Do you ever have flying dreams? I do. I love them, they are my very favourite dreams; but I don't have them often enough. I have a few flying dreams that I remember very vividly, and probably always will. One of them is particularly filmic, and involves me flying through an electrical storm looking something like Neo in the Matrix, wearing a long leather coat, and just being generally very cool. There are people pursuing me in the dream, and I end up shooting lightning out of my fingertips at them. It's a cracking dream, but I've only had it once (though I often think about it when I'm awake) and would dearly love to dream it again. Other flying dreams I've had have had much less of a story. I always begin the flying dream not knowing that it will be a flying dream. I'm usually running, and laughing - I think it's necessary to be in a happy place to have one of my flying dreams. Then the running turns into jumping, and in my dream I say to myself something along the lines of '*gasp* this is it! I'm going to fly, I'm really going to fly this time!!' and I truly believe that I am awake and am really going to fly. Often at that point I wake myself up by having a conscious thought, damn! But if I'm very lucky I will stay asleep, and the dream will build. The jumping gets higher and higher, and feels something like being on a trampoline, except that I stay suspended in the air for just that little bit too long and the ground doesn't give beneath my feet when I land. After a few leaps on the spot I start to move with the jumps, and jump further and further, higher and higher, until I just decide to stay in the air. It's an unbelievable feeling, it's so real to me. I know what it's like to fly, I'm sure of it! (Alright, I know that I don't really; I'm sure a human body would not feel weightless as I do in a dream, I'm sure it would feel very heavy actually.) Then the flying begins in earnest, and I'm away. I don't really know where I fly, it's not about the scenery in my dreams - though it is beautiful, rolling hills and patchwork fields and all that, inspired by the scenery around where I live, undoubtedly - it's about the feeling of flying, I get completely lost in the sensations that my body 'experiences'. I can feel the air stroking my skin, always warm. I know every part of my body, and can feel the affect that any tiny movement of the foot or the hand has on the direction I am travelling through the air. It's blissful, tranquil, yet thrilling at the same time. I have no fear of falling, no fear of being seen, no fear at all. It's what I would hope would happen to us after we die, to be allowed an eternity to explore and to see everything we were not able to see when we were alive.
Always, when I wake up from these dreams, I am disappointed that it was only a dream. But I smile to myself, snuggle back down under the covers and try to get back to it; I never dream it again after I've woken up. But in the morning I feel tremendously uplifted. In the Books of Pellinor that I talked about a few entries ago, one of the central characters, Hem, is plagued by nightmares and fears that prevent him from achieving restful sleep. But for a few blissful nights he is visited by a kind of spiritual being that allows him to rest and sleep peacefully for a few hours in safety and without fear. My flying dreams are like this. I don't have the nightmares and such that Hem has, but the flying dreams have such a restorative quality that I feel healed afterwards. Amazing.
But you know what else? I can fly when I'm awake now! Oh yes, I really recommend it. I once got frustrated at the lack of flying dreams - I haven't had one for a good couple of years, at least - so I decided to just lie down and see if I could imagine flying one night. It was good! If I want to I can feel the size of the world. I can see the whole of the shape of it, and feel exactly how big it is in relation to me. I can sense every person moving about on it, I can sense every mammal, insect, bird, fish, flower and tree. I can move about the Earth if I want to. I can think of any country that I might want to take a look at and in a moment I'm there. I can hang suspended over vast sprawling cities, empty deserts, steaming jungles and craggy rock faces. I can fly in close and stand next to people, see their faces in glorious detail, every beautiful wrinkle and blemish, and they don't know I'm there. I can see everything, and I'm awake.
Now, don't be worrying about me! I am not mad. I do know that it is not real, that I am imagining everything inside my tiny brain. But it's real to me at the time, and it's important to me, something that I love to do from time to time. I feel rather like Professor Xavier when I do this, touching minds! But it's not just about people. I first started doing this when I bought a postcard of a satellite picture of the Earth. I'm in love with our world, and I want to see as much of it as I can, and while I can't see it in reality, the next best thing is to imagine it. I don't think I'm meditating, because I don't really know how to do that - although, we have a Buddhist centre in Lancaster, and I'd love to visit that and just learn how to empty my mind and achieve a sense of clarity or a while. But I think my waking dream flying is probably something like meditation. It's an absolute joy to me anyway, and I just thought I'd share it with you.
It was Robbie Williams on the radio that made me think of these things this morning, 'How do you rate the morning sun... I drove to places you have seen...' Those lyrics made me remember my flying.