Sunday, January 1, 2017
Inner Resources for Challenging Times
What's feeding this bizarre violent nightmare playing out in our country and around the globe? It seems like a world hell bent on Armageddon. But, it makes sense if you look at the motivating myths and religions of the battling forces. It's like "battle of the titans"; the war Gods have demands and rules that we mere earthlings must carry out. If we accept these myths, we are dreaming an apocalyptic consensus reality into existence. But we don't have to.
When I feel overwhelmed by the oppression of consensus reality, I often turn inward. I ask myself, from a much larger perspective, what am I supposed to do? How can I contribute and what can I learn?
I write to share an organic spiritual reality with others that is ridiculously accessible and which can be a balm in these uncertain times when we may well be asking does love trump hate, or hate trump love? If Love, the universal super glue, matters to you, dive inward. Pay attention to dreaming. We live in our waking reality, but we also live in the dreaming reality. If we don't know we're eternal and loved, we can be easily manipulated.
My favorite dream teacher, Robert Moss posted this quote the other day on FB; "Jung once told me that he thought the dream was always going on in the unconscious, but that it usually needs sleep and the complete cessation of outer things for it to register in consciousness at all." - Barbara Hannah, "Encounters with the Soul" Robert post 12/19/16
There's a great tradition of spiritual literature that balks at the fetters of conventional and religious thinking, including in Jesus' own teaching, "the kingdom of god is within." Jung saw this inner kingdom (queendom) as the unconscious (which he categorized as personal and collective). He came to believe that without a relationship to our inner life, we are doomed to tragedy, personally and collectively. Paul Levi, a Jungian scholar, writes on his blog:
Jung elucidates, “What future developments are being prepared in the unconscious of modern man…It depends on us whether we help coming events to birth by understanding them, and reinforce their healing effect, or whether we repress them with our prejudices, narrow-mindedness and ignorance, thus turning their effect into its opposite, into poison and destruction.”[xxix] We are potential spiritual midwives, who by ‘understanding’ the psychic nature of ‘future developments,’ ‘reinforce their healing effect’ and birth ‘coming events’ into incarnation through the womb of the psyche. The psyche, which is pregnant with open-ended possibilities, is the very cipher in which the history of humanity is being written. Jung writes, “The world today hangs by a thin thread, and that thread is the psyche of man."
We need a relationship to our own psyche, our soul, our own spiritual life, just like we need a relationship for our physical love life. Spirituality is the love life of the soul. We begin, as in any relationship, by paying attention to that connection and how it makes us feel, day by day.
We have inner resources. When people say to me, (and I wish I had a nickle...) "I don't dream." or "I don't remember my dreams" my first question is always to ask, do you want to? Do you pay attention? People mostly smile and shrug their shoulders; many admit that they've never really tried, but would like to. Where to start? I've explained the practicalities of beginning a dream practice on my blog before, so for that advice, I refer you to the previous posts I've linked throughout this sentence.
One thing that blocks our access to inner resources is "lemming social behavior." For instance, the "media" is something we imbibe in huge quantities on a daily, and for some, an all night basis. TVs blare in every room across America, especially the "living" room of many, many houses around the country, with a mind-numbing consistency. Unfortunately, an inner life needs some time of introspection, sleep time to dream, time to meditate, dance or abide in joy. It's accurate to depict the media as shallow, gutless, full of deliberate and manipulative misinformation, but who is forcing a person to watch it? Nobody.
Most of us have a choice. I've heard people say that TV is "entertainment," or" relaxation" or "staying informed." Add the computer and cell phone, that's a lot of ersatz experience substituted for the living, direct real thing. There are several generations now who've grown up on external, vicarious stimulus far more than on their own creative play and developing imaginations. I call it the "Disneyfication of American Childhood."
Dreaming is our inner reality; waking is our outer reality. Without connection to our own inner life, it's easy to become fearful and susceptible to external controls and idiot influences that cost us not just our money, but our essential life force, our souls. Let me emphasize that by soul, I don't mean some poor spotted white spirit, sin-tinged from the moment of conception. I mean the essential collective energy that is at the core of the Self. In each incarnation, in each physical personality or ego, we are different, but we have an indestructible core that if we care to nurture, saves us needless grief. The Soul does not need Saving; the Soul Saves.
We have an invaluable resource we came to the planet possessing; it can't be destroyed like our bodies can, though many willingly shut it down or belittle it. Through conscious dreaming, we become independent, spiritual beings with access to individual spiritual guidance as we tune in. It's not about the meaning of one dream; it's about creating a dialogue with your inner world. Over many years, you come to know that the foundation of your own being is unconditional love and endless creative life. You come to know for certain, that you are here for a reason and you are never alone.
May your inner resources grow robust in the coming year and may love energize all you do.