A conversation with an Elm

 

IMG_3348.JPGSitting in the shade of an old Elm and reading some most interesting books I conjured three experiences expressed in the form of poems with each coming from a different place within me.  The first comes from a break in my reading when my wife came out to share the late afternoon sun.

 

 

“I wonder what the tree is thinking, said she.

The tree doesn’t think, it experiences, said I.

That’s you thinking too much said she.

No, that’s my experience of the tree, said I.

That’s you thinking about your experience, said she.

That’s me sharing the experience, said I.

Again, with the last word, said she.

We both smiled, looked up into the meandering branches, and became

lost within its raining foliage rustling in the breeze.”

 

–RJ Cole

 

The sublime world of the subjective imagination energizes like nothing else. Experiencing reality without objectifying it is a rare treat of grace. It’s like a conversation with God– in a place where there’s no need for words. There’s more than one way of shutting down the judgmental voice in our heads. Peace is what follows.

Have a great morning, or evening, wherever you may be.

Wisdom of the heart

 

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Oft times I find that I cannot say what is in my heart and turn to the poetry and wisdom of others to shine a light on my own story, my own soul. Below is a collection of poems, sayings, and quotes that come from people who had moments of lucidity that spoke deeply into my own heart. I hope they move you as well.

 

 

 

‘Buddy’s Poem’

“Can we be here without a purpose?

I don’t think we can. Earth is too

wise to waste herself on us.

A wound can come and set us

upon a path; the big ones do.

Stepping stone: Learn humility from scars.

Stepping stone: Apprentice to imperfection.

Stepping stone: Claim the beauty of your soul.

Yes, I do believe in traveling this way.

Once I met a high-spirited eagle with

a crooked yellow beak who had been

grounded for life

by the infectious bite of a tiny mosquito.

You’d think that humiliating

for such a bird,

enraging.

But no,

this bird tossed a stone in front of me,

arched his head back

 

and screamed into the heavens,

“Compassion!”

And, I knew, absolutely knew,

in that moment

he meant

for everything.”

© 2013/Jamie K. Reaser

From “Wild Life: New and Selected Poems” (Hiraeth Press in June 2013; )

 

“Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

-Eckhart Tolle

What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.

–Ram Dass

“The reason that ego and love are not compatible comes down to this: you cannot take your ego into the unknown, where love wants to lead. If you follow love, your life will become uncertain, and the ego craves certainty.”

–Deepak Chopra

The Art of Self Reflection – What To Remember When Waking

“In that first

hardly noticed

moment

to which you wake,

coming back

to this life

from the other

more secret,

moveable

and frighteningly

honest

world

where everything

began,

there is a small

opening

into the new day

which closes

the moment

you begin

your plans.

 

What you can plan

is too small

for you to live.

 

What you can live

wholeheartedly

will make plans

enough

for the vitality

hidden in your sleep.

 

To be human

is to become visible

while carrying

what is hidden

as a gift to others.

 

To remember

the other world

in this world

is to live in your

true inheritance.”

– David Whyte

 

“When you get to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.

– Edward Teller

 

“I prayed for change, so I changed my mind.

I prayed for guidance and learned to trust myself.

I prayed for happiness and realized I am not my ego.

I prayed for peace and learned to accept others unconditionally.

I prayed for abundance and realized my doubt kept it out.

I prayed for wealth and realized it is my health.

I prayed for a miracle and realized I am the miracle.

I prayed for a soul mate and realized I am the One.

I prayed for love and realized it’s always knocking, but I have to allow it in.”

­­–Jackson Kiddard

 

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”

– C. Joy Bell

 

“Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. The key question causes germination of consciousness. The properly shaped question always emanates from an essential curiosity about what stands behind. Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open.”

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes

 

“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ”

― Pema Chödrön

 

Typically we humans look for easy fixes—a pill, a diet, a prayer, the ultimate work-out machine. And it all needs to happen within 10 days, or your money back! But that’s not the way of the universe. Sometimes one needs to do a little work on themselves to become proficient with something, anything, and becoming more the author of one’s life requires some work.

 In this DreamingWizard link there are a number of techniques designed to bring you into the present moment so that you can begin to be truly relevant.

 

“There is no one who hears, there is just hearing. There is no one who sees, there is just seeing.”

