APRIL 1956 to NOVEMBER 2015
"... Tonight, in your dreams, you must look at your hands."
Not much more was said about this in the awareness of our daily world. In my recollection of my experiences in the second attention, however, I found out that we had a more extensive exchange. For instance, I expressed my feelings about the absurdity of the task, and don Juan suggested that I should face it in terms of a quest that was entertaining, instead of solemn and morbid.
"Get as heavy as you want when we talk about dreaming," he said. "Explanations always call for deep thought. But when you actually dream, be as light as a feather. Dreaming has to be performed with integrity and seriousness, but in the midst of laughter and with the confidence of someone who doesn't have a worry in the world. Only under these conditions can our dreams actually be turned into dreaming."
Don Juan assured me that he had selected my hands arbitrarily as something to look for in my dreams and that looking for anything else was just as valid. The goal of the exercise was not finding a specific thing but engaging my dreaming attention. Don Juan described the dreaming attention as the control one acquires over one's dreams upon fixating the assemblage point on any new position to which it has been displaced during dreams.
In more general terms, he called the dreaming attention an incomprehensible facet of awareness that exists by itself, waiting for a moment when we would entice it, a moment when we would give it purpose; it is a veiled faculty that every one of us has in reserve but never has the opportunity to use in everyday life.
My first attempts at looking for my hands in my dreams were a fiasco. After months of unsuccessful efforts, I gave up and complained to don Juan again about the absurdity of such a task.
"There are seven gates," he said as a way of answering, "and dreamers have to open all seven of them, one at the time. You're up against the first gate that must be opened if you are to dream."
"Why didn't you tell me this before?"
"It would've been useless to tell you about the gates of dreaming before you smacked your head against the first one. Now you know that it is an obstacle and that you have to overcome it."
Don Juan explained that there are entrances and exits in the energy flow of the universe and that, in the specific case of dreaming, there are seven entrances, experienced as obstacles, which sorcerers call the seven gates of dreaming.
"The first gate is a threshold we must cross by becoming aware of a particular sensation before deep sleep," he said. "A sensation which is like a pleasant heaviness that doesn't let us open our eyes. We reach that gate the instant we become aware that we're falling asleep, suspended in darkness and heaviness."
"How do I become aware that I am falling asleep? Are there any steps to follow?"
"No. There are no steps to follow. One just intends to become aware of falling asleep."
--Carlos Castaneda, The Art of Dreaming
September 29, 2017
It's been almost two years since I began this phase of my practice, after waiting many years to make it my retirement hobby. Thanks in large part to writing down everything that's happened to me in non-physical states of awareness, I've logged over two dozen lucid unworldings, which come at the end of each of these chapters and are separately repeated by themselves in the Milestones journal. Two dozen lucid episodes including no more than three or four that could be termed 'out-of-body experiences' might not seem like much, but this doesn't come easy to me. To the extent that I wish to be fully conversant with the Unworld, it does not come natural to me.
The main purpose of this excerpted version of my dream journal is to leave out some of the verbiage in my dream journal while including enough that it will still be useful to me. Near the end of each journal chapter (either this full journal or the much shorter Milestones version), you will find unworlding experiences which can be classified as OBEs and/or lucid dreams.
Since I was still using old worn-out terminology like 'OBE,' new terminology like 'unworlding' is not used in early parts of the dream journal. At the bottom of this page I will list some abbreviations and other quirks commonly used in my dream journal. The balance of this chapter will be used to recall dreams of the past, what little there is to recall, and to sandwich those few remembered dreams in amongst a framework of episodes from what was apparently my real life, though I don't believe all of it myself. Unfortunately I have not saved dream journals from the distant past, and like most people, I ignored my dreams most of my life as I was busy trying to prove something about myself as a physical entity and an individual. Now that I'm over 60 years old, I'm mainly interested in learning to navigate the Unworld before going there to live full time. So I'd better git hoppin' cuz I still have to find the trail that leads there reliably!
I hope to recall many dreams from my past life as me, but for now this is all there is.
[Not a dream?] On the first anniversary of the death of Albert Einstein and the 50th anniversary of the great earthquake that destroyed the city of San Francisco, I am born. Or so I have been told. I don't remember this happening, so I have my doubts, but this is what I am told.
about 1958 or 1959
I sneak out into the living room when I'm supposed to be asleep and my Mama has turned into a monster and she's killing my Daddy and eating him. [Scariest dream I ever had. I rarely have had nightmares since I tend to enjoy even the scary dreams and sometimes will watch them like a movie instead of participating directly.]
