"Charles . . ." An unknown voice whispers to him as the darkness of closed eyes gives way to openness and light. 'What is that voice,' he thought, 'I've never heard anything like that.' The tone was smooth, low, compassionate, wise, and unavoidably irresistible to heed. "Hello?" uttered Charles. "Who are you? What is this place?"
The keeper of this ethereal voice responds: "I am you . . . in a sense. Perhaps best described as the voice within which you have been without. And this place . . . it is also within. You are dreaming, Charles . . . this is an experience of your mind." Charles pauses for a moment, feeling a cool, gentle breeze and warm, soft sunlight, soon beginning to peer around groggily. As he surveys his surroundings with a more clearly defined awareness, he can see from himself to a gleaming horizon in every direction, miles upon miles of graciously flat land generously coated in beautiful, swaying clovers, one outrageously tall, thick, undefinable species of tree with roots so perfectly grounded that they are imperceivable from above the surface, and just a short distance from that tree, in four symmetrically fixated positions, stand rock-like stonehenge structures adorned with, or perhaps entirely composed of, the unmistakable sheen of pure gold. Beautifully energetic, emotional feelings of appreciation began coursing through his body. 'This is amazing. I've never bore witness to such amazing sights. I've never existed in a place so surreal and serene, so graceful and gorgeous, so personal and private, so-' He paused at the thought, somewhat unsettled at the remembrance of some soothing yet unidentifiable voice. "Where are you? I'd feel much more comfortable if I could see you."
The voice floods back into his awareness: "More comfortable if you could see some aspect of yourself in this thought-place? How quaint. I shall put it to you simply: As of now, you've simply come to think of me as only a voice. Have faith in my possession of form, and I will appear at exactly the place you find me to be." Perhaps a bit shaken by the bizarre nature of his experience, Charles reservedly begins to think of a snow-white owl perched in the grand tree, "No, not in the tree," he whispered to himself. 'On a perfectly comfortable pedestal at the base of the tree. Yes, that would do.' As Charles begins to make his way toward the tree, which appears to be only about one hundred yards or so away, he begins to feel excitement welling up within himself, 'it's not every dream you get to speak to an owl. This should be interesting,' he thinks as he giggles internally, although genuinely intrigued. In spite of all his excitement, Charles makes his way to the centerpiece tree very leisurely, noticing that leaves seem to be changing their hue. As he walks upon the field lush with dancing clovers, he notices that there are more four-leaf sprouts than three, and as he walks through one of the four rough-surfaced, golden stonehenges, there seems to be no evidence of the three-leaf variety. 'Huh.. Must be a lucky place.' There was a sudden yet subtle feeling of ease that came over Charles as he passed through the crude doorway of precious metal. He wanted so desperately to hold onto that feeling, but it had gone as quickly as it came. It was naught but a memory now, "what solace . . ." he spoke quietly.
"One of the great beauties of a peaceful dream . . . is that we're often absent-minded of all such things that worry us so in our waking life." Remembering suddenly that he had still not seen a source of voice, Charles realized that the voice now seemed more outside of him than before. Slowly moving around to the opposite side of the tree, which now had leaves of a translucent and icy-white appearance with veins that spread from the center and resembled snowflake-like patterns, he observed the progressive reveal of a large ornate, marble pedestal with very few broken lines in the pattern akin to ink floating on top of cold milk, and upon this masterwork sat a regal, similarly-colored owl with a sensationally intense gaze coming from brilliant blue eyes as piercing as the voice it projects. The owl's pattern was broken but precise, appearing as though a careful portion of the tip of every feather was dipped into permanent black ink, and the conglomeration of darkened feather tips blending into one another as the owl's wings lay at rest looked as if black, curved, dotted lines were layered upon the white. "S-sorry, my mind has gone blank," Charles stammered, realizing he may have been lost in admiration for an inappropriate period of time.
"It is of no consequence . . . better to be clear of mind for the experiences you're to undertake in this dreamscape."
"What experiences? What do you mean?"
