A Dream of Great Wonder

July 27, 2010

My Amazing Dream

The explosion of colour and sound rivaled any of the wonders I had experienced through my conscious mind. Neither the glacier crested peaks of the Annurpurnas in the Himalayan Peaks or the Zambezi flooding over Victoria Falls could compete with the intense drama and activity that exploded out of my unconscious in this wonderful dream. A cascade of rainbow-hued water crashed over an immense waterfall on my left. Across a wind driven lake of black and blue foamy water I could see lightening flashing from dark storm clouds. There appeared to be three storms each focused on three individual hills and on each hill a small rustic dwelling was threatened by the blaze of a prairie fire ignited by the stream of electrical discharge emanating from the sky above. Above each hill, silhouetted against the darkness was a brilliant rainbow. Three hills, three storms, three houses and three fires, it was a compelling and magical sight. Meanwhile, I the observer was standing on the deck of a sizable cabin, clinging on to the balustrade for dear life while a hurricane force wind coming from my left, tried to dislodge me. Inexorably I was being moved along the deck towards the end where I feared once the railing was not there, I would be swept away. Then the magic moment that seemed to contain the meaning of the dream. I realized that if I was willing to surrender my hold on the railing and step back into the shelter of the house then I would be safe. Finally I let go to find myself standing in the lee of the house, my fear and anxiety dissipating and I gaze in wonder at the performance unfolding before my eyes.

I had this dream a number of years ago and knew it was important. I explored it using a dream-partnering process that I had developed which involves exploring the feelings, energy and consciousness of the dream. A house in my dreams generally represents my personalized state of consciousness. I sensed that this dream was to remind me that the work I had been doing for my personal growth would sustain me when I was buffeted by the storms of life. However it would frequently require a step of faith and surrender but there were often signposts that would help like rainbows to provide hope. And that is where I stopped, at least for a number of years and the dream disappeared from my memory like gossamer on the breeze.

Then one day something unexpected occurred. I commissioned a painting from the talented Mexican painter Christian Borrego. I had never done anything like this before; I had encountered his work at the place of a friend whose sister was going out with the artist. I decided to permit him to create for the space without specifying any specific direction. It felt a little risky; how would I feel if I hated it? My anticipation grew until the day arrived and to my delight I saw a glorious expression that created images in my mind of the cosmos and eternity. I loved it and found myself contemplating a second commission. For some reason the dream sprang into my mind. My memory was somewhat vague and I had no idea where or when I had recorded the details but I thought it would make a wonderful painting.

Alas the challenge of finding the record of the dream in a two foot high stack of journals seemed “mission impossible” so I reluctantly let the idea go. However fate was not not to be denied and as it happened I was preparing for a DecisionClarity workshop and to my surprise I found a very crude drawing of the dream. Despite the rudimentary appearance it was sufficient to restore the dream to my memory and Christian offered to render an illustration to show how the painting could look.

It was at this juncture I seemed to wake up. I realized that my initial attempt at dream interpretation was totally incomplete. I had obviously been unable to hold the dream long enough to embrace its complexity so I began the dream tending process again. There were a number of elements still unexplored: the rainbow waterfall, the three hills, the fires and rainbows, the stormy lake and the three storms. The dream is elemental – fire, water, air and earth all play a part of this dream. That in itself seems significant. Does this dream go beyond the personal to the archtypal? Water in my dreams generally represents emotion or the unconscious, while fire is a powerful element that suggests transformation, passion, intuitive forces and dangerous unpredictability. The fires are all started as a result of storms and each threaten to consume a building. It was a friend who helped me decipher this complex theatre of the mind. She asked me how many hills there were and when I replied three she suggested this seemed significant. It was a magical moment as a number of pieces fell into place and I could see a picture.

Three is a very powerful number. Not only does it represent many different trinities – body, mind and spirit, or thesis, antithesis, synthesis for example, it also is the number traditionally used in fairy tales to represent a generality or anonymity “three little pigs” for example. In my dream three carries both spiritual significance as well a sense that three represents any number. Mythically each hill represents a quest. The quest often starts with a storm, accompanied by an emotional component; this can then create passion and intuition that at times feels like it is going to consume. Yet it is in surrender that transformation represented by the burning buildings can take place. The rainbow always appears after the storm. If in all consciousness we undertake the pilgrim’s journey then upon completion there is invariably a sense of well-being; the promise of the rainbow.

That left one element unsolved in the dream. What did the beautiful rainbow falls seem to represent? My exploration started on Google where I encountered over a million hits and decided the answer lay in the more esoteric. I asked for guidance, sat and emptied my mind of thoughts and suddenly the words of an old hymn spring to mind. “Open thou the crystal fountains whence the healing streams do flow.” I have a modern version by Charlotte Church on my iPod and again the chips fell into place. When we are confronted by challenges on the quest we have to ask for help and that help will come from some form of spiritual practice.

