Saturday, September 3, 2011

DREAM: BLACK SPIRITUAL MINISTRIES..march 25, 2011(edited Oct 13, 2012)


1. I was sitting near a dark skin woman in a large audience. She was a shoe shiner woman. I considered using her service but didn't. Suddenly she leaped down on her knees to my shoes and began to give me a polish. She 'spit shinned' my shoes. I realized she was friendly to me and I appreciated her expertise and willingness to provide me such a humble service. There was something erotic about this encounter. I liked her in a deep personal way.

2. I was in a poor and dark neighborhood. I was ill lying in the back of a wagon. A very strong and fit black man was involved with the young black people, mostly males. He was a positive role model and was a spiritual person. To my surprise he took an interest in me and my welfare. I inquired about his healing powers. He said little about the subject. At some point he held me close and whispered, ' this is how I usually heal.' He asked me to close my eyes and relax. I felt a sudden rush of relaxation and well being and slumped in his arms. He laid me down. I had one eye partially opened and I was semi conscious that I felt well. He closed the one eye with a gentle touch and said, 'This is pretty typical of what I do.' It was a good experience and gave me a sense of peaceful well being. I appreciated his service and healing skills. I realized how important he must be to this downtrodden poor community. I wondered how he survived economically himself.

REFLECTION: It is important to remember that when reflecting on a dream the unconscious continues to work. We need not ask 'is that for sure what the dream actually said?' For the unconscious legitimately continues to shape and form our consciousness as we pay attention to its dream images. I am surely ending up with different meanings to these dreams than I had when first recalling them. Yet how I described them initially(rather unconsciously) is congruent with how I came to interpret them later. Since I wrote them down quickly without conscious reflection , what I wrote down becomes important regardless of what the dream 'actually' was. Yet it is very important that one record as honestly and clearly as they can what the dream was. That I spontaneously called them 'Black' dreams implies they seem very 'other' and foreign to my conscious attitude. I likely was only calling them 'Black' initially because the key figures were dark skinned. These dreams may appear racist. At first they struck me that way. I feel a need to be especially sensitive to such things because I still speak with a Southern accent. I know see these dreams speaking of my high estimate and appreciation of persons with dark skin.

What has struck me is that these seem to be my version or experience of two famous archetypes that appear in the gospel stories of Jesus. That these are archetypal stories of Jesus does not mean there was no outer reality to them as well. All outer events are first of all rooted and come out of the store of archetypal material in our 'collective unconscious' so the ancient writer can say, ' there is nothing new under the sun.'  Carl Jung would stress the archetypes are 'life' and the 'fullness thereof.' So each unique presentation of an archetype is new but its source and theme are not. That is why we see such variations of the presentations of the archetypes whether in dreams, fantasy or outer world happenings across all cultures, times and religions. This is why it is impossible to distinguish between the activity of God and the activity of the archetypes. They come from that source which is truly the ALL, the ULTIMATE and the TIMELESS.
Mary Anointing Jesus' Feet With Her Tears.

The two Jesus stories that have a similar imagery are also ones that appear 'dark' just as I have described these as dark. Of course all the people around Jesus were likely dark skinned so the darkness is something different than that. One is the unusually mysterious woman who stooped to Jesus' feet and washed them with perfume( or was it with tears) and dried them with her hair. Some commentators associate her with a prostitute, possibly Mary Magdalene tradition has said. I mentioned an erotic air before I had any idea I would relate this to a Jesus event. This NT story is one full of eroticism that Jesus no doubt experienced and 'appreciated.' Somehow many Christians are able to read this and deny the erotic. That is too bad. It helps us to see more fully not only the humanity of Jesus but also that his love sometimes involved more than only the intellectual 'unconditional regard' of agape. His was a genuinely personal encounter between adored human beings. Just as my dream depicts happening to me. I see the 'spit shine' involving bodily fluid as both erotic and parallel to the 'tears' in the Jesus story. ( I know I am getting two Jesus stories intertwined- tears and perfume- but both are similar. One story says that this will long be seen by many as an example of love and devotion to him. The dream takes place with a 'large audience'. Both are public and somewhat embarrassing events. Both are so tenderly human.) Those present with Jesus reacted negatively to the event and suggest she is of inferior character. Is this not also how most who read the story now still react? We are anxious for Jesus to 'get through' and 'get over' with this embarrassing incident. I think I am in the dream tempted to have that reaction to the woman but her actual person leads me to higher ground and much 'appreciation'. Again, how sad for us to not join Jesus in the spiritual eroticism of this unexpected and likely much needed encounter. Also I called it 'ministries' before my reflection. The text has Jesus explain that this 'unseemly' woman is serving him and is more in tune with his spirit, his values and needs than those questioning her. Can I  learn?