"Experiences of potentiality. For some reason or another, be it out of necessity, readiness, desperation, or any other reason at all, you have willed yourself into having a dream such as this in which you will be allowed to experience different areas of abundance that can make life seem much easier to enjoy. However, when you awaken, nothing of your physical reality will have undertaken an obvious shift. As you are to understand it, this dream should serve as an example of what is possible and why your waking life is less than comfortable."
He scoffed, "Less than comfortable, you say? Besides this crazy dream, I'm miserable. I constantly have aches and pains in my knees and back, the doctors recommend surgery I can't afford." Charles begins to follow the waves of anger generating from his ranting and continues: "Hell, I can barely afford seeing the doctors because I have a dead-end manual labor job -- no benefits, no overtime, no vacation, and I'm just not compensated well enough for how hard I work! I'll never have the time for a partner, and even if I did it would all fall apart anyway. I don't own a house, my car is junk, I'm always in a terrible mood, I'm uncomfortable with my own body, I feel drained of energy and motivation all the time, and-- just who would want to be with someone like me?"
"Do you realize that, until you were remembering all of the things that are bothering you, you weren't upset? At that moment, you escaped from this pleasant and calm experience and allowed your thoughts and emotions to pull you into prior moments of experience, yet none of those experiences are happening this very moment. You may not realize it just yet, Charles, but you chose to leave this place a moment ago. You opted to mentally vacate this place, of which you have been in awe, in wonder, and in which you were at peace. You left here to bring the woes past and worries ahead into the present just to match what you're used to feeling, and affirmed everything you do not enjoy that has become routine. You inhabited the role of a participant of your own negativity. It is time to break from the routine, Charles . . . there is another option: you can observe your thoughts and feelings before you engage with them, and then choose whether you believe they will bring about the sort of experience you wish to have."
He recoiled at the harsh reality of what the owl said of him but did see some truth in what was spoken. Charles stayed silent for several moments as he struggled to accept responsibility and reconcile with his outburst, and the nocturnal creature of wisdom began to speak once more: "Is it not wiser . . . to experience some sense of gratitude for everything that you do have, the good things you can remember, and the great things that have been yours or are already yours that were simply let go or have not been claimed yet, and let yourself choose those experiences of thoughts and feelings instead? Charles . . . I bequeath these notions to you assuredly: there was a time when you were fit, athletic, flexible, and energetic, a time when you had love and embraced it without fear, a time when you were provided with all you needed and wanted for nothing, and a time when you were at complete contentment with life just as it was. This dream . . . it is a call to arms of the light within you which has grown so dim that you've been pulled into a fiercely vivid and lucid attempt to wake yourself up again to the potential for magnificence in this life."
The subtle authority of this insightful strigiform brought a stillness over Charles which seemed to send him into a contemplative coma, deeply absorbed in his own thought. 'I do remember feeling less fragile, more loving, provided for, and generally just happy. It's just not that simple, though . . . all those things, those feelings, they happened so long ago-' He remembered something his mother used to tell him in his youth: "It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all." 'To think, after all this time, some wise old snow owl would finally help me to understand what my mother told me actually meant.' He broke himself away from thought to offer a response to the perched personality: "So, you mean to tell me to appreciate the feeling of being in love and living through the pain of losing it because it's better than never having loved in the first place?"
The keen eyes and intuition of the predatory beast recognized the break Charles had experienced in his thoughts and how he immediately followed that thought with an incorrect assumption. "While that is a proper assessment of an old adage, no. What you are here to learn is the benefit of being intentional with which thought-feelings you observe and which thought-feelings you participate in. Consciousness that focuses on and participates in the nightmares it has observed, is observing, or will observe only draws the nightmares closer. Consciousness focused on itself shall see itself. Do you suppose, then, Charles . . . that your focusing on affirming positive thought-feelings on abundance, appreciation, love, happiness, and feeling at peace may bring those things about, and perhaps, that your own choices, your lack of intentional thought, or your consistent focus on affirming your negative perspective is what brought your current life situations upon you?"
"I suppose . . ." he murmured.
