Growing A Dream
Every night, when we fall asleep, we step into a never ending garden.
A never ending garden composed of elements as rich and varied as sensations, emotions, memories, desires, stories, thoughts, conversations, and feelings.
Everytime we step into this garden, all of those elements flow and shift, growing and decaying, reshaping themselves into a very special set of experiences known as “dreams”.
No matter who you are, or the mechanisms you use to fall asleep, you can find this never ending garden within your very being and, everytime you fall asleep, you step into this garden.
Our never ending garden, as it were, serves as the source of our dreams.
A source that serves as the consolidated whole of the vast riches our minds and bodies possess.
Every single facet of these riches is paired with the intangible qualities that exist outside of our mind bodies, rooted in the universal and the transcendent.
For many of us, our experiences within the garden are bound not by longing or desire, but the unknowable ebb and flow of unconscious elements that begin and end within spaces and domains that we, by all appearances, cannot access.
To some extent, this is true.
Our dreams are predicated on things that we may know and recognize, yet not fully understand, giving way to experiences bound to unknowable forces that may be, in the end, our own unknowable depths and possibilities.
But, at the same time, this is also false.
Our dreams are rooted in the same forces that give way to sumptuous daytime fantasies and the distinct creative works that only we, as unique individuals, can create.
We can, with the right method, access these forces, shaping our experiences within the garden.
No one will suggest that working with these forces is easy.
But, it is possible and, more importantly, worth doing.
For, in shaping our dreams, we can give life to new experiences. These new experiences can serve as a source of guidance and inspiration, all while putting us into direct contact with the unending gifts and treasures nested within our very being.
The act of shaping your dreams comes with one major caveat; you possess the ability to guide your dream, ensuring that it occurs within the boundaries demarcated by specific themes and intentions, but, unless you are in a lucid state, you cannot shape every aspect of the dream.
You can only, it would seem, plant and water the seed you wish to grow.
The exact process this growth follows, and the ultimate form this seed takes, is, by all appearances, subject to forces beyond our immediate control.
You will, by reading the remainder of this essay, learn a method that allows you to “plant seeds”.
You will, prior to that, learn about my experience with this method.
You can, by using the method outlined in this essay, dream the dreams you wish to dream.
A Neverending Sea Of Possibilities
Sometime in May, of 2014, a friend of mine gave me a book.
The name of this book has, regrettably, been forgotten.
I remember that it had been written in the late-sixties or early-seventies.
I also remember that the book was written in salesman-esque language that, initially, seemed to suggest there was little value to be found within its pages.
But, in this book, there was a ritual that, according to the author, would allow you to dream exactly what you wanted to dream, if you performed it soon before going to bed.
My assumption was that this was an exaggeration.
For a few days, though, after reading the book, this ritual was on my mind.
My curiosity was intense, and yet, there was a sliver of fear.
If the ritual did not work, or lead to a nightmare, I knew that I would be disappointed and far less enamoured with dreams and creativity, both of which were intense interests of mine.
Eventually, though, a decision was made: that night, on May 17th of 2014 — a Saturday, according to my dream journal — I would perform the ritual and, according to that same journal, “just see what happens”.
To perform the ritual, outlined in the book, you needed to think of your intention and, then, write it down on a piece of paper.
My intention was to “Visit a strange, yet beautiful, world, and go on a lovely adventure”.
The piece of paper was set on my desk, close to my bed.
Right before falling asleep, I made sure to repeat some variation of my intention, while also saying, within my mind, “Thank you” over and over again.
In a manner of moments, my circumstances had transformed themselves.
I was sitting on a wooden raft, floating across a gentle stream.
All around me were green and purple trees, each one rooted within the depths of the stream, shooting up into the blue sky.
Every tree was covered in multi-colored moss; shades of red, blue, silver, purple, and green came together, culminating in a cacophony of color.
For a time, the raft gently moved across the stream, following a path known only to the stream.
I remember looking into the stream, at one point, and seeing a creature, shaped just like a whale, moving right underneath the raft.
The creature let out a loud, yet gentle, hum, as if acknowledging both my presence, and my awareness of the creature’s presence.