[I had insomnia throughout my early childhood and I don't recall a time when I didn't have insomnia until I was 16. My earliest memory of not being able to sleep involved lying in bed crying in hopes that someone would hear me crying and come. No one ever came, so I guess I gave up crying myself to sleep, and more or less stopped sleeping. My mama was a hobby person and couldn't wait to get us kids into bed so she could have some time to herself. So I was sent to bed on a strict schedule well into my teens and seldom had the pleasure of going to bed due to being sleepy.]
I'm ecstatic, my joy is boundless. I never want this to end. The largest room you could ever imagine has been filled many feet deep with soft pillows as big as elephants, and I'm able to swing down from a high ladder at one end of this unbelievably tall room and let go, and fly through the air and land on the big soft pillows, bouncing many times before coming to a stop, and then running up the ladder to do it again. This is a place where anything goes and I can never be hurt. Nothing here makes me afraid. [Waking up from this was a horrible experience that I still sometimes regret.]
The whole house is shaking. It is bright daylight, there is no furniture, just an empty wooden house and it's shaking like crazy, back and forth and up and down, shaking. This is scary, so I try to crawl up the stairs but they're moving back and forth. I don't think I can do this.
I'm in the front yard and I can fly, just like Peter Pan! I am so excited, I hover above the grass and fly to my mother and she catches me, and then I fly back across the grass to my sister and she catches me. I am so happy, I always knew I could fly. [Waking up from this was... just guess.]
[The insomnia has steadily gotten worse over the years. I lay in bed for literally hours every night in extreme agony. It starts with worries of the day, what so-and-so thinks of me, the way my siblings treat me, etc. I become very familiar with the practice of falling to sleep with extreme gradualness. At some point, here come the spiders. You can't see them, but you can feel them walking on you. If you get out of bed and turn on the light and look through all the sheets and blankets, there are no spiders, not even one. So you get back in bed and as soon as you start getting sleepy, spiders again.]
[Finally I learned that if I lie perfectly still and wait for the voices, I will soon be asleep. I learned to tune my hearing in just such a way that the voices became audible, and then it's almost over. I just wait, and pretty soon the babble of a crowd can be heard clearly. Now I am almost asleep.]
[Not a dream:] That girl Pamela Hearty is driving me crazy, when she sings I feel like I'm going to die, she is too perfect for this earth. And then she goes and joins the Jesus freaks, this is killing me, I wish I was dead. I don't think I've been getting more than three hours of sleep at night, and this night is the worst, I wouldn't be surprised if I were still lying here wide awake when morning comes. Hey, what's that light outside my window??? It must be 3 a.m., nobody should be in our back yard with a flashlight at 3 a.m., so it's either a burglar or... or... I'm having a vision! Jesus just gave me a vision! I love you Jesus! I am yours forever! Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your blah, blah, blah...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...........
[This odd experience, which was probably a case of sleep paralysis, cured me of insomnia permanently. Fortunately I was also cured of religion in less than two years.]
[Away from home for the first time, in love with an amazing girl named Nan who can talk with her hands since she's in college to be a deaf ed. teacher.] I'm at these amazing ruins, at night, a purple and green, shimmery, hallucinogenic night. We're all crowded together up on a high ledge of a balcony, a balcony with no railings. People in front of me crowd forward with glazed-over expressions like zombies, intent on walking off the ledge and falling to their doom. I can't believe this is happening... Oh no, there's Nan, and she's next! She's gonna step off the ledge just like all the others! I can see an invisible string coming out of her chest and an invisible hand is pulling on the string, and she's just about to step off... Oh no, there's my bro way over there and he's about to step off too! Which one am I gonna save, there's only time to save one... They both step off while I dither about what I should do. The old stone tower starts to shake, it's an earthquake! I have to get down off of here before the whole thing collapses. I turn and run through the door and down the stone staircase, with the tower shaking and swaying and heaving and the stairs moving around under my feet. I have to really concentrate or I'll fall down these stairs. Finally I'm outside, there's my bro on the ground, too late, he's dead. Nan, where's Nan? There she is. I kneel by her lifeless body and talk to her, "You're not dead, you're not dead!" "Yes I am," she replies. "No, you can't be, I won't let you!" We argue about it for awhile and she finally decides she's not dead.
