More Barriers to love and the spirit within: The seeds of our own destruction

 

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Not too long ago my wife and I presented a Cornerstone class on conflict resolution at our granddaughter’s elementary school. Project Cornerstone first came to the school district as an anti-bullying program. But over time the use, or over use, of the word “bully” to identify a certain type of behavior has hardened into a type of person rather than a type of behavior i.e. they “are” a bully instead of them “behaving” like one.

When “bully” becomes a label instead of a description of a behavior it leaves little room for the person displaying the behavior to change or even to defend themselves because the use of the word sets them in concrete. The label then becomes a way of excluding someone. Most of us do that with the word “evil”. Once we’ve hung that around someone’s neck they’re no longer a human and they are open to all kinds of abuse.

This isn’t unusual behavior on our part in that we humans often tend to paint each other with a broad paintbrush. It’s easier to do this and doesn’t require much higher-order thinking. This becomes especially noticeable when we are caught up in our fear of something that we don’t understand and begins to escalate radically as the more helpless and fearful we become.

Tribally we humans tend to reject outsiders and behaviors that we don’t understand and when those so-called outsiders seem to be of a particular tribe we tend to paint them all with one color. Even the best of us sometimes fall into this trap as when we condemn a race of people for the actions of some of that race or when we condemn an entire religious group for the horrific behaviors of a certain subgroup.

In recent years we have witnessed the horrific behaviors of a religious subgroup and have rightly labeled their actions as evil, but some people out of their own fear and ignorance have branded all of that religious group as being evil. This is of course a big mistake and totally unhelpful to the cause of peace and our ability to detect what it is that needs to be done to contain the evil behavior and how to lessen the number of those who fall prey to the lure of this subgroup.

While we hold people accountable for their behaviors and while we do what is necessary to end and/or contain the evil we must look at what conditions are enflaming and enabling it and do what is necessary to end those as well.

Yes, we need to fight this, but we need to fight it intelligently and not do it in a way that throws gasoline on the fire thus spreading its damage over a greater area. We need to respond to the presence and actions of evil and not just react.

Reacting is a “lizard brain” action where no thought is required just instinctive animal reactivity. God gave us so much more to work with that lies above the reactionary archaic brain stem and we need to resist the tendency to label everything we’re afraid of or don’t understand as being evil and thus subject to our wrath. We need to stop acting like a frightened snake striking whatever moves and more like the intelligent thinking sons and daughters of a loving God we are.

Simply put, we cannot push back the darkness of evil by simply pouring on more and more darkness– we need to add some light to it. WE (you and I) need to come up with some ways to 1) rein in our own lizard brains and 2) find ways to end the spread of evil and once accomplished deal appropriately with the root causes of it. To do anything else will only perpetuate the evil i.e. you can bloody the land with more killing and that may subdue the evil but only temporarily.

History is rife with lessons on how we humans take the wrong paths toward peace. That’s because we react out of fear instead of responding to it and using it as a motivator to change, a change necessary because we have failed to do what is needed to treat others with the respect we would want for ourselves.

Now, that is not to say that we can end all evil. There will always be those who have been sickened by their own minds and will seek solace from that pain by attempting to dominate and control those outside themselves as though it’s the outsider who causes their sickness. There will always be egos that want to feel bigger and more important and will attempt to subjugate the world around them.

Compassionate Containment may be what is wanted and needed in these cases at least until science can find a successful means of healing them. But each of us who are healthy has the means for controlling our own negative and reactive behaviors. We need to get serious about learning what those means are and start actualizing them.

We need to embrace the real meaning of enlightened civilization and grow beyond our reactive tribal mentality. Currently we seem hell-bent on sewing the seeds of our own destruction.

Barriers to love and the Spirit within

 

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Life is holy, but some people out of either ignorance of that fact or as a self-serving and malevolent expression choose to not treat it as such.

We can either enhance life or diminish it, extol it or denigrate it. What enhances life is love, given freely without strings or attachments. Everything else is just a barrier to achieving and experiencing wholeness everything else is just survival, though of course one needs to maintain the latter to express the former.

But when the survival mode dominates we can only limit ourselves i.e. we take and hoard, hold onto, close up and restrict. In love we give ourselves away and in so doing save ourselves. Survival mode comes from a personal context of insufficiency (there’s not enough) and vulnerability (life is fragile). Survival with no other purpose than to continue life is a form of death. The soul is not about survival but the full expression of who and what you are_ it is about wholeness.

