This One’s For You, Daddy September 13, 2011
My primary goal in this blog is to share what I’ve learned after decades of searching for self-knowledge, inner peace and wholeness. Sometimes, giving examples from my own life is the most effective way to do this. After all, this is what I know best. Lately I’ve been discussing a recent puzzling dream and inviting readers to comment with their questions and associations. Today’s post explains certain aspects of that process you might be wondering about. If there’s anything else you’d like me to clarity, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Why did I call this a dream about individuation? Didn’t I conclude that it actually referred to a few waking life experiences with Twitter a few weeks before? What do the social media have to do with my psycho-spiritual journey?
Jerry gave a beautiful answer to these questions in a comment after Part II when he said that such waking life experiences “may be a test….of the caliber of the ‘hero/heroine’ journey, transforming the old self into the new, becoming ‘wholly’ that new person where the spiritual is in command and not letting the emotions be the guide as is usual with the ego centered self. The death and resurrection as symbolized by Jesus on the cross can only be realized when the individual takes on ‘wholly’ the spirituality identity, applying it in every phase of life, every experience in life….Becoming that spiritual person makes the individual the hero in their own life.”
Every experience presents an opportunity to grow into our heroic selves. The spiritual journeyer’s question is not, “Why did this happen to me?” but, “What is the most authentic and beneficial response I can make to this situation?” Thus, one level of meaning in every dream pertains to our behavior in the outer world, and another to the inner condition of the psyche from which it originates. These are not opposite, but complementary ways of interpreting a dream. Both are true and each brings insights about the other. Facilitating this cooperation between ego-consciousness and the unconscious self so we can move forward on the individuation journey is the purpose of dreams.
Furthermore, every dream has additional levels of meaning depending on which associations we pursue. For example, my first inclination was to see this dream as a commentary on how my introverted tendencies effect my outer life relationships. Like the thirsty woman, I tend to withdraw into myself in social situations; like Ms X, I do my cerebral, creative work in solitude and seclusion. Spiritually speaking, I “get high” on following this passion. But since I already knew this about myself I kept searching for new insights and eventually found them in my readers’ comments. It is extraordinarily helpful to see your dream from another’s perspective.
Were my conclusions about the meaning of this dream the final word on it? Absolutely not. In keeping with the living, growing mystery and multi-dimensionality of dreams, today’s resolution becomes tomorrow’s question, and then the search begins anew. Who knows what lies beneath or ahead? The trick on this journey, and the lesson of this dream, is essentially the same advice my policeman father gave me at the age of seven when he taught me how to navigate the streets and traffic lights on my daily walk home from school: “When you reach a crossroads, stop, look and listen before you take the next step.”
Thanks, Daddy, wherever you are, for being my first guide on the journey to myself.
Dream Along With Me March 17, 2010
It’s been 16 years since Dream Theatres of the Soul was published. I am not the same person I was then, nor do I work with my dreams in exactly the same ways. But I still yearn for self-knowledge, and draining the cup of a dream is still the best way I know to satisfy my thirst!
What is this compulsion all about? Can I bear the truth? Can you? Well then, here it is: at bottom it is about being a vulnerable animal poised on the precipice of consciousness, filled with primal apprehension and eager to ease the anxiety of self-awareness. For this moment I am alive, but death and oblivion surround me. I hear them coming now.
What thoughts and images will remind me that no matter what happens I am good enough and all shall be well? What sparks of meaning will keep the tiny candle of my soul lit so I can bear the burden of knowing I am alive without surrendering to darkness and despair? What insights will reduce my inner discord and activate my creativity so that I can experience eternity by being lost in joy? I find answers to these and many other questions in my dreams. My thirst is the curse of consciousness, Eve’s gift to the universe, and quenching it with dreamwork beats Gatorade or wine.
Simply put, I seek Truth and dreams are maps to the mother lode of Mystery.
Like every explorer who discovers precious treasures, I enjoy sharing my findings with others. The ideal setting for dream sharing is small groups. Over time dream groups become sacred containers that facilitate positive change because of the unusually high levels of trust, safety, honesty, and mutual respect that are established.
But while I love teaching small groups and adore my students, the medium that truly satisfies my soul is writing. This presents me with an impossible problem. If I dare to do the same thing in writing that I do with my students, I will be laying open my soul to anyone who wishes to cut it into tiny pieces and have it for lunch. Even if I could be assured of the good will of readers, the written word inhibits the organic interplay of questions and ideas between mentor and mentee that leads to clarification and deeper understanding. And if, despite all my misgivings, I take this risk and pin down my living dreams into printed words, like so many dead butterflies on a display board, how do I avoid the traps of self-revelation: banality, self-importance, self-deprecation, a little varnishing of the truth here and there?
Yet, I write about my dreams. Maybe my Writer’s need for expression is greater than my Wisewoman’s sense. Or maybe my Warrior can’t resist the challenge. Whatever the reason, I’m determined to do what I must do the best way I can. And what I must do is strengthen my psychological awareness, spiritual meaning, and connectedness, and keep sharing what I have learned in the hope of helping others do the same.