–C. Beck, Everyday Zen (1989)

If I were to carry the idea in the above quote further I might add, that there may be no “I” who is dreaming, there is just dreaming.

 You and I don’t just see people or objects, we see our continuously altered, comparative projections onto those people and objects and then we surmise a meaning to those projections. Fundamentally, we are “Meaning Machines!” in that we assign symbolic meaning to everything.

 

“The wind? I am the wind.

The sea and the moon?

I am the sea and the moon.

Tears, pain, love, bird-flights?

I am all of them. I dance what I am.

Sin, prayer, flight,

the light that never was

on land or sea?

I dance what I am…..”

–Carl Sandburg

 

“The question may be, if all we are is our body, where do we go when it dies? Ponder this and don’t be too quick to answer–discovering the secrets to the universe and to your true nature cannot be found in the quick answer whether that answer comes from some dogma, book, some guru, your schooling, your beliefs, or your own thoughts. Asking the right question in the right way is far more important because it engages more than the mind–it tickles the soul. The moment you think that you “know” something the engaging process shuts down and the soul is shoved aside.

The Unknown is more vast, more open, more peaceful, and more freeing than you ever imagined it would be. If you don’t experience it that way, it means you’re not resting there; you’re still trying to know. That will cause you to suffer because you’re choosing security over Freedom. When you rest deeply in the Unknown without trying to escape, your experience becomes very vast. As the experience of the Unknown deepens, your boundaries begin to dissolve. You realize, not just intellectually but on a deep level, that you have no idea who or what you are. A few minutes ago, you knew who you were—you had a history and a personality—but from this place of not knowing, you question all of that.”

–Adyashanti

 

 

 

Biblical Metaphors for wisdom and Healing

 

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There’s magic to be had from the wisdom center of our unconscious minds and I receive quite a number of dream requests that involve religious themes and images. I thought that from time to time I would present a few of these as an adjunct to my spiritual and psychological musings.

The following dream was sent not too long ago. I have redacted any reference to the dreamer and made a couple of minor changes to aid in flow, otherwise the dream and response are word-for-word.

 The Dream:

I am a Lay Preacher in a church in the United Kingdom. Before the dream I had been reading one of my study units Christ is Alive. I used to only remember the waking moment of a dream, but now I sleep less heavily in a sort of 50/50 world. Often in the dreams I hear a narration or overhear what is said. I had a waking dream this morning and many of the symbol words are not listed on your site. So would be pleased for your view as I am not an interpreter of dreams.

Joseph and Mary where in a garden [&] I was listening to them as they spoke and saw them; it was when she was young. Below is what I heard.

Joseph was saying I will build you a shelter in the garden, I know you and your cousin Elizabeth enjoy sitting in the garden knitting. But the weather is getting colder, you need to keep warm I will build you a shelter, so you can enjoy the sun but out of the cold wind. I will build you an arboretum out of wood, darkened on the inside, and will surround it outside by close-planted cedar and larch trees. I will make an entrance by removing one of the stone pillars and I will make it ‘L’ shaped with a space for your donkey. I will make a seat for you to sit on from a piece of finely polished oak that I have in my workshop. I then saw a view of the finished arboretum before I awoke. That was my dream of Joseph & Mary

A Possible Interpretation:

Let’s focus on some of the images e.g. Joseph and Mary as the parents, or caretakers of Jesus: This may represent your own “care-taking” responsibilities. The garden: This can represent a need to cultivate new skills, or your spirituality. Love is also a factor in this dream. If it were a representation of the garden of Eden it could represent the need to recapture your innocence, or your faith (building this garden might also suggest a building of faith). Building of gardens or being within gardens might also suggest some career development needed. The shelter: This may be a security symbol, but could also represent you, your inner self (much as a house or building would). It could also reflect your fear of things, ideas, and/or people who are different from you.

Trees in general, may refer to your hopes, desires, and personal development. Larch trees are often shamanic symbols of strength and protection as is Cedar (though Cedar is also a symbol for healing).

The warm sun and the cold wind symbols are essentially opposite in nature and may reflect that enlightenment has its colder side even though you are trying to avoid it e.g. shelter from it. This could be read as a need to be conscious of some vulnerability, or that you may need to be open to whatever comes your way. The “sun” can also represent “son”, in this case Jesus, while wind can be the breath of God, but it can also represent some turmoil/stress (inner or outer), especially if the wind is strong.