This is what wholeness looks like: No limits, open, truly free i.e. to be unbound by your beliefs, your prejudices, judgments and self-protections.

When we are free of the barriers we put up in order to feel secure, when we can give of our life freely we are then said to be in “possession” of it i.e. it belongs to us and not to someone else’s ideal or belief or dictate or expectation for us. When dominated by our survival mode, or even to the degree by which we have allowed ourselves to be dominated by this mode of living, everything else possesses our life and we are not free to be what we are.

 

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

–Rumi

 

But to be what we are takes immense courage, “The courage to be” as Paul Tillich called it– it’s not about what you do or don’t do, it’s about who you are and expressing that regardless of the evaluation of others.

Your life is holy, everyone’s life is holy and the clannishness we’ve created in order to protect ourselves from seen and unseen dangers is killing us, it selfishly treats only a select few as being holy and only if those few adhere to the clan belief system. There will never be true freedom to “be” with this kind of limit on the expression of wholeness i.e. ‘holiness’.

 

“I am neither of the East nor of the West, no boundaries exist within my breast.”

–Rumi

 

Beliefs that teach that only certain humans behaving in certain prescribed ways are looked upon favorably by God attempt to build fences around the real God. But God cannot be fenced in and fences don’t enhance, they diminish. To denigrate the differences between us does not enhance the human spirit it is a barrier to it.

If you were to strip away the stories, the interpretive overlay, and dogma of every religion you will notice that virtually every spiritual leader, credited with starting a new way of thinking, a new way of being in relationship with each other and with the spirit that created us has done so out of knowing that the purpose of being human is to become whole and to express that wholeness freely and honestly. All have known that what we are is love and that we need to learn to express it more freely. Anything else is not love and it is not an expression of wholeness or the sacredness of each of us.

 

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

–Rumi

 

Namaste…

The Spirit: The hub of the Four Elements wheel

 

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Deep within all of us is a universal thought-form that influences virtually everything we do, believe or think we know. This form, feeling, or image is expressed in a myriad of ways at our most unconscious level. These universal forms are called “archetypes” and reside in an ethereal realm called the Collective Unconscious. They are most often accessed through our dreams or other trance states such as meditation. But the images are expressed in more than just our dreams, we can see them in our myths, our fairy tales, and fictional stories and they shape the relationships that matter in our lives.

From this universal center of the human psyche comes an image of the Spirit, it is the opposite of matter and may visit the dreamer as a wise old man or woman who can guide us through the spiritual world and /or through problem issues in the waking world. Collectively these are known as Spirit Guides. In the world of the Shaman these may come as a “Spirit Spouse” who assists in the shamanic work through dreams, ritual, and/or trance.

The ancient Egyptian Magus Hermes Trismegistus believed all beings possess the potential to access the infinite wisdom of the Spirit that the individual has the ability to know the whole by becoming like the whole. One does this by aligning themselves with the divine source of their being.

The Spirit can come to us in the form of a loved one who has died, a ghost or with the impression of the infinite that is called a “numinous” feeling, with the sense of something divine, something entirely different from all that we experience in our usual waking life.

At its very root the Spirit is our connection with nature, what Carl Jung the Swiss Psychiatrist and dream analyst called, “The nourishing soil of the soul”. I believe that our dissociation with nature has left us disconnected from our experience of Spirit i.e. of the divine. Nature is part of the soul of our existence and to pollute it and destroy it to make way for more hamburgers (destruction of the rain forests so as to grow more beef), oil drilling platforms and pipelines, cars, parking lots and shopping malls is to destroy or sicken part of our own soul.

As Jung once said, “Nature is not matter only, she is also Spirit”. I think that when we make our wallets more important, when we make our material objects more important, when we make ourselves more important we rob the Earth of its Spirit and from ourselves as well.

Spirit images in our dreams also remind us of death, endings, transformation, and letting go, what needs to happen in order to grow beyond our own self-imposed limits and what is absolutely necessary to evolve sustainably.

The Spirit or soul of the Earth and of humankind is the hub of the wheel of the Four Elements that I’ve been writing about this month. It is the center from which all else radiates.

