A Voluntary Torture Chamber


By Nayaswami Dharmadevi
November 6, 2018

All Hallows’ Eve (also known as Halloween) and All Saints’ Day are holy days celebrated around the world. They are known as a time when the veil between the astral world and physical world is thinner and we can contact the saints and our departed loved ones more easily.

On these two nights, I had two very significant dreams. (I’ll share the other in an upcoming blog.) I believe they were what Paramhansa Yogananda called Superconscious Dreams; certainly they would fall into the category of lucid or vivid dreams. In any case, the messages they imparted to me was surely a gift from the Divine.

The dream began with my strong desire to volunteer for a charity that was helping poor people in a less fortunate part of the world. I saw a flyer showing how one could volunteer at a location close to my home that would help this charity. My first thought was, “Narayan will think it’s silly and a waste of time.” So, I decided I just wouldn’t tell him and off I went to my first day of volunteer work.

After a large enough group of volunteers arrived, much to our surprise, armed gunmen jumped out and threw us into little individual prison cells. There I was in my cell realizing what a terrible mistake I had made. I intuitively knew we were to be tortured, killed, and God knows what else and no one knew where I was and I had no way to escape. It was literally a nightmare.

Here’s where it got a little strange… after some time passed, I learn that it is the end of the torture day. We were to go home and report back first thing in the morning for more “torture duty.” I didn’t even want to think about what would happen if I didn’t show up, so I slowly left, resigned to the fact that for the rest of my life, I would show up to be tortured and go home at the end of the day, never to tell anyone what was happening.

I got home and saw Narayan and he asked me what was wrong. It was so strong in my mind that there was absolutely nothing I could do, so at first I said nothing. Then, I thought, “I have to at least tell him, even though there’s nothing that can be done about the situation.” As I started to relay the story, it became more and more clear to me how ridiculous it was. Was I not even going to put up a fight? At least if I didn’t go back willingly, they would have to try and come get me. What could they do to me that would be worse than torture and then eventual death?

I made up my mind not to go back, to stay home and fight if necessary.

And then the most shocking thing happened – nothing at all!

I woke up very calm and knew instantly the deeper meaning of the dream. The prison cell was my mind and the torturers represented my negative thought patterns. Going home each night was going to sleep and being free from this little ego identity.

Every morning, we wake up with the opportunity to start completely fresh. As Saint Paul said, “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” That daily death is the death of the ego, the death of holding on to why we should be angry with someone, why we aren’t happy, why we aren’t free.

Not only can every day be a new beginning – every moment, every breath can be a new incarnation, as Lahiri Mahasaya said in Autobiography of a Yogi. Let’s make the firm resolution together to start each day with new hope and enthusiasm for life – to let go of old hurts and enter into the day with the joy and innocence of a child of God.