Imbalance, dissociation, polarization, discontinuity and fear: What I learned in the archipelago of my dreams.

 

At one level this article may look like a political statement, but it is not in that vein that I present it. All social animals e.g. Wolves, Apes, bees, ants, porpoise, human beings, etc. have some kind of cohesive principle, some kind of leadership, or coordinating system. In large social systems anarchy just doesn’t work. Scientists have even found this principle at the molecular level–most of us would not be able to survive for very long if our internal systems didn’t have a coordinating system and/or if the system were to become polarized and its parts weren’t willing to cooperate with each other.

From the very beginning of recorded western thought philosophers like Heraclitus and Hippocrates believed that there was “one common flow, a common breathing. Everything is in sympathy. The whole organism and each one of its parts are working together for the same purpose.” The Roman scholar, Agrippa spoke of an essence beyond the four known in his day as water, earth, air and fire and that it held existence together. He called it the World Soul. A more modern thinker, Carl Jung, called it the Anima Mundi. It was the glue that kept existence together, the balancing effect that kept everything on an even keel and in balance.

In The Archipelago of Dreams Robert discovers that the balance that keeps the world functioning has been dangerously tipped and that he has been conscripted to help in bringing the world back to equilibrium. But his own fears and the fears of others muster powerful physical and psychological forces to prevent him in achieving his mission. These same forces are acting on all of us on a daily basis both in our waking lives and sleeping lives because fear images also show up in our dreams especially when we are suppressing or ignoring these fears and they show up at an intensity that endangers the fabric of all human life.

I’ve said this before; fear affects decision-making, what I haven’t said is that it kills as well. It not only kills innovation, but the body also. When there is a threat to the body the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA) kicks in and all systems are diverted from growth and development to reaction defense mode–fight or flight. Adrenalin pours into the system and mobilizes the body for action. The immune system is repressed because right now the external world poses a greater threat than the inner and the forebrain, the center for reasoning and logic, is slowed–no time for thinking, gotta act. Vascular flow is limited to the limbs, for running or fighting and conscious volitional action is curtailed, better to let the instincts take over.

Now under normal circumstances this state of affairs only lasts for a few minutes at best, just enough to survive an attack. And thank goodness, because the body begins to deteriorate after awhile when on high alert. The HPA is an excellent system for responding to immediate threat, but it was not designed to be activated continuously. Hyper vigilance eventually dissociates the body from the mind and the community from its leadership.

This kind of hyper-vigilance eventually wreaks havoc on the health of the body. When the immune system is suppressed all kinds of viral and bacterial bad guys can attack and take over–while focusing too much on external safety a fifth column of micro-nasties compromise your health. When the body is reflecting on the external too much it neglects the internal and is thrown precariously off-balance.

In our society fear, or its smaller cousin, anxiety, has at some level become de rigor, the emotion trend du jour and we find ourselves constantly on alert. Since 9/11 we have entered a continuous state of protection and our quality of life has become impaired. A constant background state of fear (exploited politically) keeps the HPA system activated and our lives become more reactionary than thoughtful–you can’t think straight when emotionally involved. After a while the body habituates and it sees fear, or something to fear, everywhere. One of the first things to happen under these conditions is that we lose tolerance for anything that is different, because “different” often translates to something threatening.

Lack of tolerance leads to an impaired ability to cooperate for it might be ‘every man for himself.’ We see this intolerance and lack of cooperation in many social contexts, but most notably within our political systems that really only reflect ourselves. In an environment of fear reactionary opinion trumps reality and the rational takes a back seat to self-protective beliefs­­–clear thinking becomes a victim and the society begins to dissociate which is a fancy psychologists word for separating from one another–to disunite. Nothing can be more debilitating for a community whether it be a community of biological cells, animals, insects, a business corporation, or people in general.

 

Continuous fear consumes our energy toward getting our needs met as well. We seem to live in a constant state of being out of control of our destiny and as we throw up more walls and fences to keep out what threatens us we begin to lose independence, autonomy and ultimately our ability to enact free will. On an individual level we become sick and vulnerable to diseases or just a lack of focused attention that can affect us creatively. On a national level we see our ability to innovatively compete globally impaired as well as our ability to cooperate with each other, and on a global level the reaction to our inability to get our needs met can be seen in the Arab Spring, and the protests in Greece, Russia and the United States. The “Decade of the Protest” may very well be a correction toward the extremes perpetrated by those in power. Would that these powers could see that it is in their best interest as well to let this correction take its course. In the short run things may look scary, but healing isn’t always pretty–sometimes you have to scrape the scab to let what is underneath it “breathe.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt said after the last great attack against our country that, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself!” Truer words have never been spoken, fear can kill us–it can destroy the genius of the country and sicken its society. The very essence of the World Soul is in jeopardy because it has become every man for himself as we belittle the efforts of our leaders and refuse to listen to each other. The scale that keeps the world in equilibrium is way off center. It is imperative that we rediscover our balance–a center of being from which we can manifest our broader, deeper, truer nature!

