Thursday, August 9, 2012


DREAM: This was a striking dream that came only once. This time I was somewhat aware I was dreaming. The 'spiritual woman', of many of my dreams, was sitting at an orderly business desk with a pleasant expression on her face. I was extremely interested in seeing her. There was a square wall picture hanging behind her and to her left. As I continued paying attention to her the picture moved from the wall to being suspended in air right next to her. There was a voice saying, " Do you see this is an adult tree in a square frame?"
The Mona Lisa

Every dream appearance of the 'spiritual woman' is extremely encouraging to me. It seems to encourage the prediction that the dream I have carried all my life, even before I was fully conscious of it, may become an outer reality. That dream is to be living in a mutual fully developed partnership with a real woman whom I adore. Such a relationship has, I have come to understand in recent decades, always been imaged and fantasized by me as one where love as the Greek Agape( unconditional loyalty and valuing), Phileo(joyous friendship) and Eros(visceral bodily attraction) are united. This seems to be the inner promise and need that my life has been circling closer and closer to from the time I was a young teen, nearly as far back as my mother's death at age 9. A song that captures the felt value of such  love is Charlie Chaplin's 'A Seranade To Love.'

The 'Mona Lisa' by  Leonardo da Vinci  about 1505 is acclaimed, "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world." The name Mona is believed to be a contraction of  Madonna , often referring to Mary, mother of Jesus,  meaning 'my lady.' This surely is a strong cultural presentation from our Collective Unconscious of what Carl Jung described as the inherent unconscious image of woman or 'anima.'  It has focused  for the West's consciousness  for five centuries the 'mystery of woman'  and the fundamental and natural  'feminine principle.'  Likely every relationship a person has with the female from mother to lover to wife to  dream images  of a witch is greatly influenced and shaped by our deeply embedded unconscious 'image of woman.' This kind of terminology and  psychological concept  is the best I have for describing the possible dynamics and origins of the nearly life-long dream which  I now can see has been a kind of ultimate guide and goal of my particular inner life.

I entered marriage fully expecting to find there the fulfillment of this dream and  Beverly and I  were both at times and in different ways disturbingly shocked and disappointed. That does not distract one iota from the immeasurable value and supportive loving nature of Bev's and my marriage. But we both came to know there was something more to be discovered. Eventually we no longer denied that reality as we had done for decades. The rest of the first forty years of our lives were lived with a continuous hope that our marriage relationship would evolve into such a love dream realized, but it never was able to transport us further in that direction. This was a much more important learning experience than either of us could have known at the time.

The spiritual awakening and 'confrontation with the unconscious' beginning for me at age 41 amplified my life-long dream and gave it a much stronger spiritual foundation. My hope has been kept alive by images and symbolic message from the unconscious, primarily by dreams,  regularly since then. I've had to face in the most recent decade that time is running out for this to happen in my outer life. My health issues have literally made my physical death or disability an increased likelihood. Also my age has come to a point where it might reasonably be expected that the Erotic aspect of the dream has reached a point of no longer being a relevant possibility. I should make clear that Eros experienced is not identical with libido physical function.*

So here this dream lures me again into the ever declining possibility of such a love still being an outer reality for me. It seems similar, in this regard, to the ancient story of Abraham and Sarah being promised a child when their child bearing years were long past. I again began to yearn for this union with a a beloved life partner as I was reminded in this dream. Then the dream, by moving the picture to float next to the woman, forces the 'Old Tree in a Square Frame' on my attention. It is a reminder to me that such an outer love relationship is not the ultimate goal of my human life, but 'Wholeness' is.
Do You See This  Is An Adult Tree In A Square Frame?

I am very susceptible to such a love relationship being a higher value to the meaning of my life than the Wholeness of personal development is. The spiritual goal of life, I have come to endorse, is to reach toward 'wholeness' which may be defined as the seeming irreconcilable 'opposites' common to ones religion and culture being transcended and united within the mind and heart of the person. This I think is in line with  the 'perfection' that Jesus is pictured saying is the goal of life. He says, 'Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.' This is the 'prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus' that is in Paul's theology. Every genuine religious faith and spiritual discipline has its own way of describing this goal of human life. To the Christian alchemists of medieval times it was the the production of the  'philosopher's Stone.' The dream voice is showing how vulnerable I am to so valuing an outer love relationship that I forget that it is the 'process of spiritual development' that is the true prize and goal of my life. This still means also that the 'quest for love' is the central purpose of human life. But it is in following that quest, not its necessary achievement, that the process of individuation moves one closer to the state of wholeness. Neither love nor wholeness can ever be totally attained by a mortal, simply because no human consciousness can ever fully integrate the  contents of the Collective Unconscious or the Sacred source of all that is or can be. I can't help reflect here not only on the meaning of life imaged in the Jesus story but also well presented in the song from the Don Quixote story in the movie Man From Le Mancha.

