Saturday, August 27, 2011


DREAM: I was a new member into a high class educational system. I was perhaps a teacher at an exclusive high school. I boarded there. The environment was an old but very updated and renovated building. One part of the dream was in a social room. I realized I had been there before but noticed changes that had been made inside and out. Some excavating had been done on the outside with a good six feet depth of dirt being dug out to make a nice parking area with nicely landscaped block walls added. Unearthed stones from the excavating had been used for the walls. These limestone walls had fossils all through them. There was another more experienced but younger man present. He was elegantly dressed in formal wear and was extremely good looking, polished and had an wide vocabulary. I liked him but knew I was far more homely and less sophisticated. Then his petite enthusiastic and friendly wife came in. She was more real, down to earth and made me feel much more comfortable. She was not beautiful but very attractive. She seemed very comfortable and in touch with her body. This appealed to me . I liked being around her. It also made me feel closer to him knowing that he had chosen such a person for a spouse. She complemented his sophistication with some earthiness. We were killing some time waiting to leave to attend a evening dinner somewhere in the city. I was going to follow them for I did not know the way. Then I recalled I may not have enough gas in my car. I did not dwell on the potential problem trusting it would work out.

Montgomery Bell Academy
Another scene in the same building were some older sophisticated women who were having their high brow conversation. I guess they were financial supporters of the school. They too were chatting while waiting to leave for the dinner. As they talked and gossiped they spoke of some male person that they were impressed with because he was so down to earth and practical and not at all pretentious. They were drawn to such a person. I thought that was nice to hear and demonstrated their own common humanity.

I was suddenly very bothered that my billfold was missing with seventy dollars cash and all my cards in it. I ran to the dormitory room where I shared space with a dozen or so other men. I was sure I had left it there in my pants hanging in a shared closest. At first I felt sure that no one would have taken it. But when I went to look the other males implied that to leave a billfold here was the same as having it stolen. At first it seemed they were correct and I was very bothered to think it was stolen. But I looked some more and found it.

REFLECTION: This reminds me of my time teaching at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville(1974-76). I felt so out of place in the 'high brow' social situation. People were highly educated and socially polished. I had an M.S. but I had never built up a sophisticated social vocabulary , and still haven't. I felt out of place most of the time so only stayed two years before, even to my own surprise, entering full time ministry in Springfield, ILL. The dream reminds me to remember that such people are indeed human and looking to meet the same needs of more common people like myself. The wife was an anima figure, always providing an earthy, down home, but very alert and sharp presence. I had no conscious awareness of the anima figure at the that time but this shows she was quite active all along. The anima function of my psyche generally makes me feel more at ease and at home. Even the older ladies expressed their appreciation for the  unpretentious which  they maybe seldom saw in their circles.
Painting--Sophisticated Woman

This reminds me of how important 'down to earthiness'  is for the Christ story's future. If it is to survive as a living tool of human transformation, it must make great strides in describing Jesus as truly and fully human. This has not been done consistently no matter how much one says it has. Jesus as a sexual being has, for example, been totally ignored and pretty much denied. That problem alone, if not acknowledged, takes the story out of the contest as a shaper of humanity's future. It does not have to be that way but those who claim to own the story, the church, must come forward with a truly human Jesus. There are movements in the within the church and culture that are pushing the church in that direction. This has happened on stage and writings such as "Jesus Christ Superstar', 'The Last Temptation' and ' The Davinci Code'. The gnostic gospels discovery is also a well spring of help and challenge in this area. But if the church derides these gifts and directions from post modern scholarship and  present  cultural consciousness it can only blame itself for the real decline in the Christ Story's ability to connect and transform. The story is still alive in me I think because I have come to see and accept a much fuller humanity of Jesus. Otherwise I would have lost interest. But to the strictly  orthodox this is generally considered heresy.

