I was part of an upscale school in Chicago, as a teacher I think. I was comfortable with my colleagues. When leaving the school in downtown Chicago to go home, I was hopelessly lost and drove around town in rush hour. I had no clue how to get on track for home. I thought to myself, 'I only needed to ask someone before I left.' I also knew that I now needed to ask a stranger for help with directions..
REFLECTION: The first email I had on waking this morning was one entitled 'Chicago.' I've asked myself what emotional meaning does Chicago most strongly carry for me? I've always liked the idea of Chicago. Somehow it has always seemed to me more the center of America and Western civilization than even New York. As a teen I was able to listen to WLS radio and did often. I had never been anywhere close to Chicago then.
My first encounter with Chicago was when I drove up to interview at Chicago Theological Seminary for possible enrollment and stipend to attend there. This was in the fall of 1983. I was still the minister at Clear Lake Church of Christ and was in my second unit of CPE. I don't know why I thought the elders would approve of me taking a few days a week to go to such a school but somehow I thought it may be possible. I was feeling a deep need for a genuine environment of theological learning. I was especially interested in pursuing further Pastoral Counseling. Short story, about the same time I was fired from Clear Lake I received a three year fully paid tuition and a living stipend. This was to be for an M Div degree followed by D Min degree in my areas of interest. What a boost in hope that was. I did manage to go there in the fall of '84 for six weeks. But had to leave for financial reasons. That is what led me to Houston later that fall. The seminary was a wonderful experience of fellowship with other new students and some faculty. It was also a very affirming environment for me. The changes in theological perspectives that I had already made were listened to and respected there. I realized that my thoughts were not unusual in that setting.
|Chicago Theological Seminary(UCC)|
My next Chicago experience was to train as a Combined Life Insurance salesperson in June of 1987. This was nearly two years after my 'vision-like ' experiences began. I was still, more than I knew, reeling from that 'encounter with the Collective Unconscious.' We stayed at the elite Palmer House, but we ate in the kitchen used by the lowest employees. We were in an elite environment but we were not the elite. I returned there at least once for several days of training a few months months later. That training was for sales of a new policy called 'The Eagle'. That had a very powerful symbolic meaning to me. It felt like it was being created for me personally somehow. I had a very eery but inspiring feeling about that name for our new policy. That kind of training was a turning point in many ways but one very significant. I had been wrestling with the symptoms of the "Collective Unconscious" ever since the visions in Houston in August of '85. I had been in a very unusual and I guess detached state of mind. I had somehow managed to teach school for two years like that. But that had not pressed my concentration capacity for I had simply been teaching material for physics and chemistry I was very familiar with. But the material we were expected to learn in the Insurance School required me learning and even memorizing large amounts of new material. I remember the individual final exam they gave. I amazed myself that I had been able to regain my concentrated memory kind of learning capacity. That had been put on hold for two years. That was probably the most proud thing I ever graduated from for it had taken an extremely strong effort on my part. I had to continually push the material coming from the
|The Palmer House- Chicago|
unconscious(right brain) to the side and use the other part of my brain(left brain). To deal with the contents of the unconscious requires much energy and a totally different skill set than memorizing long sales pitches etc. (We Western people over the past 300 years have become very 'left brain' people focusing on physical facts,information and processes of logic. Our left brain functions have been very neglected and I think are the avenue through which the Collective Unconscious makes it entry. Some of its functions are creativity, imagination, symbolic processes and intuition.)
All this is to say that Chicago has a very positive meaning for me emotionally and spiritually. I experienced being in a somewhat higher Collective Conscious environment there, compared to what I was used to. I gained a greater appreciation for the larger World. The city was good to me. It made me feel like I still had wings to try. This little trickle of a dream seems to give an accurate and down to earth way of me keeping aware of the aliveness that the pulse of Chicago City represents for me.
The thing of 'getting lost' physically is a symbol that has marked my whole human life. I even got lost from the family as a baby and after several hours was found among strangers at the grocery store. I am not proud of it and have worked to improve my function of finding physical directions. I am recently the proud owner of a GPS device that works wonders for my auto traveling in new situations. I love it. It even has a female voice, reminding me of the anima function, to give me directions. This low functioning of spacial reality I've come to understand is my lowest functioning area in the Jungian test for such things. He called this function 'Sensation.' The writing of John P. Dourley has helped me understand that Jung explained how the Sacred , via the Collective Unconscious, is most likely to break into consciousness through the lowest functioning area. The four functions are Thinking, Feeling, Sensation and Intuition. We are each well defended against the Unconscious in our more strongly developed psychological functions. This is why The Unconscious was able to 'approach me' as it were in my weakest point- Sensation and bring the 'vision' kind of experience as its way of presenting itself as 'numinous' to me. This all makes good sense to me now. But is was all nearly an overwhelming experience of 'Miracle' and 'Ecstasy' when it was first happening.
|Four Jungian Functions|
I think the dream is a reminder of that weaker function I have and how “God is able to best use human weakness' to make God's Self most clearly known.” The dream implies that whatever weakness I have I only need to 'ask' either friends or strangers and I can expect to get the help needed. This is a very practical dream sent, I think, to help me be in touch with who I am at a very basic human level. I appreciate how it has pulled these areas together for my conscious mind to consider.