 

“And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheeled universe,

And any man or woman shall stand cool and supercilious before a million universes”

Walt Whitman, leaves of grass

 

To me this suggests that there’s no object so insignificant that it can’t have the whole universe revolving around it. It is our very divinity that we are giving up when we focus exclusively on the material to the detriment of Spirit.

 

“Air moves us, fire transforms us, water shapes us, earth heals us
. And the balance of the wheel goes round and round
. And the balance of the wheel goes round.”

–

By Cathleen Sheil, Moonsea and Prune of Reclaiming

 

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WATER: THE FOURTH IN THE FOUR ELEMENTS DREAM SYMBOLS

 

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Water in dreams is an incredibly important symbolic
   look into the
        very depths of our being. Found on Deviant Art

“Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink.

 

The very deep did rot – Oh Christ!

That ever this should be.

Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs,

Upon the slimy sea.”

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

 

Most of the Earth’s water (96.5%) can be found in its oceans and seas. Our lakes, icecaps, glaciers, groundwater and rivers only make up 3.44% of the total. Seventy percent of the Earth’ surface is covered by water. That’s roughly 326 million trillion gallons of the stuff in all its forms i.e. liquid, solid and gaseous with only 2 percent of that being drinkable. Our bodies are mostly water as well (65%).

Water in dreams comes to visit us through floods, rising tides, relentless rain, storms and stormy seas, tidal waves and tsunamis, rivers, lakes, oceans, puddles and pools.

We sink into it, are drowned or are drowning or crawl upon barren lands where not a drop can be found. It comes to us as a becalmed sea, a busy port, or as a trickle formed into a raging river.

Being at the beach can be about standing between two ways of being, or two worlds. It is also a metaphor for intuition and the opening to ones emotions. Longing to get to the other side of a great body of water can be about our barriers, limits, ambitions and goals while tides can be about the ups and downs, ins and outs of our life.

Water gives us both life and death as in the biblical story of Moses parting the Red Sea so as to save the Hebrew slaves while drowning the Pharos army. It both refreshes and renews but can just as easily overwhelm and drown.

As with the Ancient Mariner one can find themselves far out to sea with water all around but none to drink and feeling parched and unnourished.

It comes to us as a message of emotional overwhelm or a release of tension and sadness. It cleanses us of our past and that which has made us dirty. It washes away guilt or drowns us in it. We can find ourselves in hot water where difficult situations reign and in too deep and over our head.

We wade through it, muddy it, watch it course by under the bridge and we always seem to be struggling to keep our head above it and though trying to navigate as best we can we try to not be swept away by it.

Water in dreams is our primary metaphor for our moods, emotions and the flow of our feeling energies. How we deal with the water gives insight to how we are dealing with our emotional selves. We can find ourselves hanging on to the edge of a rushing river resisting its onward rush to some unknown future or letting go and going with the flow. We can also find ourselves moving along the surface as though we were a leaf being taken wherever the river thinks important without any volition or participation on our part.

Dreaming of floods, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes and great storms? You may be overwhelmed with emotional situations, fears and anxieties whereas calm seas and placid pools would symbolize the opposite.

In deep oceans, lakes, or seas it speaks from our deeper selves, the source of our being. We can be seen swimming down into its depths and bringing up things from below as a metaphor for active developing consciousness of something kept hidden in the depths, something unconscious and coming into the light.

How we swim can reflect how we are meeting our needs. Water often is a symbol for the state of our being– emotional, psychological, spiritual, sexual, relational.

Often there are monsters from the deep that can be found here and speak to the shadowy denizens of our own unconscious mind i.e. our unmet needs or unrecognized aspects, but so too fish swim from below and bring wisdom to a troubled mind.

Water has been used metaphorically as a means of cleansing the soul so that the spirit of God may enter or as a symbol of death and resurrection aka a rebirth into something new, of washing away one state of being to make room for another.

Well that’s it! Or is it? No, there is a hidden fifth element that binds them all together. It’s the most mysterious of them all and not really an element at all. I’ll share this final aspect of our dream selves in the next Blog.

Air: The third in the Four Elements dream symbols

 

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The third in the Four Elements series deals with Air. Images of Air in dreams such as in trouble breathing, wind, airplanes and flying can be significant indicators of thought processes, attitudes, emotions and relationships– all kinds of relationships.

