One reader gazes his way to the second gate.
I dreamt at the second gate for the first time today. I wasn't sure if I was ready, and I didn't even know if it was possible, but I gave it a try and it worked!
I didn't have any criteria for deciding when to start work on the second gate. In Carlos' case, he had don Juan to tell him. We don't. Worse yet, we even know about the other gates before we have gotten to them. I wanted to be serious and do things right. I didn't want to jump the gun for ego reasons. I decided to use as my standard, a goal of success in dreaming every single day.
I'm still far from daily dreaming. Maybe it's the sex thing. Although I haven't had sex with anyone else for years, well... you know. I've been trying to cut back on that too. I keep remembering a quote from Carlos' group in the newsletter lecture notes: "We don't want to be masturbators."
Last week I started to dream so many times in a single night, that I really began to question my goal of daily dreaming. I started to wonder if dreaming as many as 7 times in a single night wasn't second gate dreaming anyway. After all, if you manage to get back into dreaming after it ends, by concentrating on going back when you wake up, and if you do it over and over again, isn't that the same as waking up from a dream into another dream? I never did figure out if that was the case, but it did make me start to question my criteria.
Then this morning I finally dared to try. I was dreaming that I was back in high school and that I was walking around taking notes on my little notepad so that I could recapitulate those events later. I do that a lot in the real world. But it didn't make much sense for me to be doing it in my dream, so when I took the notepad out of my pocket to write something down, I realized I was in a dream.
I started to walk around and look at items, and then I remembered that I was wondering the night before if I would be able to remember to try the second gate techniques at my next dreaming opportunity. It wasn't that I had planned to try it, I was just wondering if I would remember. Then I realized that I did remember, and I was in dreaming. I stopped walking and looking at items. I looked around and wondered if I had enough energy to try it without waking up. I didn't want to waste a perfectly good chance to practice first gate dreaming, but things looked so clear and stable. I thought I could risk it. I felt that a couple of minutes of effort wouldn't cause me to wake up or lose volition.
I thought about the three ways Carlos had said it could be done. I could only remember two. One was to wake up from the dream into another dream. I was sure I could wake myself up, but that sounded really risky. I felt that I would most likely wake up into the real world. I decided to try the other method I could remember; gazing at a distant object until I was pulled over to it.
I looked into the distance and saw some mountains. They were the kind of mountains I used to play on in my childhood, so I had a good feeling about them. I wanted to pick a big rock on the mountains, but I decided on an obscure tree I saw. As I gazed at it, I wondered why I had picked that particular tree, it was so insignificant against a landscape with so many huge boulders. Now that I remember the dream, I know exactly why I picked that tree. It was glowing with sparks of light. I didn't notice that in the dream.
I gazed at the tree for about 5 seconds, and then it started to change. That was what always happened in my dreaming when I looked at something for too long. Ordinarily I would have stopped at that point and gone back to my hands. I felt a peculiar pressure, and the object "wiggled" or "bulged" a bit. I worried that I was going to lose the dream, but I kept going.
The pressure built up even more and I felt a very mild tingling in my body. It wasn't particularly noticeable and probably not that important. But the object seemed quite a bit bigger, being off in the distance as it was. I felt a tug of some kind. Or rather, because my attention was focused on the tree in the distance, and because dreaming attention is prone to be able to move closer to an object in a visual sense, I felt like the tree was coming closer to me. But it was stuck to the mountain, and the result was a tugging pressure.
Everything but the tree was out of focus, and I felt movement. I sensed that I had to let go, but I didn't know how. I was pulled a few clumsy jumps forward. I realized that I was inside the cafeteria of my old high-school and was looking at the mountain through a large glass window. I couldn't get pulled forward much more without smashing into the window. I decided to chance it. I let go.
I was floating through the air towards the blurry vortex with the tree in the center, tugged by my own steady gaze. I began to pick up quite a bit of speed, and I heard the sound of a gear driven machine accelerating. It was a whirring sound combined with a feeling of a breeze. I winced as my face hit the glass window, but I was pulled right through it. I zoomed at an incredible speed towards the tree on the mountain. I remembered Taisha's comment about zooming through walls.
As I sped towards the tree on the mountain, my body automatically assumed a position with my arms outstretched in front of me. I was traveling so fast that I worried I would wake up, but my steady gaze on the tree seemed to eliminate that as a possibility. All of my attention was fixed on the tree, and I intuitively felt that made it impossible for it to go anywhere else, even to the waking world.
As I neared the tree, I slowed down. I overshot the tree and landed about 15 feet beyond it, above it on the face of the mountain. I must have lost a bit of my volition at that point, because I felt obliged to turn around and look at the tree. Then I realized that I had no obligation to worship the tree and could continue with my dreaming as normal. Since I was already looking at the tree, I used it as an object and then looked back at my hands. Then I decided to give the tree a big hug anyway, afterall, it was responsible for my first success.
I decided that this was my favorite type of tree. It had smooth branches, and delicate leaves. I thought it was a manzanita tree, but it probably wasn't. I looked up into the branches of the tree, but I saw cactus leaves instead. The tree was definitely not going along with my love fest, it was changing into quite a grotesque tree. I decided to give up on that and continue with normal dreaming.
I turned around, looked at a few more items, and then I got a surge of confidence. I didn't have to ever wake up! Don Juan had said so! I could zoom from image to image without any risk of waking up! I felt suddenly empowered with skill and concentration. I believed that my gazing made it impossible for my attention to leave the dream world. I reasoned that if I just kept zooming from place to place, I couldn't possibly wake up.
I looked over at the next mountain to find something at which to gaze. I decided to go for one of the boulders. I saw one that looked like a woman's face. In fact, the one next to it had the definite features of a woman too. As I looked at that area of the mountain, I realized that all of the big boulders bore a resemblance to women. I looked further up that mountain, above a ledge, and I saw one that had the features of a man. Around it, all of the boulders had the features of men.
I picked one of those. I gazed until it pulled me, and this time I voluntarily went along. I deliberately started to run, hopping like a big fat turkey that weighs too much to fly. The boulder just wouldn't pull me the same way. I wondered what was wrong. The dream started to fade and I woke up.
It's probably silly to make generalizations based on a single try, but I think that I learned the following from my first attempt: Second gate dreaming is always waiting for a dreamer because objects inevitably tug on the dreamer who gazes at them for too long. It's such a natural thing that it's unavoidable, no one should worry if they will get there.
When using the tug method, don't try to help the process. Let the object do the pulling. I think my second attempt failed because I wasn't gazing, I was trying to run to an object. Also, pick something that stands out on its own, don't try to pick something you think you should pick. Something that stands out will make gazing easier.
Editor: We've always wondered why we haven't received any second gate dreaming accounts. It's odd that this is our first, because people are always writing in about scouts. But don Juan said there was no chance to isolate a scout without practicing the second gate exercises. Either people are grasping at straws, or they're holding out on us.
In a prelude to this letter, this reader wondered if sharing this type of information was a good thing, or might actually cause trouble. He reasoned that some would read this and decide to skip to the second gate before they were ready.
If there is one criticism of the newsletter for which we have no defense, this is the one.