Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LOOKING BACK... Individual Life Is An Intricate Plan. July 24, 2012

I hope this will  be a crisp essay  of how life, viewed from its later years, appears to have  evolved from a rather straight forward and not that complicated 'plan.' Such a 'plan' would be unique for each person but nothing totally new happens with any of us. It is all very human. Obviously if my life is the unfolding of a plan I had no consciousness of it at first. And only hints that some 'plan' was going on began to be barely conscious as I reached midlife. After some strongly influencing and unexpected midlife events I became significantly more aware that something was happening which , though it called for all my efforts and resources, was a plan; a 'plan', in my overall best interest, that at some basic level nothing could interfere with.

Part of my motivation to write this description is that I suspect that such a 'plan of life' is typically human and that any self reflecting person can likely eventually find significant meaning to their life's experience by becoming more conscious of this 'life  plan' phenomenon.
Is There An Unconscious Plan That Informs Our life?

I will mention only a few of the important pieces that such a life plan for me has had which now seem essential. There are so many pieces I will not mention, for in a way every single moment and happening is essential to make any life what it ends up being. Nothing will seem to have been a mistake or 'only' a coincidence when the final chapter is finished and the picture is complete. Each of our lives will potentially become to us like a creative work of art that carries the most poignant personal meaning we could imagine.

First I seem to have been born with a dream. I did not manufacture it. My formal religion or education did not overtly instruct me to have such a dream. But basically that dream for me was that 'the highest I could aspire for in a successful life would be to live as large a part of it as possible in intimate monogamous relationship with the right or at least right kind of woman.' I was vaguely aware of this as I reached puberty. I was born the far youngest of seven brothers. My mother died suddenly two days before my 10th birthday.
This negatively interpreted event probably offers some explanation for my specific need and 'dream for my life', the dynamics of which I would experience as I transcended that otherwise painful trauma. I will not go into how I see that now as a necessary piece of my 'life plan.' I could not have told someone objectively what the dream for my life was in those earlier years but looking back it clearly was to experience such an ongoing intimate love relationship. Such a dream is what I thought or mused about when my mind would wonder. I knew it was something far more than only sexual closeness that I yearned for. So considering this 'dream for my life', now I can see how every main life event , altercation and personal encounter was designed to teach me more about what was necessary for me to come closer to realizing such a 'dream for my life.'
Rufus Hibbett And Seven Sons @ 1974

I had some romantic involvement with young female friends from grade school through high school and to this day I can see how each of them was a very special learning experience for me, showing me what aspects of femininity I highly valued and that resonated with the dream I carried. I became interested enough by my first year of college to fully fall in love and get married. I cannot begin to even touch on how my 35 year marriage with Beverly was a virtual learning laboratory for me. It led me to heights of yearning and longing for intimacy and also to many of the typical American disappointments of what a long term marriage brings.
Daddy And Some Sons Soon After Our Mother Died... 1953

 I learned the meaning of intimate friendship that supports and cares no matter how difficult and challenging the problems that either friend faces. I experienced the challenge of attempting to communicate with a life companion at both the levels of rich harmony and of most painful differences. I learned the great joy of being a father of three children who were planned for, especially by Beverly. I learned, as father and husband, what it meant to value some other humans enough that if life required I would unhesitatingly give my own life for the furtherance of theirs. My life did not require that sacrifice but instead came to insist that I discover much more about my own deeper personality and how it would develop as I kept following the dream and its initially unconscious plan for me. Beverly and I discovered  gradually that our love for each other did not potentially include all that either of us had dreamed of. I think we lived for more than 20 years expecting that an unmanipulated and needed change would happen that would make of our marriage all that love could possibly bring. We remained best friends to the end even though the last five years of her life we were divorced. So a picture emerges that the  fulfillment of my original dream shows that such a dream's realization does not just drop into ones lap but was requiring me to learn many lessons in many areas of personal and social  life.
Bev And Me

I left dental school after one quarter and after being married for six months to enter formal ministry preparation. I could never explain even to myself why I made that change of directions. It felt like it had much to do with Beverly's needs and our relationship, that she would have greater attraction to me as a preacher. This was likely my perception more than it was hers. I describe this for it seems that if I had I married someone different I likely would not have made that change of career direction. So retrospectively I married just such a woman whose impact on me would help bring this essential unexpected and irrational change about. I now see it was essential to the 'dream' that I would need to explore the religious depths and meanings of  intimate love my dream had given me a glimpse of . After all religion of nearly every variety says that love is the greatest thing to happen in life. So I see my first 18 years of ministry as taking me as far as my own religious heritage could in rational religious knowledge and Biblical understanding that related to my life's dream.