Reflecting on the meaning of this dream I can see many analogies in my life. Once I answered the call, the universe brought me a flow of such quests. How remarkable to look back on a dream that foretells the journey of the soul.

Postscript: Thanks to Christian Borrego who so generously did a pencil of my dream. You can check out his wonderful work at www.christianborrego.com

Thanks also to my friend Lorne Craig who used some computer magic filled in the colours to give such great impact. Lorne is also an amazing artist. Check him out at http://www.unicyclecreative.com/mainpages/art.html

Lessons from Le Tour de France

July 19, 2010

My morning was disrupted by yet another complex being triggered (see http://wp.me/phAyS-3w for more about complexes). This has become familiar recently; the opportunity to observe the power and energy of a reaction that is catalyzed by a current occurrence yet triggered by events long in the past. Since early July, I have been arising each morning to view the conclusion of each day’s stage of the Tour. It is an amazing spectacle of courage, endurance, sportsmanship and tactics that never fails to excite and enthrall. Yet this morning something unusual happened on the slopes of the Cote de Carla-Bayle. During a cat and mouse engagement between the leader Andy Scheck and his rival for the yellow jersey Alberto Contador, Scheck’s chain came off and Contador took advantage of this problem to attack and take an insurmountable advantage. Despite a courageous response there was no way that Schleck who was on his own could catch up and now Contador has assumed a lead he is unlikely to surrender. Often on the Tour there appears to be a code of conduct that to take the lead of the race you must do it by superior cycling not by taking advantage of a misfortune. Frequently the other riders will actually slow to allow the yellow jersey to catch up following such an incident. In this case Contador pushed as hard as he could to maximize his advantage. I was astonished and fascinated by my own reaction. I felt outraged, frustrated, agitated and deeply disturbed. I did not want to watch the race any longer; I went downstairs to make tea and noticed my agitation and angst reflected in clumsiness and a sense of feeling uncentered. My reaction was completely disproportionate to the incident. I have no vested interest in either rider or even the race so I knew immediately that my reaction was rooted in history not the present. So where does this deep-seated complex reside? What was the genesis of this energy that could so completely absorb me decades later? I realized that this impedes on a key trigger in my life around fairness. Part of me desperately rails against life being so unfair. I am always upset when bad things happen to good people and even more so when people benefit from their own misdeeds. In my latest James Hollis read “On this Journey We Call Our Life”, he quotes a lesson that he suggest we all carry “You are small and powerless and the world is large and powerful. You just have to deal with it for the rest of your life”. How often do we hear a child complain, “It just isn’t fair?” Our early lives are perpetually disadvantaged by more powerful beings than ourselves and depending  on how our individual childhood unfolded will impact how deep the wound may be. The control of my life by a deeply flawed, authoritarian, fundamentalist Christian father would have likely built a stronger complex than many. Never being allowed to do what other children were permitted to do: no movies, dances, popular TV, music, parties would have built a life long resentment around life’s unfairness. My reaction to Alberto Contador is more about my father than him. However, now I can sense the gift at the opportunity to comprehend my own reactions. I don’t have to hate Alberto Contador or the TV announcer that supported his action; I can honour my inner child’s angst but recognize my anger at the cyclist for what it is, a reaction to the past.

Note: I still hope his karma comes back to haunt him and he loses the advantage gained.

Summer Decisions

July 12, 2010

I think summer decisions should if at all possible be kept simple; like should I go to the lake or the beach, have a BBQ or eat out. I believe summer is a time for recharging the batteries, letting go of everything that is not important and indulging in recreation. It is not a coincidence that it is spelled re-creation, it’s a way we can recharge our batteries through creative activity and relaxation.  However if you seem to be confronted by an important decision that insists on preoccupying your mind here are some suggestions:

Step 1 Ask yourself if this decision can wait, if the answer is yes then commit to reconsidering after Labour Day then let it go. Step 2 If no, ask yourself how much of the urgency is dictated by self imposed deadlines. If that’s the case then let it go and follow step one. Step 3 If you still feel you have to make the decision now, ask yourself what are the consequences of not making the decision. Sometimes the consequences of not making the decision cause the decision to resolve itself. For example I could not decide whether to write a DecisionClarity update for July, by procrastinating I realized I will write a summer update instead and the idea for this particular piece came to mind. If after this you still can’t wait until after Labour Day then go to http://www.decisionclarity.com/intro.html and download the free workbook.