Dream of: 15 April 1982 "So Sad"
I was at Baylor Law School (which I had begun attending in Waco, Texas in January 1981), which seemed more like a high school than a law school. I was sitting in a class being taught by my constitutional law professor, David Guinn. Although my thick red constitutional law book lay open in front of me, I was concentrating on Guinn, who was standing in front of the class. He had just mentioned an article which he had read in Time magazine. The other students seemed to appreciate Guinn's remark, and when Guinn closed his book, I spoke up and said I thought talking about appropriate subjects from Time in class was a good idea.
Having said my piece, I turned my attention to the textbook in front of me. We had almost finished our study of the book and we had reached the last chapter, which (I was surprised) covered world history. The subtitle of the first page of the chapter was "English History."
Leafing through a few pages, I came across a map of some Pacific islands which belonged to the United States. Although I didn't know the names of the islands, I thought knowing which islands the United States owned was important.
When I turned to another colorful map, I at first didn't understand the map, and I needed a moment to decipher it. I finally realized the map displayed the entire Moslem world, stretching from Mauritania to Pakistan. An elaborate diagram on the map showed the spread of Islam from Iran toward Egypt. A thin black line meandered through all the Moslem countries – a line which seemed to be showing the route which Mohammed had taken in his conquests.
When the class finally ended, I walked up to where Guinn was standing at the front of the room. As I deferentially waited to speak with him, we suddenly heard a loud, piercing sound originating from outside the room. Looking through the window, we could see the faculty offices on the other side of the courtyard. Apparently the sound had been caused by someone playing music in those offices. For some reason, Guinn found the fact amusing, and he and several other people laughed out loud.
I was anxious to talk with Guinn concerning a paper which I was writing about cable television and the First Amendment's guarantee of Freedom of Speech. Other people also wanted to talk with Guinn and when I looked around the class, I saw several students still sitting and waiting in their seats. When I turned back to Guinn, I discovered he had already left – I never even had a chance to speak with him.
One other student still sitting in the room was Tom Fulkerson, an intelligent brown-haired fellow-law-student whom I had admired from a distance. As Fulkerson talked with someone else, I overheard him mention a dream which he had had. Interested, I walked toward him and began listening to him relate his dream. When he recounted how he had fallen down in one of his dreams, I became especially interested because I had also had a dream of him in which he had fallen down. In fact, I had recently had three dreams in which Fulkerson had appeared. Since I had never even spoken with Fulkerson before, I was puzzled he had been appearing in my dreams, and I thought I would like to discuss that riddle with him. I recalled that in one dream he had been playing monopoly, and that in another dream he had been playing the saxophone. I especially wanted to ask him whether he actually played the saxophone in real life.
Instead of approaching Fulkerson, I walked over to another classmate, Donna Krebbs, and began telling her one of my dreams. I couldn't remember the dream well; but I did mention to Donna that a boy had taken LSD in the dream.
Gradually, as I related the dream to Donna, I realized that I was dreaming even as I talked, that I was having a lucid dream. I thought I should probably write down what was happening to me so I would remember it later, but that seemed like such an effort – I felt much too torpid to write anything. I almost felt immobile, as if I could hardly move. Besides, it seemed as if nothing important had been happening to me, nothing worthy of being written. I knew I could wake myself up if I wanted to, but I preferred to continue dreaming. I was intrigued by my lucid state, fascinated by how different my thoughts seemed from my waking thoughts.
I took my leave from Donna and walked from the classroom out into the corridor. I headed straight for my locker, opened it and laid my books inside. Just as I finished, a black fellow walked up behind me and gruffly told me some of his books were in that locker. I informed him he must be mistaken because the locker was mine; but he insisted. Since my locker didn't have a lock, I wondered if he might have opened the locker and put his books in it. When he looked on a nearby table and saw some books lying on it (apparently the very books for which he was searching), he realized he had obviously made a mistake. When he also suddenly realized he and I both were taking Guinn's class, he immediately apologized and strode off.
Stepping away from my locker, I began walking around in the halls. Still aware I was dreaming, I wanted to be able to later recall as much as possible, but so much was happening to me, I was uncertain I would be able to remember it all.
It occurred to me that it might help if I crossed my eyes. I had first come across the technique of crossing the eyes in the works of the writer Carlos Castaneda, who had written about an old Indian sorcerer from Mexico named Don Juan. In Castaneda's books, Don Juan had maintained that a person could obtain a different perspective of reality simply by walking around with crossed eyes. I had previously experimented with the technique, and I had discovered Don Juan had been correct. So now I tried again. As I crossed my eyes and continued rambling through the halls, I felt invigorated. When I met and passed people without being able to identify them, I thought I had definitely reached a different plane of perception.
Yet I was uncertain exactly what I was doing. I knew I had attained an important state of awareness, but I didn't know exactly how to use my new-found abilities. I proceeded through the halls until I reached the door of the same classroom where I had originally started out. Standing outside, I peered through the door and could see students sitting inside. One resembled another of my classmates, Hugh Davis (I knew Davis was also in Guinn's class). Because my eyes were still crossed, I couldn't see well enough to ascertain the fellow was Davis. When I finally uncrossed my eyes so I could see, I realized the fellow wasn't Davis. In fact, none of the students in the classroom seemed familiar to me. Apparently these weren't students from my class and there was no need for me to tarry there. Besides, it was probably already time for me to have another class. But the last place I wanted to go was class. I turned and paced away, wanting to escape before I ran into someone like professor Guinn in the halls.
Anxious to leave the law school, I hustled out of the building. I was still aware I was dreaming and I still wanted to somehow use my awareness. Yet my lucidity was so tenuous, I was unable to focus my attention well. Gazing up toward the sky above me, I saw green and yellow branches stretching out (at least what I observed seemed like green and yellow branches). Everything was still quite hazy, and I couldn't focus well. Basically all I could make out were tinctures of green and yellow.
I continued walking. Suddenly I felt intensely sad. I encountered someone who made an attempt to talk with me, but I quickly turned away and I said I only infected everyone with whom I came in contact with sadness. Sadness seemed to be welling up within me. My inability to decide what to do with my lucidity made me even sadder. What was worst, I just seemed to be constitutionally a doleful person.
Abruptly I encountered Grady Randle, one of my more jocund law school classmates. He said something humorous which made me smile. I fell onto the ground for a moment, then picked myself up and walked on, still acutely sad. Wishing God would explain to me what was wrong, I called out, "God, why have you made me so sad."
I didn't know what to do – but suddenly it occurred to me that I should write poetry. Although I was on a city street, nearby lay a grassy area on a little hillside surrounded by trees. I thought I could walk over to the grassy spot, sit down, and write a poem. Although alluring, the idea still didn't absolve me of the intense sadness plaguing me.
I bore toward the grassy spot, and I had almost reached it, when I passed a table with a magazine lying on it. On an open page gleamed a picture of the head of a soldier wearing a helmet. I halted and starred. The soldier's face had been painted black, and on his helmet was etched what appeared to be a colorful American Indian design. The picture reminded me that as long as soldiers remained in the world, sadness would continue to exist. "God," I somberly asked, "why must it be this way?" At least the picture offered me a modicum of solace by reminding me that I wasn't alone in the world with my chronic sadness.
I realized I needed to write down what I had witnessed in my dream, but I still didn't want to awaken. I wondered if crossing my eyes again would make a difference. Maybe if I opened my eyes, while they were crossed, perhaps I wouldn't awaken. I could then sit down at my typewriter and write everything I had seen without waking -- while I was still dreaming. I began trying to remember where I was, and where I could find my typewriter.
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