If we were asked what somewhat dark male person did Jesus see as a spiritual leader, so much so that he yielded himself to be served by him and receive his ministry, what would you say? I think many Bible people would say, 'John The Baptist.' Look at the similarities. John the Baptist was a rather strange outsider, ministering to likely the most down and out of Judea. And surely in that day 'males' got most of the attention. Both are so in the dream. And have we not wondered how a vagabond preacher like John survived economically? Surely he likely had no wife or children to care for. We are reluctant to assign any illness(unlike my dream) or sin to Jesus but the gospel writer manages a way to have Jesus fully receive this 'baptism of repentance' from the camel hair dressed, locust and wild honey eating strange cousin. The man in the dream like John is very interested in caring about me. He treats me tenderly and explains what he does and how he does it. As he lays me down( strikingly like the motion John's baptizing of Jesus) he humbly says, 'this is typical of what I do." Is that not how John is pictured as relating to Jesus? Again this dream helps me to better grasp the fullness of Jesus' humanity beyond the usual orthodox interpretations. Jesus likely felt more assured and at peace after receiving John's ministry as I also expressed(before knowing I was even talking about something similar to the Jesus-John encounter and baptism.) In the gospel story it was such an experience that Jesus 'heard God speaking' through nature( a dove) to him. I too can 'hear' God speaking naturally to me through this common nightly dream.

Someone, though few are those I will share this with, may think, " What is Jim saying, that he is Jesus, the Messiah?"

This may be an excellent place to consider the difference between the full blown horror of Schizophrenia and a significant, life enhancing/changing, creative encounter with the Sacred. They are very similar. On the surface they look the same. Both will be filled with religious images and language. Both receive very strong, dazzling, sometimes horrifying, sometimes sublime  ecstatic experience. This is why my family and brothers were so  rightly concerned about me in my first encounters with such inner images in 1985.  My brothers'  concern for me saved my life. I was wrestling  alone with such strong inner archetypes  in Houston in the Spring of '85 that I became  unable to fully distinguish ' inner from outer' reality. My truck was packed, my apartment immaculate but I could not gain inner permission to leave Houston and go home.  Thus I was not functioning effectively in outer life sufficiently to keep  taking care of myself.  I was at a full blown breaking point of serious  proportions. Four of my brothers,without my having any idea,  drove to Houston, entered my apartment and insisted that I return to our AL hometown. I strongly  resisted at first but thanks to their courageous insistence, and the help of a carefully  injected sedative, over my will  I surrendered to them and my  life was  saved that day.
Rufus Hibbett And His Seven Sons @ 1975

Some context to this: The six months preceding I had worked for a group selling life insurance in Houston. By means of  still unaccountable grace I had managed each month to make significantly more income than I had ever made in my life. Thus I had the relief of mind that my family was not suffering financially, but I knew the psychological tensions and hurts  were growing. But my internal situation and motivation quickly changed leaving me unable to even consider making another sales call. The week  before my brothers arrived I had sold everything of value I had to buy food. My utilities were cut off.  I knew that same  morning that the next experience I was going to have was to scavenge for food. I had already coached myself, ' Jim, you are not the first or the last person who has been so humbled by the brute forces of nature and life. You will do what you have to do.' Amidst this my brothers arrived.