In the Archipelago of Dreams Robert learns what needs to be healed in order to bring humanity into equilibrium and in the process learns how to heal himself as well.

Mystery: Being in the I-know-not-where

 

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Forever striving to know everything

Forever frustrated and afraid.

Ah, to embrace ignorance if only

As an entry to the holy.

I love it when I admit that

I don’t know what I’m doing.

For me the holy mystery seems to reside

in those spaces between knowing and not knowing.

Always trying to know leaves me empty

No matter how much I think I know.

Mystery on the other hand seems to fill

Every nook and cranny of my soul.

My desperate need for knowing leaves me angry,

Frustrated, anxious, defensive, and frightened.

Not knowing seems to cool the mind like

A splash of cold water on a sweaty summers day.

This effort to know everything sometimes heats up the mind and soul

And agitates the very essence of my being.

I’m left exhausted depressed and lost and I ache for the release

Of the mysterious, its softness, awe, and wonder.

It’s there somewhere behind and beneath that pile of knowing

And I think it’s time to invite it out to play.

The constant striving and worrying about knowing what,

where, and why is so tiring, so meaningless.

Being in the I-know-not-where can be so peaceful,

so joyful.

 

Possession in dreams

 

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The following is a draft section of a new book to be published later this year, Morpheus speaks: The Book of Dreams” (RJ Cole, 2018).

 

Insight: Being possessed is an archetype itself (symbolic meaning that is found across all cultures). Many years ago people would employ priests or even lay mediums to exorcise an individual’s devil that has “possessed” them. But even now the old version of the primitive possessor demon lives within an unexplored psychic phenomena and acts out behaviors that are contrary to a person’s best interest. One only needs to look at how many so-called fearful “conservatives” will vote for the very issues and people who only mean them harm, directly or indirectly, to see the truth of that statement. All too often when we deny our complexes, our demons so to speak, we become possessed by them, we allow another force and energy to take over our lives.

Read more

Embracing the Individual Shadow

 

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“Yesterday, upon the stair,

I met a man who wasn’t there.

He wasn’t there again today,

I wish, I wish he’d go away…”

 

We all have a person who isn’t there. It’s a shadow that follows us everywhere we go even on the darkest night with no moon or streetlights’ glare. It hides behind a mask amongst the deepest caverns of our mind, lurking, stalking and waiting to strike. He or she are all the emotions and distasteful parts of ourselves that we just as soon not see during the daylight but often show up in our dreams at night.

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We shun them for they are not who we want to be. We lock them up in our cages so deep hoping that they will never escape. We hide them in the dark, dank and stinking tunnels of our unconscious trying to forget the smell of them and hoping that eventually they’ll die. But they never die for you see they feed on our fear and the energy we use to keep them hidden. Occasionally they’ll escape to the upper realm and play havoc with our relationships, our emotions, our goals and plans. Like little gremlins they toy with us.

 

“When I came home last night at three,

The man was waiting there for me

But when I looked around the hall,

I couldn’t see him there at all!

Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!

Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…”

 

The shadow is a universal archetype whose presence is felt by us all from time to time. We deny its existence but that won’t do any good. Why won’t he go away? Because he can’t, he’s part of us and if you could cut him away we wouldn’t be us any more.

His power and persistence in our lives lies in our resistance to him. When pretending he’s not there he can wheedle his way into everything we do and try to be often with disastrous results.

 

“Last night I saw upon the stair,

A little man who wasn’t there,

He wasn’t there again today

Oh, how I wish he’d go away.”

         –Antagonish by William Hughes Mearns

 

 There’s a paradox here in that he won’t go away until you ask him to stay.

Accepting all parts of the self both light and shadow is to honor your wholeness. Treating all aspects of yourself as equal will allow you to use all your energies in a direction of your choosing rather than moving to the hidden ghost’s bidding or wasting your energy trying to keep half of you caged.

