Lucid Dreaming

6 Sep

I do believe I just had my first lucid dream.

In the dream, I worked at a theater, and the play that night was Rigoletto. I had never seen it before. I was in the lobby or some such place, standing behind about five rows of empty red velvet chairs with rounded backs. A few staff members hovered around. An older woman with authority stood nearby. I turned to her and asked, “Is it OK if I just sneak in and find a seat? Are there enough seats left?”

She equivocated. She said, “I’m not sure that’s appropriate,” even though it was appropriate at every previous theater I’ve worked at. She got distracted by someone and turned away, so I sneaked off and headed for the auditorium. The theater looked a lot like Powell Hall: lots of white and gold paneling, and lots of red velvet.

Next I was in the back of the orchestra level and saw many empty red velvet seats underneath the balcony. Eric Gaston (jerk!) appeared and asked me, “Where are you sitting?” I looked around and said, “I’m thinking over there,” indicating the group of at least twelve empty seats to my right. “It looks like there are plenty of available seats.” I think we were whispering, since the show was about to start. I led the way, wishing I didn’t have to sit with this jerk, and I picked a red seat. He chose the seat next to it, which was faded and had a torn seat. Though I felt aversion toward him, we behaved civilly toward each other. He even seemed happy to have my company.

Soon, strangely, I was standing rather than sitting, and I was right up close to the stage. There was a roughly constructed wall with a cut-out door right in front of me—a one-level, plain white wall made of chipboard or some such flimsy material. Beyond this wall, I saw a staircase rising. In front of the wall were a few people, I think actors, males in black evening dress. I felt excited and privileged to be this close to the stage. An actor went through the primitive DIY door, and I followed.

Next I was climbing the staircase. It was a pale color, almost white—actually, I would say off-white or ecru. Here and there people stood on steps, people in elegant evening clothes, such as a 1930s pale green satin gown. Up above hung larger-than-life cupids or pootis, one to the right and one to the left, at the top of the stairs and hovering just above the stairs. Everything was remarkably vivid and real, or so I thought (even though now that I’m awake, I don’t remember hearing my feet pounding on the steps).

On the stairs, I thought, “This is a very vivid dream!” and kept moving forward of my own choice. I’ve never had an experience like that while dreaming—I actually knew it was a dream and mentally commented on this. But then I was afraid the dream would end because I figured out it was a dream; normally if I realize it, then I wake up. But that didn’t happen.

Next I was backstage. While the opera continued in the background, I was with a few people or observing a few people who were backstage, literally backstage—directly behind the stage and scenery. Here were many of those flimsy walls, but they were covered with old, faded wallpaper. I was following around and observing a couple of men who were attempting to peel away the wallpaper.  I wanted to return to the audience and see the show, but this was no longer a lucid dream, and I didn’t have any choice in the matter. This was frustrating. I was vaguely aware of a mystery or conspiracy going on that had to do with why these two men were sneaking around backstage and scraping away at wallpaper. One of them grabbed a wall from the top (it was quite low) and was doing something to a hinged corner of the wall. I believe that’s when the dream ended, while I was missing the play and suspicious of these two dodgy men backstage.

(Gee, the phrase “two dodgy men backstage” makes me think of sneaky, corrupt politicians. I should analyze this dream. I know that ascending stairs is a positive experience in dreams, like you’re going up in the world, and it’s significant that I had full control of my ascending those stairs.)


I seem to vaguely recall dreaming something about being around people I didn’t want to be around—I think relatives. I also had a dream that took place in an office, with men in suits. But that’s all pretty vague after that last vivid dream.


Another dream finally came back to me, nearly half an hour after I wrote the above.

I was at what I think was supposed to be my parents’ house. My dad was there and wanted to just watch TV. However, Buddhist teachers—including really major ones, such as Pema Chodron—were showing up for a meditation retreat, and I was a combination of excited and nervous about it, while my dad showed no interest whatsoever. Maybe it was a hotel rather than my parents’ house; I don’t think my mother was in the dream.

I remember being in a large room, something like a hotel lobby, and Buddhist monks and nuns in robes (particularly mustard-yellow Theravada robes) arrived, walking along or even gliding along in groups, sort of a line, heading all in the same direction (probably a hallway leading to their rooms). I felt a bit awed and intimidated, with a sense that I’m not worthy and not a good Buddhist.

Later, I was getting anxious for the retreat to begin—it was morning, and the Buddhists would be gathering into a large room before long, perhaps around 9 am. I was in a room with my dad—it looked like the master bedroom at my parents’ house—and he was completely oblivious and indifferent to what was about to occur. He was sitting on the bed, eyes glued to the TV. I felt mildly annoyed at his shallow attitude, and I was pacing and impatient for the gathering to begin.

I think there was another point in the dream in which monks and nuns were walking around in my presence, but I don’t think the dream ever got far enough along for the gathering to actually start. I believe it ended with the anticipation.

I think the dream was contrasting my dad with Buddhism. Buddhism is about being instead of doing, and my dad is about doing instead of being. Around my parents, I feel as though I have to behave like a workaholic, because otherwise they’ll think I’m lazy–and my mother will accuse me of being lazy, as toxic relatives have in the past. I feel pressured to work, work, work, and while I was at their house I had to sneak behind their backs in order to meditate.

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