again? Okay, so I can just leave the shoes there and when I get off at the next bus stop, I’ll take someone else’s shoes (it happens in Buddhist monasteries).

Yes, but this still doesn’t feel like a satisfactory resolution, and I’m walking towards the door of the bus to bring my shoes in, even though I know they can’t be there because the bus has left the stop. There’s the feeling of motion, chairs and sofas all-sliding around slightly in the movement, and the sound of the bus as it is going along.

But when I look out the back door, there are my shoes lying on the pavement where I left them, and the bus hasn’t moved an inch! How could it be that the inside and the outside of the bus seem to have their own rules of logic? It’s like, I get on the bus, the door closes, and the inside of the bus is moving along – I can tell because there’s the feeling we are moving, the furniture is sliding around. But when I look outside, we are still in the same place.

Is it because stepping into a world contained inside the dream, means you are an observer in another dream – a whole other situation, with its own characteristics and its own context… a dream inside a dream? Shortly after that I wake up, and there’s the enigma of it, there’s the world as I perceive it, but outside of that, there’s another completely different world, just going along as things do? The example of the chicken hatching out of the egg, pecking it’s way out of the world of the egg and into another contained space, another world…

Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story instead of the actor in it. [Ram Dass]


15 thoughts on “contained spaces

    • Right, incredibly fascinating – maybe because language symbols are obscured but in a comprehensive way, not completely meaningless. But I’ve chosen to not study dreams, so I’m unbiased and open to the images that arise without related knowledge.

  1. I’m part way through a book about lucid dreaming, which of course sprang to mind while reading your post. If we dream/create/project our surroundings then it seems to me perfectly possible for us to dream/create/project things that are “illogical”. Everything/anything (Everythink/anythink) we imagine/dream of is possible.

    • It seems to me perfectly possible too. That ability to ‘be’ in any particular context, depending on the natural ability to not fall into a deep abyss on the way. The finer points of lucid dreaming I’ve not researched, not particularly motivated perhaps because meditation is a different kind of skill, and the two don’t go well together for me. I wonder if it’s this that Mahayana meditators experience on the way to Samadhi?

      • I have pondered that same think. OTOH I seem to have found a way of accommodating my self to both.

        And I also wonder who creates the deep abyss.

        Then I stumble across a deep Abbess … but let’s not go there. 😀

      • I’ve been thinking about your comment: ‘who creates the deep abyss’ and thanks, I just didn’t see that it is me, the writer of these words who creates the deep abyss. Laying traps for myself…

  2. Fascinating dream, T! Thank you for sharing it here with us. As a therapist I usually ask a few questions when a client relates a dream: What just happened? What happens next? Was it past, present or future? What was your emotion during the dream? What was your emotion when you awoke and recalled the dream? What was going during the day before you went to sleep and had the dream? Just a little psychotherapeutic food for thought…🌞🙏🕊

    • Thanks Sunny, yes you could say it was quite incredible. Cannot remember how long ago it was, maybe more than three decades – it was as long ago as that because it’s when I first came to India. Learning to remove shoes at the doorstep before entering the house or room, and many other aspects of altered behaviour in the effort to fit in with Asian society. Interesting to consider your psychotherapeutic questions, it was so long ago of course, the dream becomes more like a description of an event, which is what it could be I suppose. I don’t remember the context of it, it was so near to wakeful life, everything quite ordinary except for a few extraordinary things that it feels like it could be the ‘me’ at that time, getting used to living in a different culture.

      • Hi T, I just read your lovely reply. Thank you for your elaborations. Btw, we will need some kind of assisted living or memory care in the future as my husband as dementia now, and I read about an excellent (and cheaper) place in Chiang Mai that English speaking expats go to. Doubt we would do that, but I thought, I have a friend there!

  3. You are obviously still wondering about this dream, dreams for me are always to help me understand my life and for me your dream would confirm the fact that we are creating every experience on life’s stage, time and space moves through us! We actually never move, only believe we do to have the experience. Wow I know… much love to you x barbara x

  4. Very interesting, Tiramit. I’d forgotten this until you reminded me. I still love the image of getting onto a bus that is going nowhere, feeling it rattle and shake, and then getting back off as if nothing had ever happened. Ha! It feels like this happens to me all the time… I am sucked into a perception. There is some shake, rattle and roll. Then I emerge and the birds are singing and the trees are bobbing softly in the breeze and it’s quite apparent that nothing much at all has happened… Our fixed identities are our “buses” in this dream of life I suppose.

    Nice to return here!

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