Exploring My Judas Complex

December 16, 2014

Judas! What a strong and unpleasant word; it rings with treachery and ominous overtones. Judas will be forever a symbol of betrayal for those exposed to the early Christian story. Who has not betrayed, been betrayed or both? I am sad to say I was a deceiver, a chronic philanderer, and a betrayer of trust particularly of my first wife. Somehow I was able to behave this way with few misgivings and little regret. I have sought forgiveness and reconciliation with her and forgiven myself but never fully understood how this behaviour came so naturally to me. How could I love and betray without missing a beat.
 I had not planned on this written exposee of my past transgressions or in fact realized that there was inner exploration to be completed on this issue. I had satisfied myself that my behaviour was consistent with a certain chameleon nature I developed as a child to seem to be one thing while actually doing another. However my ongoing commitment is to unravel my psychology and my psyche reminded me there was work to be undertaken with a remarkable dream.
 I awoke to a vivid memory that has stayed with me ever since. It was a bit like a nagging tooth ache, not particularly pleasant but consistently present. It went like this.
 “I am in a large somewhat rustic dwelling that reminded me of a second home. I am on the phone to my friend Alex who seems to be playing a computer golf game that I recognize, I can hear the ball dropping into the cup. When I ask him he confirms that I am right. The dream segues, I am now looking out of a large plate glass window at my neighbours who are pushing a light blue car backwards, it is going very slowly because the wheels are dragging in the gravel. The phone rings and my friend Alex, now in the bedroom shouts, “it’s for you, it’s your ex wife” I pick up the phone and the voice of my first wife says, “Hi, it’s been a long time.” That’s all, I walk into the kitchen and notice one of the cupboards has come ajar. I look in and recoil; there is an infestation that reaches down out of the bottom of the cupboard, way down into the basement. It is a strange sight – like trussed up dead turkey piled upon turkey, turkeys all the way down as far as I can see. I walk out full of anxiety and dismay to contact someone to help get rid of it. I wake.”
 I immediately wrote the dream out knowing it had significance. Firstly eminent author and Jungian Analyst James Hollis suggests that any voice on the telephone in a dream represents a complex on the other end. Secondly the symbolism of the infestation stretching into the cellar indicates the answer lies deep in my unconscious. The person I immediately contact for help is my dream partner.
 Dream partnering is a process my friend and I have evolved over twelve years of working on dreams together. It involves holding and tending the dream, not telling the other person what their dream means. The process begins with a sharing of the dream that is then repeated by the dream partner. Then a series of questions are explored on the feelings inside the dream, the energy of the dream and the significance of the symbols and characters in the dream. In symbolic terms it is likely that all the elements in the dream represent aspects of me.
 I knew there was a complex at play, my ex-wife was at the end of the phone. It needed my dream partner to remind me that Alex may also represent a complex. The dream contained strong feelings of anxiety and apprehension and suggested there was something that needed to be cleared from my unconscious that went a long way back. Other than that I was at a complete loss.
 The journey begins with listing the cast of characters and symbols: my ex wife, my friend Alex, a blue car, a computer golf game, an infestation, turkeys – it all seemed like a big jumble. Alex is a big hearted person, but sometimes fails to take care of his own physical needs. My ex wife was quiet, very forgiving, good person who was slow to share her feelings – nothing resonated. You can’t solve dreams using your head and I realized I had to let this go and come back to it.
 Unfortunately I didn’t. I forgot all about it – a classic example,of resistance. Then I got a stiff neck. As far as I could tell there was no physical reason for it and I felt bummed as I had my seventieth birthday party three days later. I made an appointment with an RMT for the next day and then wondered, “what was I being stiff necked about?”
 Suddenly the dream popped,into my mind and I realized I may be resisting doing the work. I made a commitment to visit it that evening. First I read through my notes of the dream partnering session. Then I decided to begin with my first wife and her words. Why was she in the dream and what did she represent? Obviously her words suggested this was a long distant memory.
 At this stage of dream tending I try not to think too much. I put on some sacred music and then allow myself to drift. I recalled some past work I had done around our relationship. It had begun as a result of reading one of James Hollis’s books, Swamplands of the Soul. He had stated, “everyone has a mother complex.” My immediate response was, “well I don’t, I loved my mother and she unconditionally loved me.” Then I paused recognizing resistance and asked myself how likely it was for me to be the only person NOT to have such a complex.
 I began to review my relationship with my mother: “always there, consistently loving, made me feel safe, allowed me autonomy and control, and accepted my intellectual superiority.” I still recall the moment I glanced down at what I had written and exclaimed, “OMG, I married my mother.” Was my mother relevant to this dream? At this juncture I felt tired and confused, so I asked for guidance and went to bed.
 The next night I reviewed my notes on the dream. My friend had suggested I look for the complex associated with Alex. I had not felt any resonance with what I had identified so far so I sat and mused over our relationship. Some words popped into my head, “he betrayed me” I was startled. I thought I was long over this event. He had taken the side of an adversary in a public meeting at my expense. I had been deeply hurt but had forgiven him. Then a further thought, “actually he betrayed me again at another meeting, he walked out,” then the memory of a third occasion of what felt like a betrayal. How bizarre, “was the theme of this dream betrayal?”
 Suddenly the pieces began to,fall into place. I have a computer golf game by Tiger Woods, how clever of my unconscious to add in the great betrayer in association with Alex. Often my dreams contain clues to their unraveling. My ex wife – the person I had betrayed more than any other. Pushing a car backwards could represent the challenge of looking back on my life.
 Suddenly like a roulette ball dropping into the slot I had an insight. As a child I had believed my mother had betrayed me yet I had never doubted she loved me. From the perspective of the powerless child my mother had let me down three times: she had sent me away to boarding school at the age of eleven; she had never supported me in face of my father and of course if we go back far enough there was the ultimate betrayal of conceiving two siblings to replace me in her affection.
 Was this what this dream about? My adult mind was in great resistance to this interpretation. Yet I could sense a strange child logic. I had never doubted my mother loved me yet she betrayed me. Now I suspected that one of the reasons I could so comfortably love and betray was this role modelling I had absorbed as a child.
 It felt right. I could even see the ironic nature of the turkey symbol. This unconscious relationship of love and betrayal caused me to behave “like a turkey”, I also felt a shift in my energy to my friend Alex, being betrayed by him did not mean he did not love me. Suddenly I understood that at a deeper level.
 I decided to seek one last authority to finalize things, I drew a Tarot card from my Osho Zen deck asking that if I had got this all wrong, please tell me now. I read these words, “you have just completed something significant.” It seems to be done. What a journey. How ingenious the unconscious is in creating dream symbols. Using Tiger Woods to emphasize that the dream was about betrayal. My stiff neck healed for my birthday. As the great man James Hollis himself once said, “you just could not make this stuff up!”
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

