Archive for the ‘dream’ tag
I took a few photos yesterday evening as the sun finally appeared and painted golden scenes outside my window. I was intrigued by the light and the colour in contrast to what had been a gray and dreary day of cloud and rain.
Now, an attempt at opening the Pandora’s Box exploring what I would consider to be my dreams. What are my dreams, my visions for myself? I have talked a lot about returning to the role of counsellor an idea that has been in my head for the past ten years, since I gave up that role in the world of education. To return means to obtain certification outside the world of education and educational psychology. This is something that I know I am good at, something that gives me a sense of worth and value, especially now that I have retired. Part of that desire is to both fill some of my hours and to fill my head. There are no real obstacles getting in the way of following up on this particular dream. Yet, I wonder if this is more about keeping busy rather than following my bliss. It seems I have lost the key that would open up the inner voices that would affirm or not, what is a real dream of being and doing versus what is just distracting me from the fact that there is nothing there within me serving as a dream for my dream quest.
I have somewhat vague ideas of things I would like to try, but I don’t know if they could be called dreams. One of the ideas that come to mind are to walk el camino de Santiago and to wander other parts of the world. I don’t know if this is just a distraction or a real dream. This idea first came to me when I read about the pilgrimage in one of Paulo Coehlo’s books. I wonder now what it would be like to make this pilgrimage beginning each walking day with Buddhist meditation, not rushing the pilgrimage and taking time to be present in place and in self along the journey. I begin to think of the process of the pilgrimage as an 800 kilometre long meditation and exploration of my body and my my psyche. I guess this does make the idea a dream of sorts. What I don’t know is if I will do this, risk doing this or whether I would just leave it in my mind as another intellectual idea, or if this is just another distraction that appears in the absence of a real dream.
So many padded walls and doorless doorways that serve as blinders; I had thought that I might actually reach for something in taking this challenge of exploring my dreams, but I keep coming up empty as though I am dipping into a well using a pail riddled with holes. I have built too many layers of blinds that separate the core of my self from the world I find myself so that when I try to find that core self I find something blurry like the scene outside my window in the photo above.
All of that said, I know that I am going forward, trusting the journey, trusting that The Way is unfolding as it should. And for me, that is a real Hero’s Journey.
I realise that this is an atypical image when it comes to talking about dreams and reality, but then again dreams and reality are more atypical than not. Lately I have been having a bit of difficulty with recording dreams. If I do get any sense of the dream after waking, it often becomes too difficult to put into words as the fragments that do rise to the surface are too scattered and too far between each other for any hope of finding meaning in the dream. At times like this, I simply accept that the dream doesn’t need my attention, that it is doing what it needs to do at a sub-conscious level. All that is left to me are just disjointed pieces of words or images, such as this image.
Of course images are powerful in their own right. Taking an image such as this one, I can, and often enough do, allow my imagination to build a story, a fantasy around the image – the process of active imagination. This process allows us to bring meaning to images, to tell stories. But, are these stories and interpretations valid? Do they hold any value psychologically, any value in terms of orienting or understanding ourselves? Obviously, simply in allowing these questions to be asked indicates my response in the affirmative. One wouldn’t even entertain these questions if one didn’t consider that there was value. If one was clearly of the opinion that there was nothing to be gained or learned, then the question itself would not arise, rather any hint of the questions would simply be dismissed as nonsense. I guess, for many, the whole idea that there is something of value to doing dream work is in itself a waste of time and shear nonsense.
” The first question we must discuss is: what is our justification for attributing to dreams any other significance that the unsatisfying fragmentary meaning . . . If we start from the fact that a dream is a psychic product, we have not the least reason to suppose that its constitution and function obey laws and purposes other than those applicable to any other psychic product. . . . we have to treat the dream, analytically, just like any other psychic product . . .” (Jung, CW 8, par. 449-450)
As a society, we have somehow accepted that dreams, at least some dreams have meaning thanks to the work of Freud and Jung. Perhaps even more importantly in the western world, we have the stories of the Bible which shows us the power and validity of dreams. And often, these messages are given to us as singular images. The images appear and we are told to look beyond, beneath, within the images to discover truth. We are also told not to worship the images themselves and miss the gold within the depths of these images. Children seem to intuitively know this as they create stories from images, from sculptures and from the artifacts of nature and man. And these stories are not important in literal terms, rather their importance is psychological – the moral of the story being told, the kernel of truth contained.