Then came the time that I would need to explore what has been learned by humans of my culture and others regarding the 'study of the soul' which is the literal meaning of psychology. This was initiated by anther unanticipated turn. I, with the encouragement of a respected church deacon,  enrolled in the Clinical Pastoral Education program at the local Catholic Hospital and later in the University's Master's program in Human Development Counseling. So I began a journey that helped me to begin a rather thorough exploration of the inner landscape of my mind and heart. The writings of Carl Jung eventually became an important resource for this part of  my 'plan.'  I began what was to become a consciously chosen spiritual development process. This part of the unfolding 'plan' was also always keeping me in touch with ordinary struggling humans at a significantly heart level through pastoral care and counseling primarily within my  Church of Christ ,and later United Church of Christ and Presbyterian(USA), communities.

These years I carried a feeling I was onto something important and central to life, not only my own but to persons in general. But I assumed that whatever happened and however intimate love might come closer to realization, it would be within the context of my own religious heritage. I would never have anticipated  I would become disconnected from my Church of Christ strong roots. But another significant transition developed. It involved me reaching serious and more conscious inner conflicts with some of the teachings of my religious heritage as well as losing a power struggle in my own church with its all-male leadership. This was one of the most tragic things my family experienced due to my life's path as the necessary 'plan' of the 'dream' unfolded.
Jim The Preacher For 38 Years

After a sad formal break with the Church of Christ the exact needed forces, just when needed, came into play which led me first to a 'liberal' seminary in Chicago. Here   for six weeks I was able to discover that the theology and Biblical perspectives I had been developing in my own ministry were very much what was being understood and taught as the more 'liberal' kind of Protestant Christianity. I had discovered a whole new world  which I needed to know more about and interact with. The timing of this, retrospectively, was just as it had to be. I managed  to find exactly the important and unlikely purpose of those specific six weeks following the sad loss of  my Springfield ministry in in May of 1984. So my life had taken a sudden major expansion. If ever I have experienced ' when one door shuts another opens', it was during this sequence of events. And there would be more to follow. Now I was owning my connection to the history of a much broader meaning of the Christian story than just to my original more conservative and localized heritage. The 'plan' to follow my dream insisted I do a thorough search of the meaning of how the broadest Christian story might affect the foundation of an intimate love life.

It was obvious  I was going to have to find some kind of employment to support my family. At the end of six weeks  I had no responsible choice but to leave the wonderfully stimulating and supportive seminary environment. I had been granted a full scholarship to culminate in a Dr.of Ministry degree in pastoral counseling. (This had been also my totally unplanned and first strong contact with the United Church of Christ. I had no inclination to become affiliated with the UCC at that time. I only was interested in the kind of ministry education I might be able to receive there. The scholarship they awarded me had no strings of my becoming a UCC person attached to it.) Then out of the blue I found myself headed to Houston, TX  for  family  economic survival as a life insurance salesman.  I was informed of this job opportunity  by a Chicago Theological Seminary student. In Houston for six months consecutively I made far more money than I had ever made in my life. I sensed to some extent that this could not be happening by my ego strength skills alone.  I was the top sales person  of  20 four of these six months. A strong hint of some kind of 'plan' beyond any conscious explanation was unfolding before my eyes.

The first three of those months I also had another most unexpected , and retrospectively as dangerous as it was gracious, experience that now I can see was essential in my learning curve as I continued to follow the still quite unconscious plan for my life. I was welcomed to stay temporarily with a Church of Christ family we had known in Springfield. I became sort of a temporary 'uncle' family member during these months getting better acquainted with who I will call Nancy and Tom and their their two young daughters. They lived in a very nice new home in Houston. A  platonic friendship developed with Nancy centered around, during my not frequent job-free moments, helping with household chores and  projects and interacting with the children. This development proved to be what was to no doubt serve the purpose of awakening the part of my inner world which Carl Jung calls the anima function. He said (paraphrasing), “As accepting ones shadow is the apprentice work of spiritual development, direct awareness of and interaction with the inner feminine anima is the master work of such development for a man.” I later realized that I had experienced a significant appreciative friendship with Nancy. But only after I ceased my time with this family and was living alone did I begin to have the experiences that would acquaint me directly with my inner anima function. Without a doubt having such a friendship with a woman at just the right time was an essential experience in 'the plan' to awaken me to the anima aspect of my personality. I'm confident that Jung's thought would imply that such a discovery of the anima cannot happen but by some such similar way of nature and Spirit. Obviously none of this effect was Nancy's conscious intention any more than I was looking for a way for my anima function to become more conscious. She was  being a gracious host and supportive friend and I was seeking to be an appreciative and helpful guest.
My Houston Apartment