Pillars can represent strength and stability, something that holds you up (such as faith). It can be how you’re standing up to the stress, or how you’re being ‘supported’ by others. Using it to create a doorway can be about personal transformation into something more personally fulfilling.

I’ll add some of these images to the dictionary, thanks. (This has been done in the Dreaming Wizard Dictionary) http://thedreamingwizard.com/dream-dictionary_263.html

Because many dreamers have asked for a broader list of dream symbols with their possible meanings I have also collected over 5000 dream images from over 3000 dreamers and included them in a new book “Morpheus Speaks: The Book of Dreams” coming out in paperback this November (more on this later).

The Waking Dream:

 The dreamer wrote back that they were indeed having a crisis of faith after two failed sermons, an argument with a church member, and an admonition from the lead pastor. He had to temper his own ego in order to make a course correction. This he did and has had two successful Sundays at the podium since.

The dreamer’s inner place of wisdom came to him in a time of need and offered solutions for growth and healing. Trusting this place within you can add great power to your everyday life. Dreams come to us in part for our health and well-being. They are also a place where the mind works through the experiences of the day. Being aware of this process can give you a leg-up in dealing with what life throws at you.

Love and Acknowledgment

Spiritual+Love.JPGIn one of my dreams a group of frustrated and critical women, an un-nourishing restaurant experience, and a missing suitcase representing unacknowledgment, unrealized longings and social neediness, and a symbol of independence and of not going somewhere in life confronted me. Whew! With dreams like that who needs stress?

But through my dream and subsequent reflection I learned something about myself. Once again I noticed that I was still looking for approval from my mother and as was usual, I didn’t get it. She’s been dead for 13 years now and the part of me that’s still looking for acknowledgment is the part of me that tried to get it 60+ years ago.

I also learned again that there’s no satisfying acknowledgement from outside myself when the inside has yet to acknowledge. I project the unsatisfied acknowledgement onto the stage of the waking world and then blame the waking world inhabitants for not acknowledging me properly. I’ve known this for quite some time, but I always seem to forget until the universe brings it up to me yet again, and again, and again.

This is not to say that the waking world inhabitants don’t have their own acknowledgement issues. I’ve observed many folks either delivering conditional acknowledgements, or throwing up subtle and not so subtle barriers toward acknowledgment coming their way.

Conditional acknowledgment, the kind where one hand delivers while another takes away such as “He’s really good for someone as awkward as he is!” Is like no acknowledgement at all. Don’t bother, I say. Don’t toss an acknowledgment that’s going to drop to the floor before the intended receiver can catch it. You won’t make any goals that way.

Acknowledgment is a tricky thing, we’re all looking for it and it’s all about the approval we didn’t get, or perceived not getting, from our parents. Acknowledgment can be energizing and empowering, or de-energizing and disempowering depending on the sincerity and quality of the delivery. Better to just say “good job” than to get all flowery and come across as disingenuous.

I used to present a workshop a number of years ago called “The Acknowledgment Workshop”. I spent a great deal of time helping people discover what acknowledgment was and was not and what were some of the barriers to giving it and some of the obstacles to getting it e.g. accepting it. What I didn’t do then was to talk about the inner dialog that many of us have that makes it difficult to present, or accept, nor did I spend much time talking about who’s really responsible for getting and giving acknowledgment.

Bottom line– Personal responsibility is more than being responsible for your actions, it is also being responsible for what you project onto your experiences and onto the actions of others. Responsibility includes your interpretation of reality and what you do with that.

Acknowledgment is a dance between the receiver and the giver with each responsible for what is delivered and what is received. We owe it to the one to whom we are giving the acknowledgment to make sure that it is given in a way that it can be received and that it actually is taken in the manner it was given. It is also incumbent on the receiver to communicate to the giver what is wanted and needed.

That last part is by far the most difficult because it can be quite embarrassing and it has the potential for disempowering the giver e.g. it can be seen as a criticism of the acknowledgment and thus insult the giver. Mostly I wait until another time and place and unrelated to the off-putting acknowledgment to make a statement of what I need regarding an acknowledgment, though if it’s just between the other person and me, I have been known to take them aside and let them know that I didn’t really feel the acknowledgment, but for an acknowledgment junkie like me that doesn’t always happen e.g. why take the chance that whatever acknowledgment was there will then be rescinded?

