One night a couple of years ago, I had seven lovely dreams. In most of the dreams, flying was a central theme.
When I woke up, there were many vivid images in my mind. I began going through the
images, describing them in my mind in as much detail as I could. To my surprise
the details kept coming. I remembered fully dream after dream. When I finished
remembering and recalling all the details of the seven dreams I went back to the
beginning and started over. I spent the rest of the night recalling and remembering and
savoring the dreams. I had never had an experience like this. I usually feel
lucky to recall details of even one dream. The next evening I did it again, and
again, could recall everything. I spent many nights recalling the seven dreams.
They seem, at least in part, like a poem or story about my spiritual journey in the Catholic and Buddhist
traditions. After being raised a Catholic, leaving the church in high school, and finding Buddhism,
I returned to the Catholic Church. I have been practicing in both traditions for 20 years.
The first dream happens in the hallway of a public building, with high ceilings, stone walls
and marble columns. It is shadowy and empty of people- cold and austere. There is a table in the hallway with all of my worldly possessions on it- mostly clothes it seems. In the pockets of the clothes
are stuffed scraps of paper; each scrap is filled completely, almost desperately, with writing.
It reminds me of the scene from the film, “A Beautiful Mind”, which shows us the room
where the main character has written and posted thousands of notes about his schizophrenic
obsession with an imagined spy scenario. In the dream I think, “If people were to read these
notes, they would think I’m crazy”, then the firm conviction, “but they’re wrong”.
The second dream takes place in a large room in a private home. The room is large and spacious with no furniture, yet warm and inviting; it is sunny and bright with white walls, a hardwood floor and lots of
windows revealing green trees and shrubbery. In the middle of the room in a chair sits an
old woman. I can't identify who she is, but I feel great warmth and affection for her. Maybe she is one or more of the women who have served as a spiritual guide to me. There then appears a group of dogs, quiet and well-behaved, and fairly large- waist-high or so. I am in the room, floating several feet off the floor. One of the dogs comes up to me on its hind legs,as if reaching up to me. I attempt to lift it up but I can’t. In the next moment there is a large group of people in the room. They are excited that I am “flying” and they applaud me. . I think, “It’s no big deal, I’m just a couple feet off the ground”.
In the third dream, I’m flying high above a lovely, European-looking village with stucco houses and
shops and cobblestone streets. It is dusk and there is a warm golden glow in the air. I have
a beautiful view of the sun setting on the bright horizon. Many people are out and about on the
streets below, and to my surprise, many others are in the air, flying with me. In the dream
this is an epiphany- “There are others who fly!”. It makes me happy. Even better, the folks on the ground and in the air all seem to know and care about one another; we are not strangers but part of a community. The flying people are all moving in the direction of the sun.
The fourth dream happens in a cozy suburban home. There are happy playful young children and
pillows and cushions all around. There is a beautiful Indian woman. I have come for her to
massage me, to give me some kind of help and healing. I am happy and comforted
to be here. I lay down; standing over me on my right is the woman, on my left is
a man from my Buddhist meditation group- an ex-Jesuit who is now an atheist. I notice the Indian
woman’s neck which is full of wrinkles. I’m disappointed, because I was romantically attracted to
her, but now I think she is too old for me. The ex- Jesuit leans over me and kisses the woman.
I’m surprised and intrigued. I have mixed feelings about the kiss, smiling about it- but what does it
In the fifth dream I am on a well-known street in my home town with a man who is a part-time
chaplain where I work. I see him as a good hearted follower of church dogma. He is a
deacon in the Catholic church and a man of simple reverent faith. He is one of the most kind
and gentle people I know. He is my guide. The street we are on is well known to me,
but I know it as being in a different part of town. So we have discovered this familiar street, only there
is another version of it in another place than what I am used to. The street reminds me of the
European village in dream #3. We have reached a point where my guide can either return to his home,
which is close by, or continue with me on the path. I tell him to go home- I’ll be fine.
Suddenly we are at a body of water. It is ocean-like- a deep blue and vast so you can’t
see across it, but peaceful like a lake. Suddenly I take off and leave my guide behind on the ground. I
look back and see him receding away from me as I head out over the water. Suddenly I’m afraid..
“Can I fly well enough to make it across the water?”
In the sixth dream I’ve arrived at a church, and there are a few women in the vestibule with me.
It reminds me of the Methodist church I know- a sprawling structure with a large sanctuary
and many, many attached rooms for meetings and such. The women leave the vestibule
and go to the sanctuary. A man comes into the vestibule. He is the pastor of the church,
perhaps a well-known local religious figure. He is smiling broadly and embraces me. My feeling is
he is only interested in me because he knows I can fly. I’m ill at ease with him.
In the seventh dream I’m flying very high and very fast. I become aware that my body is soft
and vulnerable. I could be hurt if I hit something, a bug, a speck of dust, while flying. I wish I had a pair of goggles to protect my eyes but there are none. Suddenly there are many pastel colors and candies in the sky with me. Somehow the scene invokes the presence, joy and playfulness of children. I feel calm, secure and happy. Then, I begin to suspect that all these flying experiences are just a dream. I’m sad and disappointed. To encourage myself that it isn’t a dream I fly over to a large bush. I think if I can feel the texture of the leaves it will prove that my experience is real- not a dream. I reach out and can feel the texture of the leaves- then I wake up.