Conscious Dreaming and jacks Genega

The first time I went into to the cave, I was scared. I had never been there before. The crystal covered stalactites dripped lustrous sugar water on to the pools of blush and lilac colored sludge below. It wasn’t a cavern I had ever seen in a magazine or television before. It was certainly a place I could never picture existing. I would occasionally return night after night but sometimes weeks or months would pass before I would return. This dream of my being alone in this metamorphic rock cathedral came during times in my life where I would be riddled with anxieties from work and what felt like hopelessness.

When the cave became more and more familiar, I was able to study it more. I was able to notice that I wasn’t alone. There were animals that would sometimes show themselves. There was a white rabbit, a steer, and an eagle. But there was one animal in particular that always struck me. It was a frog. But it wasn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill green frog with studded skin. He was a glass frog. I could see it’s veins, brain, heart and intestines. It was in one dream in particular that I was aware of my dreaming and I followed the frog. It jumped into the iridescent mud and as I followed I myself turned part frog. My legs were no longer human but somehow they knew what to do. It was as if they had the muscle memory from a previous swim. As I began to glide time began to slow down. I could notice the cool gelatinous mud against my body was nourishing me. I felt alive. I felt rejuvenated. When I got to the other side I was greeted by a man I had never met before…

He was a tall man with long braided brown hair, adorned in various animal hides that covered most of his body. He wore a large bear’s head like a hat and the bear’s skin laid down his back like a cape. His attire was familiar but I couldn’t pinpoint which tribe he was from. I was born and raised in a suburb of a New Jersey, but when I was younger I was fascinated with indigenous cultures, specifically that of North American Native Americans. I could see that he is cupping something in his hands. He tells me to kneel down and he begins to pour a milk-like liquid from his hands on to my neck. Why was he doing this? It was usually at this moment I was so confused that I would wake up with an unsettling feeling of disbelief and confusion. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to learn from this. I didn’t know there was anything to be learned.

The cave, the frog, the man; had all become familiar but I wasn’t sure how to interpret their presence in my dream world. Why can’t I just have normal dreams like flying in to atmosphere or being naked in front of a classroom? At least those dreams are somewhat easier to decipher because they abstract everyday reality. My cave was way more bizarre and fantastic. I couldn’t understand the symbolic interpretation of anything that was a part of this dream. Why a cave? Why am I here? What’s with the see through frog? In my waking life I would ask friends and other peers about their dreams and wondered were they as fragmented as mine? Did they too have dreams of what could only be interpreted as some sort of alien planet?

One weekend in March, I voyaged on the grand MetroNorth train to visit a dear friend in Wingdale, New York. Somehow or another the conversation of dreams come up and I told my friend how I had been struggling with a dream timeline that I just couldn’t grasp the meaning of. Her eyes then opened wide hinting towards what may have been a solution to my problem. She jumped up, her pointer finger began gently grazing along several spines of new and used books in her personal library, and then stopped on a royal blue spine. In a lightweight san serif font it reads “Conscious Dreaming” in uppercase letters. “This!,” she exclaims, “This might help!” I immediately think “Oh, this is pointless,” but I started to read. It was later that weekend that I stumbled along a passage that caught my eye. It was on page 60 and the author, Robert Moss, was recalling a dream he had;

I am taking trains across Holland. At one stop, I ask the other passengers if we had arrived in Nijmegen. They are anxious to help. They tell me we are not in Nijmegen yet; I will know the town by a certain church steeple. I have been to the east, to the sea. I have been in the water fully dressed. My clothes are still drenched, and water is pooling around my feet.” Later he notes, “I had never been to Nijmegen but the name of the town rang a few bells….Nijmegen is also the “twin city” of Albany, New York, near my home.

The reason why this passage struck me was that at that time I was near Albany and one my closest friends was living in Troy, a city just north of Albany. I was also planning on traveling to Holland and would be passing through Nijmegen to go to Well, a town I had lived in for a semester of college. It was then that I knew that there was bizarre synchronistic reason as to why this book fell into my lap. There was no meaning in this synchronistic passage other than that it was a bizarre coincidence, but still, it was a big hook.