After this major rescuing  project of brotherly love,  for the next five  months my brothers consistently looked after me and my family who were still back in Illinois. One brother gave me a job and paid me more than I was worth at that time. My brothers took turns having  me  live with them during the next three months while I stayed in our AL hometown of Florence. At my request my brothers found a Jungian trained therapist in Birmingham. For nearly three months I drove there to work with him twice a week. What makes all their  support and concern even more admirable is  they did all this without having any explanation or possible appreciation of 'why' their little brother(41 years old) had fallen into such totally unexpected straits and was expressing such new beliefs.  When such an archetypal scenario is playing out in real life it often offers no conventional  explanation. And when humans have no clear explanations imaginations run wild. I experienced a good deal of that happening with regards to my life process as it unfolded.  Execpt for Jungian thought I also had no explanation. Fortunately some people's  imaginations are very kind and they look for the best, not the unseemly or worst. I am grateful that my brothers and my wife and children  actually protected me from the storm by offering up  the most  kind and encouraging explanations.

As months went by I became able to sort out the archetypes and their message to me  so I could receive their revelatory meanings without being overwhelmed by them. I learned, with much effort and practice, and help of a Birmingham Jungian therapist,  to distinguish clearly between 'inner and outer.' With the seriously mentally ill person the fragile ego (What and who we consciously consider ourselves to be.) is shattered and he takes the images coming in from the Collective Unconscious( from the spiritual realm or God) as his personal revelation and a description of his or her self identity. He fails to keep his  'personal ego' distinct from the images from the Collective Unconscious. This results  in the seriously ill person making claims of 'being God' or some other important archetypal being or power.  The archetypal powers have at that point taken over or 'possessed' the fragile ego. This person is now fully 'split'(schizo) and retains no longer who he was in his ego personality.  Anyone who visited me in my worst times knows that was never my situation. If necessary I could  usually consistently  make the other person believe I was experiencing nothing unusual by keeping the  archetypal  material concealed to myself. But had I not had   'safe' places to let this  inner life be expressed  I would have been overtaken by it and become very seriously ill as a result.

This is what has always horrified humans when they see it has happened to a loved one. Ancient people called it a 'loss of soul.'  We experience such a person as fully and frighteningly mentally ill. Most anyone can see this  happening with a trip to any psych ward of any Hospital.  There is more religious language in that setting than most churches. This is because  all religions were begun by an upsurge of archetypal images.  Jungian thought, and I know of no other, helps us to see what is happening and to realize the reality of the  power of  archetypes for good or ill.  In my situation in 1985 my ego it seems  was consistently  able to distinguish between the archetypal material of the Collective Unconscious(Understand this is the image and a name of the deep eternal source for all human experience that has been or ever can be. This what people of all times and cultures have always called the Sacred or God.) and thus for it to not completely overwhelm me. Like my brothers' love and actions on my behalf  I can only be grateful: that my ego had acquired, through my particular training and personal experiences,  by that time in my life, age 41, just enough strength  to withstand the onslaught  of the Collective Unconscious and its living archetypes in both their  positive and negative powers. I am astounded at how horribly different things could have easily worked out rather than how they have.

So  when the individual's ego manages to stay intact, however weak and threatened with annihilation, the conclusions an individual eventually  reaches about life and reality  are significantly different than what he had going in. Hopefully I am, with these dreams and especially with the 'visions' I had beginning in  August 85 for several years, an example of this better outcome. That my ego( with the supporting help of  caring and informed others) did not fly apart and send me into a state of identity with the figures of the Collective Unconscious. I was able to keep recalling that I was 'the human Jim Hibbett, of such and such address, father of Sheri, Brent and Ryan and husband of Beverly.'