For a moment, the size and shape of this creature was enamouring. But, then, I realized that this creature, while just like a whale in many ways, possessed skin that was slightly-translucent.
Within the creature, there were lungs and intestines, among many other facets, all of which were visible and, in my eyes, strange and otherworldly.
Eventually, after a time, the creature departed, moving away from the raft.
Soon after the creature departed, the raft made one last turn and, moments later, came to a halt.
Right in front of the raft, there was a small pier made of decaying bamboo.
I stepped off the raft, wandered onto the pier, and then onto the land.
For a few minutes, I walked across thick patches of grass and shrubbery.
A soothing melody of waves slowly rising, and then falling even more slowly, became more and more pronounced, as I walked through the jungle.
A few minutes of walking lead me to the shore of a great ocean.
The shore was small, with very little to walk on.
But, connected to the shore, there was a pier.
A pier that, based on where I was standing, appeared to stretch for miles and miles.
To the right of this pier, there were other piers, each one connected to that main pier.
Every pier the main pier was connected to was also, it seemed, connected to a network of piers.
I stepped onto the pier and began to walk.
The sun was shining, and the wooden pier was absorbing the sun’s warmth, warming and drying my feet as I walked.
After walking for a moment, I found myself on a pier filled with people going about their day.
All of these people were smiling and laughing.
None of them looked too different from the people you see here, in this world.
But, there was a lightness to the way they walked and spoke. A lightness that was familiar, yet vague and detached in a way that I, to this day, am unable to articulate.
No one spoke to me directly. Some looked at me, though, and smiled.
I remember feeling very happy about this, for, even in dreams, I am shy and somewhat fearful.
Soon after passing a small crowd of people, I took a few turns, onto yet another pier, and found myself walking past a series of small homes.
Each one of these homes stood floating right above the ocean’s surface, completely still, and utterly oblivious to the wind’s momentum.
A very pretty young woman walked out of one of the homes and looked at me.
I smiled at this woman, and she smiled back.
The woman then walked up to me, and said “Is your name Max?”
I said “Yes. What’s your name?”
She said “My name is Amara. I’ve been expecting you for a while. Please, come with me.”
And, with that, Amara and I began our time together.
Our time together was significant.
We saw much of the pier, visiting some of the innumerable spaces etched across its ever growing network of bodies, while also wandering through much of the jungle.
Every so often, the jungle would transform into a vast desert, filled with wandering automatons selling various items and services, and housing temples dedicated to machine entities that had been forgotten long, long ago.
I remember, one night, when the jungle was no longer a jungle but a desert, Amara and I visited a place known as the “Oracular Precipice”.
The name stood out to me — and still does — as being deliberately obtuse, yet strangely evocative.
Rather than being a literal precipice with the powers of foresight, the Oracular Precipice was, instead, a train station.
A train station that sat in the midst of nowhere in particular, illuminated only by the sea of stars flowing right above it.
As far as train stations go, the Oracular Precipice was rather simple: there was a rusty, mechanical machine held up by wires and pipes, and three chairs.
On the machine, there was a button.
Amara and I pressed the button, and we each received a ticket, printed on stained pulp.
Our destination, according to the ticket, was “Sola Lux Oceania”.
A few moments of waiting passed and, eventually, the train came.
No one checked our tickets, and no one was on the train.
For several-hours, Amara and I traveled across the desert.
We gazed out the windows, observing as vast stretches of desert passed us by.
The train, at one point, began moving through a tunnel that had been sculpted within a cave.
For a moment, the train car was completely dark.
But, then, the spaces within the tunnel became enveloped in a cacophony of sound and light.
A sea of voices and melodies emanated from every space surrounding the train.
None of these voices spoke a language I understood.
The instruments, though, were familiar.
I remember the voices and drums being most prominent.
But, in the background, there was the sound of a violin merging with the sound of a piano.
All of these sounds came together, strengthening the drums and heightening the voices.
Each one of these sounds came together, creating a single sound that shaped the flow of light and color taking place within the train.
The flow of light and color shifted perpetually, moving from purple to green, green to red, red to blue, blue to silver — until, after a period of time, the train left the cave and, within mere moments, found itself back by the Oracular Precipice.