[Not a dream:] Jeff is driving me around because I took two hits of acid and I don't know what's gonna happen. I never took acid before and I was super depressed when I took it because of some girl. Her brothers had sold me the acid as a sort of consolation prize since their little sister is in such demand that she has no time for a shy boy like me. It's nearly midnight, Jeff's probably tired of driving me around in his muscle car, he has muscular dystrophy and he needs his rest, and the acid still hasn't kicked in, I guess it was a dud too like everything else. Jeff's making a u-turn at the end of a dead-end road in front of a storage facility with metal buildings and I look at a street light. I imagine that it might have a faint blue glow around it. Hey Jeff, does that street light have a blue glow around it? Nah, just a regular light. He sounds tired. I think about that blue glow, and I chuckle. And then I laugh for three hours without stopping once. Jeff was like a god, my hero, he just drove and drove without complaining, and I laughed non-stop for three hours. I never wanted it to end. Finally he suggested that I might be able to control it, and he parked next to a city park where there were no lights. I got out quietly and wandered around, got lost on the tennis court, looked at huge letters and words streaming across the sky in greens and purples and every kind of amazing, incredible thing, I never wanted this to end. I found myself under a tree and looked up at it, and the tree said to me--I could hear these words in my mind--"We are not here to punish you." Jeff took me home about dawn after we stopped by his house and had a fight with his mother. [Jeff was my childhood best friend and we became roommates not long after this. We had a falling out, my fault, and he went back to architecture school. From there I hit the road and he went on to become a successful Hollywood art director and set designer in New York City. He hasn't spoken to me in 42 years but that night he was my god, my hero. If I had a better friend, I wouldn't know what to do with any such a thing. He wasn't into drugs, so how did he know exactly what to do? He was the perfect friend, I didn't deserve a friend like him.
[Not a dream:] I'm living at a commune with Breeze and 60 other people. I'm obsessed with wanting to have an OBE, but Breeze and Sisene think I should get into my body and not out of it. I've recently read the Findhorn book and all of Lobsang Rampa's books. One day I get real determined, I'm tired of screwing around, pretending to float up to the ceiling. I know how to lose consciousness quick, for chrissake, we did it after school once in Greg Mick's basement, it's called hyperventilating, anyone can do it in seconds. No one's around for a change, so I get some incense and sit out on the flat roof outside of our room and do hard breathing exercises until I get dizzy and start having little lapses and tiny visions. Then with my eyes closed and wide awake, I'm amazed to see my first true hypnagogic vision. An ancient book of secrets opens up and I can read the words in it, line by line, word by word. They are real words in English, I understand it all. It is good stuff, stuff I'd always wanted to know about, but the problem is, as a new line appears, the line before it is forgotten. All except for three words: "Freedom, oh freedom... ilavaët..."
My ex-girlfriend Sisene and I are in a long, low building at night when there is an earthquake and we try to escape it by sitting on the windowsills, but I know we are gonna die. [I'd taken a job to impress Sisene but she was 1000 miles away, so when spring came I headed back her way and stopped at Consciousness Village, a hot springs and breathing commune, to visit my old friend Breeze. While I was there I got a letter from Sisene to let me know I shouldn't bother to come unless I wanted to meet her new boy friend. Then the owner of the hot springs said that anyone who wanted to live there had to do a two-hour breathing session every single day or else move out. So just to show him, I decided to do his special connected breathing trick 24/7 and ended up going into a solid month-long bliss session which to this day I have not been able to reproduce. I guess because I'm not living at a beautiful hot springs resort in the mountains at age 24 in good health with all my damn teeth and nothing on my mind and no one around to question why I breathe like that all the time. I was able to lie down and go to sleep instantly--in literally seconds--any time of the day or night. I gave up all my routines and addictions and hardly needed to eat, and stopped worrying about money and stopped having strife with other people. It only lasted a month before I moved on, but during this time, one afternoon I walked to town where I was allowed to sleep in a room in an otherwise empty historical hotel from the 1800s. I went into my little wooden room and went to sleep, and then] I'm squatting next to my bed looking through my little backpack, which is leaning up against the bed. I find a twenty dollar bill and I think, that's odd, I don't have any money. For some reason I look up and there a few inches away from my face is me, lying in my bed. I freak out and dive back into my body. [This was my last conscious OBE until 35 years later. During this month of bliss I also had the "Stumped-No-More" dream which is described in my Milestone Journal, chapter one.]