At the level of the physical world the air that we breathe is made up primarily of Nitrogen (about 78%), 21% oxygen, 1% argon and .038% CO2. Depending on where you live there are also trace elements of various pollutants that will significantly negatively affect an individual’s health and well-being.

At the level of the metaphorical world where dreams, myth, the mystical, and spiritual Air has a long list of meanings i.e. many of the world religious cosmologies have creation myths that involve the breathing of life into the world and its people.

In dreams Air often symbolizes creativity, intelligence and thought. If the air in a dream is foggy or heavily polluted then it could suggest that the dreamer’s thought processes are cloudy, imprecise or even being poisoned through some negative self-talk or the negative talk of someone else.

Air conditioners might represent the need to “clear the air” i.e. to clean up some interpersonal issues. Cold air can reflect ones relations with another person or persons (domestic, business or social) whereas ‘hot air’ can be about undo influence, nonsense talk, or even evil talk.

To walk on air is to be feeling upbeat or the desire to feel this way. It can also refer to self-confidence i.e. to have the sense of mastery over ones circumstances (note that to walk on water is to have the same meaning over ones feelings).

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Found on Pngtree

Dreams of Flying through the air can be exhilarating and liberating.

Often dreams of flying reflect ones sense of freedom and independence or the desire for the same. I recall that during my tenure in one job a number of years ago I would occasionally have dreams of flying, only the flying was a struggle often ending with a crash back to Earth. As the waking world struggle increased and I tried to remain optimistic, it required that I wear a mask of being upbeat, my dream-self would hide the fact from others in the dream that I could fly. When I finally quit that job my flying dreams reflected free flight across beautiful terrain and I didn’t try to hide the fact that I could fly from anyone.

My flying dreams showed an interesting progression that reflected accurately my waking world emotional state and ability to control my personal sense of power and control over my circumstances.

Breathing has a number symbolic meanings i.e. if you’re breathing rapidly in the dream perhaps you are experiencing some anxiety or tension in your life. Breathing underwater can suggest a desire to return to the comfort and safety of the womb though in some cases this can also suggest that you are submerged in your own emotions. Not being able to breathe could indicate exhaustion (note that some people with asthma may have dreams of breathing troubles).

Someone breathing into the dreamers mouth might suggest that there is some aspect of the other person that the dreamer may want to take into themselves or it can suggest if the person blowing into the dreamer’s mouth is dead that this person still lives within in them. Images like this can also suggest the need to have more life “breathed” into ones experiences or ones activities. “A breath of fresh air” is a phrase often used to signify new and positive change.

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In Tibet and Nepal the people fly prayer flags, what are known as “Wind Horse” flags, with prayers written upon them and as they blow in the wind the air takes them to the Spirit.

Wind is a powerful image and can reflect changes in circumstance or emotions e.g. there can be “ill winds”, “warm winds”, “cold winds”, turbulent winds of turmoil and light breezes of harmony and tranquility. Wind in general represents a ‘life force’, energy, and a feeling of vigor or aliveness. Some Native American Shaman see the wind as a ‘living’ being or spirit that can be engaged and worked with for good or evil. In Peru I met a shaman who performed a cleansing and healing and as part of that blew three short breaths toward  the Andes mountains.

Finally, airplanes can be about overcoming obstacles and rising to success, new-found freedom and increased awareness. If the dreamer is flying the airplane it may reflect either the need to take control or that they are under control of their life. To crash in an airplane my suggest that ones goals are too unrealistic and that because of this one might fail i.e. it could all come ‘crashing down’– this may also reflect the dreamer’s lack of confidence and self-criticism that may be self-defeating. Missing one’s flight can be about feeling helpless, left behind, or trapped by some circumstance that is preventing the attainment of some goal.

Fire: The second of the Four Elements dream symbols

 

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Fire as a dream image portends passion and energy and is often associated with the color red, summer, the Sun, volcanoes, and the stars.

Technically fire is a chemical reaction between oxygen in the air and some kind of fuel i.e. wood or gasoline and one more factor, the right ignition temperature, or flash point, (roughly 300 degrees Fahrenheit/150 Celsius for wood). Simply put, the first stage is decomposition of the wood turning the solid into a gas that heats to about 500 0 F causing the carbon (the basic building block of life) in the wood to recombine with the oxygen and flames of fire flash forth.

