how to do it

turn your mind inside out,
follow the loose thread,

once you’re behind the steering wheel again
employ a loose grip to

try it out: a little left, a little right
easy. easy.

breathe, breathe.
in, out, in, out.

as it fades, don’t panic:
ends are beginnings.

in darkness there is sound,
in sound, light,

in light, color.
color builds a world and it’s mythology

the story of the coloring book 
and the rainbow crayon.

all of it was you.
(serves one)
1 response
Hi Evan, Just sat down to offer belated congrats on your culinary and catering triumph at that “unconference” when I found your poem. I like it. It has its rhythm and physical feel. As to my delay, My email was down for over a week; then I’ve been reading and rereading your fine account of your retreat experience. As it happens, I had what was probably a lucid dream last night. I was having an argument with someone, when I thought: Is this a lucid dream? So I pressed my argument with a sense of urgency, feeling that there was only a short time left before I’d wake up, which I did without winning the argument. I’ve no memory of what the argument was about. I think it was something philosophically important. Of course it’s possible my reference to lucid dreaming was due to my having been thinking about it so much lately. I think the lucid dreaming project is highly interesting but exceedingly difficult to approach in an acceptable, scientific way. LaBerge, poor guy, started on it when there simply weren’t the necessary techniques. He approached me in the 1980s, when I was associated with the neurosciences program, in the hope of doing something together. He had been floating around the sleep lab as a research associate after getting his Ph D. with Bill Dement. i had no funds to support him and, anyway, I didn’t see how a doable scientific project could crystallize out of his ideas. So with no publications in respected, peer-reviewed journals, he wrote books about his “science", which must have attracted some readers with “New Age” interests. From among this readership he must have launched his “retreats”, where he himself seems to have retreated from hard-core science to embrace the various brands of eastern mysticism that you describe in your report. These retreats are his source of income and he seems to have become a kind of charismatic guru of a lucid dreaming cult. There’s a well documented history of such pseudoscientific cults going back through the 19th century. While all of this sounds discouraging, it doesn’t preclude your contributing significantly to the field. But it does mean that if you want to stick to the science you have to have a clear-eyed view of the problems you want to solve and how (with what techniques) you can solve them. Your App for reporting inside a dream could be tremendously useful but the greatest needs are for improved methods of external monitoring and interpretation. Functional MRI is an obvious candidate but the machine makes so much noise it must be hard for anyone to sleep in it, though it has been used successfully. Perhaps a non-magnetic version of the super-efficient earmuffs and ear plugs Justin has told me about that aircraft carrier crews use, could do the job. Then there’s the need for more sensitive and focused detectors of brain electrical activity. I don’t know where the science stands in this field but you could probably play a role in moving it forward. I think LaBerge does science a serious disservice in disparaging the work of Voss et al. They fell short of their goal but they used established techniques in an effort to get around the subjective elements of the field. And they did get results that were consistent with lateral prefrontal activity. It remains entirely possible, as I see it, that lucid dreaming, properly studied, could shed new light on the problem of consciousness. This is all about research, which burns cash rather than making it. Only you can decide on your future goals but whatever they are, I know you’ll achieve them. I hope at least some of this is helpful. I shall be impatient to hear of your next decisions on how to proceed. Going back to your culinary achievements, those dishes looked delicious. I never know what to expect next in your performance repertoire! With love……………Grnddy.