So, back to this image, to the fragment(s) of a dream, of a thought that somehow sticks – what story can we allow to be told? What do we need to hear? What is message from within that we project exists that needs to be heard? Therein, lies the value of fantasy, active imagination and dream work.
My mind has been busy of late even though I have spent a lot of time away from my computer and those things that often feed my mind with all sorts of data. Rather than a focus on books, my mind has been occupied with sorting through sensory data that has been flooding in due to “engagement” with face-to-face life. Taking two weeks off from the “process” of analysis and leaving Calgary in order to spend the time in my home in Saskatchewan has given me an opportunity to break through the routines that somehow shift a person into a more “unconscious” way of being.
One of my latest dreams highlights the need for being “real,” whatever that proves to be. I called the dream “Haqiqia Boots” because in the dream the word “haqiqia” was both heard and seen. In the dream I found myself in a cold, wintry scene without winter boots. The dream was a positive dream in terms of tone and feel, with the main concern whether or not I should have my real winter boots sent to me or if I should buy some new ones. The dream’s location seemed to come out of my distant past where I began my career in education, but with a corresponding resemblance to the relatively recent past where I was still engaged in teaching in China even though I had officially retired, a blend of the two. Just a little side note to add; I was given a “real” traditional pair of winter boots the day before the dream.
Of course, the dream of winter boots is easily explained due to the event of being given the pair of boots. Winter boots require a winter scene. The fact that I used boots similar to these boots while living in Canada’s far north where I began my teaching and school administration career “fit” with the idea in the dream of teaching. But there, common sense came to an end. Why the reference to China? Was it because China was my most recent experience of teaching? It didn’t seem real to me at that point as the urban Chinese experience didn’t fit the location. Looking for something to make the connection, I hoped that the word “haqiqia” would fill in the gap of missing knowledge, missing information that would allow the dream to “talk” to me.
I began to wonder if the word “haqiqia” was a Cree or Dene word, or even a Chinese word given the sense of both Northern Canada and China that was being evoked. Curious, I did a “Google” search and found thatI began to wonder if the word “haqiqia” was a Cree or Dene word, or even a Chinese word given the sense of both Northern Canada and China that was being evoked. Curious, I did a “Google” search and found that the the word “haqiqia” was actually an Arabic word. Using both “Google Translate” and “Babylon Translator” I came up with the same definition – “real.” was actually an Arabic word. Using both “Google Translate” and “Babylon Translator” I came up with the same definition – “real.” Now, I was really confused. How could I know an Arabic word (this has happened on a previous occasion in a dream in 1998, the appearance of an Arabic word)? How could I explain “seeing” and “hearing” this Arabic word in relation to a pair of winter boots, real winter boots?
Now, to go further into the dream work, I had to look at the recent emotional situation of my life allowing for resonance and feeling tones to help discover the intention of the dream. But rather than go further into the dream work here, I want to return to the word “haqiqia” as this was the dominant aspect of the dream as I felt and understood it at the time of the dream and afterwords. “Real – haqiqia.” Out of curiosity I then did a wider search and found that the word “haqiqi” is an Urdu word that means “true, real.” I knew that Urdu is a language spoken in India and Pakistan so I wondered how this could match up with the Arabic word so perfectly. A bit more research and I found that Urdu was a language that came with the Muslim migration to southern Asia. Was all of this taking me further and further from the dream? I was beginning to think so until I realised that the word “real / haqiqia” was being confirmed as the “core” element of the dream, that I shouldn’t be distracted by the surreal aspects of the dream, that I needed to come to grips with “reality,” to be “true” to my “self” on my journey that bounces between Calgary and Saskatchewan.
