I woke up knowing I had been dreaming and that I had been dreaming most of the night. Even though I didn’t remember anything, I knew that some part of me had been actively engaged in some form of mental activity that was not conscious, not part of my “day life.”
As a person who lives in solitude, my dream state, or “night life” is starting to feel like an organic part of me, the day and the night being two parts of a whole. I used to think sleep was a kind of nothingness because I wasn’t doing anything besides laying in bed.
A few days ago my mother admitted, with obvious shame, that when she was in her twenties she used to go back to sleep after my father had gone to work and my brother and I had gone to school. I did not find this surprising as my mother often took naps during the day. During the years when she worked at jobs outside the home, she always had to take a nap after work.
I don’t know if she slept a lot because she was tired or because she simply liked being asleep. For most people, deep sleep is relaxing and invigorating. We are in a very real sense “re-charged” during the time we sleep. During the last thirty years, a big deal has been made about meditation, but in my opinion meditation is just a modified form of sleep. If done properly it facilitates a relaxing state in which the body and mind are calm and receptive to different sensations.
Given that I have always been able to sleep well, and that I now live in solitude, I don’t feel the need to meditate. As I withdraw from worldly activities and indulge in the peacefulness of the forest I live in, I find a different sense of reality emerging. Yesterday, I heard a rustling noise during my walk and saw that it was a young deer. For the past few months, a group of wild turkeys has been cackling joyously as they mingle with their human neighbors. The flowers on my patio, along with the flowers blooming all over the property, make me smile. I saw two big maple trees that are sprouting their winged seeds.
Even though my former condo is skyrocketing in value, I don’t regret selling it. After living there for 19 years, I was ready to move on. It took a year of searching to find the place I am now and it was well worth it. As an introvert I have struggled my whole life to find a quiet, peaceful place to be alone.
It is taking a long time to shrug off the habit of thinking, “What comes next?” Living in a linear society, one gets accustomed to the idea of “the line” having to continue on and on, but nothing in nature does this. In nature, everything is born, blossoms for awhile and dies. Organic life emerges out of nothing and goes back to nothing. But for humans, this nothing seems so frightening and final. No matter how decrepid our bodies become or how horrid our lives are, we want to keep the line going forever.
Even though it’s hard, I am trying to re-define the notion of success. Since I was never successful in the way others define this word, I need to find my inner translator and come up with a new word, or go beyond words altogether. As someone who has lived on words as if they were soul food, I am now tiring of them. I read a novel a few days ago and skimmed through most of it because there were too many words.
At this point in my life I want to ease into a bodily embrace of the world. After taking showers for years I have gone back to taking baths in order to savor the feeling of my body being in warm water. I only go into town to buy groceries or get other things I need.
After calculating my finances the other day, I saw that my commitment to spending less money was successful. By putting a limit on what I allow myself to buy, the buying habit is getting less intense. I am starting to understand why poverty is an integral part of moving out of a worldly life. Since I have never been materialistic, this is probably easier for me than for most, but in America it is hard to get past the idea of “being rich.”
Sitting in silence, I am happy. I spent way too much time trying to get here. One of the reasons I continue to write on this blog is to help people pass over to the silent side, to prove with my own life that this is a good place to be. You don’t have to wade through religion or philosophy, you don’t have to work hard or “practice,” because this is your natural state.