Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DREAM: FATHER ...july 25, 2009 (edited september 19,2011)

Introduction: I post this dream because it demonstrates  again how what at first seems meaningless and useless dream activity eventually shows the dreamer important vistas and avenues of needed increased awareness. Since 'Father' is a central image here I'd like to comment on a related New Testament passage: A primary barrier to Christians being able to accept and value other world faiths is what the author of the Gospel of John has Jesus say, ' I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.'  John 14:6.  For one thing  the author is using a literary tool. This passage is part of a series of metaphorical statements John gives Jesus as he weaves his gospel. He uses the familiar Exodus definition of God as , "I Am." He then has Jesus say numerous 'I AM' statements eg:  ' I Am.... the door, the life, gate,  bread,  the path, the way etc.' These are not the kind of statements a spiritually mature person says about himself but what others said in their explanations of his extraordinary demonstrations of love and godliness.  (Most have learned in Bible study that "I AM" in Hebrew can be rightly translated , " I will be what I will be." This would give us a hint to expect to 'see' other and changing  images of God.) Yet Jesus can be thought of as sincerely and sanely  saying that just as his dearest personal 'image of God' is that of 'loving father' so any who 'listen to him' will be heirs to that image of God also.  But that should not be taken as some end-all evaluation of all legitimate encounters with or descriptions of the Sacred. As Christians we begin with 'Father' as a primary image of God that Jesus points us to, and then we likely and hopefully move and grow from that(If one does not expect such changes in their 'God Image' then growth might be hindered.) Just as there are many other images of God in the Bible each of us is likely to be introduced to still others, ones essential for our personal needs and situation, as the Collective Unconscious brings them to us via nightly dreams or intuitive moments. This kind of spiritual path is what I have experienced the past twenty seven years. I have never rejected  the grand image of 'God the Father' but it is  one among many and one that  standing alone would not have been sufficient to carry me through  the various parts of my Christian journey. Numerous of my blog posts are descriptions of various images of God, many of which are found across time and religions. *This dream well explores where the 'Father God' image likely leads if we stay with it long enough and are open to it not as a 'final revelation' but as a developing one and a place to begin.

Dream 1. I was with brothers and their families. I was a youngster. We were at some rather rugged camp or retreat. This is an 'earthy' setting signifying we are looking at life in the most basic 'back to nature' way. No pretense or fancy cover up for what is really going on . We were in an assembly building sitting in lined up chairs like we are waiting for some program. There was something wrong with me. I was sitting by the wall on the front row on a toilet. I was constantly having bowel movement. I was embarrassed for all could hear and see. I was attempting to keep clean and presentable. I flushed the toilet and realized it was backing up.
I imagined the humiliating result. Somehow it did not start flowing out onto the floor. All this in front of musing eyes. Not a word was said. At this moment African American workmen brought in a new soda machine. The chairs, and my toilet, along the wall were all moved to let them through. I was relieved to not be the center of attention and thought a new soda machine is fine. I was aware of the hard work the men were doing.

Dream 2. I was driving my father's car on rough muddy roads. We were going to a store to get something he needed. Suddenly he complained that the car was not going to be able to get there. So he got out and started walking. I turned down another road that was worse. Once it was so steep that I was sure I would get lodged in a ditch but somehow the car made it through the bad spot.

Again Daddy was in the car with me. He said he needed a new radio for his car but wondered if such could be found. I said I was sure you could buy nice kits for car radios. We were then walking in an alley and I looked down at a pile of household garbage a man had thrown out. There in a sack was a nice red portable circle shaped radio. I picked it up, hesitant the man might see me going through his trash. As we walked away daddy took the radio with him which started playing. I was walking another direction and wishing Daddy would find how to turn the radio off until he got home.

REFLECTION: I continue to see no way in the world to make meaningful sense out of this and do not even want to try. This dream came during a one hour nap. I'll try to hear its not obvious meaning later.....I'll take a break from this and do some totally different kind of activity.

.....These dreams are now becoming important for me. The first part is personal and acknowledges a troubling part of my self image. The second is primarily collective but also personal. It is a strong theological statement.