I also learned (again) that one cannot receive or deliver true, unconditional acknowledgment through the ego-self. It is through the larger soul-self that acknowledgment is experienced. It is through that part of each of us that is, and experiences, love. And as with everything meaningful, that’s where acknowledgment comes from either in it’s giving, or it’s receiving–love.

Acknowledgment has the best chance of traversing the distance between people when it comes out of that place of love and is embraced by the same place in the other. Love is never conditional,half-hearted, or self-serving.

Yet love in the form of an acknowledgment isn’t always about “peace and pleasure”*. Love can come to one whether consciously intended or unintended by the giver, in a way that makes the receiver look deeply into their self to see what lies in their heart of hearts.

The Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran wrote in his Prophet pointing out another level of love,

 

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

 But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure*,

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.”

Though Gibran may not have meant it this way, I believe that there are some secrets of the heart that need to be made known so that they do not prevent it’s true expression. In this way a conditional acknowledgment can be in the service of love because it focuses your attention on what you’re doing with it and provides the opportunity to ask yourself why. For me the pain of an unsatisfying acknowledgment can be useful and healing. My heart is often opened through pain and thus I try not to reject its healing process.

Epic tales, epic symbolism

 

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The Battle between Good and evil –by Robert Adelman found on Deviant Art

 

 

As a boy I was fascinated by the tales of Middle Earth as told by J.R.R. Tolkien. I also knew that if one fought bravely enough that good could eventually triumph over evil.

As I grew older I became aware of the Northern Norse mythology that Tolkien used as the foundational source material for his work. But unlike his stories I learned that the most striking feature of this mythology was that all was hopeless, that the apocalyptic battle at Rognarök was humanity’s doom, and that no matter how bravely the hero fought the monsters and giants would defeat humanity and the gods of Asgard.

But I also learned that for the gods and heroes and heroines of the North loss in battle gave meaning and mettle to the warrior who courageously stood their ground and fought on regardless of the fact that all was hopeless.

What’s this? I was dismayed that these epic battles would ultimately end with evil triumphing over good. How could this be? The purity of courage be damned I thought, it needed to be rewarded and besides winning and defeating was the goal of all good and evil confrontations or so I thought. Oh yes and by winning of course was meant that “good” would always prevail.

It wasn’t until years later that I achieved some insight into these wonderful tales from the North.

From the writings of Carl Jung I was introduced to the concept of the Conflict of Opposites and the effect of either ignoring or battling the shadow i.e. evil aspects of our personal or collective nature. In this context. either ignoring or actively suppressing the shadow one gives it power, diminishes their own power, and leads to their being overwhelmed by it.

I surmised that if Jung were right, then the hopelessness and defeat so often celebrated in the Northern myths becomes an allegorical warning to mankind regarding its relationship with the shadow aspects of its personality. Is it possible that when one resists or denies the shadow either in themselves or the society in which they live that its power over us becomes paramount in that our violent response only adds to the violence of the shadow and increases its power and makes impossible to overcome? Oh I won’t deny that some battles can be won but ultimately the shadow keeps returning ever more powerfully. Will we never defeat it and have a permanent peace?

We are both good and evil. So what does this say about a God in whose image we are created? If then God is also both, to resist this would seem futile and self-defeating.

I remember that in a long ago Judo class the teacher talked about not meeting force with force to overcome ones opponent but by using the opponent’s own energy to defeat them. To me now this simple strategy seems a  useful metaphor for dealing with the shadow forces of our nature. If we allow ourselves to become the shadow by denying it we will be defeated no matter how glorious or courageous our actions but if we learn to accept this darker aspect as part of ourselves and turn its energy toward good it can add to our own best intentions and we can prevail.

 

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What determines what reality is or is not?

 

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As I’ve so often said we each project so much of ourselves onto the world that we see that  reality becomes rather complicated. Because reality has no meaning other than what we as individuals assign to it or what we collectively assign to it we have an empty journal or a blank script or canvas if you will with which to work.