Later the most intense spiritual/psychological experiences I have ever had  included  what I can only describe as 'visions' and as a strong sense of the 'ecstatic' and 'miracle'.* This began mid August 1985 and it all centered around directly experiencing the 'anima' and led me to be confident  I had reached a point of understanding  what it would be like and the attitude I would need  to live in the  intimacy which my life dream had imaged. This seemed to be the final learning that I needed. I expected as I returned to my family after being away for much of a  year that it would be in my marriage that the dream would now be fulfilled. Unfortunately it did not work out that this would be the case for Beverly and me. We were both 'out of the blue without applying' called and  hired at that time for  new attractive teaching positions near our home but  we also had to begin painfully facing that our longed for  relationship was not going to develop for us. Which as with any reasonable and caring couple,  was our strong mutual desire.

Let me explain in more detail the 'vision-like' experience.  I was becoming very much conscious of what my life long dream had been and I could begin to see the things above that had contributed to my necessary learning. I believed I was now capable of and prepared for 'seeing' an intimate companion through the eyes of my anima*  aspect. I reasoned that the kind of woman that I had either actually 'seen' in Nancy, or more likely had perhaps projected onto her , would be the kind of feminine companionship I would eventually be able to enjoy. I did not realize the kind of meaning the friendship and the quality of learning I had drawn from the very simple and routine interactions with Nancy had for me until many months after I had left staying with her family. She had apparently served as another feminine model experience, after my mother, Beverly and the few other women I had been closely influenced by, to bring me to the moment when I would become conscious of the feminine inner 'anima' factor. (This factor among other things creates in a Western mind a very high appreciation and valuing of the feminine principle of life and for real women in general.) This was like a 'miraculous' and ecstatic breakthrough in consciousness that was initiated by 'vision like' experiences. This was a solitary experience that began  suddenly on the streets of North West Houston near, where roughly three months before, I had last permanently lived alone in a nice apartment complex. This is  the most important personal psychological and spiritual discovery of my  life. It was a discovery of a most unexpected part of my inner self and Sacred reality. I was fortunate to have some knowledge of the writings of Carl Jung about such possibilities and also a significant acquaintance with the most unusual four thousand year old ancient Chinese work named the 'I Ching' or 'book of changes.' These proved to be tools that were fully essential for me to survive these kinds of intense psychological/spiritual experiences which threaten to overwhelm even the strongest, yet comparatively fragile, human ego. These helped me to see my more accustomed  Biblical resources with  a fresh comprehension and a more applicable  and nuanced perspective.

In contrast to concluding that my life dream was about ready to materialize the actuality was that no such woman was to yet enter my life at all. But instead I would be required by 'the plan' to enter another 20 plus years of public ministry as a pastor and hospital chaplain, family/children counselor and teacher for high risk high school freshmen. All during this labor which for the most part was the kind of work that suits my nature, as compared to selling insurance, I was undergoing a consciousness raising and affirmation regrading the original life dream and all that I had learned in preparation, including the anima experience, of such a dream being potentially realized in my outer life.

Beverly died three years ago when breast cancer returned. She was working an active  full load six weeks before she died. I know she would not have wanted any longer an illness, away from the joys of her life which  were many. Our three children have been  brightest stars in our sky of life. Each of them in a totally unique way has met  a deep and profound need in my developing life. We should never look on others as there to meet our needs but somehow those closest do that anyway. I could never have imagined even till these three were grown how specific and unexpected  purpose they each have had for me, What a precious learning experience each of them has been. And it was all by their simply being who they are and that  their life is(as if planned) connected to mine in this father-child role we continue to play out.  Gradually these roles have become mutual and I think best described as friendships.