If a person were prone to psychological schizophrenia had these dreams above he would likely be telling his friends of it and insisting that he is Jesus or the new Jesus. And he would be totally convinced of it. After 25 years of experiencing  rather closely  archetypal images and powers  I am in little danger of such a misinterpretation. Surely I was at some risk of it before, like the mid-May day  in 1985 when my brothers appeared at my Houston apartment.  But I am not aware of my  small but essential ego even once deserting me completely to the force of the archetypes. My ego was always present and observing and frequently asking questions about what the hell was going on. I am here attempting to faithfully describe  these things as I experienced them and as I later read  Jung describing  similar things. That is why his work was genuinely and literally 'life-saving' to me. The way I had been taught to interpret the Bible was of little help to me then. (With my present views of the nature of the Bible I am able to see how the Biblical stories and images do inform us about such realities of the 'unseen' world. No doubt  my rich Bible background was helping more than I realized at the time.)  I am so grateful that I was at least exposed to Jungian thought  before the archetypes broke through to me with such authoritative force. I often encouraged people to read Jung if they wished to  better understand my story. But I know Jung seems very difficult. That is primarily because he is seeking to describe and explain views of life that are different than most all Western people have imagined. I am glad to know he is likely still to be taken more seriously as the world faces the kinds of problems we now have. Two places Jung can be  rather easily read are his very late autobiography "Dreams, Memories and Reflections" and the book 'C.G. Jung Psychological Reflections  1905-1961"..edited by Jacobi and Hull.
I come from these dreams with a significant shift in my conscious attitude( the purpose of any dream.) I am affirmed in my belief that present day Christians tend to not fully embrace the humanity of Jesus, and thus have difficulty identifying with him as much as is possible. He must 'be like us' if we are to be like him. Anything less than that is a split in our identity, a kind of non-clinical schizophrenia itself. I come away 'seeing' that Jesus , and those writing the gospels and other sacred text, were not the only humans that experience the archetypes. In fact every human is potentially able to experience every archetype they did. We all do experience the full range of archetypes in our inner and outer life at various levels of consciousness.

This also emphasizes for me that it was not Jesus himself who uttered the expressions that claimed himself to be God. He once may have said, 'Why do you call me good. No one is good but the Father.' To the extent he was aware of the living God image in himself(which we all can be.) he also said to others, 'ye are gods.' And when all of life's supports seemed to have crumbled  Jesus is said to have declared of God, as so many other honest humans, "Why have you forsaken me?"  implying he had done nothing to deserve life to so crush him  as though he had done some horrible evil. These expressions  imply that Jesus fought the archetypes( Just as Jacob wrestled with the Lord) and did not fall under their inflated message of his being the the Total and  Ultimate God. This is what, I'm convinced from my personal experience, people said of him later(and now understandably so) , not what he said of himself. If he did say such things during his human life  he would be exactly like the schizophrenic described above. I’m persuaded that facing the archetypes of the unconscious is truly what the central 'temptations' of Jesus' life were about and what the gospel narrative seeks to describe in his time alone in the wilderness. He learned as sometimes individual humans  still do that the 'way of life is often far more narrow and strait'  than we could have ever imagined or desired.

 Jesus of Nazareth was millennia ahead of his time in acquaintance with the inner world which he called 'heaven' and the 'kingdom of God.' He, like we can today, encountered such a kingdom with all its unutterable splendor and ecstasy('the joy set before him') and also with its horrors of journeys and baptisms of suffering into Hell. He stayed the course both in his inner and outer worlds(His ministry may have been as brief as one year. How long can a human endure such a state of mind?). He kept a balance between these worlds and His archetypal image became for others Savior and truly the 'pioneer of our faith.'

Here in these dreams I am presented as experiencing two similar archetypes that Jesus likely experienced as well. That helps me to identify with him as 'a follower of The Christ' in hopefully a healthy and human way. But I am aware that these archetypes do not any more define me personally  than they do potentially every other human being. My hope is that more people can become aware of this way of using our Christ story as a tool for spiritual development. And that we can have a way to more clearly 'see' and believe that he remains a model of human character and one whom we can aspire to 'be like' and likely are much more than we realize.

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