Dream 1. Until I embraced my 'shadow' as referred to in several recent dreams I viewed myself as very good, nice and responsible. I felt that most other people viewed me that way, at least the ones that mattered. This is a perfect example of how well a 'persona' can work for a large part of ones life. But once I encountered and owned my shadow I began to have uneasiness as to how others viewed me. It was hard to give up the 'perfect' image and begin to allow a more honest persona but one that not everyone was pleased with. As time passed my theological beliefs began to change and as a preacher I began to share them. These were not generally well received. So I began to be burdened with the awareness that I was being viewed as 'having problems', 'being strange' and as the dream describes one who was constantly generating smelly, personal, worthless debris. Sitting on the toilet, with diarrhea, and the feces water threatening to overflow on everyone around is the graphic way the dream shows me viewing my fears of how some others see me. This is perhaps the price I've had to pay for acknowledging and embracing the shadow and the changes it subsequently brought. As in the dream whether I'm around extended family, old church acquaintances or even my UCC denomination rarely does anyone directly confront me about my 'mess' but such stink is sometimes in the air. The dream shows my very responsible attempts to keep a lid on the troublesome material I am working with coming up from the depths. Perhaps , I've felt at times, I am one of few who has been  required by life's circumstances  to take up the 'collective mess' we have inherited and deal with it at least at a personal level as responsibly as I can. This might  resemble the political analogy of Obama trying to deal with decades of irresponsible government and people seeing all the 'mess' as primarily his doing. That is how I have sometimes felt about my own struggles. It is significant in the dream that I manage with much effort to keep the toilet waters contained. It did not overflow. That is a very good sign about my efforts.

Then the black men bringing in the soda machine. I am always relieved to not have the focus on my 'stuff' for it means a stressful burden for me and the likely need for me to defend myself. I'm grateful that my writing has hardly been public at all. Of course any writer would welcome appreciative readers but where my writings have been public that is not the kind of readers I've generally had. The soda machine means that what is being 
Lincoln, Nebraska Foundry...1959
discussed here involves the modern and post modern age even though it comes from deep, old , imperfect but true roots. Soda still represents something refreshing to the human being in her troubles and labor. It is fizzy and sparkly representing something truly alive. There is an admiration here for hard working laborers who make life possible and more livable for everyone. There is something extremely valuable and admirable about hard manual labor wherever it occurs in the human community. The single most ugly blight on America is that it built its early economy on the backs of enslaved black laborers, ignoring their individuality, privacy ,their family life and their culture. There is no way to ever repay that damage but it seems to me it has not been fully owned up to by whites to this present day. Forgiveness has not been fully sought or experienced by the white community. There is a wide spread grudge and suspicion against people of color as I write.  The irrational despising of a very 'like us' black person as President is evidence of still deep seated racism. . Have the top leaders of congress ever said of a new President on election day, " Our number one goal is to make him a one term president?"  I don't think so. I  think we whites have only begun to 'see' the meaning is such statements of otherwise well educated, reasonable, even handed people.   The dream is not letting me forget that as these 'black' me labor before me.

Dream 2. Notice I named this dream 'Father' from the start. That was a clue to its meaning for I never called my earthly parent 'Father' but Daddy. Little was I thinking this was a dream about God , a theological dream. This comes in the most basic down to earth imagery imaginable. A culture's image of God is a very enduring and long lasting foundation. Such psychic images usually last millennia. Our Western God image is now two thousand years old, actually much older for it has remained consistent with the Hebrew male God Jehovah. 
Father And Son In Truck Together
But signs are everywhere that it is breaking down, not suddenly but gradually and steadily. But there surely must be key moments and happenings that are quantum leaps in such a change. I think I have experienced personally such a quantum change in my perceptions of God and I think it parallels what is happening in the whole culture, especially I'm thinking the Christian culture. 'Father' is the outstanding image the West has inherited. The dream reminds me that I or no one can just simply shed the collective God image and swap it for another. After all it is the 'Father's car' I am driving. It is a painful and spiritually wrenching process , especially if experienced as an individual. And it is at the individual level where all such changes have to first happen. This dream speaks of my individual experience with 'Father' but I am confident that it represents what many other individuals have experienced and what is happening in the general collective consciousness. I , and many others, am pictured as 'working with' a very tired and aging Father. We know we must help him accomplish his last responsibilities. So we are respectfully taking him where he needs to go. He may be fading in many ways but He is still clear about his central responsibilities and though he may seem strange to us we know how important He still is.

