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The summer before my sophomore year we had an exceptionally long visit to Missouri. Mom said it was because of plane reservation issues but I think she really wanted to keep me from spending too much time with my new high school friends. I spent most of the summer under the influence of Castaneda instead.

His books were about silencing the internal dialogue; something I have a lot of. Going through life with deliberate and unbending intent, and doing the best one can in each moment. He advocates learning lucid dreaming as the means to bring about this transformation.

I began to believe that if I could control my dreams then I would also be able to control my overactive immune system. That in the dream space I could acquire some sort of access to the real source of my problem. And that if I could do that, who knows what else I might be able to do. There was no reason to go back to being normal. Curing my disease would be the first step on the way to a life of grander things.

I threw myself into the task of lucid dreaming. I practiced disrupting my perception throughout the day using various methods. Writing down my dreams as soon as I woke up, and willing myself to find my hands in
 my dreams. This was the act that was supposed to trigger me to “wake up” while dreaming. It was not easy to do. Sometimes I would think about looking at my hands for a while, but then not feel the initiative to do it. Like when you know you should shut the tv off and go do some work but you just sit there and watch the next episode of the Simpsons anyway.

I had only one moment of real success in my lucid dreaming efforts. I was standing in the middle of a vast sea with no waves, like a shallow pool. The sky was totally blue with no clouds, and I realized there was no sun. I remembered I was back in my bed and that I was supposed to raise my hands. They felt heavy, but I summoned the will to lift them.

They were just my hands, but they looked awesome in my dream. They were the most beautiful hands I’d ever seen.


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