Sunday, October 12, 2008

Still searching . . .

The last couple of weeks I haven't had any memorable dreams, perhaps because I've been living in unfamiliar places, first the yoga center and then the room at Flavor's. I've now been back the Dragon for two nights and have only fragmented memories of dreams.

But when I first got here, I had a series of dreams that were amazingly consistent in imagery and theme - searching for something in a marketplace, being separated from Mutsumi, having to go to a higher place, cultural disorientation, and frustration with an unfulfilled quest.

The first such dream was in Thanguan, sleeping next to the temple in a room made of stone held together with clay mortar and roofed with beams of raw logs covered in thatch. My feet hung over the wooden frame bed made for the short statured Nepalis. In my dream I found myself far away in North Carolina, a state I have visited on a couple occasions, but not one I know a lot about, nor have any great aspiration to visit again. But there I was in North Carolina in a large shopping mall. I was alone and I was looking for something that had been left in a coin locker. I don't know what was in the locker, nor why I needed to find it, but I went round and round the mall looking high and low. I never found anything and woke up feeling exhausted and frustrated.

The next night I was back in Boudanath, in my room at the Dragon Guest House, the same one I occupied last year, the one that now seems like “my” room in Kathmandu. And in my dream I again found myself in a shopping mall, this time in Japan, in what I believe was Canal City, an American-designed mall in Fukuoka city. I was with Mutsumi to see a movie. The theatre was on one of the upper levels and so we began searching for an elevator, a task that proved exceedingly difficult. We found one, but it didn't work. So we kept searching. Somewhere along the way I was separated from Mutsumi and alone I found at last an elevator that worked and that could take me to the appropriate floor. But when I got there I couldn't find the theatre. I asked someone in a uniform, a black man whom I took for one of the custodial staff (the scenery seems to have shifted to an American mall), but he didn't know where I could find it. In fact, he said the theatre had closed and moved to a new location. And that's the last I remember about that dream, except for the lingering sense of frustration at not being able to get to where I wanted to go.

Two nights later I was again in Japan. Mutsumi and Treya (a new friend from this summer) and I were searching for a wedding gift for Narumi (who was married a couple of years ago). We looked in shopping arcades, a large discount warehouse and a department store. We were on a deadline and had to be at the wedding within an hour. I was becoming anxious and panicky. At this point I asked a clerk where I could find designer or personalized kitchen ware. I was looking for unusual hashi. He took me (Mutsumi and Treya were off somewhere else) to an escalator, after which I had to ride a monorail-like convenience on which I met a 30-something Japanese man who spoke to me in rapid Japanese. When he saw I couldn't catch what he was saying, he switched to a lightly accented English and asked how I got into radio. At this point it was just the two of us but afterwards we found ourselves in a car (still traveling on the train) with 8 or 10 young Japanese men. One of them asked if the fellow I was talking to was the DJ Jeff from the FM station something-or-other and when he replied in the affirmative there were handshakes and high-fives all around for this Japanese Jeff. We arrived at our destination and all these people disappeared as I went in search of hashi. I was in a residential area that had developed a small retail quarter specializing in handmade products. I remember searching through the shops, and then waking up, again tired and frustrated.

Since then I can remember only fragments of dreams that play out the major theme of being frustrated in trying to carry out a task. I feel fortunate to remember these three so clearly, nice snapshots sent up from the unconscious. Now if I could only get a grip on what it is that I am looking for.



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