Later in the book there was a chapter on Shamanic Dreaming. I had taken a class with the Foundation of Shamanic Studies and had very limited knowledge of shamanic journeying and animal encounters, but I never thought to apply the exercises I learned to a dream. Moss writes:

To make contact with an animal guardian, they might be asked to picture a passage leading down into the earth, like a cave or tunnel or an animal’s burrow...In dreaming cultures, you are encouraged to explore your personal relationships with other guardian animal and birds. They may come to you in dream as messengers or helpers. They may reveal themselves during a vision quest, or through an unusual encounter in nature. These connections are important. They are apart of your power.

“A cave!” I thought. How peculiar that a cave was being mentioned in this very book that I was reading. Also, should I now interpret this glass frog as a guardian animal? And the bear? What was I supposed to learn from these creatures? Was I to take a leap? A leap where? A million unanswered questions were swirling around in my brain and I was still at a huge loss for how to interpret this dream. I am not a fast reader, although a 350 page book may take some people just a day, it took me a couple of months. I would take time from my hectic schedule and planned nights at home to immerse myself amongst the pages in hopes of finding answers to my questions. I have a very hectic work life, and I tend to have a hectic social one as well. It was unusual for me to dedicate my attention to chapters when I normally bury myself in cocktails. But on top of my dream questions, I also had other worries that kept me from stumbling into a bar every night. I was constantly exhausted and was gaining weight at a very abnormal rate. It was becoming increasingly hard to get out of bed in the morning let alone with a hangover. So instead of my normal routine of work hard play hard I chose to saturate myself in the dreaming text.

On page 162, Moss writes about his own dream,

“In one conscious dream, an enormous standing grizzly caught me up in his embrace, danced with me, and showed me that we were joined at the heart. We swapped skins. He showed me how to locate entry points for disease within the human energy field, and how to work on repairing them.”

It was then I began to determine that my dream wasn’t just a fantasy but there may lie a diagnosis. Moss is writing about a bear teaching him about disorders. Perhaps the man in the bear headdress in my dream was doing the same.

“Dreams quite frequently suggest specific courses of treatment for different complaints. These may involve lifestyle changes, conventional medical treatments, alternative remedies, or soul work that addresses the hidden sources of the disease.”

Later that year I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. It’s a condition where your thyroid gland, located in your neck, doesn’t produce certain important hormones and can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and even depression. Alas, I had found the answers to my dream. The man in the animal cape was a dream healer warning me that I need to take care of what was in my neck. I wish I had this book sooner in my life because then maybe I would have known how to prevent the disease.

But what about the frog? Where did he fall into this synopsis? The frog was a teacher in a different way. It was the frog who taught me how to slow down and begin to nourish myself. Which is exactly what I did when reading this book.

“Pay attention to any chance encounters; they may not only shed light on your question but may actually hold the solution to your problems. Once you decide to work with coincidence, you invite new energy patterns into your life. You not only observe events in a new way; you actually draw events and people toward you in a way that is different from before.

If you fail to spot anything unusual or significant, if your life trundles on its old grooves, maybe this will help you to see the root of your problem. Keep putting out a welcome mat, as you did when you resolved to catch and work with your dreams. Now you have invited in the power of synchronicity, it will speak to you, at the proper time.

Remember that within the frame of your question, anything the world gives you may be the answer.” - Robert Moss

So I have this theory that books find us — that they are accomplices rather than inanimate objects in our life-long learning adventure.


I’ve come to think this way because the books that have shifted my way of looking at reality, the ones that have changed my life, have made their way to me in often serendipitously, synchronistically, and yes even magically, movie-scene-worthy ways. 

I find these origin stories to be pointedly poignant prologues to the knowledge gifted to me through the titles they proceed. 

#HowBooksHappen is a vessel to collect the stories of how inspiring books and the people that were inspired by them found each other, so that they can in turn find you.

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