My daughter’s wedding day had arrived and everything that could go wrong went wrong. We arrived at the church only to discover no one had come to decorate it. The food we’d ordered was half-prepared. My daughter showed up in her beautiful gown, but we’d forgotten to get her hair done or her make-up. It was so horrible, we cancelled the wedding and sent everyone home. The wedding party climbed into a car and was driving away when my daughter said, “Stop! I can’t take this anymore, I just want it over!”
So she forced the car to pull over at a tiny diner and announced that’s where she was getting married. I tried to talk her into going to someplace nicer, where it wasn’t so shabby and dirty. But she insisted. I remembered how I had planned to hang all the beautiful photos of her wedding on our walls at home. But how could we take photos of this! My worst nightmare was happening and it was all my fault. I shouldn’t have left the wedding planning up to her. I should have taken charge. I should have had a check-off list and made sure everything had turned our as planned. But it was too late. I screwed up. And now all my dreams for her wedding were ruined.
Then I woke up with a raging headache. And a sense of doom I could not shake.
It was crazy! Why was I having this dream? My daughter had already had the most beautiful wedding imaginable just last year. And she had planned it all! I hadn’t had to lift a finger. Why would I be worried about her wedding?
Then I had a flash of insight. One after the other.
#1 Flash of Insight
This was just a dream! There had never been a reason to be so upset and despondent. I could have changed the dream at any point–decorated the church, fixed her hair. I could have created the perfect wedding, if only I had realized I was dreaming. If only I had known I had the power to do so.
#2 Flash of Insight
This dream wasn’t about my daughter! It’s about my son. About the terrible addiction that has ruined his life, the beautiful life I had dreamed for him. And I blamed myself. I shouldn’t have left something as important as his life up to him! I should have taken charge. I should have planned better. But now everything was ruined and there was nothing I could do about it.
#3 Flash of Insight
Maybe I’m still dreaming! I remember how real it all seemed in my dream. Like it was really happening. So much so that even when I woke, I couldn’t shake the sense of sadness and failure. Maybe I will wake up and find out that this is all just a dream of addiction. Maybe in “reality,” he’s living the perfect life I’d always wanted for him, just as my daughter had had her perfect wedding.
Maybe I’d wake to find him in his perfect house with his loving wife, surrounded by his beautiful children, happy and healthy. He’d flash me a big grin and put his arms around me and say, “Silly mama. Why so sad? You were just dreaming!”
#4 Flash of Insight
But if I can’t wake up, maybe I can at least practice lucid-dreaming, wake up enough to know this isn’t real, and that I can change things, if I could only figure out how. It’s possible, right? Isn’t change possible?
#5 Flash of Insight
Maybe this is what they call “magical thinking.”
I keep thinking of those talks by Alan Watts that I posted here not long ago. He talks about the interconnectivity of the universe and how it has evolved into human consciousness–how the very cells of our bodies and brains are made of star stuff. We are the eternal universe, he tells us. Each of us, individually, is a pinprick of the whole, and altogether we are the whole itself.
Is believing this more fantastic, more “magical,” than believing in the Big Bang in the first place? Or that an infinite number of galaxies are spinning out in space, or being gobbled up by black holes? Or more magical than the “fact” of all those electrons and neutrons spinning in the cells of our bodies like tiny galaxies? What could be more fantastical or magical than reality! The reality we accept on “faith” because we believe what science has revealed to us.
Watts also mentioned this possibility: That we each are sparks of the divine–whatever force that created all we know–living an infinite number of lives over and over. Sometimes we choose easy paths, sometimes difficult ones. Sometimes we just want to see how much we can take, how far we can push ourselves, how bad it can get before we turn ourselves around.
Did my son choose his path? Did I choose mine? Are there layers of reality, as I wrote about in my last post? Are our night dreams and waking dreams just various stages in the ever-expanding understanding of who we really are? Will we wake to another understanding of reality and realize this life is just a dream within a dream within a dream . . . and each life is just as “real” or as “magical” as the next one?
We once believed the earth was flat and the distant ocean spilled off into nothingness. Later that the sun circled the earth, and we felt smug and special at the center of the universe. Then we woke up.
What more will we come to understand about reality–the universe and ourselves–as the eons unfold?
Wake up, Deborah, wake up.