Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of
Polonius: By the mass, and 'tis a camel,
Hamlet: Methinks it is like a
Polonius: Is it backed like a weasel.
Or like a whale?
Polonius: Very like a whale.
My dreaming self is like a kid with a coloring book. The
pictures that she draws may have their outline in the waking
world, but she "fills in" that mundane framework with detail
and concept available from her world of dream. Only the shape
of objects from the waking state and the bare structure of the
physical event are retained. The rest is creative play. Hidden
within that creativity is her commentary on my life. She has
definite opinions, a quick, puny wit and the uncanny ability
to select just the right visual metaphor to describe the what
goes on underneath the surface of physical reality, like
thought, emotion, sensation, intuition and instinct.
a result, she and I live parallel lives, not copy-cat
versions. And why not? Since my dreaming self has learned to
go airborne and discovered that she really likes the sensation
of gravity-free locomotion, she isn't bound by the laws of
physical reality. Whereas I walk, she can fly.
summer, I packed my family off to a Hawaiian vacation of sun
We arrived just after a tropical storm had
whipped the ocean into a frothy mass of suspended particles.
It took a week for the ocean to clear completely. During that
time I took scuba diving lessons off the island of Maui. Just
before leaving home, I'd had a dream. I didn't realize that it
was precognitive until after my waking event occurred,
because, of course, the dream wasn't a literal picture of my
reality. But, in retrospect, the parallels are obvious to me.
It surprised me how
reactive people could be when faced with a shark, even though
our scuba diving instructors were careful to point out that
those of the "Jaws" variety usually stayed outside the
boundaries of the coral ridge. It was the smaller, more benign
sorts that frequented the Hawaiian reef.
A missile glides over seas heavy with waves, heading
towards the light. A man is clinging to its side. I fly on
the left, keeping pace. Lifting the man off the missile, I
bring him back to shore. The missile turns and follows us.
Gently, safely, I drop the man on the ground as the missile
passes overhead. It comes around and continues to pursue me.
Launching myself toward the ocean, I look for a clear place
to explode the missile. But many large rocks lie either half
submerged, or just below the surface of the now placid
water. Realizing that the missile is gaining on me, I spot
an open space just beyond a large island. I dive into the
sea with the missile right behind me. I pierce the surface
and plunge deep into the dark. The missile hits the water
and detonates on impact, shooting spray high into the air. I
explode like a fountain from the water and arch high into
the air, circling back toward the cliffs that sheer into the
sea. The cliffs change into an old fashioned white fireplace
mantle. I can still see the ocean and rocky shoreline as
they begin to dissolve into a homey living room scene.
Missile And Mantle,
So when a
missile-shaped dogshark swam out of the milky mist, several
student divers quickly rearranged themselves behind our two
instructors. But since the instructors didn't panic, I
thought, why should I? The shark nosed its way slowly around
us, seeming to look for a tasty morsel. Since it wouldn't have
cared where handout left off and hand began, we had brought
nothing to share. I admired its colorful, undulating body and
casual familiarity with the undersea world. The shark appeared
mostly curious about its unusual visitors. When it determined
we had nothing to interest it, it flowed slowly back into the
The warm water off the Maui shore felt as safe a
universe as the one in my dreams. Swimming in underwater
passages translated into further dreams of soaring underneath
arched and vaulted buildings. If I could breath with a face
plate in waking life, in dreams I could breath under water and
in the vacuum of outer space. Our air tanks provided buoyancy
in the physical; in a dream I drifted into the air, then
balanced myself atop a balloon.
Scuba diving is very
close to the feeling of floating in dreams. When I dive in
tropical waters, I'm peaceful, free and surrounded by the most
beautiful blues imaginable. Likewise, when I dream that I
float inside a house, its walls are usually blue in color. My
body becomes precise and coordinated in its movements, very
slow and relaxed.
Jasques Cousteau said that his flying
dreams ceased the first time he put on scuba tanks and
experienced weightlessness. He said he knew that's what he'd
been dreaming about all along. I agree with this famous diver
that diving is great. But it doesn't have to be a choice of
one or the other. Scuba diving actually enriched my flying
dreams. Before, I had flown stretched horizontally in the air,
Superman style. Now I added levitation: floating, hovering,
regulated descent, rising with the currents, stopping to view
the scenery. The sensations would prove to be good practice
for astral projection, although in a medium much more subtle
Epel, Naomi. Writers Dreaming. (NY: Carol Southern Books, 1993.)