I have written an essay on 'cooperative suffering'.** This unfamiliar myth pictures the Godhead as having from before creation an internal ethical problem. The solution was gradually shown to God to only be possible in the mutual suffering of man and God which is what we all experience now in the world. The dream has God going to the store to get something He still needs in his effort to resolve this problem. He is assuming rightly that we humans are still working with him but there is growing impatience. His slowness in getting things done causes all kinds of human trouble depicted as traveling on dangerous and unnecessarily rough roads. When the Father returns he states that he needs a 'radio' in his car. The car indicates that the world of the Father and humanity is moving and changing rapidly. The radio indicates that we are in the high tech age, now the post modern age, brought about by the same human mind development that began to question the long unchallenged patriarchal view of a 'perfectly good Fatherly ' God. This would be the Western enlightenment of the 1600's. America's founders were highly influenced by this kind of materialistic, patriarchal, overly optimistic at times, thinking.
Round Red Radio

The 'radio' also represents the single biggest break through in world wide human communications. The Father is stating that He realizes that the need for free and genuine 'human communication' is at the heart of the incongruity that has remained in the Godhead. Eden depicts God as forbidding humans from seeking the fullest possible communication and the knowledge that comes from it. This was not a moral act on the part of God and has caused unmentionable suffering and lack of development ever since the story was received as 'God's will'. The Father here acknowledges He is now supportive of all full and true communication among humans and that he is now obligating himself to it. This is change indeed. The 'circle' which appears consistently in recent dreams is the central symbol, in Jungian psychology and he believes the collective unconscious itself, of wholeness and completion. Always a powerful symbol of hope and meaning.

The dream here passingly acknowledges that central symbol of Western Christianity, the color of Red. The unconscious acknowledges here that the shedding of human blood is a serious matter and has often been shed in willing  and noble sacrifice in the striving for a higher consciousness which at times has been a genuine political goal and achievement. More often human sacrifice is found in human love relationships. It is the bloodless but sacrificial letting go of one's ambitions and dreams for timely support of  the other's. The dream acknowledges the importance of humans making personal  sacrifice but not in terms of one 'dying for all others' or one's sacrifice becoming a substitute for another's  own sacrifice. Such human generosity always shows the capacity for humans to transcend selfish ambition for the good of others. This is an admirable part of human wholeness and completion. A very misguided kind of  sacrifice myth and a blight on Sacred and Human development is carried in the archetype and literal practice of one party sacrificing another. This is called usually 'human sacrifice.' It is seen in the Abraham-Isaac story and the orthodox Christian dogma of Atonement that was built on the Abrahamic model. The most atrocious example of this is choosing human war, where the culture willingly 'gives the blood of its young' to some grossly misguided idea of preserving national freedom even when such freedom is not directly threatened or such threat is extremely exaggerated.

Then as the Father and Human  walk among the debris of humanity , the alley junk pile, the human is able to produce , to discover with his ever evolving consciousness , exactly what the Father orders, a radio. (Like sitting on the open toilet I am pictured embarrassed that I am finding value in what my culture considers garbage. It is the old thing of God being born in a stinking stable rather than a temple all over again.) The radio is a symbol of free and unbridled communication and search for knowledge with no religious or political taboos. And this is now with the Father's blessing. The human here is aware of the dangers of such knowledge and knows that care must be taken in its development and application. But the aging Father is happy to hear the 'sound of music' of this leap in human freedom that He is ultimately responsible for. So He is not interested in turning it off for any reason. It is 'music to His ears.' He is pictured as more sold on the 'new theological reality' than even the human is capable of being.  He after all does have the greatest investment in this whole enterprise of creation.

The Father and the Human are walking down different roads but both knowing they have cooperatively changed the course of the world. Both are likely very appreciative of the other but they also know they are different. This seriously questions the most common description in Western popular Christianity of the
connection between God and man. Many say and claim the need and blessing of a 'personal relationship' with God. The dream shows the human setting out to have for the first time a more real and personal relationship with a few other humans and an empathy for humankind in general. How can we have a personal relationship with God when it is clear that we have as yet failed to have sustained truly personal relationships with each other. This may be a sign of our unacknowledged sacrilege. The God – Human relationship is not one that is 'personal' in the sense of our being friends and buddies with the sacred or even where we potentially receive the greatest joy and on going ecstasy. It is only in human to human relationships that such joy is to be found. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that God is potentially most personal to us through the Human-Human relationship. Our understanding and connection to God needs to be kept honest, exploratory and also acknowledged as life's deepest mystery. Our God connection becomes the path to such needed and yearned for human relationship. Our honest connection to the 'Father' image of God is now much like that of an aging earthly Father and son. The son respects him, knows that the Father has a kind of wisdom that the son still lacks and understands the Father still has important life tasks to complete. But the son knows he must responsibly and hopefully move forward. It is far more likely that the two will have an occasional good visit than that they will live together in a 'personal relationship' as a mutual source of joy and ecstasy. The latter can only come from the mutual  intimate human  relationship of two humans whose connection is sealed by the richest levels of human/divine love as best described in those Greek words including agape, Eros, and phileo. Perhaps the Father has known this all along and is pleased that the way is finally open to that becoming a common and consistent experience of humans. Jim

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