I saw this photo taken last week and wondered about how a photo is representative of an object, but not the real object. Of course that led me to thinking of how my different cameras would have seen this real flower. How we see things influences what we see. We operate in life through a web of filters, some of them conscious, most of our filters operate via a subconsciousness (personal unconscious) and a few of the filters buried deep in the unconscious. Not a single one of us is able to see what is actually present yet we “know” that it is present. I imagine that the insects that are necessary to the life cycle of flowers see something yet again different.
This is what dreams are like. There is something familiar even though there is much that is beyond our level of “knowing” in terms of our experience of an outer world reality. Flowers, people, places, sex, money, violence, passion, fear, sadness, confusion,cars, trains, plains – and a self that doesn’t have to obey any of the rules that we assume to govern us including laws of time, of physics and of nature. I fly through the skies and mountains, I swim without tanks or snorkel equipment or goggles through seas without any signals of stress. Yet, to my sleeping mind, it works and works well.
In waking life I can’t do nearly anything that isn’t mundane in terms of strength and power, nor can most people. Yet, we can in waking life be able to move well beyond our normal strengths and powers and perform almost superhuman feats of strength and courage. What is fact and what is fiction becomes blurred. Reality is much more that we can “know,” something that has more dimension than we could or would ever admit. And dreams are part of that reality. It’s all there if only we could somehow find a way to access all this information and in the process arrive at a fuller awareness. Buddhists call this enlightenment, and Jungians call it a state of individuation in which consciousness and unconsciousness become one – mysterium coniuntionis – the holy marriage.
I have been having a lot of dreams lately and have been waking up tired as a result. Last night I had a particularly strange dream which I am going to try and record here, at least some of the dream fragments.
. . . I am in a room with other people . . . I can see one person distinctly, a man with longish hair who has a look that makes me think he might be of part First Nations descent . . . he is older, almost looking as if he might be a shaman . . . on his face he has small scars which look a little like tiny eyelets . . . he is reclining yet has his head raised and is talking to others but not at me . . . around the man, almost touching him are a number of people, many of them women . . . everyone seems to be drugged . . . I am reclining beside the group but not part of the group . . . I listen as the man, the shaman explains how they will all be linked before they leave as a group to make their way through the house going through various rooms on different levels of the house . . . they will be linked by a strong thread that will be pulled through their skin on their face with a needle . . . I see the needle and the stiff thread and watch as it enters the eyelet on the man’s forehead, passes under the surface of the skin before emerging a little distance away on the forehead, watching the raised skin which traces the path of the needle . . . there is no blood . . . the needle and thread passes through the faces of those around the man, cheeks, foreheads, nose, lips, chins . . . there doesn’t seem to be blood anywhere in spite of all the piercings . . . for a moment I almost feel the needle in my own cheek, but realise that it is just a sympathetic feeling as I am not linked to the group . . . I sense that I have been here before and part of this . . . I realise that this man’s house is next to my house, separate houses but linked . . .
A strange dream. I have a strong sense of what is being told here, but will leave that unsaid for now.
At the last minute I decided to make this a black and white image. In the process, with the green of the background leaves now lost to deep grays, I found what had been hidden by the noise of colour. This was a scene I found in HongMei Park in ChangZhou, China just a week ago. Well, it is a version of the scene, one that perhaps is less factual with the colour removed. However, what remains is deeper, more attuned to an inner universe. For me, it has taken on a numinous quality as if I am dreaming with my eyes-wide-open.
It’s strange how noisy the world is for me though I need to wear hearing aids. And the noise isn’t necessarily measured in decibels. The noise is as much internal as it is external. It makes it hard for me to focus and to sit still with myself, within myself. Now, as I write these words, I do notice that I am writing them in silence. No television, radio or mp3 player is turned on – silence reigns as I sit alone for a few hours in the apartment at the keyboard. However, that silence is a fiction in terms of what I am sensing, a loud and constant chatter from the depths, personal depths and collective depths. I sit here alone at the keyboard yet feel the crowds jostling leaving little space for me. The crowd doesn’t go in one direction, rather it is busy going nowhere, busy just being there and moving.
Yes, like a dream. These are the opening sensations of the dream images that flood out of the photo. There is more.
