10 October 2009

Baba Dreams

Today at Meher Center we had a special day for the nearby community. One of the events was a gathering in the Barn for sharing stories, poems, songs, and so on. I decided to tell a few of my dreams of Meher Baba. The following is basically what I said in the Barn, with a little embellishment:

In 1986, I was living alone in the Boston area, having moved there from New York a few years before. I had a book, Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge, about the technique of becoming awake in one’s dreams, and I started trying to lucid-dream. (I did not know, at that time, that Tibetan Buddhists practice lucid dreaming, or dream yoga, as a way of learning to recognize not only that I am dreaming a night dream, but that my waking experience is also a dream, an illusion in which I can also wake up.)

I followed the instructions in the book, and soon I achieved the first stage, which is the false awakening. That’s when you dream that you’ve woken up. You get out of bed and try to start your day, then suddenly realize that actually you haven’t really woken up—you’re still dreaming.

At this point I began to become more interested in the contents of my dream than in lucid dreaming. I had to decide whether to continue with my efforts to lucid-dream or to work on remembering my dreams, writing them down, and contemplating them. I didn’t exactly pose this question to Baba, but the question appeared in my mind: Is this a good thing for me to be doing, as inner work? Should I pay more attention to my dreams?

In a weird synchronicity, one or two days later, I got a letter in the mail (yes, back then people used to send a letter by post). It was from Eric T. in New York, someone I had not been corresponding with and had not seen in a few years, so it was completely out of the blue. In the letter Eric told me he’d had a dream about me that he thought I’d like to hear. The dream, as I recall it, was this: Eric was walking with Baba down the street. He began to guide Baba in a certain direction, but Baba gestured impatiently, “I know where I’m going.” They continued in the direction Baba wanted until they came to a house. They knocked on the door . . . and I opened it!

I decided to take Eric’s dream as a “yes” answer to my question—a go-ahead to continue with writing down my dreams and paying attention to the content, rather than pursuing the lucid dreaming.

Right from the beginning, I tended to have very short, concise dreams, some of them almost like jokes with punch lines. In fact, the very first dream I recorded was worthy of Henny Youngman (or maybe Henny Youngman on acid): “Man gets off an airplane in Israel, carrying a pair of pants from the cleaner’s over his arm. But they won’t let him enter the country till he has the pants circumcised!”

I wrote down many dreams, short and long, over the years, and some of them of course were Baba dreams. Here are a few of the short Baba dreams that I read out at the Center today. Everyone loved the one about the apes. I’ve added a few more to the list, which begins with the Ridiculous and moves on to the Sublime:

If everyone were a Baba-lover, there might be too many people putting shellfish back in the water.

I yelled “Baba” at a dog to stop it, but that made it come to me.

It is the future, and, with great emotion, people are hugging the chair that Meher Baba once sat in. They also hug copies of God Speaks—instead of reading it!

I am going to a meeting of the local Meher Baba group. I make up a joke and plan to tell it there:

Q: What should be done to the enemies of Meher Baba?

A: They should be rounded up and hugged at dawn.

I find an old, worn brown wallet. Inside there are many old sepia photos. Each one has a man in it who almost resembles Baba. There’s enough of a lack of resemblance to make me doubt and wonder—yet why on earth would anyone have photos of someone who was NOT Baba?

A group of people are on an international bus. I am at the front and see the crazed driver heading straight for a brick wall. I start to scream “Baba,” assuming I will be the only one, but to my surprise behind me there are choruses of “Baba!” from the international crowd, showing that there were Baba-lovers on the bus and I hadn’t even realized it. The bus miraculously does not crash into the wall.

I enjoyed a kind of prophetic dream phrase as I was waking up: "A culture-defying world unitive." It seemed to be the tail end of a dream in which the question was asked of how Baba was going to solve the world's problems. And the answer: with a unifying force so compelling in its essential truth that people would instantly abandon their cultural biases and differences.

Seated before Baba, I peel an orange the size of a globe of the earth and carefully pull off all the little strings and bits of white pith, without damaging the surface of the fruit or losing any of the juice. I solemnly present it to Baba with two hands, and he takes it with two hands.

In my dream I had a vision or powerful realization that everything was just as Baba had planned it, all the way to his next advent. It was pictured symbolically as a very long dirt road through a green landscape in bright sunshine — going straight to its destination. There was a sense of, "What a shame — He worked so hard making it perfect — infinitely painstaking work for which He had to undergo the agony of human form — and here we are, praying for it to be different, complaining about it, worrying about it, wishing things were otherwise . . . so few to appreciate His gift.

I have been sent as a representative of the Great Apes to tell Meher Baba, on behalf of these mute creatures, how much the gorillas and other apes love him. Baba embraces me and I pass on the message as my head lies warmly against his chest. The next day I am called back to receive a gift: Baba brings out several photos of his favorite baby apes, smiling to encourage my appreciation of their cuteness. He beams proudly while looking at their portraits. [See marvelous artwork by Anne Giles below that seems to echo this dream.]

I dreamed this: Each one goes to Baba on His arm. He escorts you to Himself.

I actually did have some lucid dreams over the years. In one of them, I was at one of the annual Northeast Gatherings for Meher Baba, and I was carrying the sadra, a long white garment that Baba wore, which had been given to our group by Mehera. We had a special carrying case for it, and it was a bit heavy since the sadra was in a handmade wooden box. In the dream I was headed for a cabin up ahead, but suddenly I became lucid and I realized, “Hey! This is a dream, so I don’t have to carry this heavy sadra bag over to that cabin—I can just be there instantly!” And so I was.

Jai Baba.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kendra, I enjoyed reading about your dreams. Having never seen Baba personally, in this lifetime, I am always touched when I get to see him in dreams, and I enjoy the Baba dreams of others. Jai Baba!

All quotes of Meher Baba © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust unless otherwise indicated. Writings by Kendra are © Kendra Crossen Burroughs unless otherwise noted.