As I write this and try to hear the message of the dream I can see that it is easy for me to 'say' that I more highly value the Wholeness of Life above a mortal spiritual  love relationship. But I'm not convinced that is the truth of my actual experience. It was the goal of an intimate partnership with a beloved woman that initially inspired my deepest  inner life. I came to find, to my grateful surprise, that this was coming from my spiritual center, not just my basic animal sex-drive nature. Such an experience for me I am confident would be an experience of the reuniting of the opposites including 'Flesh and Spirit', 'Agape and Eros', 'Body and Soul', 'Male and Female' to name a few. I think the dream is strongly reminding me that the potential of such an earthly love relationship is a product of the spiritual/psychological process of individuation rather than the other way around.

The voice says, as if to change my focus from the Spiritual Woman to the picture, " Jim, do you see this symbol? This is an 'old mature tree' and it is framed as a square." It is asking me to think and try to comprehend what these together mean. These individually are both two of the most common and rich symbols of Wholeness. The old tree may be the most readily available symbol in nature of wholeness. It is truly universal. The tree reaches up to heaven and into the deepest soil of the earth. It blesses the outer world while taking its nutrients and direction from the unseen world. It feeds the Flesh and inspires the Spirit of humans and it has done this throughout human history. It is a symbol of 'Wholeness' par excellence. It is the 'tree of life' in all manner of religions.  Jung demonstrated the Square to be a rich and timeless product of the human psyche that has suggested wholeness and completion in the most ancient of human art, religion and writing. So the dream is giving me some strong assurance that I am on the graced path of such spiritual development. And that if one of these two realities had to be chosen over the other it should be what the 'Tree In A Square' means over what the image of the mortal woman means. It is the former that makes the latter possible not the other way around. Even though it is my experience that the image of a love partnership led me to an awareness that it is Wholeness or Individuation that is the supreme goal of the human life.

I recall the first time I ever received communion in the reformed tradition as compared to the tradition of my religious heritage. The officiant after the words of consecration and thanks broke a large piece of bread from a loaf. And he began to masticate the bread chewing on it strongly and intentionally. This captured my attention. I was used to taking a tiny piece of cracker and practically sucking on it to dissolve in my mouth. The way the pastor 'ate the body' added to the ritual a strong sense of the fleshly and earthy  humanness compared to the highly spiritual tiptoeing way I had always seen the bread received. This is a single example of my becoming more conscious,without being able to articulate it, that the Eucharist can be an experience of uniting the opposites of 'Flesh and Spirit' of 'Earth and Heaven' of 'Body and Soul' of 'Human and Sacred.'

I offer the above example for also somewhere I began to realize that the love of two human life partners is one that is also meant to bring together and keep together these same kind of opposite pairs, especially 'Heaven and Earth', Agape and Eros' and 'Male and Female.' As I was further immersed into these kinds of realities about life and love I was at the same time , without knowing it , on a path of individuation. The dream does present them both together. It minimizes neither. One was a natural and given part of my deepest longing, hope and consciousness , intimate human love; and the other, of which I was totally unconscious and needed to learn about-Individuation moving toward wholeness. The dream powerfully and simply acknowledges the great value and proper balance of both and seems to offer the hope and possibility of both becoming a reality.

I know myself well enough to realize that should I find myself in loving relationship with a beloved woman I could easily feel, think and say, " I no longer have interest or need for personal development toward Wholeness, Completion or Individuation for I have what I most want and need in this love relationship." This is my weakness and blind side that the dream is warning about. I hope that my  accepting, acknowledging and agreeing  with this dream's message,  as fully as I'm consciously able, is sufficient to cause me to not make that mistake no matter the future. I need to remember and keep clear that a mutual love relationship is a gift of God and can only be fully lived, appreciated and valued by one whose goal remains to, "Seek first the Kingdom of God." Jim H.


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