Essentially we get to stand before every moment of our lives and paint our world using whatever colors we like. We also have the ability to just be curators or patrons of the art that others create, or to paint pictures for others to enjoy, or to paint just for ourselves. Like an artist we can become so immersed in the process that we forget to step back from the canvas now and then to admire the work or to evaluate it in the context of an even greater picture.

The picture that we each create is the story of us, what’s inside of us, all our dreams, hopes and fears. Sometimes the pallet has many colors, sometimes only grays, blacks and muddy browns, but it is us who wield the brush through the pigmented oils given to each by virtue of our being here.

I have found that for me the ego-self flashes and flares, fumes and stews sometimes mixing so many colors that the balance skews or the mix becomes muddied. But when I can get this part of myself out of the way amazing creativity and clarity can show up. When the soul is hidden, oppressed, or damaged there is no art, just a confusing mud.

Now I’m not talking about chaos because even in what seems chaotic there’s a rhyme, an underlying beauty. I’m talking about the dull, soggy, sloppy mess we accept as life and that once in a while we escape from through some form of distraction. This isn’t the life of the creative soul but the confused state of the limited, and limiting, persona– the sleeping consciousness. And this part of us represents so little of what we are that it scarcely qualifies to be called an “I”,  “me”, “you” or an “us”.

There is so much hidden behind the walls erected by the fearful and arrogant ego that we’ve begun to think that this wasteland is all there is.

Not so!

We, that is you and I, are going on an expedition to find who we really are. But this expedition’s purpose is not to arrive at a predetermined destination, for where we are going nothing is predetermined and doesn’t exist in any one place. We are going to uncover that part of us that doesn’t exist in time or place. It is that part of us that will never die for it’s never been born– that which came before the physical us and will continue long after the physical ceases. It’s the still, quiet place in all of us, that knows the real us.

Lights in dreams

 

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The other day I heard someone say that when on the spiritual journey, or on the journey through life itself, “pack light”. This reminded me of an old aphorism, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly”.

Frequently in dreams we are visited by the image of light sometimes as a sunrise piercing the darkness of the night, or as a sunset bringing and end to the day, sometimes as a candle, a ball of light, a lantern, a flashing lightning strike, a distant glow or the light peering from beneath a locked door or through the window of a shadowed house. I’ve seen fires crackling and the veils of Northern Lights in dreams.

There have been lighthouses, light bulbs, lights that can’t be turned on as you huddle in fear of something shadowed or unseen, and lights that go out leaving one in the dark. There are cigarette lighters and sparks, and embers glowing on a hearth.

There are flashlights (aka torches) that highlight darkened corners of a room or some object. There are projectors and ‘magic lanterns’ that cast pictures on a screen and the swirling, undulating, pulsating lights of the psychedelic.

Some dreamers experience the sun peeking from behind darkened clouds or just the sun brightly shining on the land or through the window of a house.

Light comes in the form of shadows cast, mist-like, bright, or in the form of glowing people or animals or the twinkling of stars and in colors of green, blue, yellow, orange or purple. There are searchlights and spotlights, and strange auras.

And phrases such as “lighten up”, or “lighten the load” can show up as guiding ‘lights’ and wisdom symbols. There’s ‘divine light’ and the ‘light in his eyes’ or the light that goes out when some one has died. There’s the “angel of light”, the “light of my life”, the flame of a candle flickering out, the ‘light’ of the world, the ‘one true light’ and “rise and shine”, the start of something new.

What’s it all about?

Lights are beacons to follow, indicators of the divine– the spiritual, the soul and life itself. They can warn of dangers (immediate or while navigating life) such as with lighthouses. It can speak to the quality of intellect or leadership, knowledge and transformation. It can point to needs or solutions, give guidance and direction. It speaks to the aspects of our inner and outer self.

Lights can be about knowledge and knowing, awareness, consciousness and self-development. It can highlight beginnings and endings, life and death, turning toward reality or away from it. It can be about new ideas and the less developed parts of the unconscious mind. Light can focus on the primal or spiritual and either illuminate or go out and be in darkness. Failure to light can be about high anxiety and being paralyzed or trapped by something or someone. If the bulb burns out you might be feeling ineffective or are out of ideas.