In many cases the igniter is fire itself e.g. a match– fire begets fire, passionate behaviors often create passionate behaviors in others– a perfect example of this is anger and or hatred. Have you ever noticed that fiery behavior usually evokes an in-kind response? And once anger has hit its ‘flash point’ there’s often no chance of turning back and passions are ignited.

In dreams fire images can show up in a host of ways. Depending on how it shows up it can represent destruction, passion, illumination, enlightenment, transformation or anger. It can symbolize the dreamer’s inner motivation and drive, their creative energy i.e. their internal fire.

Fire can be about one’s temper or temperament (fiery). If burned in the dream it might suggest that someone’s temper is out of control and is hurting someone (the dreamer?). If a house is on fire it might suggest the need for some transformation or that some transformation is taking place that will change the very structure of the dreamer’s inner being.

Setting fire to the dream-self or to the house they’re living in might suggest great distress with something in the dreamers waking life. Sometimes a whole town/city may be burning within the dream and might suggest that one’s whole world is being destroyed, or that big changes are happening or need to happen, or that some old way of thinking or old belief or dependency needs to be let go of.

Putting out a fire may be about getting things under control or the need to get it under control.

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Some people dream of magically starting a fire with a wave of the hand that might symbolize repressed anger that may eventually get out of hand through some kind of overreaction.

Underground fires or fires in caves could refer to some repressed passions, desires, or emotions that may need to be dealt with in order for the dreamer to grow forward in their life. Interestingly fires in the sky can be about changing ones viewpoint in order to attain the same growth as represented by the fires beneath the Earth that of course may add meaning to the phrase, “As above, so below”.

I’m also reminded of the phrase, “In the line of fire” that suggests being a target to someone’s wrath. “Under fire” is a phrase used to designate someone under stress and verbal attack– the steel blade of a sword was often heated in fire then thrust into water to harden it for combat. This may have also been part of the derivation of “trial by fire” in that one becomes hardened and tested through adversity.

Fire also can be about cleansing and purification e.g. witches were often burned at the stake in the belief that it would cleanse them in death.

Climbing down a fire escape might suggest that the dreamer’s need to distance themselves from some negativity. A fire extinguisher might suggest getting their emotions under control or controlling some inflamed situation. Burning coals can be about some burning passion as yet unexpressed whereas a firecracker can refer to angry outbursts perhaps even misdirected.

When the image of fire shows up in the image of a fire-breathing dragon it can suggest that the dreamer is using anger to get their own way and that perhaps they need to exercise some self-control.

When fire is experienced as though one were in hell, the dreamer may be experiencing an inescapable situation or suffering from guilt or repressed negative feelings. One may be punishing themselves unnecessarily or to a greater degree than what is called for and perhaps needs to take a break from this.

Summer is of course the hottest time of the year and can represent some hot issue, or sweltering situation, but it can also be about ones midlife or the peak of life. A sweaty summer day might suggest struggles or emotionally heated situations.

When the fire image shows up as the Sun it can often symbolize divine power, enlightenment, or insight. Sometimes the Sun can be a pun for Son and can refer to actual people or an aspect of Jesus of Nazareth or some other divine figure associated with the “light of enlightenment”. The Sun is also thought as a masculine symbol in a dream.

To see the sun (or any star) exploding might suggest some traumatic event in the dreamer’s life that portends the end of something, some relationship or way of life. Sunburns may suggest some problem or burning situation that needs to be attended to.

Fire in the form of fiery suns can be about ones aspirations or ideals but can also be about placing too much in the hands of luck. When these stars go Nova it can symbolize the need to “blow up” some old way of being or letting go of some no longer useful goal. Supernova’s in dreams can also symbolize something brilliant and new or be about shattered dreams, though this destruction may lead to something better over the long run.

Earth: The first of the Four Element dream images

 

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Over the next several weeks I will deal with the elements of the meditative mantra, “Earth am I, air am I, fire and water and Spirit am I.” These elements also show up in our dreams and it is their meaning in dreams that I will be sharing.

The Earth image can speak to our need to be grounded i.e. realistic or be symbolic of your inner unconscious being. The image can show up as a cave or cavern, an abyss, a cellar, a mountain, a garden, a forest, or a grave. It can represent the body, your inner strength, or your mother.

