The Uncorrupted Lens of the Dream
There are so many times in life that we are faced with a situation whose resolution is inscrutable, where we cannot see how the circumstances are ever going to change or resolve. When we feel locked into our experience and our personal forecast and have begun to believe in a non-resolution. These are the times I have found dreams to be not only a lucky visitor, but also a creative, life charged voice in the wilderness.
Some years ago I was in a professional relationship and friendship to an admired mentor. I was in service to his work at the time and we were facing an obstacle that didn’t seem to be able to go anywhere. We were working closely together and we had hit a complete impasse in communication. Blame was beginning to lift its ugly head. Independently, before we were to meet to discuss this, I asked for a dream about it and its resolution. This is the dream I received:
I aman observer.There are two noblemen, from a time long ago, dressed beautifully in cloaks and royal clothing from their time. One man is fair with reddish hair and the other one less fair with dark hair. They are walking together, side-by-side and shoulder-to-shoulder. They are stopped on their path before a bridge. The fair-haired nobleman says, “There’s been a breach!”
The dark haired nobleman says, while walking over the bridge,
“ Breach? Breach? There is no breach…there is only this way we have of being together, over and over, again and again, forever and ever.”
End of dream.
Two men stopped on their path with a bridge in front of them. First an issue of the accusation. Then one of the noblemen crosses the bridge while saying that this thing that is made in accusation does not actually exist. What a radical idea to absorb in the midst of a shut down. This dream and the eternal words over and over, again and again, forever and ever, spoke the essential core of what we are always doing in each other’s lives, and invoked a sense of the prayerful potential in all of our relationships. That it is our being together and what it grows in us, challenges in us, what we move in opposition to and eventually evolve through. Hearing the words of the dream, denying that there was this thing called a rift, opened the impasse, healed the discord between us, within us and in real time we were able to go on, on level ground, taken under wing and tutored by Wisdom.
Wisdom, if it is real does not shrink with time or the number of times spoken. I have shared this dream many times since, and it always calls me to my Self and to the fact that I am solely responsible for my experiences.
There are other inner conflicts that keep us living in delusion. We are there because our small self feels it can live invisibly, and that in the end things don’t really matter. This is called living a lie, and to face it is one of the hardest things we can do. And also the most liberating.
What we usually don’t see is what the lie is keeping us from. This dream came unbidden.
2012 Completing the Buddha Weaving
I dream I am in a painting class. The Master is looking at a collage/painting that I have made, which I am in the process of over-working but I say it is not finished to hide the fact it is not coming from my heart. He asks me the title. Someone whispers a possible answer”2 something standing”. I let someone else title it for me and when I say it out loud it lands with a thud. I feel like a fake. I don’t really like what I’ve made, and don’t know how to talk about it. To cover up my confusion I say finally ‘’”I don’t think it’s done”. At that the Master sort of brushes it as if to say ‘never mind that’ and brings out from behind him a very, very large black tapestry-like scroll made from a wool fabric with the beginnings of a needlework on it. It is exquisite, the beginnings of a Buddha’s head with flowers around it. The Master says,“This is what is unfinished”.
I am completely astounded and confounded simultaneously because I don’t remember ever beginning the weaving of this tapestry — it looks too beautiful and too perfectly done to be something I made. But the Master looks fiercely into my eyes and tells me this is in fact mine and it CAN be completed. I take the weaving from him and begin to draw the needle that is left there through to make a stitch and I see immediately how much attention it will take to complete this and how I feel so governed by time, how I don’t ever feel as if I have enough time and this belief is ruling me deep in my bones. the dream continues...
Later that evening I am still with the Master who has asked me a few questions. We are sitting in a living room by a wood stove and another student, older than I am is sitting with us hearing my responses to the questions. I have not responded honestly to him, I have not seen it to be of importance to do that, and I want to protect an image of myself. He in fact asked me if I had smoked pot the day before and I replied “no”. The other student is carrying an iron pot into the room and he bangs it down in front of me and says, “How can you lie in your own living room?” I am a bit dumbfounded and say weakly, “am I supposed to tell the truth all the time?” The mentor says, “YES”. In the dream, I begin thinking of the last couple of days (in the dream) and all the hiding out that went on because of fear of exposing myself to An unknown force, living my life constantly in self-defense. Not seeing that the truth is what I am given, what I actually possess and have within me to give, no matter what the circumstances. Even in the most uncomfortable situations when the only apparent truth might be the revealing of my own discomfort.
I wake up but am lying in the dark thinking of all the ways I am lying to the “Master", not taking His Reality to heart, playing it safe, self-protecting. It is a hard look at myself and I feel flattened by the truth of it. And I feel awed and mystified that I was honorable enough to have begun this beautiful weaving but somehow I had laid it aside over time and through survival strategies had begun to lie to myself. And more importantly realizing I had not embodied the significance for those lies to matter. And that the importance of time, the fear of it, goose stepping life, had overshadowed the importance of what I was becoming. I laid there for a few hours and without effort different aspects of my life came to my mind. Lies don’t have to be about stealing or crimes, as we would normally think of them. Lies can be about who I take myself to be, what is my code, and what kind of life is in integrity with who I am? In the midst of this review, without any impulse of my own, I felt my being fall backward and begin to fall into Eternity, a nothingness I am at a loss to describe. In it I lose my sense of individuality and smallness and begin to merge with this enormous luminous field. And then just as suddenly, I am ‘brought back’. I feel so grateful and completely surprised to have been given such a gift at the moment of facing the least flattering aspects of myself. It is then I realize in a new way that the truth does indeed set you free. That my hiding out in life, was a lie in the face of this immersion in Reality. And the life I was meant to live was on the other side of seeing these lies in myself and stepping up to meet them.
This is the cup I want to drink from for the rest of my life.
This is the potion continually won through the excruciatingly honest inward glance.
This is the beggar freed by his own begging cup.
This is the crucible of being a real human being.