Four years ago it became time for me to resign from church related pastoral ministry. I could not help but wonder if this would also be the  time of transition to the fulfilling of the life dream plan? Instead I discovered that I was required to take the time and energy to attempt to describe what I have experienced and learned over the past thirty years. And what I can see now has been my effort to follow after the dream that was originally planted in my heart. This period first became a time of intense focus on capturing, reporting and reflecting on nightly dreams and followed by  the creation of a blog project for the past 13 months and sharing it with my small number of face book friends. The public blog  pretty much details the story in dreams and short essays that I have outlined above.

Brent, Sheri And Ryan-Such Sweet Joys To Bev And Me
Now I am 68 years old and will attend my high school 50th reunion in my native Florence, AL this weekend. Do I still live with a consciousness of the same dream and all that seems to have been needed for me to learn to be even equipped to live out such a dream? The answer is most assuredly yes. But do I live with any demand, as I have at times in my adult life, that life or God give me the outer life realization of the dream which I sense, in some incomprehensible way, was  placed placed in me originally. No, I definitely do not. We have all heard the wisdom statement which says the 'trip is far more important than the destination.' Or we might say, 'To faithfully follow the quest is far more important than its literal  accomplishment.' I am now resolved that I am likely to never experience my life dream and initially 'unconscious plan' in my outer every day life. But in a very true and real way I have been experiencing it inwardly throughout the whole trip. I have been a 'man deeply in love.' I would not change a thing now and I think I can with reasonable grace and much thanksgiving participate and enjoy whatever measure of love comes to me in this last phase of life. After all it seems to have pretty much been planned out from the time my life began. And if I had to guess I would say that  'I'  somehow , at some level which only religion might speak of, had a strong hand in my life plan and the dream that it insisted I follow.

It is not surprising that two of my all time favorite songs are : 'The Impossible Dream' also called 'The Quest'
and 'You'll Never Walk Alone.'

*The reader may be interested in the blog post: 'God, Man, Woman And Love'....

Monday, July 23, 2012

'WORD OF GOD' ..AND BIBLE are not equivalent. July23, 2012

Dear Leroy, Thanks for your reflection on this great classic Pilgrim's Progress.  I have regular conversation with a long time conservative  church of Christ/Christian Church friend. We walk and talk regarding scripture often. Our insurmountable(though our friendship does transcend it somehow)  point always ends up being the nature of scripture. He sees written words, the Bible, as the most real meaning of 'Word of God' (as if you can hold it in your hand)  and I know that is shared by most, even more 'progressive', Christians. I challenge him to take the phrase 'Word of God' as used in scripture and to find in context that it never means the Bible and rarely  refers to any written word on paper or stone. And when it does refer to OT torah  teaching it also emphasizes such law  was passing and to be replaced by a law written on the human heart. This is a strong  and misleading teaching of especially  Protestant Christianity. It claims too much.   It has had to be  historically as it has been I'm sure but eventually what has been good has to stand aside for what is better and that I think is where we now are regarding the meaning of Word of God.
The same is true regarding the 'promises of God.'  Yes, I love and claim the importance of statements found in scripture that are promises made to people of the past and ones that apply in general ways to  us all. But we have not been openly taught,as we could be, to listen for the Word of God that comes to us directly in life and in dream and vision as being truly the  most personal promises that God makes to the human. The ones made this way directly to the human heart are often consistent with those received by people in the written text  stories but they by their nature come with far more richly Sacred authority than written words could ever or likely ever were intended to bring. They are indeed personal and specific for each one. They do not lead one to ignore community but instead lead one to more awareness that we are part of the whole community of Gods humankind past and present. I'm fine and pleased when people find promises that assist in dealing with life's struggles in the form of written word. I know that is real and I do not discount it. But I believe we are well into an age that our Christian teaching should be that which openly encourages each person to listen to and for the  Living Word Of God. A Word of God which is superior in quality to any past or present words of ink and paper or chiseled in stone. Even Paul said, 'The letter(eventually) kills but the Spirit gives life.'  That refers, I believe,  to all written words clung to as if they were the eternal and most personal Word of God. 

