Thursday, March 15, 2012


The scene was a dark, dirty yard of trucks and equipment. It was rather like a 'junk yard' environment. Muddy ground. It was all in brown tone color. The people working there were speaking a foreign language. They were dark Caucasians. A child had been killed, maybe murdered. The whole community was in mourning. I was unsure how I fit into it all. One man was the obvious leader. He could be very tough, gruff and intimidating. They were into a quasi memorial service for the child with him saying some words. Then he turned to me asking for a prayer. I was surprised to be asked. I put my heart into the prayer calling the child’s name, thanking God for him and asking for comfort for the bereaved. My prayer seemed well received.
Funeral Of The Poor, Paris 19th Century

A while later the leader came to me with some cash as payment for my services. I accepted the $25 dollars knowing it would come in very handy for me. Then later he brought me a fistful of cash. There were large bills in it, some hundreds even. At first I thought wow, how generous of these people. I handed him $30 for I knew he was going to much trouble to serve the family. Later he addressed the whole group emotionally promising that this child would not be forgotten and that he would not rest until anyone responsible for the death was held accountable. I began to think of this pile of money. I knew I could put it to good use. But it was not appropriate. The people somehow were placing far too much and inappropriate meaning into my office, perhaps even unconsciously seeking some blessing through their gifts to me. I asked the leader to please give the cash to the family who were poor.

BLESSING: Sometimes what the dream source asks you to consider is very irritating because it seems so far removed from what you feel your actual concerns are. In this way it can totally shift, in an unpleasant way, your conscious focus. Jung's central idea of a dream's purpose is just that, to change the conscious outer present orientation and attitude in some way. This dream asks me to consider a scene and topic that are farthest from my conscious images and thoughts. And is in this case a very unpleasant shift of conscious focus.
An 'Other' Looking Man

The dream is shadowy due to the dark, muddy, junk yard atmosphere. Also the people were very 'other', speaking a different language and having community that was very different than mine. 'Otherness' is something that humans seem deeply ingrained to be repulsed by. We tend to unconsciously experience all of our own negatives, fears and repulsions toward life in the 'other'. This accounts for the perpetual resentments, unappreciativeness and outright hostilities that color human history as a whole. We never get away from it. It is what the news is generally about in the paper and on T.V. Humans are somewhat fascinated by the 'other', but usually in a negative , condescending, judgmental and only curious way. The dream is about my very real capacity to experience the 'other' in such  unenlightened ways. It should dawn on us occasionally that what is 'other ' to us is very often a blessing to the whole  broader situation. That the most needed gifts often initially strike us as strange and not of value. This is a central religious theme in the Bible...The expression that, 'Nothing good comes out of Nazareth' and 'The rejected stone becomes the chief corner stone' , ' the Messiah being born in a dirty stable rather than a palace.' Why does our present culture, even our Christian culture, seem not  able to carry such hopeful positive expectations and trust such central religious symbols? We have witnessed politically a successful attempt to paint President Obama in darkest 'other' terms... not a Christian, not a citizen, not a product of the American dream.  Yet in spite of  the unprecedented  way of painting him as 'other', anyone would have a hard time finding one example of  the President responding in such mean and cynical terms. He may be the strongest model of being a mature gentleman of all our presidents. But to his enemies that means nothing because of their fabricated but  successful labeling him a 'dark stranger not to be trusted.' We seem to be experiencing a very dark time in Politics. This dream is pushing me to expect the needed gifts and blessings in our day to likely come from what is 'other' to us. This is quite the opposite attitude from trying to recapture some imagined  'good old days', to insist that society go backward rather than forward to a new day or religiously to a 'new creation.' This in practical terms shows  that the Collective Unconscious can generate very hopeful and  positive  dispositions and not all negative as Freud  described it.

In the dream I am  delightfully surprised that the 'other' here is more accepting of me than I assume they are. I was 'projecting' my negative attitude onto them, assuming they did not welcome my presence any more than I would have welcomed them. While I as placing a 'negative' value on any good they brought toward me they were placing a positive one on me. This was revealed when the gruff leader asked for my prayer. This is an awareness that should make one feel 'ashamed.' I can recall an expression in my family when one of us had erred ethically , 'You should be ashamed of yourself.' With all of my experiences of 'enlightenment and growth, and hard won belief changes' regarding the positive value of the 'other', the importance of inclusiveness etc.; the dream reminds me that it remains a struggle for me to keep an enlightened attitude regarding the unexpected positive appearance of the 'other.'
 The Rejected Stone That Became The Corner Stone

Here I'm shown falling back into that negative mentality. I was for reasons beyond my own choosing present in this 'other' community and so was somewhat forced to find a place and receive and give reactions with them. This is how my life has often been these past 25 years. I’ve moved in my work from one community to another and I have experienced totally 'other' church communities. Without fail I have been more received and welcomed than I may have offered if the situation had been reversed. The dream documents that personal reality. Also I experience having been led into these new situations by the guidance of the 'Self', the 'Holy Spirit' or the Sacred. It was not primarily the work of my conscious ego that guided my life changes and 'knightly adventures' involving the 'other.'

In my pastoral work I have received many gifts following funerals. I have generally gratefully received gifts of appropriate amounts, sometimes up a $100. There have been times when I have passed the gift on to the suggested charity of the family etc. I especially do this if I feel there is any kink in my relationship with the family or any sense that the gift is given out of obligation rather than desire to benefit me. I'm glad the dream shows me recognizing that this gift is out of bounds and that I turn most of it toward the family. I'm also glad that I recognized the service the informal leader was giving this community and rewarded him.

I ask myself , why am I being asked to take good time to reflect on such a theme? I am reminded that I tend to be slow to spend and give money that has come to my care.... that I can be tight-fisted and live too much from an attitude of scarcity rather than abundance. This is not spiritually healthy. So that must be the key reason I am asked to reflect on such a dream. How considerate for the dream source to present me in nearly a totally positive light while pointing out clearly my sin. Only a God worthy of my attention and service could treat me so gently while kicking me in the ass. She even makes me laugh as she keeps everything so in the open that there is no place and certainly no need to hide. In fact I am nearly bursting into tears of joy and grace  right now. There is absolutely no fear of the loss of divine support and love in this process of reprimand. I find it amazing and cannot help but be more generous for it. I'm having coffee now in a cafe. I will now go out of my way to cash a five so I can tip the waiter a buck for my coffee. My bill showed  the cost was  a dollar even and I have no other ones or change. So I had resigned that I would not tip this time. The dream at least resulted in a decent tip for this waiter.

Note: I unconsciously typed in BLESSING above instead of the intended REFLECTION: Even when I noticed and was a bit irritated at my 'mistake' I started to correct it. Then I became conscious that this was part of the message coming to me from the dream source. This is one of those synchronicity occurrences totally outside of consciousness. My hands typed BLESSING when I fully intended to type REFLECTION as I always do. Such is also commonly referred to as a 'Freudian Slip.' It is a way the Self suggests that the dream and my thoughtful reflection on it is indeed a BLESSING to me. I agree.

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