"We are not meant to take the blame for our pasts. Assume we did the best we could in any situation, including choices made when we knew we were wrong. We are, however, responsible for ourselves in every present moment, and we can choose to accept that responsibility and strive to do better, think better, and feel better with each passing moment."
Charles felt somewhat comforted by the words of his feathered friend and perhaps more understood than he ever had before. He suddenly rolls his eyes at the thought that he is essentially showing compassion to himself before addressing his guide. "You mentioned some experiences I was to undertake?"
The wings of the snowy owl expand fully and return almost to rest as the nameless neighbor leans forward to inspect Charles more closely. "Indeed. Very well, then. Each of these large golden stonehenges possess a uniquely powerful emotion that can prove quite useful with intentional thought. The feelings you can experience by moving under them are ones you've let go of so long ago that you can hardly remember what they felt like at all. You may stay under each one as long as you wish, but once you pass back through the 'solace' as you called it, you will awaken. Upon this pedestal will be left a little black book and pen similar to those by your bedside. You are encouraged to detail your emotions and imagined scenarios as you experience each memory of feeling, and recall and rewrite all you can remember from this dream to the best of your ability after your awakening . . . Good luck, Charles, and goodbye." As the last vibration from the sound of wisdom ceases, the leaves of the massive, lonesome tree recolorize and glow with the orange light of a new dawn, and the blue-eyed, black and white form collapses and reshapes into the binding and pages of a more familiar form and a brilliant blue pen lying neatly arranged atop the marble masterwork.
'So which is which,' Charles wondered as he moved to retrieve the journal. As he begins to inspect the inside of this little black book, he realizes that there is already a small passage of neatly written text: "You've come from the South, and navigated here, passing through the gate that emanates within the beholder Stillness in the Silence of Soul. The other three structures bring forth Happiness in the Home of Health, to the North, Light in the Life of Love, to the West, and Peace in the Possibility of Prosperity, to the East. The order in which you choose to experience these is inconsequential. What is of critical importance is that you accept and live in the momentary reality without any modicum of resistance." Charles carried out the task laid before him with the utmost sincerity, and dutifully recorded his experiences of each lasting emotional effluence. The excerpts that came into being by his hand upon awakening read as shown:
"I was invigorated by each passing moment under the sheening golden henges, I felt and imagined things I didn't think were possible anymore. Things that were pure, untainted, forgotten.. I've been blinding myself from the truth of myself. That I can feel without having and think without being, and, in doing so, I can have what I felt and become what I thought.
Happiness in the Home of Health
I didn't spend much time with this one, but in it I was incredibly happy. I was at home within my body. I looked exactly how I wanted to look when I looked in the mirror. I felt exactly how I wanted to feel when I felt what it felt like to move. I imagined exercising. It was effortless. It was easy. I was perfect.
New daily intentional thoughts and feelings: I am incredibly happy. I am at home within my body. I am healthy. I look exactly how I want to look. It feels effortless and easy to move around. I am perfect.
Checkup: What was interesting about this to me is that when I started to intentionally feel better about the way I looked it actually motivated me to exercise, and, when I did, I felt great. When I look at my face in the mirror now, I find it hard to tell whether my face has actually changed or whether it's simply my intentionality that leads me to think I look more attractive. It seems that focusing on how I wanted to look, and how I knew I could look, in a state of happiness either changed the way I appeared to myself or inspired the actions I needed to take to appear as I wanted.
Light in the Life of Love
I spent what must've been a very long while here. It felt like I was glowing with pure love as if I was love itself. I imagined so many of my familial and romantic relationships in the emanation of this henge. I experienced so much compassion, joy, forgiveness, understanding, and generosity. I imagined a woman of infinite beauty and unknowable form who fiercely and fearlessly reflected back to me every feeling I had in that love-state. I imagined successfully mending broken relationships that I never would've thought could be fixed, mostly out of either fear or stubbornness.
New daily intentional thoughts and feelings: I am lovable, loving, and loved. I am love. The light of my love is a beacon to others. I deserve to be loved. I am compassionate. I am forgiving. I am understanding. I am joyful. I am generous. My ideal woman is not defined by her form. My ideal woman reflects lovingness in kind. I can rebuild my personal relationships with ease.