I feel myself as the only anchor in a fuzzy, indistinct world, clutching a child, a new life. I know that the child is the essence of who I am, my own promise. I don’t back down from the challenge, the dare to be present and take the new version, the transformed nascent self into my arms with a promise to go forward rather than disappear into the shadows with so many others.
Where does this come from? Feeling the darkness, the shadows of a larger world as though a threat? I have sat with this question and have wondered. I know that I am resonating with events outside of my self, events that beyond the scope of an individual. I see democracy threatened, security threatened, human sanctity threatened all over the planet as the power of darkness takes so many human lives in Mexico, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, China and Japan; a darkness that threatens places where one should least expect threats such as Canada, America, and Europe. It seems that humans are caught in an agitation of unconsciousness, the collective unconscious. This is what the photo signifies for me.
Yes, these are bats hanging in a tree, large fruit bats. The photo was taken in a park called Royal Independence Gardens, across the street from the Royal Residence in the middle of Siem Reap. I really don’t know much about bats in general and fruit bats in particular. I do know that I don’t have a fear of bats nor believe in vampires. What I do know is the fact of their being predominantly active in early evening and during the night, and that they are flying animals.
As I did a bit of basic research for this post, I wasn’t surprised to find that the bat has a dark as well as a light symbolic meaning. Since it is a creature of the night, for me, there is a sense of the bat being a go between between consciousness and the unconscious, a dream-world totem. At one cyberspace site, the bat is described:
“She is the Guardian of the Night and represents longevity, double nature, peace and wisdom. Bat is the totem of the shaman, teaching people to go into the night of inner darkness and emerge reborn while reminding them that eyes are only one way of seeing clearly.” (http://www.suite101.com/content/bat-a-powerful-pagan-symbol-a50822)
Wiki has a similar message to tell about the bat:
“Bats symbolize death and rebirth. Sometimes, they are known as the “Guardian of the Night.” It is largely misunderstood and so therefore many of its symbolic meanings are inappropriately fear-based. The bat is a symbol of rebirth and death because it is a creature that lives in the belly of the Mother (Earth). From the womb-like caves it emerges every evening at dusk. And so – from the womb it is reborn every evening.” (http://symbolism.wikia.com/wiki/Bat)
Transformation, rebirth, wisdom – these are ideas that seem to fit. I spent quite a bit of time under the trees watching and capturing images of these bats. There were literally thousands of these bats. I have to admit that I was entranced, wandering, listening, watching and recording. Then, I was returned to earth, to my body because of the bats. As I wandered under the trees, I was showered with bat urine. Returned to daytime reality in Siem Reap, I was reminded that I must be present in both worlds, the world of day and the world of night.
I woke up early this morning, much too early for the the sunrise. So I waited patiently for the expected time of sunrise. When ten minutes after sunrise had passed and still no sun, I assumed that the clouds were going to force me to miss this event. A half hour after the official sunrise, the sun finally made its appearance over the island. I took this photo from the deck on the eighth floor of the hotel looking out over the bay. Now, I am satisfied that all was not lost because of cloud cover.
I was dreaming again last night. Once again I found myself preparing to teach a new session at the university. At the last minute I was given the chance to create a new course based on my interests in psychology. In the dream I enthusiastically accepted the challenge only to just as quickly begin doubting myself, the doubting that once the authorities found out what I was actually going to teach, that I would be allowed to teach this course. There were no books for the course because it was all coming from my head based on all of my research and how this has all sifted out to create a way of understanding for me. And then I realised that this wasn’t about a new course to teach at the university, but more of a template for what I need to do as a teacher and as a writer.
Perhaps there is a process of distilling that is happening that will provide me with the template for the book that is to come, a gift to any who would read it? I do know that I am to hold the tension of waiting a bit longer. The time for some concentrated writing is drawing closer. And, I must not be so quick to doubt and dismiss.
