The Rope and the Snake

I responded to a dear friend who asked a question about the messy human experience and how I experience it. After I wrote my response it seemed it might be worthwhile sharing with a few edits.

When the dream is known to be a dream — think of the rope and snake analogy* (see below) — a shift takes place in the dreamed character — life is not the snake anymore; it is the rope. The dream character continues living the dreamed life, perhaps felt more deeply (as it is here) or not. I cannot say what it is like for you or any other. I can only report on the weather from here.

The dreamed character is still impacted by acts of hatred and ignorance but not in the same way. I feel life from within, not without. The world lives within me. I feel life’s electrical energy more than I ever have, not just mine but all of life. I feel more sadness than anger, more compassion than frustration and if I am to do something, I will know.

Yes, it still appears as if I do stuff, just like in your nighttime dreams.

Often for me, that is to write, but sometimes it is to volunteer or donate to help those in pain. I also feel love more deeply. It seems like I cry at the drop of a hat. The reality of the dream is very real — it is a very real dream, sensual, primal, palpable.

Does that make it somehow less. No. Here, it makes it precious beyond imagining. That there is anything here at all is a miracle. That there is this experience of a world, and such a marvel of life is beyond words.

I am incredibly enamored of the dream. It offers delights and sorrows, the full range of emotions and sensations. I feel curiously alive for I am aware that I am aliveness itself.

At times the electrical energy surging through this body makes me wonder if this body can stand the surges, if I will die soon … and then I remember, this body is the dream. It can withstand anything until this particular dream ends.

*Rope and Snake analogy (my version) — it’s 3am in the morning and you walk into the bathroom. On the way in the dark, you trip on what you believe to be a snake. Your blood pressure shoots skyward and you jump up on the nearby chair while issuing a blood curdling scream. You stretch your arm barely reaching the light switch and flip it on, not wanting to look, really not wanting to see the snake. Because you know you must, and for no other reason, you slowly open your tightly closed eyes — squinting so you can shut them quickly at any movement. You look down, your heart pounding, and see the rope that you tripped over. In that moment there is no need to find the snake, to catch the snake, to fear being bitten, to resist the snake, to scream about the snake. The snake is a rope. All reference points called snake drop.

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