If we read the Bible with an open mind to where it actually points for us to seek the Word and Promises of  God, I am confident that it consistently points beyond itself to the Living Spirit which goes and comes as it wishes and never is held hostage to written words of the past. I believe this is how Jesus  imaged  the Spirit and Word of God in his own mind. We are surely to all be looking for a Word of God that  goes well Beyond the Sacred Page and seeks  God  in no less place than there. I know and understand that we fear such a living Word of God will not give us the  fleshly 'reasoned' certainty and consistency that an external authority such a pope or a book seems to assure. But we lose much by being grasped and controlled by such fear and bias. Listening and expecting the Living Word of the Spirit over and beyond any written word or law  requires a strong step in faith, personal responsibility and courage.  And  trust that God will provide the faithful Pilgrim with all resources in just the timing as it is needed.  

This theme, which is quite biblical, may be the single most important rediscovery I have made over the past 30 years,  which took me well beyond the  practiced theology not only of my specific Church of Christ heritage but  also of  popular historic/traditional  Christian teaching. A pilgrim is sworn to follow the light that is given to him/her. 

My best to you always.  I have great admiration for you  and wish you much more time in your great work among 'Restoration' folks far and wide. Jim Hibbett

Note: The reader may also find this blog of interest regarding where written word is transcended by living spirit:
On Sat, 21 Jul 2012 16:47:48 -0500 "Leroy Garrett" <> writes:
Soldier On! W/ Leroy Garrett
Occasional Essay 409 (7-20-12)
The Promises of God Are Yes and Amen
                                      THE PROMSES OF GOD ARE YES AND AMEN
   All the promises of God in Christ are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. -- 2 Corinthians 1:20.
John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678) is the most important Christian classic ever written, and it remains to this day one of the most significant books of all English literature. It has been translated into over 200 languages, and it is the only book beside the Bible that has remained in print for over 300 years. First published 334 years ago you can purchase it today on Amazon! And it joins the apostle Paul’s “Prison epistles” as being written in jail. And yet it remains among the least read of the great classics. It is forgivable if you are among those who have not read it.
   Bunyan was in jail in Bedfordshire, England -- twice in fact and for a total of thirteen years -- for disobeying the Conventicle Act, which forbade preaching or assembling apart from the authority of the state church, the Church of England. As a dissenter to the authoritarianism of the state church his constant theme in preaching was “Grace Abounding,” which became the title of his spiritual autobiography. The persecutions and deprivations he suffered led him to write an allegory on the Christian’s pilgrimage from earth to heaven, the full title of which is Pilgrim’s Progress From This World To That Which is To Come.
   The allegorical names and places Bunyan chose are reflective of his own triumphs ad tragedies, and his own hopes and fears. Pilgrim, the protagonist of the allegory, is any Christian. Apollyon is Satin with whom Christian constantly struggles. Then there is the City of Destruction, Christian’s home town where he became terribly burdened by his sense of sin, and from which he left in despair in search of the Celestial City. Obstacles like the Hill of Difficulty, Vanity Fair, and Slough of Despair and characters like Obstinate, Worldly Wisdom, and Mr. Legality point up the hardship of the road to glory. But there are places and characters along the way that edify and encourage, like Home Beautiful, the home congregation, the Place of Deliverance, the Cross itself, and the chanting f the 23rd Psalm, along with Evangelist, Help, Hopeful, Faithful, and Good Will, who is Jesus himself, to name a few.
   I wish to share with you two of the great truths in the allegory that I find especially meaningful.  First, as Christian leaves the City of Destruction he asks Evangelist where he should go. Evangelist asks if he sees the Wicket Gate -- Wicket, not Wicked! -- in the distance. Christian can’t see it. Then do you see the light in the distance? Evangelist asks. Christian sees some light. Then go to that light, and from there you’ll find your way to the Wicket Gate, Evangelist assures him. At the Gate he finds Good Will, who is Christ, who directs him to the Place of Deliverance, the Cross, where he is relieved of his sins. All this supposedly represents baptism and the beginning of the journey.
   Bunyan is here saying what John Henry Newman said in his great hymn Lead Kindly Light: “I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step at a time for me.” When Christian cannot see the distant Gate but only some glimmer of light, Evangelist advises that he proceed with such light as he has. This is most comforting for those who journey from darkness to light. It is not done in one giant step. God holds us responsible only for such light as we have at any given time. He does not require that a blind man see or a lame man walk. As we faithfully follow such light as we have, we believe we will receive further light. If the heart is right God will provide sufficient light for the journey, even if it means but one small step at a time.
   But as we make the earthly sojourn to the Celestial City we may well confront weighty obstacles, and this is what happens to Christian, and this is the second lesson I take from this allegory. Christian and Hopeful his companion are captured by the Giant Despair who beats, starves and imprisons them. Christian remembers that he was given a key for the journey and Hopeful urges him to see if it will unlock the door to freedom. Indeed the key opens the door and the pilgrims complete their journey to the city of God in glorious triumph.
   Bunyan, with remarkable insight, names the key Promise. The key is the promises of God ! Whatever the nature of the despair or the heartbreak -- the death of a beloved one, a health crisis, a financial hardship, family problems -- the promises of God are there to sustain and comfort us. .We may not escape the prison of despair as quickly as did Christian, but we will find help in time of need. If we suffer we find meaning for the suffering in the promises of God.
   This is what Paul is saying in 2 Corinthians 1:20. Because of God’s faithfulness in Christ we can say Yes, we believe to his promises. We can count on them with certainty. We can take them to the bank of hope, live by them and die by them. Take this promise that appears in both Testaments: I shall not fail you or desert you (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6).  If God is with us in the tragic turns of life and feels our pain, it gives meaning to suffering. This one is also in both Testaments: He shall wipe away all tears from their eyes (Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 25:8). The problem is not in the promises, but in our failure to respond to them with a hearty Yes and Amen.
   The apostle Peter gives us the purpose of the promises of God when he says: “The greatest and priceless promises have been lavished on us, that through them you should share the divine nature and escape the corruption that is rife in the world through disordered passion” (2 Peter 1:4, NJB). The precious promises, emanating from God, are designed to make us like God and to enable us to escape the evil influences of this world.  An example of this would be “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Purity of heart is an attribute of God; the promise of seeing God is a promise of intimacy with God. The promise inspires one to cultivate the attribute.
   John Bunyan was on to something when he named the key that opened the door to the road to the Celestial City the promises of God.  We too have that key. The ball is in our court as to whether we respond with an emphatic Yes and Amen!  And John Henry Newman was on to something when he concluded his great hymn with:
   Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
     Home to my God.
   To rest forever after earthly strife
     In the calm light of everlasting life.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Monday, July 9, 2012