I took this photo in Phnom Penh just before flying off to Nha Trang, Vietnam. This is a street family in their “home” just one block from the promenade along the river. Yes, you are seeing correctly, that is a baby sleeping in the trash pile. The family is on the bed, living room sofa and communal bed while the baby sleeps. Life on the streets is not all that inviting when one sees images such as this. You might wonder what is the point of posting a photo such as this. Am I changing the blog to become more of a critique of society and its ills? Well, I would have to say that the purpose isn’t to be critical of societies, cultures or politics in IndoChina. The purpose is to show how the “self” is not healthy. What happens to others is also happening to ourselves. One can’t seal oneself off from others by raising barriers and fences around our homes, by having security guards and police forces keep the “others” at a distance. All the money in the world doesn’t build a big enough wall to keep out the ripples that the existence of these others and what is happening to them.
The baby sleeping in the trash cart is symbolic for the self, a self that is denied as we buy into the persona we find ourselves in at birth and the personae we build as more luxurious prisons in order to escape the prisons in which we were born. We come to belief we are the masks we wear, that the shadows we flee from are “others” and not really our own shadows. We disown and disinherit the baby in the trash cart. This is how we end up working so hard to drown the denied baby self in all manner of substances and activities. Yet, the baby reappears at night in our dreams, pleading for us to remember self, to reinvest in self. The baby is a symbol of promise and hope, letting us know that all is not lost, that we are not lost.
I am returning to the dream about which I posted yesterday evening. I am taking another older photo in order to attempt to portray the feminine in archetypal form.
Nut, Palden Lhamo, Kali, Coatlicue, Coyolxauhqui, Gaia – these are names of goddesses that are associated with the colour blue. My initial response to the dream wherein the woman that had been raped was blue, was of being in the presence of a goddess, probably because I had experienced the use of blue in terms of divinity while spending time in India. Today, the goddess Gaia comes to mind as the great Mother. In distant memory, it was Nut, a blue goddess, from whom all came into being. The universal story of a great Mother from whom issued a host of gods and goddesses is told in every culture. And for most of them as far as I can find out, the great Mother is “blue” in honour of the birth water from which all is born.
So this becomes my starting point. The archetype of all that is Feminine, all that is Mother, is in pain. And somehow, I have just experienced her pain and as a result must act. I guess you could say I have been “called” to do something that will foster the healing of the Mother. Why? The best answer I can give is that I have come to realise that the Mother is within me, just as the Father is within me. I am being called to saved my “self” and in the process do my part to heal our planet.
I have to admit that I am struggling with how I am to do this. What words do I say here? How do I serve this call? Do I even want to follow the call and disrupt my relatively comfortable life of retirement? And why me? This is a big work. I will try to outline just a few changes that need to happen as part of the process in the following words.
We have to shift from “faith” to “consciousness.” Four major religions of the world are patriarchal – Christianity in it varied forms, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism. In the three western world religions, people are taught to follow the way without question, that belief and faith are central. The goal of salvation comes to those who basically deny the world and their brains (consciousness). Matter and Mater are extraneous as is evil. In all of these religions, the god is out there somewhere, a transcendental being/non-being who has no use for human contrariness which seems to come into existence with consciousness.
I have met the leaders of churches that have lost their faith, congregants who have lost their faith. Though faith has disappeared, their roles in their churches remain the same. Sometimes they become more dogmatic in their religious practice hoping for faith to magically re-appear. It is as if “God” has abandoned them. For many of these people, consciousness is a curse. Life was simpler and more certain when they only had faith as their guide. But midlife had its own demands, a demand for individuation where there was a need to integrate those aspects of self that had been buried deep, denied the light of consciousness.
There is a need to find a way to bring consciousness and the feminine into the lives of those living these “faiths.” This seems like a huge task and one that needs a lot of time regardless of the “necessity” for this uprising of consciousness and the feminine. But it doesn’t seem to be close to being enough. We do have issues that demand immediate attention in terms of the economic health and well being of ordinary people in conflict with capitalism possessed. This concern with economics and the profit margin is negatively impacting on the environment that is needed to maintain the very survival of our species. But perhaps the greatest need is that of how to relate with “other” so that we allow ourselves to be saner beings.
So much to say, to do . . . words fail me.