Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Dream of Books

In the last few months I have been paying more attention to my dreams. I have also been recording them in my journal. The end result of all this is an astonishment at how much my sleeping self knows and has to offer.

Last week I had a dream that seemed to have absolutely no importance whatsoever. Nonetheless, I recorded it just because I had determined to record the dreams I remember. I was in an unremarkable store with a variety of merchandise. I didn’t pay much attention to most of the isles.

In the back of the store, however, I noticed a couple of shelves of books. As I looked more closely at their titles, I discovered to my delight that a few of them were old children’s books of significant value.

And that was it. The dream was very short and easily understood by me at the time as nothing more than the expected playing out of a wish fulfilment. Books, after all, are an important part of my life.

So I dutifully recorded the somnolent snippet and promptly forgot about it. A few days later, I found myself in the Central Valley of California driving through the sleepy town of Coalinga. I drive through Coalinga a few times every month as part of my regular route to the Salinas Valley. It is certainly not a place to go looking for books. The town is much too small for a bookstore – not even a used bookstore selling romance novels. The only place to find books is in the old thrift store a block east of the main drag.

I don’t normally stop here because the selection is not great and most of the inventory consists of popular (and usually damaged) titles that I’m not interested in. This time, however, I had a little bit of time and decided to go over the shelves once again.

I started browsing and within less than a minute noticed an early copy of Carol Ryrie Brink’s Caddie Woodlawn. It was in excellent condition (much better than the copy I had) and I decided to keep it.

Nice hunch, I said to myself – pleased that I had decided to stop. And then I noticed a couple of titles by Susan Cooper. Both of these books were also in good condition. I hoped that they were first editions and so checked the title page. Sadly, they weren’t. But happily they were both signed by the author.

Instinctively I checked my copy of Caddie Woodlawn and saw that it too was signed by the author. Then in a matter of just minutes I found signed books by Sid Fleischman, Isaac Singer, Ray Bradbury and others. By the time I was done, I had an armful of valuable children’s books.

A lady working at the store was kind enough to offer me a box to put them all in. She then told me that I could have them all at half price. In truth, the monetary offer was nice but I was so excited with my finds that I only gave her a half-hearted thanks.

In the end, I only paid three dollars for the lot – probably less than one percent of their overall value. It was the most remarkable find I have ever had in thirty years of looking for interesting books.

In all of the excitement, I had forgotten about my earlier dream. When I remembered it, my excitement turned into awe. Was this a sign from Heaven? Maybe it was just a nice gesture from my subconscious mind.

Whatever it was, I was left with much to think about. Several days later I am still thinking about it, and wondering just how much my spiritual self really knows. Have I been wrong all these years in deferring to my fallible mind? Should I be learning much more from my intuitive side?

I am reminded of Einstein’s statement (probably not quoted exactly) that, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

I am learning just how correct Einstein was. One thing I am learning more and more insistently as of late: I need to pay attention to my dreams.


See (September 18, 2013) for a discussion of the wording of Einstein’s thoughts on the intuitive mind.

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