On our walk home, Amara told me some of what the voices were conveying.
None of what she said is remembered.
But, what is remembered is that what Amara said evoked images of trees that grow infinite stories within infinite stories, worlds contained within raindrops and fragments of raindrops, dreams found within the seeds of plants, and train stations originating from those same seeds.
My time with Amara, after our experience within the Sola Lux Oceania, soon came to an end.
Our last day together was spent close to the pier, on a canoe.
We said “Goodbye”, in so many ways, promising to see each other again, soon enough.
And, then, I woke up.
I’m not trying to be anti-climatic; that is what happened, and I know it isn’t a very good ending.
Right after waking up, I went to my computer, opened a word document, and began writing everything that I remembered.
I remembered quite a bit, fortunately, so it took me a while to write everything down.
Since then, this dream, and all of the people, places, and moments within it, continue to serve as a source of inspiration and guidance.
Even more than that, this experience serves as an example of the extraordinary creative abilities we, as human beings, contain within our unending vastness.
Growing A Lovely Dream
A single, very simple, ritual can shape the never ending garden we step into.
Right before we look at performing this ritual, there’s one thing to remember: this ritual is completely open-ended.
You can change and adapt any aspect of this ritual. You can customize this ritual to your liking.
The reason you can do this is because, in the end, this ritual doesn’t matter.
Rather, the only thing that matters is that there is a ritual.
I am not sure why this is, or where this “rule”, if you will, comes from.
If I had to guess, however, it’s because the existence of a ritual implies that there is an intention, and that you are putting some aspect of yourself into an action, which is intended to fulfill that particular intention.
So, as long as you know what you desire, and are willing to put some aspect of yourself into a particular action, you can shape your dreams in a way that aligns with what you are looking for.
Step 01: Choose Your Intention
To begin the process, you must choose your intention.
My intention was to “Visit a strange, yet beautiful, world, and go on a lovely adventure”.
Your intention can be anything, anything at all.
So, if you would like to go on a lovely adventure, are looking for guidance, would like some new ideas, want to explore your unconscious — and so on and so forth — then you can do so.
Step 02: Record Your Intention On A Sheet Of Paper
Right after you know your intention, you can begin the next step, which begins by grabbing a sheet of paper.
As soon as that sheet of paper is in your hand, take out a pen or pencil and record your intention.
To make the ritual a little more meaningful, write out your intention in the most beautiful handwriting you can conjure.
Just take a little time to write it out, making it look as nice as possible.
Step 03: Appreciate Your Dream
Soon after you finish recording your intention, take a moment to say “Thank you”.
You can say “Thank you” in your mind, or out loud.
Regardless of how you say “Thank you”, allow yourself to feel genuinely appreciative for the wonderful dream you will soon be experiencing.
Let the feeling of gratitude rest and reside, if only for a moment.
You can, when you’re ready, let it go.
Later, while in bed — right before you fall asleep, perhaps — allow the feeling to return.
You will soon fall into a lovely dream, so a feeling of gratitude is only natural.
Step 04: Enjoy The Experience
Soon after you fall asleep, you will dream the dream you have chosen to dream.
Your first experience with this method may not result in exactly what you were looking for.
If you continue to play with this method, however, you will dream the dream you have chosen to dream.
Let yourself enjoy the experience.
Step 05: Write It Down
As soon as you possibly can, please write down your dream.
Even a brief, vague outline, rather than an elaborate description, is better than nothing.
For, if you record even the vaguest outline of your dream, the rest of your dream will remain clear and accessible, allowing you to access the beauty and wisdom you just experienced.
A dream that, while lovely, was never recorded, fades away very quickly.
So, please, when you wake up from your dream, write it down.
Our world is a rich and abundant place, filled with unending treasures and gifts, each one a source of beauty, wonder, and mystery.
The same is true of ourselves, and the never ending depths and delights we contain and create.
We can, by engaging with our dreams, and shaping them in ways that we enjoy, experience a sliver of the many treasures and gifts we possess.
The act of experiencing our treasures and gifts can serve a variety of purposes, such as providing guidance and inspiration.
Even more than that, though, the act of experiencing our treasures and gifts is fun and, sometimes, having fun is reason enough.