Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DREAM--TRUST LIFE ..Aug 14,2009(edited Aug3,2011)

Note: My dreams have built on each other through more than three decades. So much of the meaning I get from a dream is based on what I have learned from the previous repertoire of dreams. I am only offering up some of my dreams for this blog that are quite typical of the rest of them. Many dreams are simply too personal to share in this public way but I am sharing ones that I  never thought that I would have until recently; since I started the blog. 
1. I was to be given significant religious/spiritual information or directions. I asked, 'why do I not believe? The answer came back, 'Because you do not believe the Widow?” The question also was worded , ' why do I not have life?” The answer was again, “because you do not believe the widow.”
The Widow's Mite

2. I was to be given an evaluation. I was very uncomfortable with the thought. No one else was present except the evaluator who was not imaged nor was there a voice. I am not clear what is being evaluated. It seemed to be about 'health' which can be 'wholeness.' That may be physical( I did lot of hard manual labor again yesterday completing the last drain pipe making me feel heart-healthy.) or it may be a kind of spiritual or 'life' evaluation. It was coming from the highest authority. I waited in suspended concern and discomfort. Some large cardboard posters began flying around showing various letters and numbers and shapes. Finally one stopped in front of me and the others left. The poster had a large white square on it. Inscribed inside the square was a green circle. It was tangent to the four sides of the square so nearly filled the square. Inside the circle was a large white number '1.'

1. This is a theological dream. These are both very personal dreams rather than collective which makes me uncomfortable. I even first put 'or we' in parentheses after the I's in the first dream. I then honestly knew the 'we' was not in the dream . It was only 'about me.' That does not rule out a 'we' or more collective application but it is my job to take it personally. It echoes the teaching of spiritual giants such as Jesus, who asked probing questions and pointed toward metaphors rather than giving  advice. He once asked, ' Do you want to be well?' And he is pictured being asked, 'What must I do to inherit eternal life?' which resembles my question in the dream.

I usually take the word 'believe' in the sense as used in John's gospel. It has to do with 'trust' more than 'believing' in a creed or any objective statements of 'truth.' I'm quick to admit in real life that my belief is balanced by ongoing doubt. My final state in such tension seems to be consistently belief. But can one fully and simply 'trust' without any doubt ? Can one thus 'live' in a state  existing now described as 'eternal life?' Jesus must have taught that one can experience such 'trust' and fully participate in such a quality 'life' even now as a mortal human being. So though a 'believer' and one who experiences some measure of 'eternal life' I ask can these spiritual inner experiences be more complete than I presently experience them? I do not demand that it be one bit more than it is now but I sense that  life could be more filled with life and love. I'm asking why is it not the case with me?

The answer to my question comes back authoritatively, ' Because you do not believe the widow.' I have to ask what does the word 'widow' mean to me in a spiritual context? I know there are biblical stories of widows.. Widows were extremely vulnerable throughout Bible cultures. They had limited human rights compared to men. In Hebrew culture they were protected by the Levorite Rule saying the brother of the deceased husband was to take the widow in as his wife. This all was very unromantic and the stated purpose was so the deceased male may have a namesake.(notice how all of this is first and foremost for men's benefit, but at least the widow is not left to make it on her own in an unjust socioeconomic situation.) 
Routinely the vulnerable widow is the object of divine concern and of special blessing. I recall the story of the widow who was visited by the prophet and her source of food continually multiplied after she was willing to share her last morsels with the prophet. Jesus commends similar generosity of a widow in the story of the 'widow's mite.' An epistle enjoins believers to 'remember the widows in their affliction' as central to the religious life. Hagar, Abraham's female servant, became in all practical terms a widow when Abraham ejected her from his home and sent her and their son Ishmael into the desert alone. It was there that the 'angel of the Lord' visited her and comforted her. He then gave her the same kind of promise regarding her, due to the cruelty of Abraham, 'illegitimate' child as was given to Abraham regarding Isaac. Widows in that world hardly had any choice but to live by 'trust' for they had little power to do otherwise.

So is the dream telling me I would have fuller 'trust' and 'life' if I trusted the same way these vulnerable widows trusted and was generous as they were? I find that extremely difficult to manage. It comes as an impossible demand. It does not allow  me to respect my mind and consciousness as they are. It comes as an intrusion. Such religious injunctions that compare a supposedly ' inferior' person with an upheld  'perfect' model result in an experience that can  rightly be called 'mind rape'. It would be like if my Dad had  told me, " Jimmy I want you to be just like your older brothers for I admire how they are." I'm grateful that My Dad must have known that is a very wrong way to relate to children. 

