SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1979
I wake up with my head aching and my heart pounding. I’m in Dreamland at Sarah and Rebecca’s house. Remnants of a scary dream evaporate under the heat of the rising sense of consciousness. Hmm. I’m starting to have a string of nightmares. Why? Something tells me I don’t want to think about that now. Hmm. So far, I just haven’t found any time to go to the Temple of the Queen of the Night and meet Miriam. Or to go back and find the stairway back up (?), down (?) to talk with the, so-called, guardian of the gateway to this place. Sarah and Rebecca’s plans keep me way too busy with errands and training. Through their efforts, I hope to soon become a Dreamer and not merely someone who dreams.
Sarah has gotten me out even before the sun had finished rising in Dreamland’s sky. She sits in front of me on her home’s back porch managing to convey the impression that she’s sitting down to tea, even though her legs are crossed in the traditional lotus yoga position under her long khaki skirt. I’m trying to be comfortable sitting with my legs crossed.
If I wasn’t so uncomfortable, I would be quite satisfied.
I managed today to do some Dreaming of my own. I got the color of my Dream suit to change from that drab mousy gray to a deeper storm cloud gray. Sarah explained my triumph as merely an outgrowth of my ego, or as I would re-phrase it, a strong sense of self. She said not to let one quick and very minor success go to my head.
“Lamont! Meditating is not wool gathering.”
“Oh. I didn’t realize that was what I was doing.”
“Meditation is the art of unfocused concentration. Not focused un-concentration. Now try again. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm and do so to my count. Focus on my counting, till it fills all of your conscious thought.”
“But first, I have a question for you.”
“Well, what is it?”
“You mentioned a few days ago, something about the riddle of apprenticeship, so what’s the riddle?”
“Finding out the riddle is part of the problem in solving it.” Sarah taunts.
“Oh. Any clues?”
“No,” she says, with obvious satisfaction.
“But, once I do figure out the riddle and solve it, then I’m officially no longer an apprentice?”
“Correct. At that time, you can present yourself to the mayor of this the city and to her court. There you will demonstrate whatever skills or talents you have practiced which display your Dreaming abilities. Then you will be awarded a gem stone so you can become a full citizen of Dreamland.”
“Where do the gem stones come from?”
“I’m not sure. I believe they are provided, at a price, by the so-called Men of Samarkand. Now can we return to your meditation lesson?”
I do better with the visualization exercises than with the meditation. Rebecca tells me that her lessons will be more fun.
“To become a creative Dreamer,” Rebecca instructs,” you’re going to have to follow the example set by the White Queen and practice ‘to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast,’ the more contradictory, the better.”
“What do you mean?”
“Actually belief is at the very heart of the matter.”
“You’re dancing around me with verbiage. What are you trying to explain?”
“The key to this world of Dreams. Though knowing the key won’t do you much good. It never has. There’s still the problem with the lock and the needed strength, or courage, to turning the key.”
“You’re doing it again. The key is what?”
“The key to power in Dreamland is this; you’re limited only by what you believe. As Rabbi Hillel would say, all the rest is commentary.
Hmm. That’s it? That’s true in the Waking World, in a different way and to a different extent.”
“Ahh, but such a difference it makes. Enough with metaphors let’s go for concrete analogies, have you ever tried juggling?”
“You should, or rather, you will now.”
As she speaks, three orange colored balls appear in her hands. She juggles them as she continues.
“You see, an excellent metaphor for thinking about how to Dream in Dreamland is juggling. Like juggling, here you must learn to do many things all at once and to do most of them unconsciously. Many people say they can’t do two things at once. Yet, we actually do that and more. For example, we can walk, breathe, and without out any difficulty, even talk, all at the same time. Different levels of the mind are concentrating on the different activities. Here we take this multiplicity of mental levels of activity one step further and Dream many Dreams at the same time, on many levels of the mind.”
“You mean like, I’m listening to you on one level, I’m watching those three balls your flipping around on another, I’m talking to you and planning what I’m going to say as I say those words, and on still another level, I’m visualizing myself wearing this dark gray outfit?”
“That’s it exactly."
“Hmm? Did you realize that juggling is also good in getting the two sides of the brain activated, because you have to coordinate and use both your right and your left hand, and in my case, my right brain, which controls my left hand, is under used, since I, like most people, don’t expect the left hand to do much. Although, I can type and so....”
“Enough with brain babble, now, look alive!”
She tosses me first one ball, which I barely manage to catch in one hand, and then tosses the second ball. I drop the first ball to try and to catch the second. It bounces out of my hand. I look at her sheepishly and shrug my shoulders. I start to bend over to pick up the fallen balls.
“Don’t bother.” She snaps her fingers and the balls disappear. “Now, let’s try that again.”
She slowly tosses me a new ball that she conjures up and has me toss it back. We do this a few times before she adds a second ball. She keeps this up, forcing me to join in her juggling act as she continues to talk.
“Now, while paying enough attention to the balls, I’m going to give you some general rules of how Dreaming and Dreamland operate. One: You have to suspend your judgment of disbelief and to expect the unexpected. Two: You need to train your mind to regain its child-like flexibility. To return to the time of playing ‘let’s pretend’. Three: It’s
easier to imagine one object in a new form than to conjure up a new object out of nothing. Four: It’s easier to conjure up very personal common items than exotic and extraordinary items. Five...”
“I just thought of something.”
“In the real world, I...” Before I can finish my thought, my coordination goes out to lunch. I fail to catch the balls she tosses at me. My mouth hangs open as I watch them bounce off me.
“You have just suffered from the results of having committed the sin of Dreamland. In this case, the consequences were minor, a few balls bouncing off you. If you were to make that error again, it could be at some more critical juncture and then you would have invited disaster.”
“What are you talking about? What did I do?”
“You were in the act of referring to the Waking World as the “Real World,” implying that Dreamland is not real. Once you fully believe that, your unconscious may follow through with that belief and consequentially you will no longer be in control of your Dream environment. All that you have conjured up will start to unravel. Your very Dream existence could be threatened. Always refer to Dreamland in terms that confirm your belief in its complete reality.”
“I got it, boss.”
She laughs. She conjures up new balls and we start again.
“Now, what were you going to say, and this time be careful to rethink and rephrase that thought.”
“Ah... usually, I’m not very coordinated at all. Yet I seem to be getting the hang of this juggling, how come?”
“Well, here it’s not so much the physical coordination, but the mental coordination and agility that counts. But, as for how good a juggler you are, try this.”
Now she has two balls, one in each hand, while I hold the third. She tosses me the first and then rapidly tosses the second. I toss mine back and try to catch her first one, which I barley manage to do, as the second bounces off my chest.
“What were you saying about how good a juggler you are?”
“Ah,” I contritely reply, “What I really meant to say, it’s amazing what a good teacher can do in compensating for someone’s lack of skill.”
“This teacher thinks you need a lot of practice.”
 Lewis Carroll, a.k.a. Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Through the Looking Glass: and What Alice Found There, pg. 177, Oxford University Press, World's Classic Paperback Series, 1865, 1982.