Center of the Paradox

  • Night time in the city. August, Allen and I are strangers here, travelers caught in between departure and arrival. Someone has kindly offered to put us up for the night by offering a small-domed tent in their side yard. It's an urban neighborhood at the end of a cul-de-sac. The sodium streetlight casts honeycomb shadows through the hurricane fence onto our tent. In need of a particular smoking herb, we make a chance inquiry to a suitable-looking passerby. He says he'll help us and trots down the street to make his own inquiry. Waiting in the cold tent as the appointed hour arrives and departs, we decide to ingest what we do have: psilocybe cubensis. Some time later we emerge from the tent at the sound of footsteps. There stand five surly men, all seven feet tall or taller. Sheepishly we approach only to have five guns drawn in our faces. In blind terror I rush up the stairs of a nearby building. I find myself cornered in a surreal, Victorian laboratory--all pneumatic tubes, Tesla coils and an enormous wood and copper telephone machine with its innards exposed and in pieces as if the technician just stepped out for coffee. With my back pressed to the machine the five thugs approach with cinematic relish. August and Allen are nowhere to be seen. At the moment of death I turn away, face inches from a bright copper bell.

    Then an ear-splitting sound! Miracle of miracles: not gunshots but the clanging bell! After some seconds, I look back towards the thugs and they have disappeared like phantoms. A weird feeling of paranoia descends upon me like a tympani orchestra. Somehow I feel the world is not right--as if I'm bearing the brunt of a cosmic joke. Cautiously I exit the building into a deserted street. As I approach our tent I hear laughter and the pleasant voices of my friends inside. When I pull back the entry flap they greet me and ask where I've been. Speechless, I sit down and gladly accept the smoking pipe offered to me. I just couldn't bring myself to say that I'd fled for my life with gun-toting giants on my heels when apparently it was all a hallucination. I had ingested a psychoactive substance after all.

    Just then a deafening rumble breaks the air and our tent is pitched over violently. Amazingly it continues to roll over and over as if we are caught in an avalanche on a mountainside. This goes on and on--impossibly--until the enclosed space of the tent is filled with our possessions that have fallen from our now-empty backpacks. Books, toothbrushes, CDs, pens and pencils, paper, clothing, flashlights, food, it all spins, breaks, mixes together. I bat it away from my face to breathe and prevent injury even as I am myself tumbling over and over. Then a glorious thing happens. In trying to control the flotsam I feel a strange force on my fingertips, as if there are taut threads connecting them to centers of mass among the debris. In a few seconds I realize I am directly manipulating the cloud of crap with a psychokinetic force emanating in straight lines from my fingers like a puppeteer. It takes me a few more seconds to get the hang of it, by which time August has learned the trick as well. Now all the crap is stabilized, floating in a lump as if we are in zero gravity. The sensation in my fingers is exquisite and highly intuitive. I can run my fingers along the lines of force, sensing exactly the orientation of masses and their trajectories. Perhaps they are more like stiff wires than threads because I push on them to maintain the stability and it feels just like when you balance a broomstick upright on your finger. Except I'm manipulating scores of objects and the force lines merge when they get close together.

    Suddenly we abruptly stop tumbling and gravity reasserts itself as everything falls to the floor. It is silent in the tent. A dawn-gray light diffuses into the space. We look at each other and I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when her house finally lands after riding the tornado, wondering "What the hell the just happened and where the hell are we?" I find I'm having trouble breathing but before I can say anything, August, lying on his back, reports a similar discomfort. I reach out to help him sit up and I finally get a deep breath. August says his condition has passed too. Then over his shoulder I notice the honey-comb shadows on the wall...painted there in purest paradox.

    The camera zooms in on the cell pattern, a shadow now cast by dawn's early light. Now we are looking at the same pattern on the outside of the tent and zooming out to take in the adjacent flower garden, the brownstone house, the quiet street scene. We pan down the street and see early risers walking dogs in the crisp morning air. Puffs of air condensing in front of their faces. Suits with briefcases. An old woman with a bag of bread. The pan stops and we watch the passersby go to and fro before a broad, whitewashed wall. A young girl with a red parasol. Sounds of a waking world. Black credits begin to show on the screen and I rub my eyes, stand and stretch as the movie theatre begins to empty. My heart is beating fast and I feel a kind of euphoria. What a magnificent film! It seemed to capture the thematic mythology of my life perfectly and hinted at an optimistic unfolding of home in the paradox.

  • Night time and I'm in Santa Cruz, walking with a man who says he is going to rob a nearby home. I am an unwilling accomplice. He checks his gun then tucks it back into his belt, walks towards an apartment building. I walk the other way, dreading. Then I see a Rasta friend, Jayan, and raise my hand in greeting. He seems in a hurry and doesn't see me. Clouds of acrid smoke begin to fill the air and military men with machine guns pour into the street shouting at everyone to evacuate the area. I run in the direction they indicate along with other frightened civilians and huddle inside an open building. Soon it is revealed this is only a drill for responding to a terrorist attack. Everything clears and people return to their homes. I follow the sounds of a party and enter a house filled with friendly hippies. Upstairs people are passing around a bong. It looks like they are smoking brown rice. Puzzled, it's explained to me that the rice is a highly potent psychedelic. Someone passes a pipe to me and I take a strong hit, thinking it is only marijuana. I soon get entangled in a strange wiry sculpture in a corner of the room. Turning to others for help they have disappeared into thin air though I still hear their voices as if they are right next to me. The lighting in the room has changed to a soft purple and the furniture is all gone, replaced by wiry sculpture. I realize I must have smoked some of their brown rice and am experiencing the hallucinogenic effects. I speak this out loud, explaining that I can't see anyone and could they please help me out of the room. Someone takes my hand and I can see her: a beautiful south-east Asian girl who shows me her artwork. They are paintings which she has popped out with a tool into three-dimensional surfaces. The details are exquisite and I tell her so. Downstairs my mind seems back to normal and I talk politics with the college students.

School of Dreaming

When August and I had trouble breathing in the first dream, I believe it was because I had twisted myself into a constricting position in bed and was partially blocking my windpipe. It was interesting that August exhibited the same adverse reaction. In dreams, the people you meet are direct reflections of your self. Every aspect of their behavior and personality are in fact aspects of you. This is a lesson not only about your own personality but about your conceptions of those people in your waking life. See my Self Visualization dream log for more about this.

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