This past Thanksgiving, I had the most intriguing dream of my life.
In the first part of the dream, I was explicitly seeking to find “God” by flying to the north pole. I was being pursued by two suited men, who also flew, so this part of the dream was much like “The Matrix”—I would stop at a hotel, think I had lost the two men, but then they would reappear; when I would take off from the hotel, so would they.
Eventually, I came to a dark and stormy section of the ocean, through which I had to pass in order to reach the north pole and find God. I remember becoming aware at this time that I was dreaming, and thinking I was about to wake up, but then thinking, “No, I must push through.” With determination, I stayed asleep and burst through the darkness and storm.
What I burst onto was a strange, mechanical town of debris that had floated through the ocean and somehow recollected in mimetic form. For instance, I saw trolleys atop broken chunks of asphalt, and when the surrounding storm flickered its lightning, these trolleys would catch a spark and move forward an inch—just as though they possessed drivers. Similarly, there were cars that fell into and through stoplights as the debris tilted in the ocean, some with dead bodies inside—so that they looked occupied. Everything looked lived in, but nothing was.
I discovered that there were two people who lived in this oceanic mecca, one of whom was a female bartender. I spoke with her for a while, and she told me that she was the God I sought. But then, she turned into something looking more like a devil; she spat fire at me, red beams shot from her eyes, and I escaped and continued my journey.
The other inhabitant of this city was an old man, one who oversaw a coffee shop.
“The idea of God as a person?” he said, “That’s ridiculous! God isn’t something that could be captured in a person!”
But as I left, I had the uncanny sensation that it had been him.
As with other dreams, I awoke from this one feeling that it had been more than symbolic: it had been a visitation from some power greater than myself. In fact, prior to going to sleep this night, I had said to myself, “I want a sign tonight of where my life is heading,” and this was what occurred. I didn’t like the sexist implications of the female God’s in fact being the devil, but other than that, something about the dream felt deeply true to me: there was the notion that God could not be encapsulated in a single entity, while at the same time knowing that entities contained Godly power; and there was the notion of a quest, the need to push through darkness.
Much has happened since this dream, much that has been relevant to it. For instance, I’ve gotten engaged to the love of my life, and I’ve gone to a retreat where I discovered and accepted myself as a Buddhist. During this latter experience, I found that God can, in fact, be both a person, and not: when I bow to the Buddha, what I intend is submission to a force far greater than a singular person; and yet it is the singular person I bow to, as this is all I can access given my limited nature. (I have written about this phenomenon here.)
More pertinently, I’ve also had a second instance of the above dream, although this second one was short-lived, more of a snapshot. In this second dream, I merely saw myself and others suiting up to take a second rendition of the trip northward, tying up our boots on a field and preparing to fly. In this dream, I saw myself as a leader of the expedition and the others as the followers, though I did not know who they were.
I tried to capitalize on this second dream shortly after having it, contacting friends and suggesting we start a group together in which we conducted weekly spiritual teachings. My idea for the group’s name was The Habitus Collective—whether anyone else liked this name, I don’t know; I’ll admit that my affinity for it was based in part on the humorous coincidence of the acronym THC—but the energy didn’t seem right for the group; there wasn’t clear buy-in, so I decided to disband it.
More recently, I’ve been doing interviews with people about their religions and spiritualities for a graduate study, and it’s here that I can feel the group authentically forming: people are telling me about their experiences with healing, intuition, and the sacred, and in these exchanges, I am finding just how common and universally translatable these experiences are. Something is shifting.
I do not yet know where we are going, but I know that there is a growing confirmation of the experiences we have been told to deny—experiences led by feeling, not fact; and of the higher self, not the mind. For women, they have been chased away from these experiences by a culture that pillages their bodies; for men, the experiences have been diminished through the prioritization of work, a mental achievement that distracts from their capacities as nurturers and healers. Now, though, we seem to be learning that even the mental systems we were presented as holy grail are their own form of intuition, their own form of faith; they too require the cognitive leap, if only to a conclusion that deprives us of autonomy.
Instead, what I am noticing is people reclaiming their autonomy through accepting their experience on its own terms. Instead of saying, “I think, therefore I am,” we are simply saying, “I think,” or “I feel.” There is no need for a “therefore” anymore. There is no need for proof. And in this, there is a kind of power we have long been denied: it is the power of knowing our experience as certifiable and just from within, in lieu of the need for any external authority. We are becoming all of us superheroes, regaining our power of flight.
Dreams have been a big source of intuition and vision for me, and if you sense that they could be for you, too, I suggest asking yourself a question before going to sleep—as I did when I had the first of the above dreams. Ask yourself for guidance, and in so doing, unlock your inner authority, that which simultaneously opens onto the largest source there is. You will not regret having done so; you will have begun to chart the path northward to something called God, knowing simultaneously that this force lives within.