I had an unusual experience during sleep last night. I dreamt the same dream, back-to-back, from two different perspectives. Both were disturbing.
In the first version, I was on the couch with a lion that had been my childhood companion. But something had gone terribly wrong. He held my foot in his mouth and had become wild again. He was ready to snap through skin and bone to rip my foot free of my ankle. I dared not move.
If I moved, the foot was gone, and with this loss--although it held the potential of escape--I risked a full on attack. If I remained motionless, I risked the lion eventually deciding to completely devour me with painstaking and shredding agony. However, not moving also held the possibility that something would happen to save both my life and limb.
Someone did intervene with a strong sedative shot to the lion. I escaped into my bedroom, locking the door, petrified as the lion regained consciousness. I was keenly in touch with strong and conflicting emotions of love for my lifelong companion and the fear of painful death. I positioned myself midway in the framework of my open window ready to leap out if the lion stayed indoors to hunt me, and ready to withdraw inside, locking the window, if the lion ventured outside to find me.
Then the dream repeated. I was in a restaurant, in line to eat. The line wrapped around a large glass room containing a chimpanzee on display. Inside with the chimpanzee was a small boy whose foot was clamped viscously between the bared teeth of the chimpanzee. Again, the scenario played: wrench free and lose a foot? or, maintain stillness hoping for intervention--but increasing the odds of losing all?
Moving: may find escape, definite loss of foot. Life still at risk of being fully devoured.
Not moving: may find full escape. High risk of entire life being devoured.
I posted the following on Facebook the day before my dream: "Spent the day being non-active, which is not the same thing as being inactive. Being non-active requires actively not acting. Inaction is simply not doing things." I wasn't really sure what I meant at the time. I'm still not sure. But the dream seems to point to something similar.
Action is typically my modus operandi. I detest apathy (even while admittedly finding it laced throughout my own life). Sometimes, too, I simply enjoy not doing anything. But this is something different. Actively not acting. It is a meditation. It is focusing on not focusing. Sitting. Still. Waiting....until the Other breaks through and full freedom is gained.
I wasn't successful at doing that on this particular day, and I'm not certain how the dreams turned out. But I recognize the need for--and beauty of--intentional awareness, of being, not doing. Sitting in the tension of being poised between life and death, loss and gain. In the uncertainty.
And savoring the moment of experience.