[Not a dream:] I talk Sunny into leaving the Hot Springs where she's been slumming for years, and moving in with Breeze and me at a communal household in Northern California. She's a fat slob with a great sense of humor but she has bouts of manic-depression and one day she will learn that she has multiple sclerosis, but that's still a long ways off. I just consider her a spoiled Jewish princess from Chicago and the fact that she now has a huge crush on me is my fault. I haul her out of a deep depression that is upsetting the whole house by telling her that I'm going to be her teacher and take her to the river where we will eat nuts and berries for a month. She agrees, she will pretty much do anything I want her to. After two days of me trying to be Carlos Castaneda at the river, she's already had one huge panic attack and we're running out of food and LSD. I go into a suicidal depression, steal the rest of the LSD from her backpack and take off down the river intending to find a nice cliff and jump off of it, to see whether I can reassemble a new world by the time I reach the bottom of the cliff like Castaneda did at the end of his novel Tales of Power. But it turns out that finding a cliff that's tall enough to jump off of isn't so easy. Ironically, I have to scale cliff after cliff just to keep going up river while staying out of the rapids, and I don't know how long I have to go before getting back to a road... I mean there was always this Plan B of not actually jumping off of any dang cliff, not really... But I do finally find that perfect cliff, and this is the moment of truth. I am aware that I'm actually committing suicide and not doing anything of a spiritual nature, which kinda gums up the works. I edge up to the cliff, careful not to slip off of it accidentally. I look down. Experience extreme fear, one of the most awesome moments of fear in my whole life. Cleaned me out, made me want to live again. I backed away from the cliff like nobody's business and kept going up the river, finally spotting the highway up ahead, but I had to cross the river and it was now dangerously fast and steep, the water was really moving. But I had to. So I tossed my shoes across, lost one of them, and tried to walk across.
By the time the water was two feet deep, it was nearly impossible to keep my footing. It took about twenty minutes to walk ten feet, and by then I knew I was gonna have to swim for it. I was scared for my life because I was from the mountains and I knew people die swimming in fast rivers all the time, if you hit your head on a rock it's all over. But I was gonna start getting foot cramps so it's do or die, right now. I jumped into the deep water and just tried to relax and work my way to the other side somehow, working with the currents instead of fighting them, and looking out for hidden boulders. In seconds I was across the water, scared as shit, and the proud owner of one shoe. It was surprisingly easy, after this shot of adrenalin, to walk the last mile without shoes. I passed some people and they wanted to know where the hell I'd come from and what I was doing in that water, and why I had no shoes. They said I could've just kept going a little ways and crossed the river on a nice little foot bridge. Well what the hell do I know. That night I started seeing a spiral, I could watch it as long as I wanted, and I still can. The acid I stole from Sunny wasn't worth a damn since I'd taken it two days in a row, but I did get that spiral vision out of it and it is one of those days I will never forget.
[Not a dream:] I'm supposedly a piano tuner and my dad's pretty annoyed that I prefer to wash dishes, but I finally decide to hell with what he thinks, I love washing dishes and I hate tuning pianos. So I'm working at a senior center at lunch and a big restaurant in the mall at dinner till about 1 a.m., and have to walk home after work with a hellacious case of sciatica that I developed the first time I took a real job. (That job had lasted four months and the sciatica lasted many years.) When I get home, since I've decided to get off this marijuana kick and do the dreams and OBE thing instead, I lie still with my knees up for an hour or more without moving, trying to visualize an X, doing heavy breathing exercises till I can see blue lights flashing on my closed eyelids. One night I finally manage to get it right, the X just sits there, nice and still, doesn't move around or fade. Then it turns into a shimmering jewel, takes on a life of its own, I just sit there and watch it morph and sparkle and shine for a minute or so. This was only about my third intense hypnagogic experience, and I didn't know how commonplace this sort of thing could be. A few nights later, I woke up and my whole bed was shaking, and I couldn't move. I realized I was having the heavy pre-OBE vibrations like in Robert Monroe's book. I decided to not be afraid, and just waited it out. I didn't try to get out of my body, I guess I was afraid to try. After that I hit the road and went back to smoking pot. Learning how to dream was too hard.
I'm having a visionary lucid dream in which I'm lying in a cot at the hot springs reading what is (in the dream) Carlos Castaneda's newest book. It has a red and orange and yellow cover and it's called Meetings of Possible Ways. I set the book down for a second and look at the light coming in from the hallway through the slats of the blinds that partially cover the window between me and the hallway. By moving my eyelashes around squinting at the light, I am able to break the light up into all kinds of intricate prismatic patterns. [When Castaneda's next book came out a few months later, it did in fact have a red, orange and yellow cover.]
Albert Einstein takes me down to the ninth level of a cavern and shows me a long, detailed movie of the future history of the world including how it all falls apart and ends very badly.