The idea that I'd 'been there before' along with the excavating theme bring to my mind some kind of reincarnation process in human living. The idea that we have been here before is very common for people to hold. It must represent a rather dominant archetype of the Collective Unconscious. Moderns pass it off as non sense but it is a healthy concept. If given credence it gives one a greater sense of being connected to life and even implies some kind of continuance of  consciousness likely continues after earthly life. I find nothing in the Bible that discounts it. In fact the Bible has stories of the reappearance of figures long after they had died. I feel it is a shame that orthodox Christianity has latched so strongly onto the idea that there is 'one final judgment' and no chance of development after that. Catholicism has managed to circumvent that idea in some ways the doctrine of purgatory. It seems that the idea of second chances and opportunities for improvement and for 'getting it right' is such a solid configuration in the present human disposition that it should be applied to whatever happens beyond this life as well. It is a healthy and hopeful way to see ourselves. It is consistent with the concept that all things are in processes of change, of evolution.

 I was encouraged in the dream that even though there was the prevailing idea that billfolds would always be stolen in the dorm, I found out that was not always the case. Humanity is potentially  better than its own estimate of itself. That too shows the dream presenting a positive, hopeful view of us and that we are ones who sometimes, 'get better' and eventually may really 'get it right'. But such a process requires multiple opportunities which reincarnation  and evolutionary ideas supply. The dream shows that we are 'on our way' to a 'great dinner' and that we, through our relaxed interactions, are getting to know each other better, accepting  each others differences and preparing to make a better world. A world where all are accepted and welcomed at the common table of humanity.
Ancient Rocks Containing Fossils

The 'excavating' project in the dream I think refers to the ancient aspect of life and human development. The 'fossils' in the rocks are permanent  reminders at this  School of the long-time evolutionary development of life. Such an ancient beginning and long term process reminds us that the human mind has also had a unimaginable long time in evolving. And that all the past is still alive in us. This is the land of the 'Collective Unconscious.' The still common still alive unfounded Bible interpretation that creation and humanity has been a short time project leads to oversimplifications as to who we are and a lack of appreciation for how 'complex and sophisticated' we humans are. It is appropriate that some human communities actually give the appearance of such 'sophistication' , like the one in the dream.

The dream again reminds me that my principle orientation of life is that I am designed to be a 'follower'. In the dream I am waiting to 'follow' others to the 'great dinner'. I have always looked for persons and ideas that seemed worth following.  That does not mean at all that I am a blind follower or have ever fully accepted anyone's ideas and views without coming to truly own and be responsible for my own beliefs. Obviously Jung has been a person whose writings have been an immense help to me and I have followed many of his ideas in my effort to find solutions to my own questions and needs. I too have been a serious follower of Jesus and of the Bible. I have had to reconsider how both of these have been interpreted and have continuously revisited how these resources are appropriately 'followed' by someone like myself. I have seen life in general as a process that must be followed as unconscious forces nudge and sometimes out right push us in the right direction to fulfill our destinies.  I have 'heard' somehow promises that have seemed to come to me from the depths of life. I have lived expecting such promises to be fulfilled. I think this is an archetypal theme that is frequently seen in the Bible stories where the sacred is presented as the source of promise making to humans. And by accepting those promises the human is able live his days on earth in hope and real expectation of his life fulfilling very real meaning and purpose along with experiencing much joy and gratitude.

That I did not 'see' how I had enough gas to make trip may be asking me to appreciate that when I began in earnest my trip of opening up to the Collective Unconscious that I had no way knowing the 'energy',  effort and personal suffering would be required to make the full journey. I had a lovely young family and felt my personal values and religious perceptions were solid for the long haul of life and not subject to serious change. When I look back I can not fathom all the different aspects of the inner ( and to some extent outer) journey I have been on for more than three decades. If my taking the teaching job in Nashville is what is referred to in the dream as a beginning of my first reaching out to unknown sources that was 37 years ago. There is no way I would have begun that journey if I had been warned of how long and complicated and life changing it would be. I would have lacked the courage and will for such a journey. Fortunately, as in the dream, I did not dwell on the potential problems but trusted.

Again, a dream that seemed rather useless at first has given me an opportunity for spiritual reflection and I'm sure my conscious outlook for the day is better, more realistic and more hopeful than it would have been without this inner message. I'm grateful for it and promise to continue to ponder it as my spiritual discipline for the day. . Jim H

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