It can be about growing clarity or it’s opposite, darkness and ignorance. Lightning can be about sudden awareness or revelation, truth or just a shocking event. A lighthouse beacon can be about the seeking of guidance or a flare can be a warning or a cry for help.

Fire can be about purification or destruction, the end to something or the ‘fire within’ us, a personality trait, or life itself. Lights can show us the way and spot answers to vexing problems. It can symbolize insight, or highlighting some aspect of the self. Fixated upon a single object in a room to the exclusion of that which remains in darkness can be about narrow thinking, or biased ideas and beliefs.

Flickering lights or lights going out can represent uncertainty, anxiety, struggle, loss of personal power or death itself.

People can “hide their light” by being too self-protective, stingy, or self-critical or be self-effacing versus arrogant or show their lighter side versus the serious. Lights at the end of tunnels or behind closed doors such hope lies ahead.

If lightning strikes it could represent pent-up and overwhelming emotions, loss of control or destructive elements destroying your life or peace of mind.

In short, light is a complex symbol in dreams and metaphor that requires one to ‘shed more light upon it’ when it shows up.

________________________________________________

To see more on the subject of lights in dreams you might want to go to the following link: https://thebookofdreamsblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/sparkles-lights-and-auras-oh-my/

A Buddha dream

 

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Some time ago for a men’s group I agreed to give an overview of Buddhism. Now, what I know about Buddhism you could fit in a shot glass and still have room left for the shot. But I didn’t let that stop me, primarily because I wanted to learn something and have long since discovered that it is through the teaching of something that I learn best. What I learned is that by letting go of all my notions about what is real I could quite possibly gain a sense of true happiness.

Self-trust is a theme here as is forgiveness and being responsible–to act as though you are responsible for all there is. Want a good job? Want a good relationship? Want peace in the world? Who’s responsible for that? “But I can’t be responsible for all that!” You might cry. No you can’t, if you define responsibility as a burden, or as blame, or if your image of yourself is too small to include it. If your view of the world is that there is you and then there is everything else, then you are most definitely outnumbered. But what if you held yourself as bigger than your image?

Now, I’m not talking about your ego-image, that’s always small and can only be inflated through and by itself, including only itself, excluding everything else. What I’m talking about is something much bigger than your personal identity–your personal consciousness. I’m talking about the awakening of something primordial, always becoming, life affirming, and inclusive–inclusive from the point-of-view that everything is already connected and reflecting everything else.

It has been said that the consciousness of a Kingdom can be seen in an individual. Truly powerful kingdoms affirm the individual who, in turn, affirms the collective. When I act as though I am you, my responsibility for your well-being shifts because it is my well being that is at stake.

Part of the process of becoming a fully actualized human being includes the rectification of the opposites that exist within us and that we project onto the outside world. As long as we continue to act as though we have no responsibility for the conflicts that are a result of the faux separations we have created in our psyches, then the peacefulness that grows from being connected will struggle to be realized. I say realized because the peace is there–it’s not as though we have to create it. It is, however, hidden beneath all our fears, unacceptance and rigid adherence to personal point-of-view–all things that separate us from each other.

Prince Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) set out on a journey to eradicate suffering. What I think he discovered is the real cause of suffering, us, the ego us, the illusory separate us. He preached a way of reconnecting with what is real in order to reveal the rightness of this greater spirit. In this place of the here and now we can experience the happiness, the joy, that is Being.

A mythological journey

 

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A while back my wife and I had been traveling along the coast of and in the waters of the Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean Seas, the places where Homer penned his stories of the ultimate heroes of the Archaic to Classical eras of ancient Greece and Rome.

While traveling along the Dalmatian Coast one cannot help but to step into the ancient worlds full of myth and fantasy. Myth is the secret opening to the psyche through which the universe pours its wonder and wisdom. Myths are the productions of the psyche.

This psyche of which I speak represents the totality of the human mind, both the conscious and the vast unconscious. In classical mythology it is the personification of the soul, or inner animating spirit and in science the psychological structure of a human being, the center of thought, motivation, and feeling. But in myth, Psyche was a beautiful girl loved by Cupid (Roman) or Eros (Greek) and made immortal by Jupiter (Roman), Zeus (Greek), the King of the gods.