So the readers of my blog know that I have also taken a strong interest in the shared dreams of others over the decades, I share this dream of a European man from the year 1957. This is from Jung's book called Flying Saucers, A Myth Of Things Seen In The Sky, 1958.

 I find it very intriguing that many post-modern dreams have similar symbolic images that pop up in the dreams of people who are otherwise quite different from each other. This is the kind of observed reality that caused Jung to postulate that the whole human  race is connected at the deeper base of existence by the same psychological/spiritual foundation. He calls this the Collective Unconscious. This is 'where' all the experience of humankind, and all of nature, from the past are stored and belong to us all, though mostly at a quite unconscious level. But as needed and when the 'times are right' this material can enter human consciousness via  dreams, visions, works of art and writing and intuitions. Not to mention by the social dynamics that are happening in the world.  This is orchestrated by what Jung refers to as archetypes. These are organizing principles which  can never be fully conscious themselves  but are the formational structures or instincts that 'spin' the specific images and mythic stories needed in the our ever developing individual and collective lives. The archetypes, though limited to some number and thus supporting the premise that 'there is really nothing new under the sun' are able to 'reveal' themselves in unfathomable creative ways all depending on the individual need and  specific tasks that face the individual or the culture at hand.

I share this dream, as I could any number of others, for it is a dream  I think any of us could have. That is it is more of a 'collective' or 'archetypal' dream than it is personal. It can be taken as a message for all of us in our Western cultures. Jung shares it here for it has the kind of images  he finds are at the base of the UFO phenomenon. This psychological, if not fully physical reality,  has continued to grow in especially the United States since the end of WW II. This dream was by a European nearer  the beginning of that time and could easily be a dream any of us could still have this many years later. The Unconscious is forever predicting its winding path of developing human consciousness well in advance. With my recent experience of  having , much to my distaste, a  common UFO sighting experience I find such dreams as this informative and helpful with the conundrum I now face in this regard.