The Beagle Knows The Way

December 13, 2014

Half a day lost staring out of this window
I wanted to know just one true thing about the Soul
But I left thinking for thought
and two inches of snow have fallen over the meadow.
Where did I go?
How long was I out looking for you my withness, my here?
Kate Knapp Johnson

IMG_0362I recently arrived in Sayulita in Mexico. My custom every morning is to don the luxury of shorts and T-shirt and walk along the beach to a viewpoint on the headland at the North end. It is such a pleasure to shake off the claustrophobia of winter and stroll beside the crashing surf. On my first morning I observed a cute beagle wearing a red bandana playing with another dog. As I progressed the beagle passed me then stayed within relatively close range but always in front. I wondered if it was my imagination that it seemed to be glancing behind to ensure I was still there. When I branched off the beach to take a trail inland I was convinced it was following me from the front.
Interestingly enough this is an old espionage trick employed by agents who don’t wish to be discovered, they learn to follow someone yet stay in front. Perhaps the beagle had been James Bond in a former incarnation. I became fascinated in observing her. She was always taking a surreptitious glance to ensure I was there. At the brow of the hill she went ahead when I turned left to ascend a path to the viewpoint but within moments, she panted beside me and forged ahead. At the top, she frolicked happily until I was ready to leave then led me back down the path.
I decided to take an alternate route home and she seemed to anticipate my change of plan. At one point she paused on an alternative trail branching upward and turned back to look at me as though to say, “let’s go this way instead.” I had become quite attached to her friendly presence when she abruptly disappeared.
I was fascinated by this encounter and could not help but think there was some meaning attached to it but it was not until the next day while taking the same route on my own that a sweet metaphor emerged. I began to see the beagle as s symbol for the Soul while I was the Ego. The Ego self always thinks it knows the way while the Soul attempts to guide us on unexplored pathways. Of course the Ego self always thinks it knows better. Yet despite our stubborn persistence to go our own way, as the lovely poem by Kate Knapp Johnson suggests, the Soul will never abandon us.
Last night I had the perfect opportunity to observe this in action. I set out for the town to witness the end of the celebration of the Virgin of Guadeloupe. It concludes in the cathedral and I thought I would enjoy the chanting, music and ritual associated with such an occasion. As I passed my favourite taco place to my surprise there was a seat available at the bar. I ignored the voice that encouraged me to keep going; I set aside my concern that it was too congested jammed between two sizeable males and decided it was too good an opportunity to miss so I squeezed in. The Ego had its way.
The result was in hindsight to be expected. First I seemed to be invisible then the chef got my order wrong, nobody asked what I wanted to drink and the meal came without accessories. Then the man beside began to tell me that he was a chef and went on and on about his training that seemed to result in him working in a brew pub. Eventually he asked me a question, then proceeded to spend forty-five minutes answering it. It was not my favourite evening but at least the food I got, although a surprise, tasted good. The Soul is very forgiving.
During this year I have learned more than once that if I am open to change, leave space and pay attention then the guidance will be there. I just have to learn to follow rather than lead. “I think tomorrow I will follow the trail, the beagle suggested and see how it turns out!”

Postscript: I followed the beagle’s trail. It was not quite the idyllic jaunt I had expected. It was steep, haphazard with too many moments when I had to choose between options. I began to worry about getting lost in the jungle but for some reason the thought of the beagle leading the way encouraged me. Then just when I felt completely lost, like magic the signposts appeared – a rock emblazoned with blue paint, a wider path and finally a rock with the words in English “Base Camp” and an arrow pointing the way. It was a.great adventure and a great reminder that the Soul journey is not always the easy route to take.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad