THE CONFESSIONS OF FOFI LITTLEPANTS
by Fofi Littlepants
IX. OF DREAMS AND SPIRIT
There is a certain type of “dream”, a moment between wakefulness and sleep, that some people say is a portal to another dimension. People report having very intense experiences in these “cross over” moments. They frequently seem very real, but the person often cannot move or wake. Some explain it as a dream coupled with sleep paralysis, and others are convinced they are visitations or encounters with other worlds.
A trucker we met said he had this kind of moment a few years ago, when parked in his truck at night at a truck stop. He was about to go to sleep, and was right on the brink ~ when before him appeared a vision ~ a large, green face, with horns ~ it looked like the devil. It hovered above his hood; it was so real to him, he tried to call out to the other truckers, but he could not speak. He was stupefied; then it disappeared. Later, he asked others if they had seen it, and they had not. I asked him if he has any sense of why that might have happened. He said he thought it was because at the time, he was engaged in a dishonest life.
(I told him I had had a similar experience once which seemed like a tête-à-tête with evil. Except that embarrassingly, my Face of Evil looked like Bert from Sesame Street, but in the form of a doll shaped like a foot-long capsule that was bobbing up and down in my room…)
Another disturbing “cross-over” type of experience was recounted by my friend I visited in Virginia. She told me that she thinks she was psychically raped by her boss when she was living in his house as an au pair, when he came to her room in one of those moments between sleep and consciousness.
Joey had a scary one when we were in Rhode Island, in which she felt like someone had fired a bullet into the back of her head.
I had one during the trip, which occurred in a moment during a night of camping on the side of a freeway. In it, a friend in California suddenly fell ill and died. I had a sense that my action or inaction carried some responsibility for his death, which had the effect of tearing a gaping hole into the fabric of the universe. It felt incredibly real, and when I woke up, I was disoriented and terrified. I texted him, and waited anxiously convinced of the worst, but after a couple of hours he texted me back that he was just fine, leaving me feeling silly and melodramatic (though thankfully so.)
Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk) said, “Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.” I have no doubt that some people have dreams of insight and clairvoyance, but that my dreams tend toward the delusional rather than insightful seemed to be confirmed near the end of my trip, when I had another fantastical dream in which an illustrious guest appeared, our friend Matt Gonzalez, founding editor of this blog, and many other things besides.
It was a jawdropping encounter. In the dream, me and Joey stayed at his house, on the floor with our sleeping bags and backpacks, and upon awaking in the morning, found him sitting in the living room, on an armchair reading a newspaper, dressed in a ~ I can’t think of how else to describe it ~ a giant, purple bodysuit. It had large black polka dots and flourescent yellow frills. After some confused whispering, our swift intelligence discerned that he was dressed as a bacteria. It was not that he was a bacteria, mind you ~ he was dressed as a bacteria. It wasn’t the tight Marvel hero spandex that other women (and men) might have pictured him in, but rather, something quite like a Gumby suit ~ crafted of foam, it flared around the head and body, looked like a bad three dimensional rendition of a bad two dimensional cartoon, and had an oval cut out for the face. After a good long while of watching him read the paper this way while sitting cross-legged in the armchair, I finally worked up the courage to approach him and ask the burning question:
“Um…” I inquired as politely as I could, “…so are you… uh… going to work like that?”
Ridiculous, I know. However, before we completely discard my dreams as hallucinatory idiocy, perhaps Matt can write in to inform us whether or not he has in fact been lounging in his living room recently in a giant purple bodysuit, or appearing before the 9th Circuit in one.
Are there other dimensions of existence? Is there a God or Gods? Spirit? Self? Soul? A universal plan? Goodness, truth, justice? What about heaven, hell, an afterlife, ghosts, aliens, parallel dimensions, other universes? Purpose, meaning, enlightenment? Reality?
I’m still ruminating on these and related questions, in a continuation of a semi-perpetual existential crisis I have been in on and off for quite a long time. But I can say that based on conversations with lots of people, too much reading, varied experimentation, and some strange life experiences, I do now believe that things exist beyond the boundaries of current mainstream rationality. And that some of those things can be characterized as being spiritual in character, though I’m not even necessarily clear to myself what that means.