Spheres In Space
My goal here is not to interpret this dream for I couldn't help  without conversation with the man himself.  But do notice a theme in this man's dream which has  been so common in mine, i.e. the feminine image or the 'anima' as Jung calls her and that  I am so acquainted  with in dreams. Here 'she' shows up at the end of this man's dream and shows him the 'best attitude' for him to have about such images that have him about ready to run and hide. She brings him back to solid ground and, without ignoring the dangers and chaos, gives him exactly the model he needs to follow in his inner attitude.  I know this experience so well. He and I have the same instructor is my  main point here. Since this is such a collective dream I can also learn the same thing from it as anyone else could who is bothered by such an alien type dream. This demonstrates how we can benefit from one another's, even if we are having trouble finding our own, nightly dreams. It is important to know that dreams all come from the same source seeking to bring the same general changes to us collectively, not just as individuals.  So with that here is 'another man's dream.'

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A UFO EXPERIENCE..June 16, 2012.. Riverton, IL

I never thought I would be reporting this kind of experience. And part of me wishes I did not have to. I recall a cartoon in a magazine when I was a teen. It showed a man alone wagging his finger at a flying saucer in the sky and saying, ' Darn you UFO, now everyone will think I'm crazy.' Well, that has now happened to me; only , thank God, it is me and my adult son Brent who 'saw' these nighttime numinous objects in the sky. We continue to be somewhat reeling from the experience. It gives us much to talk about.

Very Similar to what we saw June 16, 2012,
Below is a letter, somewhat edited, that I wrote the morning after  to several friends. This kind of experience is unique in that no matter where you go in your mind trying to rationalize and explain, whether physically or psychologically, you always wind up knowing you simply 'do not know' what this mesmerizing experience is; what caused it, what is its physical and psychological nature, what meaning should be learned from it. You know you are stuck with a mystery but one that has a strong  but unexplainable effect on your mind and heart.

I had thought I've had enough of direct 'numinous' experience in my life. But now my oldest son Brent, we live together, and I have somewhat of a secret that we do not know what to do with. Saturday night, June 16, 2012  just at the ending  of dusk Brent came running to my room calling me to, “go look out front." I was expecting to see some animal, a possum or owl etc, but he pointed up. We starred amazed at beautiful round orange lights that were passing right over us. They seemed to be perfect circles of amber light and not as high as most small airplanes that pass over. They had a somewhat grainy texture but fully symmetrical. Maybe a slightly darker center, like a nucleus. I also noticed a faint dotted line circle around each one like a halo effect. They certainly would fit the Jungian description of mandalas, a symbol he found across all time and cultures depicting wholeness, completion, even a symbol representing the inexhaustible meaning of God. They were moving at a steady even speed from the SW to NE and tended to come in two's. Brent was more focused on the end of their path where they started to look clumped up and either disappearing or their lights going out. I think the former. I kept looking at the new arrivals. I would see new ones, they would first appear and then would pass out of view behind a high tree and then come back into view as they paraded right in front of us. There was total silence. It was experienced as a Holy moment.  We estimate there were more than twenty of them and we viewed them for more than five minutes before it ended. 
Taken By Brent June 16, 2012. Why Different Shape Than We Saw?

 Though quite mesmerized I was not alarmed for I was thinking , 'This will be on TV tonight and be the talk of the area." But after it ended I turned the radio on. We have a station  in this town, and there was nothing. We began to realize that we likely had no one to confirm our story. Thank God we have each other's verification. Brent said that was the reason he took his gaze off them long enough to come in to tell me. So this is initially  Brent's experience, not mine. I have mentioned it to a few: my pastor, chaplain colleagues , some old friends and my children. I can say that such a thing never quite leaves the mind. It has an unexplainable effect that I would assume is some kind of elevation of consciousness but there are no words to explain it. It leaves me with a conviction, which I had already carried for decades, there are vastly higher levels of consciousness and kinds of  intelligence that we humans have yet to experience. It makes even the most valued religious beliefs suspect of being only part or the beginning of a much larger story. 

Pic By Others Which Look Similar To Brent's Above
 This 'seeing' was different than my 'visions' of 1985 for there I would have guessed that no one else would see what I was seeing. I think those were more on the pattern of how Saul's visions are reported in Acts where none of his companions saw the vision or heard the voice that Saul experienced. But I felt sure that anyone who would have been present with us  would have seen what we saw. And Brent and I report seeing the same thing. From a psychological point I can't rule out that it was our mutual projection, not a tangible or physical object. We've looked at explanations for similar things via the internet that have been seen by many and photographed. Some attribute it to 'Chinese Lamps', lighted paper balloons that some send up at weddings etc. Others to some kind of secret government defense experiments. These do not at all strike home as reasonable explanations to Brent or me.But we have no way of knowing if our government is involved. I'm not drawn to conspiracy  theories regarding these incidents  for they are usually ways trying to know more than can be known.