As a mother it is the mother of us all, that which gives us life and brings us into the world. It is the grounded aspect between the father, the sun, and our spiritual self e.g. the other side of the Heaven and Earth or the mind/body dichotomy.

Scientific evidence as well as orbital pictures shows that the Earth is a great orb bulging near the middle because it’s spinning so fast (a little over a thousand miles per hour or 1675km/hr), 25,000 miles in diameter, thus taking approximately 24 hours to rotate once (thus our 24 hr day). The planet has been here quite a while, nearly 4.5 billions of years, but has only had life on it, multicellular life for the last 3.6 billion years. We animals didn’t show up until the last 600 million years or so. Human-like animals showed up about 2.5 million years ago so we’re pretty much the youngsters of the kingdom.

In its early stages before life the Earth was an inhospitable place, hurling through space being bombarded by huge boulders from the outer reaches of the solar system, with most of the land mass covered by scalding volcanic lava, corrosive acidic rains, and an atmosphere devoid of oxygen but full of sulfur gases.

Among the images of the Earth can be found volcanoes suggesting explosive personalities or situations and forests that symbolize the subconscious mind, or ones instinctual self. Walking through a forest can be about life transitions or changes in self-understanding. Forest fires can be about anger and the loss of control but it can also be about transitions and changes leading to something new.

Caves can be about your unconscious mind, the deeper you, but it can also represent the safety, warmth and retreat from the burdens of responsibility. Walking in a dark cave can be symbolic of exploring your inner self.

An abyss or canyon, can be an obstacle that is creating anxiety, something that one needs to overcome. It also represents the unknown. Standing before it can be about fears of “taking the plunge” and perhaps failing. Dark abyss’ can also be metaphors for hidden feelings and be a pit of despair and depression. Perhaps the dreamer is wallowing in negative self-talk?

A great plain can be about freedom, wholesomeness, smooth paths, or a pun on being “just plain”. A plateau in a dream might suggest that you are not growing or are in a rut, that you have “plateaued”.

Mountains also can represent obstacles or challenges to be overcome. Being on top can signify success, full potential– they often represent having a grand and bigger perspective on the world. The top of the mountain can also suggest a higher realm of consciousness, knowledge and/or spiritual awareness on the dreamer’s part.

To climb the mountain can symbolize the need to tackle some problem or to do what is necessary to grow in one’s job, personal life, spiritually or ones understanding of self. If the dreamer falls off the mountain it might suggest that they are rushing too fast without thinking things through e.g. being too impulsive. Falling can also suggest that the dreamer is giving up on something, perhaps too soon? Walking around a mountain instead of climbing it may suggest a more prudent action, that the dreamer needs to know their limitations and pace themselves. However, avoiding a mountain altogether because it looks too rugged or high could reveal a tendency to give up on, or avoiding, demanding situations.

Being in a grave or seeing a grave or hole in the ground can be about searching ones subconscious mind in search of something that may solve a problem or put some issue to rest, though it can also suggest the desire to cover something up, hide it, “bury” it so it won’t be found. We often do this with feelings, issues and aspects of our self and life that we find distasteful and don’t want to deal with. Graveyards often suggest the discarded aspects of ourselves.

To fall into a hole or a grave might suggest that you have dug a hole for yourself, created a problem for yourself, and are having trouble getting out of it.

Gardens or a farmer’s fields can be about personal growth and/or doing what is needed to encourage and tend that growth. To see weeds in that garden or field might suggest that the dreamer may be neglecting their spiritual growth or inner development.

Finally the Earth or any planet for that matter can be symbolic of exploration and new adventure. Because the Earth can represent ones body they might want to look at the condition of the Earth image.

Politics and reality: Even the rats in a maze have a better grasp of reality than we do

 

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Many years ago as a graduate assistant and in charge of the rat lab at the university I noted that rats could learn pretty easily where the cheese was in a maze and would quickly go right to it regardless of how complex the maze. But when the cheese was removed the behavior was readily extinguished within 2-3 attempts with no success. The rats wouldn’t go down that tunnel anymore looking for the cheese.