Though myths come wearing many costumes, they represent the one true being. It is said by some researchers e.g. Joseph Campbell, that all of humankinds “religions, philosophies, arts…prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep” come from the “magic ring of myth” *.

Myths today are mostly thought to be quaint little fables that the ancients made up to explain their world and that disappeared once science took over. But in science the essence of humankind has been reduced to chemical and mechanical interactions and social conditioning and meaning is only in what can be observed and reproduced scientifically– life is only about procreation and survival whereas the ancients envisioned a much greater significance for humankind whose essence was of the universe and where meaning was to be found in every thing and act.

In today’s modern world there is an almost desperate search for meaning, i.e. something that says we are more than just our parts, our bodies, status, or our fashion statements.

We long to be the hero in our own myth, to slay dragons, earn acknowledgment and win the Golden Fleece, find the Holy Grail, be wooed by the White Knight or win the hand of the most beautiful princess of the land or be dubbed an immortal** by the god of gods.

To the ancients the myths that sustained them were a reality i.e. the gods lived amongst them and everyone accepted this. Today all we have is our unrecognized inner myth or pantheon of dreams.

 

“It has always been the prime function of mythology and rite to supply the symbols that carry the human spirit forward, in counteraction to those that tend to tie it back. In fact, it may very well be that the very high incidence of neuroticism among ourselves follows the decline among us of such effective spiritual aid.”

 –Joseph Campbell

 

Campbell goes on to say, “dream is personalized myth, myth is depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamics of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problem and solutions shown are directly valid for all mankind.”

We can learn about ourselves through an understanding of not only the ancient myths but those that we have created for ourselves both in our waking and sleeping dreams– we are already the hero of our own myth and much of the story is shared by others– we don’t have to take this journey alone.

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*Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Meridian Books, 1956

**everlasting life; the hereafter; eternal life

A “Hidden Music” dream

 

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“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

 This is a quote oft attributable to Frederick Nietzsche that I ran across while searching for aphorisms. It stuck with me all week mainly because it seemed to be speaking directly to me.

Two other quotes that seemed to apply came to mind as well, though I don’t recall from where I first saw them and Google didn’t help at all. My apologies to those who first spoke them.

 

“People who don’t understand things tend to reject them.”

 And

 “Let your heart lead and your mind follow”.

(I can imagine the corollary to that might be “let your mind lead and heart will get lost in the dust”.)

 

Not all that long ago I had a dream that seemed to reinforce this notion of some inner voice, or song that few others can hear. The dream seemed to be an extension of the dream I had even earlier that I had labeled The Blue Fresco. This dream could also be interpreted as what I’m now calling a “Hidden Music” dream.

It’s only when I’m quiet, when I’ve stilled the incessant chatter of my ego-voice that I can hear the music. When ruled by pride, fear, desire, worry, anger, distrust, greed, or when I imagine myself better than others I cannot hear the music. When I judge others or myself, I cannot hear the music. When I surround myself with distractions (TV, Facebook, Twitter, video games) I cannot hear the music.

It is only when I seek the sound of silence that I can hear the music of the spirit. It is from this deep venue that my soul waits to be expressed by as Rumi said, “It’s most beautiful face”. To dwell in this place is to dance to the music that few will ever hear, not that they cannot but that they will not and herein lies the cause of our deafness, the “Will” of will not, the be-all and know-all of the human consciousness that hides the beauty of what we all are beneath its suffocating self-centeredness.

It is this self-centeredness of the will that has us search the world for some treasure when the treasure is in us all the time. It’s what Lao Tzu called the Tao, “the origin of all things” the heart of all our being, the essence of what we are. It’s what lies between each of our words and the thoughts that create them. It’s what is beyond our personal and collective motives.

When we become self-centered the music cannot be heard. As Lao Tzu said “the quest for outer acquisition closes the door on the Tao” and it is the needy self-centered ego-self that is always projecting outside itself its unreality because it knows that it is hollow and empty within. No matter how hard it tries, no matter how many self-help programs it takes it cannot fill the void of itself for here there is no music within the void. It is not in the personally created ego that we can find the music of our true self.

As with that dream of several years back (The Blue Fresco) one needs to leave the empty world behind it and follow the intuition of the child into the mountains beyond where the music lies. Therein lies the connection with the spirit, the real self.