I didn’t get any comprehensive answers in this journey, but I have some vague sense that the voyage as a whole was good for me, and that I grew spiritually in some ways, though imperceptible to me in my current state. In hopeful moments I want to believe that such growth is always happening, through the entire course of every person’s life.
I also felt, for some reason, that I was protected through the length of the odyssey, from some source or sources outside of myself. I think Joey would say the same.
At a truck stop outside of Richmond, Virginia, a truck pulled over for us. Joey went to talk to the driver, and when she came back, she looked disturbed. When I inquired, she said that for some reason, she had a bad feeling about the driver. So we turned down the ride, making up some story, and then we went and sat at a bench with a pomegranate juice that Joey had bought earlier; the guy hung around for a while and then finally drove away.
A bit after he left, Joey said, “You know, it’s really weird, but right when the truck pulled up, I drank my juice and I swear it tasted like blood. It was so strong I wanted to go wash my mouth out. And now, it tastes just fine.” She said this wasn’t the reason she had wanted to turn down that ride ~ the bloody juice thing didn’t occur to her till later; she had gotten a very bad feeling from the driver for other unfathomable reasons.
Joey and I found this episode to be chilling, and felt that it might have been a brush with a genuine possibility of danger ~ the only one we had in this entire journey. But a friend I told this to later, who has her feet more firmly in the ground than I, laughed that we were taking it so seriously.
The serialkiller-turning-pomegranate-juice-to-blood story is but one reason we felt protected. That Joey and I, with all our stupidity and clumsiness, survived this journey at all would be evidence to some people that there really is a God. I wouldn’t go that far, though I do think it’s remarkable we made it. But I have to say that I never truly doubted that we would. And it’s not just because I ran less objective risk than others might have. I can’t really explain why, it’s just a feeling that I had.
One of the people we couchsurfed with was a successful musician and songwriter in New York. A committed Buddhist, he was into all sorts of meditation, yoga, Eastern philosophy, and such. He was also into numerology. He read my numbers (based on some kind of combination of my name and birthdate), and pronounced that I was a “99”, a number of power, also called the Secret Number, the Dharma Number and the Universal Number. It was the end of all numbers he said; this lifetime would be my last, before I move on to another (better) world.
I told him that I hope that will be true, but I was in existential crisis and was a bit worried that I was squandering this lifetime on silly things (such as this trip), and thus would not be able to reach the completion that I was meant to.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “You think everything in your life is random, but it’s not. You’ll come to see that there is a reason why all that has happened in your life has happened. Everything will become clear when you’re 42.”
I thought this was very interesting and cheerful, both because I only have a few years to go till 42, and also because 42 is the number revealed by the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to be that which contains the entirety of the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
So everything comes back around in the end. I took it as message that I should apply hitchhiking rules to my existential crisis, beginning with: DON’T PANIC!
In Maine, the fog rolls in so thick that when you stand at the edge of a small dock in early morning, the sea and sky meld into a single dreamy unity and you feel like you’re floating in nothingness. There, I felt like I was receiving a presage of what heaven, or enlightenment, must look like ~ this may be where I will end up at after this lifetime (hopefully).
But the most powerful transcendental moment came when I was on a freeway in Vermont. I was suddenly possessed by a feeling that the whole landscape, including the freeway, median and all, was unbearably radiant. It lasted for a good while, and then it passed. The landscape then returned to its earthly beauty, which was quite pretty, but clearly but a shadow of the painful exquisiteness that had almost drawn tears.
A prayer that is distributed by the Red Cloud Indian School in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota reads,
O’ GREAT SPIRIT,
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me! I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom.
LET ME WALK IN BEAUTY, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
MAKE MY HANDS respect the things that you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
MAKE ME WISE SO that I may understand the things that you have taught my people.
LET ME LEARN the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I SEEK STRENGTH, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy ~ myself.
MAKE ME ALWAYS READY to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
SO WHEN LIFE FADES, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
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CONFESSIONS OF FOFI LITTLEPANTS