Monday, October 10, 2011

DREAM: CHOOSING LIFE OR SELFISHNESS-Which is it?..january 12, 2010

I recall only one dream image but had decided there is nothing to it. But may as well write it out here since it  keeps calling for attention.  I was sitting with boyhood best friend (I'll call Bud) in a very sterile white living area. Every thing had sharp hard  edges and sides. The only furniture was two chairs where we each sat. We were watching a T.V. on the wall. There was a single picture window in the room. Just as the movie really got our attention some  people drove up to the house. Bud's reaction was, though  of regret and irritation, without any question.  We would need to  turn off the T.V. and greet the newcomers . My more considered  reaction, though also initially prone to do the same as Bud,  was to close the curtain and appear we were not home. So that we could stay focused on something that really  and genuinely interested us both.
This May Be More Important Than The Interruption.

REFLECTION: Both persons represent parts of me. Bud, for the dream, represents my early younger adult personality and I represent more myself now. Bud was a best childhood friend and an extremely nice and polite person. I am aware that the first half of my life I was very much a people-pleaser. I was one who seemingly had  'no choice' but to , at least on the surface, always put others first. So if someone  came into my presence expecting something my first reaction was to, if reasonably possible, meet their expectation.  This was the unwritten definition of being  a 'nice person.'   I was pretty much at the disposal of many who would have any claim or expectation on me. This was especially true of authority figures in my life.  I was what Jung might  describe as a 'mass' person. I accepted the basic norms of belief and behavior that my culture, family and church had given to me.  So, if company arrives, that for sure takes the priority. You stop what you are doing and set your actions on giving what others expect as the priority. This is the 'Bud me ' in the dream. There is still a very living part of me who tends to generally react this way. And I am not suggesting that is not a good way, in general, to be. But only when it is a genuinely conscious choice. Which it certainly can be even when it involves postponing ones momentary personal preference and pleasure to yield to another. But the dream is stressing there are times to choose a more self interested direction over the expectations of others, of the visitor or the crowd. The dream seeks to picture the difference between 'choosing life' as it passes   and our fear of  'being  selfish.' We so easily give into the fear of being considered, 'selfish' or 'irresponsible' rather than to 'choose life' in the moment.

The  starkly sterile hard whiteness of the situation in the dream is nearly inhuman. It may symbolize  'death' in the general sense.  Death in the sense of ' being alive but not really living' that can so easily happen in periods of our human life.  A death that leaves us numb to any potential inner excitement and genuine joy and passion  of life. The room seems so unattached to the earth, to nature , to any erotic or passionate impulse of life.  It is thus cold and everything is fully expected to be what it is. We both sit there in a high tech death like environment with no strong emotions or sense of fully living. But then something actually stirs us up, we get a genuine sense of something really worth our attention.  The first reaction is to not take it seriously or as
This May Be The One Time When The Do-Nut Is The Needed Choice?
important enough to honor. This is a reaction that keeps  the 'death alive'. It is not likely that the coming of these visitors will be anything more than a continuance of a non passionate, death like  existence;  more of the status quo. But the emotional lively stirring of the' idea' from  the T.V.  offers  more life, more feeling and passion.  'Mass' mentality does not see the great value in  the 'soul being stirred' , and so will follow  the customary  accepted values without wavering from the predictable course . It will easily walk away from any 'renewal of life' to keep the sterile status quo that 'everyone' accepts as what is most important. (I'm not suggesting that such opportunities usually come from the T.V.  In fact watching T.V. is generally the very sterile world of conformity that the room is in the dream. I think the dream purposely selects this very unlikely(T.V.) source of  'living option' to stress we should not discount any source as a possible voice to the Soul.  Nor is the lesson of the dream  that out of boredom or fear we should lunge for anything that offers us a momentary emotional fling. Such a moment of inviting interest may be a person, a book, a movie ,  or an inner image....anything that genuinely grabs us emotionally or has the longing, desiring quality of the presence of Eros.  The dream is warning of the danger of not letting ourselves be thoughtfully at times drawn into such things, even if it means 'closing the curtains' on what we would have otherwise been doing. Such times may not be that often in life. What if we were more attuned to believing that God is calling us through such moments? 

There is another response to the stirrings of real life, to passion, to  Eros.  I've noticed one of the E.D. ads plays on this archetype of 'choosing the moment' which simply demonstrates that advertisers are always trying to 'use the archetypes' to promote their product.  But that does not discredit that  there are very important ways we should respond to the 'pull of the  archetype' in matters of daily spiritual living. And that is be open to a higher value of a moment, one where  the typical acceptable behavior needs to be denied and transcended. It is  like the one time I recall during an exceptionally moving Lassie T.V. show on Sunday evening. My Dad, who was the church song leader, surprisingly said to the family, " I think we should stay home and see the rest of this this together. Church will get along fine without us tonight." Yes, someone is going to be  disappointed and think that such a response is rude or even a less moral  or spiritual choice. The dream is saying just the opposite of such momentary  decisions that move against collective values, including even religious norms. No rule is right all the time.

I think I was near forty before I could let myself  'literally not answer the phone' just because it was ringing. This metaphor goes a long way in describing the many other ways that life does offer windows to fuller conscious life. (We need to learn that we do not always 'have' to answer the phone, our own created technology.) Will we follow that offering with confidence, bear the unpleasantness of disappointing  people who are not bringing anything that cannot be brought a thousand other times?  Do we keep the  right and the conscious capacity alive to 'close the curtains and say no to the mundane'  in order to say yes to what begs for our immediate  passion and Erotic interest?  I recall getting  so  enthusiastically involved in a reading topic( It had to do with leadership.) while taking a graduate course that I informed my instructor I would take a B, instead of completing a required assignment, in the course. It was my conscious choice to keep using my limited study time to pursue material not formally a part of the course requirement. And I did,with no regret, take the B.

This second half of life has provided me with an increased capacity to 'follow my heart' more often. To follow what really got my attention rather than what I or others thought 'should' be my interest. There is a price that one pays for 'following life' this way. And one has to acknowledge that  such awareness can be an excuse for irresponsibility, but to not take what the dream is saying seriously is to 'miss golden  opportunities' for the richness of life. I would like to think that I have on occasion been willing to pay that price and 'follow my heart' into places that have offered me  surprises and challenges that  I would have otherwise never been conscious of.

I think this dream is  spiritually about 'choosing life over death'  in the midst of ordinary human daily existence.  As unexpected as this may seem  I think this is at the bottom of  such words that Joshua made famous, ' Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.'  This is about the 'road less traveled.'  It is about the meaning of the words that encourage us to sometimes 'walk to the tune of a different drummer' and even to follow the 'narrow way that leads to life.' Jim

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