The blameless vestal’s lot…


One of the best movies I have ever seen; concept, execution, style, and dialogue all-inclusive; is ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. The title intrigued me, from the first I heard it, despite never having read the poem prior to the movie’s release. I love the idea that each character continues to make the same mistakes, once s/he has erased the memories of those particular failures. This very specific message about how important our mistakes are in the human learning process, however, is not what inspired me to write, today. As I watched Joel Barish chase his lover through his brain in an effort to preserve these lost memories of their affair, my mind turned to itself.

I’ve started actively trying to lucid dream, recently. I got so good at it, for a minute, there, that I was just writing worlds to romp through in my sleep. The first time I did it, I was watching ‘Inception’ and I wrote the word ‘below’, on my left palm (I’m not a southpaw, you see). I’d always had a hard time recognizing that I was in a dream, so the theory behind writing this word on my hand, was that it wouldn’t be there in my dream, signaling me as to the nature of the dream, itself. It was here, that I realized my problem with lucid dreams. You see, the word was still there. It did serve its purpose, that particular time, in reminding me that I wasn’t conscious; that is, it was still a valuable trigger to make my mind more aware of itself. I think my sub-conscious creates such a naturally detailed and real-feeling dream world, that I had a difficult time differentiating the two existences, and the writing on my hand proved it.

The second time, I did the same thing and, again, the word was still there, in my sleeping state. This time, I dreamed I was creating a mirror world (a suggestion my sub-conscious was perhaps making, concerning multiple, coexisting realities?), and very carefully, wrote ‘below’, with my left hand, in the exact image of the one I’d written earlier, with my right. When I woke up, the word was on both hands and I panicked, for a minute, thinking that I was still asleep. The fact was, I’d slept in the fetal position, palms together, and sweat had imprinted the word ‘below’ in a perfect mirror image on my right hand. Was my sub-conscious mind more aware of my body than my waking mind has ever been? This suggested to me, that our true mind, the one that matters, is the one that runs our dreams. During the day, we’re on autopilot, wading through a mundane world, in our break from the excitement and activity our minds experience in the REM cycle. It was definitely sufficient to make me question my existence, as a whole. There is no objective, observable reality. There is only the creations of our sub-conscious minds, meeting somewhere, in the middle.