However, human beings don’t behave in this manner because once the cheese is removed the human being will go back down the tunnel to where the cheese used to be again and again, nearly forever. Are human beings basically dumber than the rat I wondered?

That possibility may or may not have merit but I think human beings keep doing what they know doesn’t work again and again because ”It’s supposed to work!” or that they want it to work therefore it should if they hang in there long enough. It’s why we keep voting for the same dunderheads who promise us things, aka cheese, that we know they can’t deliver on, again and again. It’s why the political faithful keep voting against their best interests by saying yes to a totally discredited economic plan because the ‘cheese’ is “supposed” to be there. Be aware that their leadership knows this and manipulates this fact to their advantage.

This cognitive default keeps us from seeing the facts i.e. the cheese ain’t there no more– but with humans facts be damned, its supposed to be there, so that’s where they’ll go. The “dumber” animals don’t have this encumbrance because they operate within reality as it is, not as they wish it to be.

We self-create the way we think reality is supposed to be and it’s a very personal reality. This is usually very inaccurate mainly because we’ve buggered all the data with our want-it-to-be’s and our self-serving projections. Most of this was done when we were children when of course we had little experience and knowledge from which to draw any conclusions and from there on out we only picked the experiences, emotions and events that agreed with our flawed view of reality.

As children our decisions that we made were mostly based on fear– fear of doing the wrong thing or being the wrong way and thus losing approval, or knowing the wrong stuff or knowing only part of the issue but we didn’t know what was the best way anyway so we relied on the adults around us to tell us what to do. But of course they don’t know either, but had learned to pretend that they did.

And we keep thinking that if we keep choosing appropriately from our rather limited reality that eventually we’ll get the cheese. Sometimes it looks as though we do get the cheese, but it only lasts for a short while, doesn’t it? This is called intermittent reinforcement in the behavioral sciences and it’s the kind of learning that’s the hardest to break away from. It’s what often creates the ‘supposed’ in the “its supposed to be there” way of thinking. It’s what keeps people gambling their money away because at one time they “won” something.

So we keep shooting for what feels good and hoping that maybe this time, this person, this way of being, will be it.

This is the way it is when you’re attached to something outside yourself for your well-being. There’s a lot of suffering in that and any “happiness” is often just the absence of pain. You know, we’ve bought into a lot of rubbish about what happiness is. We’ve been led to believe that if we just have the right things e.g. a wife/husband, children or no children, breath freshener, toothpaste, smile, schooling, more schooling, better schooling, job, the right job, a better job, the right sex, better sex, a good vacation, a better vacation, or if we’re the right weight or have enough money (is there such a thing?), then we will be happy. But none of it lasts for very long does it? Then it’s off to the next thing, the next fashion, the next relationship, the next wise guru. But when we live in an illusion of reality, there’s always disillusionment.

How do you break such an insidious and all-consuming cycle? One can transcend the cycle and one can transform their relationship with reality. But first you have to acknowledge that you really don’t know what it is and that what you’ve made up is a mess basically a pack of lies and half-truths.

It’s a whole new retraining that requires that we let go of our dependence on something outside ourselves. Now I don’t mean that we all need to become emotional islands, we need each other. We need to be open to the support and the love of others, we just don’t need them to be responsible for our lives, to tell us how to be and what to think and feel and happiness doesn’t come from them, it comes from within. It’s the ‘cheese’ in you that you need to search for, not outside in someone else’s maze, it’s not there, it is gone! Get over it!

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Emotions in dreams: Anger

 

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A dream image of anger from one of my own dreams: Bull with lightning emanating from his eyes.

 

Emotions in dreams can be a way for the dreamer to act out the feelings that they normally would not express if they were awake. The dream provides a “safe” outlet for these emotions.

However, if the dreamer feels a mix of emotions in their dream, especially if the emotions are contradictory, then it may mean that the conscious and subconscious are in emotional conflict.

Emotions in dreams are integral to the way the brain works i.e. there seems to be a primitive network that links both dreams and emotions. This is why one must focus on the prevalent emotion(s) of a dream in order to derive broader meaning.

Other than reflecting a current way of being emotions can also signal the need for new ways of being. For example, anger can be about the need to stand up for yourself, fear can be about being more assertive, happiness can be about being more serious, or anxiety could suggest the need to be more cautious.

Probably one of the most prevalent emotions in dreams is some form of anger.

