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Extract from
The Sleeping and the Waking Dream
RUFUS STEELE

 
         . . . A girl grew into womanhood without seeming able to leave behind her an hallucination that had persisted since childhood. She complained that she was pursued in her sleep by a band of untamed horses. Invariably she found herself, as it seemed to her, in the grassy bowl of a treeless valley. When the unbridled steeds came thundering into the bowl, there was no friendly tree or rock to give her refuge or even a momentary respite to catch her breath. There was nothing for her to do but to flee at her top speed; and always the great horses came galloping, galloping behind. The realistic dream would end only with the dawn, when the sleeper would awaken to find herself as fatigued and distracted as though she had actually made the long, uncertain run to escape the menacing hoofs of her pursuers. The delusion, so lacking in reality to both the patient and the practitioner in the clear light of day, proved inexplicably tenacious. In fact, the hallucination recurred with increasing frequency, and the young woman's general health began to show the effects of it.

         "When you are awake you can see clearly that the whole thing is just a bad dream," finally the practitioner declared; "and we must help you to see this just as clearly when you are asleep. You must stop running away from those horses." "But if I do not run away, they will run over me!" protested the girl. "Then let them," was the firm command. "You know now, and you can know even in your sleep, that those horses are unreal."

         Without assurance, but determinedly, the patient undertook to obey her helper's injunction. As she slept the horses came once more, seeming so gigantic and swift that the plain shook with their resounding advance. In the quick moment of gathering herself for flight there came to the sleeper a full remembrance of what she had agreed to do. She was terrified, but she stood her ground; and breathlessly, as it seemed to her, she awaited the bulking forms. In a dust-clouded moment of confusion she stood. In another moment she found her attention absorbed by an aspect of those horses which was entirely new to her eyes. She was gazing at their flowing tails as the band diminished in the distance. She realized that the galloping steeds had passed over her without trampling her beneath them or leaving one smallest mark of those dreaded hoofs. And she awoke with a cry of gratitude and joy. Once or twice thereafter she again saw the prancing horses in her sleep, but they merely circled the rim of the bowl and did not venture down toward the bowl's unfrightened occupant. A final dream carried her back to her little valley to find it a place of flowers, where no marauding hoof was known.

         "Now I ask," writes Mrs. Eddy on the page first quoted from, "Is there any more reality in the waking dream of mortal existence than in the sleeping dream? There cannot be, since whatever appears to be a mortal man is a mortal dream. Take away the mortal mind, and matter has no more sense as a man than it has as a tree. But the spiritual, real man is immortal." ["Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 250] It is the spiritual, real man, then — the spiritual reality — that replaces the dream man and the dream. Right where the error seems most distressingly to exist is the operation of the truth clearly apparent to the consciousness to which spiritual enlightenment has come. Thus dawns the day. Thus vanish the specters of the world's long night, in which men have drawn their dreary concepts of the realities from the testimony of the corporeal senses.

         There are multitudes of persons, it may be reliably recorded, who give grateful evidence of the changes that have come into their lives through Mrs. Eddy's revelation and their own perception of the fact that mortal existence is but a dream. They have awakened to a consciousness of Life that beholds, in places where once the thundering hoof beats of sin, disease, and death threatened them fearsomely but falsely with destruction, the peace of God and the bright springing of flowers.

 

Extract from "The Sleeping and the Waking Dream" by Rufus Steele
Christian Science Sentinel, March 20, 1926


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