[Not a dream:] After years of wandering from friend's house to friend's house while carrying out my ever-increasingly-important air car research project--at this point the project is only ten years old--the old man who knew Bob Neal the air compressing engine inventor rescues me from living in an ex-landlord's driveway in my car and takes me to Lodi, where he's been stuck for 30 years since his car broke down there one day. His house and garage are stacked to the ceiling with junk. I go through some of it and find some letters from Bob Neal so I know he's for real. I find the job of a lifetime--a job I actually enjoy--working for a cigar-chomping old Republican named Mr. Murray who calls me Tiger but if I call him Bob he pretends not to hear me, and he says I have to use real anti-perspirant and go to a real barber. He calls me manager and refuses to fire me for seven long years. I still dream about Mr. Murray and the Postal Center several times a month. He's about 100 years old by now.
[During these years I got back into my dreaming practice. I'd read Stephen LaBerge's book and before that I read Patricia Garfield's book and I had several lucid dreams. I remember parts of my first-ever lucid dream, but I don't remember how I became lucid.] I'm flying and I go to look for that girl at work who I--and just about everyone else--have a big crush on. I find the building where she is, and I can see through the roof into the place where she's hanging out with her friends or something. I decide to go somewhere else. I end up in a big, long room, and I find some skin magazines. While trying to enjoy the tail end of my first lucid episode, some horrible little creatures jump on my back and start clawing at me till I wake up. [Most of the dreams I had during this time almost became lucid and then I would decide I wasn't actually dreaming. I was having these experiences with regularity but got frustrated and gave up.]
[Not a dream:] Got on disability because I'm too old to wash dishes and I had to quit tuning pianos almost ten years earlier because it's too late to get good at it. And other reasons. I have long-held plans to get back into the dream and OBE thing as a retirement pursuit, much more than a hobby, my plan is to become a dream guru or something. Being on disability I still can't pay rent and still have enough left over to eat too, and delivering pizza is getting old. A machine shop owner hires me and says he wants to build an air car but his family life and religion get in the way and my appendix blows up and to make a long story short, I sold everything I had and moved to the Philippines. I have now (2017) lived in the same house for 13 years and have a ten-year-old son, my first child. I haven't smoked tobacco or anything else for nearly fifteen years.
[Not a dream:] I finish writing Meetings of Possible Ways which details my current beliefs about reality as a baseline, and with that I am finally ready to take on dreaming and OBE full time. I try to quit the air car project that I started in 1979, but before long my engineer contacts me to let me know we're now going to do a computer modeling of Bob Neal's air compressing engine, so I will continue with that. But I had to give up my new addiction cold turkey--that's genealogy--as it was a huge waste of time and energy. As enjoyable as it was, it was pretty much meaningless compared to the retirement hobby I'd planned for so long, learning to become an expert OBE'r. Not that I didn't try pretty hard to retire at the age of 19 and plenty of times after that, but sometimes we have to wait for the good stuff, you know what I mean?
NOMENCLATURE AND ABBREVIATIONS
[LS]: little sleep accompanied by a little dream
[NLOBE]: non-lucid OBE, similar to LS but takes place in RTZ
[AWK]: the term 'Awakening' has now replaced both 'LS' and 'NLOBE'
[Stuff in brackets is my comments, usually written the same time as the description of the dream or other experience.]
"Quotes are used only when exact words are remembered from the dream."
SC: silent companion, dream character(s) unseen and unheard, but whose presence is noticed.
SP: sleep paralysis
Cwahacoy: a dream character of varying appearance who is the essence of female companionship for me personally. Stands for 'crush-who-also-has-a-crush-on-you'.
Stumped-No-More: a dream character of varying appearance who embodies my highest self, comprised of all seven dream bodies (chakras) in balance with each others' respective focus or energy level. A.K.A. Tiger or Whirly, he appeared in the best dream I ever had, near the time (1980) when I had my first conscious OBE.
FK: Frank Kepple, OBE teacher; compilation "FranksPosts.pdf" is available on the forum astralpulse.com.
FA: Fred Aardema, OBE teacher, his book has a must-read chapter on the 3D darkness a.k.a. the Void
JZ: Jurgen Ziewe, author of Multidimensional Man and Vistas of Infinity
MR: Michael Raduga, Siberian author of The Phase which is by far the best book on pragmatic OBE technique
RAM: Robert A. Monroe, founder of TMI, whose three books formed the backbone of what was known of this art for decades
MPE: Sylvan Monroe a.k.a. 'Mike' of Phase Evolution, my favorite OBE channel on YouTube
RB: Robert Bruce, OBE teacher with books full of detailed instructions and many youtube videos and courses
CC: Carlos Castaneda, a metaphysical writer whose teaching novels go deeper into explaining experiences of expanded awareness than any book of new age philosophy.