Checkup: Carrying thoughts of compassion, love, forgiveness, understanding, generosity, and joy throughout my days has not only helped to restore some tattered old friendships, but it also improved nearly every acquaintanceship with coworkers, customer service representatives, and friends of friends. Some people just won't accept love from a stranger, but that's their choice. I've seen that it's not up to me to choose what someone else wants to feel, and persisting only causes resistance. It is sometimes discouraging when I feel like my willingness to show love to anyone is underappreciated, but I've found a wonderful woman that tends to remind me of the nicety of such a quality much faster than I remember to remind myself. Life is brighter with a strong focus on the people and things that I love.
Peace in the Possibility of Prosperity
I didn't take too much time with this one, but I probably did stay a bit longer than in the health one. This was great. I do remember a time when I was younger, and though I never lived an affluent lifestyle by any means, I had no worry for money. I had that feeling here, too. I didn't lack anything I needed, and I could afford anything I wanted. There was peace of mind with regards to all financial costs. I imagined myself with $20,000.00 of sudden, unexpected income. I'm not sure I would've imagined the same things if I hadn't already spent so much time influenced by the henge of love, but, thinking about what I would do with that much money, I couldn't help but to gravitate toward the idea of moving back closer to home, enjoying the opportunity to visit a few scattered friends and family while looking a more satisfying and high-paying job, and helping loved ones that may need it with their financial worries for nothing in but alleviation of their worries in return. I imagined the possibility of peace and prosperity for everyone.
New daily intentional thoughts and feelings: I have all the money I need. I can buy anything I want. There is more than enough money to go around. Life is abundant for everyone. Anything is possible. There are many flows of income. My financial situation is a peaceful one. I live a life of prosperity.
Checkup: Just like with my health checkup, when I began to think and feel what it would be like to have more than enough money to afford necessities and luxuries I became more obligated to look for and act on opportunities that would draw that sort of abundance into my life. Amazingly, within months at my job, where I was all but expressly told during the hiring process that there was no chance of a raise, I received two raises in one month. Not one, two. But there's more: a notice in the mail with a check attached stating that I overpaid on my taxes from two years ago. It wasn't a terribly large check, as it was only for state taxes, but still.. That's abundance, and things are still changing and drawing closer and closer to the peaceful state of financial security I've been focused on.
Stillness in the Silence of Soul
Here.. I have no idea how long I stayed here. Here, I think I felt it all, and it felt like nothing. I was purely being, I don't know that I knew or felt anything. I'm not sure if I was unaware of my own awareness, or my awareness was unaware of me. It wasn't until I woke up this morning that I could really describe it at all. When I awoke I remembered, in that stillness, I was only right there but I was everywhere at once, I didn't know what I knew but I knew everything unknown, and nothing was meaningful until it was given meaning. My soul was present in the silence of mind and stillness of form. All was calm, collective, and harmonious. This was what I think of as the purity of infantile awareness, where nothing of falsities had been absorbed into the mind.
Thoughts and feelings I could do daily but don't ponder on too heavily because it's just too much: I am infinite. I coexist with vibrational differences of energetic form. I share a connection to everything. I am not me, my thoughts are not me, and the observer of my thoughts is not me, but I can compartmentalize as such to keep things simple and easier to understand.
Checkup: I'm well, I'm grounded, and my identity is in check. I have found thoughts of the sort to effectively take me out of my typical thought pattern which can be useful when some new object of distress is particularly bothersome. Sometimes it's helpful for me to think about how everything works to the benefit of itself, and when I'm faced with a difficult situation I just try to accept it immediately and trust that one or many people or things, in some way, will benefit, and focus on that positive outcome. As nice as it is to remember that stillness and it's qualities during times of meditation, it's yet another reminder for me to be thankful that I am alive and able to shift my awareness and enjoy unique experiences whether they're initially deemed good or bad. I think it's all about subjective selective perspective."