I am with Brahman

When I was a senior in college, I took a Buddhist Philosophy. While we were reviewing some of the older Hindu philosophies to understand the basis for Buddhism, the professor related a story about an Indian gentleman he had known in college. Part of Indian philosophy treats waking and dreaming states with equanimity. In fact some consider dreams to be communion with higher, transcendent reality, or Brahman. So this Indian fellow liked to sleep late and when roommates would wake him in the morning by pounding on his bedroom door, he would yell “Leave me alone! I am with Brahman!”

If that is really the case, then Brahman is a pretty messed up place. I’ve been having some pretty weird and sometimes scary dreams lately. One one occasion, I dreamed that I was trapped in the second story bedroom of a house, and undead zombie hordes were trying to get in. The zombies didn’t look particularly menacing but I had to flee out over a garage roof none-the-less. In another dream a few nights later, an emaciated corpse is found in a space suit-like contraption. After the helmet is removed, revealing a withered and shriveled face with skin and white hair still on it, I turned for a moment and the corpse had left the suit… evidently undead and very fast. Finally on a third night, I found myself trying to take a test being administered by my dissertation advisor and several of his other Ph.D students. Though I knew in the dream that I was out of school for several years, I felt compelled to take the test. I looked at some of the problems and some seemed understandable, but one confounded me. It was a graph theory problem in which I was being given small lattices that I was supposed to shape in to a ring, and then make some predictions about how long the distance was around the ring. I knew that finding that distance would have to do with the properties of the pieces… and the words used to describe the pieces were unfamiliar to me. I tried to get the attention of the people administering the test, but to no avail.

I described this last dream a bit on Facebook. An acquaintance who now is a Professor of Applied Mathematics initially said “Hey! Math problems? Call me and we’ll work them out.” When I described the problem in more detail he said “Oh man! That’s a hard problem, unless you know something about the pieces. Math anxiety, I know it well.” Well, validation of the complexity of ones dreams is something I suppose.

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