Anger in a dream can represent that you are repressing your anger about something or that your unacknowledged anger is causing health problems.

Sometimes in your waking life, you may have the belief that it is not appropriate or safe to express anger. In dreams, you can allow its expression. This can help make it possible for you to be more assertive in your waking life. Perhaps the anger in the dream is suggesting that one stand their ground and become more confident. It can also provide relief for pent-up feelings.

Anger can also show up in a dream when people are shooting at each other or when people or animals are fighting. Another image might include an angry face or many angry faces as in a mob.

C.G. Jung looked at people as though they had two distinctly different spirits: Spirit of the Times (that which you live in culturally and sub-culturally) and the Spirit of the Depths (the soul, or essence of who you are).

Both the sleeping dream and the waking dream present emotional data that speaks to an imbalance in one’s life. For example, it is often said that anger that has not been transcended and dealt with appropriately in one’s waking life can become turned inward and create a feeling of depression. And sometimes this feeling of depression is a call from the Spirit of the Depths that one is becoming too dependent on the Spirit of the Times.

 

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” –Buddha

One may need to trust more in the quietness of their soul than the sound and fury of the outer world.

 

“Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.” –Buddha

The first step when you find that anger has reared its ugly head is to not respond to the provocation i.e. do not respond to anger with anger. Try delaying your response for several seconds (this is like the old “count to ten” method). This will train self-control and give some time to engage the brain. Note that your anger may be an appropriate response to some stimulus but having it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to express it by dumping it on the object of your anger.

Another important step in reducing anger is to treat others with kindness and compassion. This includes those who are not like you or don’t believe what you believe. This also includes those from a different ‘tribe’ i.e. family, neighborhood, village, gang, school, team, city, state, or country.

We are all humans who are trying to survive, feel safe, love and be happy. With few exceptions, mostly by those who have psychological, spiritual, brain, or psycho-social damage, we all make mistakes, want to make a difference and want to feel and be seen as being a good person.

We also share another common trait i.e. we don’t always know the right way to go about it. This is probably due to the fact that none of us came with an instruction manual although many have written down a number of rules and laws designed to give us guidance in this area often with limited success. The why of that limited success is also interesting e.g. the Ten Commandments seem to be a rational behavioral system to follow but how often do people actually follow them and what is it that gets in the way of doing so? That I believe is a discussion for another time.

 

Hint:

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An unabashed promotion: But still worth your while

 

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“He who Khronos does enthrall,

I bid thee answer your bretheren’s call.”

 

“An apparition of indeterminate gender floated high above us, then drifted gently down into the circle of light, barely touching the floor as it landed. It was a ghostly apparition in a form that never seemed really present in the here and now. It was as though I was seeing it in the past, present, and future simultaneously, but not quite solidly in any of those frames… A cold breeze worked its way up my back, and I consciously forced it back to wherever it had crawled out from…”

“I see discontinuity (it said). I see a place where both aspects of being and spirit are not sharing. I see a rift forming where this Being lost the vision given by the Is. I see this Being made up for its loss by creating its own reality in the name of the Is, but not of the Is. I see “ a vision of oneness, the light and the dark in harmony, aspects seemingly in conflict operating as a whole. The vision of the Is includes everything with nothing left out. The yin struggles in your world to be heard, the yang having actively suppressed it out of fear, greed, and ignorance and then codified it as though it were the word of the Is. But the Is becomes aware through the Being. It needs the Being to manifest all of itself, and when the Being becomes unbalanced through the expression of only half of itself, the expression of the Is also becomes unbalanced.”

This was part of an otherworldly conversation between myself and an apparition met one summer evening some thirty-three years ago on the other side of reality. It was an experience of painful awareness that threatened the very fabric of my life as I knew it. But this was not exclusively a story about me but of all of us and the rabbit hole we’re all falling down.

The conversation was an excerpt from the story of a journey I took one dark and rainy night that dragged me beyond the reality I knew and into a world of chaos that was vaguely familiar. This was a story of a desperate need for healing for myself and for the very fabric into which we all are woven. It’s a story that continues into this day and has now pulled all of us into its torn and fragmented web.

Take a peek beyond the veil and into a world beyond this world and come with me on my journey to visit the Dream Healer on the Archipelago of Dreams.