So to take this as such an 'unnatural' religious message would be a mistaken interpretation. I should reject that as the intention of the dream source. The dream must be instructing me in a different manner toward a broadened consciousness. We are  accustomed to religious messages that moralize and preach but I find the Collective Unconscious does not try to put us into a corner like that. It provides a more natural way for us to make the needed changes in our attitudes and behavior. In short it approaches us in our imperfections with respect and assumes our good intentions. I think this was also the way Jesus related and  taught others. It can be assumed that the mature spiritual person Jesus of Nazareth  was in harmony with what we can now call the Collective Unconscious.

I confess that I do not trust consistently that 'widow like' way nor am I consistently generous with my goods. I consider myself very average. What's more I do not think such trust(which is what I am asking, in the dream, to have) can be generated by will power and moralizing. I learned to believe long ago that 'trusting' and 'generosity' are themselves gifts of God and not to be pursued by the very 'Western' idea that, 'by sheer will , I can do well enough'. That is to think by ego power, 'I can be just like these widows and become more trusting and more generous'. I do not believe that is how such virtues and attitudes come into human life. I'm confident that the widows did not learn to be trusting and generous by that kind of Ego centered path. If this is what the voice is saying then I simply have to admit that it is beyond me, it makes no psychological sense and is useless to me. This direct kind of moralizing, like much religious teaching, gets me nowhere. What I can do is to recognize and confess that I do not excel in either 'trust' or 'generosity' and that I am at the mercy of forces beyond my conscious ego will to become more so. This is what the dream shows I am confessing in asking the question in the dream. I am left only with the willingness to become more that way, by God's grace. This to me is also saying that I can allow myself to be open to the Unconscious and it's capacity to generate such virtues in a person, even in me.

I seem to belabor all this but I think this is the nature of theological reflection. One must follow his/her own inner images and see where they lead.

It has just struck me. The dream said nothing about the 'widows' in the Bible but it has been good for me to consult them . I think my very last dream, two nights ago, presented a 'widow.' Only the 'spirit of the husband' of the ' church woman' in the dream was present in the church. The dream is also most likely referring back to her. It can be saying I would be living in a state of more 'trust' and 'fullness of life' if I believed the widow in the dream, the woman who touched my hand. If that woman image was my anima then the dream is saying I need to believe my anima. I think I have well demonstrated for a quarter of a century that I 'believe' my anima as much as any human could. My response to that is , "How can I not." To admonish me to 'believe more' in her has no reasonable meaning. So I do not think the dream is saying that I fail to believe the anima. So it must be 'real woman' that I am to trust or believe in. But I do not know who the woman mentioned by the dream is. I do not know if this is a 'generalized woman' of extraordinary spiritual and psychological development or does it refer to one specific real woman? It could be someone whom I have met before or it may be someone that I will meet. The dream's authoritative voice, thus the 'voice of God', is saying that I will be doing right to 'believe' such a woman whenever, however and wherever she may appear. From a previous dream, I can 'believe that she smiled at me, included me in her routine and touched my hand.' Maybe this is my path to a fuller 'trust' and 'life' the dream speaks of.

I think this is the interpretation of this dream that best suits the atmosphere of the dream and gives me an appropriate, not 'mind raping' moral challenge and goal. It fits my conscious mind and it is a balanced message for it is in harmony with the unconscious from which it came. Just taking this seriously already works a heightened sense of trust in what I am to believe and an anticipation that along such a path a fuller life is is possible. I feel the question placed in my mouth  has been answered by the dream.

2. The second dream is most uncomfortable. The white square inscribed by a green circle containing the white number 1 is a very positive and strongly unifying symbol. I can only say that it seems the unconscious is encouraging me along my path. I don't take this evaluation as in any way comparing me with anyone else(notice no one else was present.), but is simply saying that I am somehow on the correct path for me and am being able to take the necessary steps to arrive at the best destination possible. This may also be an answer to the  question posed through me about 'belief' and 'life'. I would never have consciously known that this is the question that I need to ask right now. Nor would I have devised such a way to answer the question. I feel the dream connected me with a source of great wisdom and caring support. I've used the words 'trust' and 'life' throughout this reflection. I find it significant that after the dust has settled I am left with the wise spiritual injunction to 'Trust Life.'

Jim Hibbett

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