I like it the best when Zen and nonduality masters come to visit me in dreams. There’s always a lucid transmission that occurs.
I have Nisargadatta’s picture on my antique dresser, leaning either against the Buddha or a crystal ball made by Grimaud in 1972. He sits there for the sole purpose of being worshipped. I give him black coffee every morning. Tobacco too. On occasion I see him as the Emperor of the Tarot and write about him.
Last night he visited me in a very lucid dream. It went like this:
I’m about to wrap up a class, when I realize that I’m missing a microphone. I decide to go over to the adjacent building to get one. This building turns out to be Columbia University in New York.
Next, I find myself in the philosophy department, catching a glimpse of Nisargadatta being surrounded by philosophers. I feel an impulse to go over to him, but as I realize that he’s enjoying his entourage, I leave. Without a word and without a microphone.
Back to my classroom I end the semester’s course in good spirits. As I’m packing my bag, I see Nisargadatta walking down the corridor with the philosophers following him. He enters my room, and creates commotion. A line is forming, with the students and the philosophers getting ready for something. I imagine they all get in line in order to get Nisargadatta’s autograph. But it’s not the case.
I decide to stop speculating as to what they all want, and take the opportunity to go over to Nisargadatta myself and take selfies.
The next minute I have my arms wrapped around his waist, and say, ‘there’s my man’.
He looks at my lovingly: ‘Don’t say that,’ he says, and then continues: ‘It’s about taking one step at a time. One step at at a time. There’s only this movement between one step and the next.’
I take his words to my heart and get ready to shoot some pictures, when I realize I’m missing my phone.
Nisargadatta then says, ‘let’s just be silly’. I say, ‘okay’. He pulls over his head a sack that has holes in it, and pretending to be a monk he asks me to look at his henna colored hair sticking through the holes: ‘How do you like this?, he wants to know, I and say, ‘I like it a lot.’
While still holding on to his waist, I drag him with me over to the crowd of students. I ask them to shoot a few pictures and send them to me.
Then Nisargadatta lifts me up, carries me in his arms to the center of the room, and starts swirling.
One of the students says, ‘oh, we have to shoot a film about this.’
He hurries to walk over to the corner of the room where there’s a whole filming arsenal ready. He even has a sprinkler, and decides that this scene deserves rain.
I say to the student, ‘yes, yes, let’s have a Kurosawa moment.’ I then surrender completely to Nisargadatta’s arms, and say to him:
‘This is simply so nice, to float like this as if in a hot air balloon’. Nisargadatta doesn’t know what a hot air balloon is, so I explain. Then I repeat: ‘This is simply too nice, too good, too marvelous.’
He wants to know: ‘Why is this nice?’
I say to him: ‘Because when you float like this, there’s no ‘one step at a time.”
He nods, and I wake up.
Now I ponder: One step at a time, or floating to no step at all?
I read the cards to create a midpoint between Nisargadatta’s point and my point.
In a way he alluded to the space between the one step and the next.
The cards say the following:
Between folly and wisdom you masterfully risk your individuality in favor of rooting in the powers of air.
Keep swirling. The first step is chance. The second is control.
The midpoint, a baloney effect.
As I consider Nisargadatta my root guru, I see that the cards literally address that.
As for philosophy, when I studied at Columbia University in 2000 and then again in 2001, I used to visit the philosophers quite often. I liked talking to Amartya Sen, though now I can’t remember at all what we talked about. It wasn’t related to my doctoral studies, nor was it about nonduality or balloons. Perhaps precisely because I can’t remember it, I see now that subjectivity and the air were already on the table.
The magic of things coming full circle, or was it the crystal ball that did it…?
CARDS: Le Dessous des Cartes de Maitre Mat by Maurice Baskine, Editions Bussiere, 2017
For more dreams about masters, visit my dreams on my website.