I can't deny the strong impact, that is not explainable in words, this has on me but it is not comparable to the disorientation and emotional effect I experienced from the visions I had beginning in August  '85. I guess because those visions were much more personal, though predominantly archetypal, than these objects which seemed impersonal and totally collective. Also I was in a desperate situation physically and psychologically when the visions of '85 came. And the visions lasted for many months and only gradually ceased. I was quite completely and continuously absorbed in them and always expecting another moment by moment. Ordinary life was very difficult , if not impossible, to maintain. 

There was something soft, gentle and friendly about these lights in the sky  and they did not generate fear, just wonder and amazement. I can see how such an experience would cause one without previous 'visions' etc to question every orthodox meaning of life and God that they ever had. Simply because the 'quality' of this kind of experience is so much more effective at convincing one that 'there is truly something far more to reality than we are ordinarily aware of.' This captures the experiential  meaning of the theological and psychological description of 'the numinous.' It creates a general sense of 'belief' by direct experience that seeks or needs no other 'proof.' Since my previous experience had already led me to such questionings of  orthodox belief , which I have wrestled with for decades, this sight did not have that troubling effect on me. But to experience something 'other' that few people report having any direct experience of has a strong unexplainable, not always comfortable,  effect on a person. And it adds to the personal problem that likely some  such stories of UFO's are fabricated or have been reported by people who are not in other things reliable or of a healthy and 'sound' of mind. 

I am aware that Brent has questioned orthodox and standard explanations of the 'other' since he was very young. I have heard him say, “I'm open to any sign of there being 'something more', but that is what it would take for me to be seriously convinced there is something more than the  mystery of  the wonders we already observe.' I asked him the next day if this was troubling him and he said, " Not really. I had always welcomed  some kind of evidence there is something other beyond and now I am confronted that there is. I can't deny this." To him, and I think to me also, they were definitely  at some level real physical objects. His only question is are they explainable by standard categories or not? So we both seem to be OK but I know it stays quite central in my thinking and likely in his. In the past I've read Jung's paper on the psychological meaning of UFO phenomena. I did not get the idea he had had such an experience but he took them very seriously, especially the  psychological meaning as living symbol, but also as likely somewhat physical realities. I have now read again his booklet Flying Saucers, The Psychological Meaning Of Objects In The Sky. 1957. We may know little more now than when he wrote this though I think the number and frequency of reported sightings has continually  increased. All of this book is not easy reading. I would in fact suggest a person read the final few headings first for there he speaks in terms that most of us would more easily follow and  identify with.

I gave a spiritual talk entitled 'Recalling Our Transformations' to a Senior Day church group, three days after this 'sighting',  in the town I first preached and taught school 45 years ago. It was quite emotional for me. As I stood there giving them my prepared talk I wondered, 'What would they think of my 'visions'  of 1985 and even of the orange sky lights of three days ago?' I did share the lights experience with one very old friend there. He received it graciously and did not seem to want a full description etc. Brent did take one  picture  that evening which is in this post. The picture, which we do not think is a movement blur for the stars are crisp in the background, does not show it as a circle but more a crooked worm like shape? Also in this post is included a photograph that others submitted that look similar to the over all view we saw. I'm aware that having such an experience easily makes one 'not want' it to have a standard explanation. But I am also aware that our reasoned  explanations can just as easily rationalize it as something totally explainable when it isn't. So one is caught in a bind of what they even 'want' to be the truth about it. I can only say I have a hard time presently believing it is something explainable by 'normal' standards. It left us both feeling we had been 'visited' 

Should any of you have had such experience or know of someone you think it might be good for me to contact with this kind of information I would appreciate it. I am not looking for anyone  who is just 'interested' or who 'has a UFO hobby' but someone who is more credentialed and with some real experience in the area. Such a person with some Jungian awareness would be welcome also. Meanwhile  I will just live with this  and keep tabs with my son. Best Wishes, Jim Hibbett