The title of this blog is “Embracing the Individual Shadow” that suggests that there may be a Collective Shadow that we live in as well. Where is it? I’ll go into that at another time. Until then see if you can find it. It shouldn’t be too hard. Let me know what you find.

The dark night

 

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Sadness, depression, anguish, anger, chaos, nightmare, disillusionment are all aspects of the dark night of the soul.

One can see them as aspects to avoid, supplant with loving thoughts or religious practice, or distracting regimens

OR

One can see these aspects as the dark side of the soul that brings to light its more positive aspects.

The soul represents all the spiritual aspects of our being, those that we like and those that we don’t. But regardless of our ego’s point-of-view about the soul’s values the soul will express itself, it will insist upon full participation in the world.

Our response to its activity will either enable its participation or hinder it and to hinder it is to limit our own growth and spiritual evolution.

To the believer who imagines that only love can bring spirit into being and thus pastes over or varnishes their darker aspects with thoughts of only loving gesture I say you will fail for even the power of love knows that it needs to make room for its darker cousin.

One must face the issues of life and death and the values existent within that life regardless of whether approved of in order to bring true love to their own being and the being of all else.

We are all tried in the crucible of the soul’s dark night. To seek consolation from without through religion, or rituals designed to eradicate the darkness often results in less than success. Facing the darkness and wrestling with it can be liberating from the constant struggle to eliminate it that is fruitless.

Many see the full expression of love as being divine in and a reflection of our true nature. This is true but the operative phrase here is, “full expression” not partial expression or only those expressions that we deem acceptable.

There is an inner wisdom being offered to the dreamer who dreams images of being threatened, attacked, killed, killing, or chased and hunted down by dark figures. All are shadows of the hidden self, the dark hidden soul wanting to be expressed and dealt with openly and honestly instead of suppressed and reviled.

Contrary to many so-called wisdom teachers the dark night is not necessarily something to be overcome but acknowledged and brought into the light and dealt with openly. Remember the old folk sayings that darkness comes before the light or the storm before the dawn? This is partly true in that it is often through personal struggle that ones true nature and purpose is revealed.

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But even with the best of intentions to integrate and thus grow oneself one can find themselves so immersed in the darkness that they cannot find themselves. For those who find they are thus trapped they may need the guidance, partnership, and counseling of one who knows how to work with the darkness and its integration with the light. I have found these guides in dream groups, spiritual teachers, psychologists,  and psychotherapists. All have helped in this journey to full expression of the soul.

Dreaming yourself into existence: Become lucid within your waking dream

 

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“I am going to teach you the first step to power,” don Juan said, beginning his instruction in the art of dreaming. “I am going to teach you how to set up dreaming.”

“What does it mean to set up dreaming?”

“To set up dreaming means to have a precise and practical command over the general situation of a dream. For example, you may dream that you are in your classroom. To set up dreaming means that you do not let the dream slip into something else. You do not jump from the classroom to the mountains, for instance. In other words, you control the view of the classroom, and do not let it go until you want to.”

“But is it possible to do that?”

“Of course it is possible. This control is no different from the control we have over any situation in our daily lives. Sorcerers are used to it, and get it every time they want or need to. In order to get used to it yourself, you must start by doing something very simple. Tonight, in your dreams, you must look at your hands.”

–Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda in “The Art of Dreaming”

 

Of course the shaman (or sorcerer) Don Juan was alluding to the phenomenon of lucid dreaming i.e. becoming conscious within a dream and being aware that you’re still dreaming. In this state one can actually direct the events and outcome of the dream.

But he could just as easily have been talking about what you and I call the ‘waking state’ dream, the every day activity that we call reality.

Most Psychologists believe that we all project our thought images (ideas, desires, expectations, judgments, feelings, fears, etc.) onto the events and images of the world around us– there’s a world of objects and events and then there’s what we make of those, what meaning we give them and how we then respond to that meaning.

Basically we make up our own reality, it’s true! Research on the accuracy of witnesses has shown time and again that what was seen is often not what was actually there i.e. the mood, attention, and past experiences of the witness affects what is reported.

Even the choice of words to describe an event is affected by the witness’ past experience with those words. Ones experience about another persons ethnicity, age, size and physical features all contribute to the reality reported.

Unless properly trained in the art and science of observation we create our own reality and even then such things as unconscious motivations and undetected prejudices will affect the reality created.

Dreams are like this as well. They are the images, feelings, and symbols of our unconscious mind playing out in our unconscious sleep state and the unconscious attributes of ourselves that creates a reality within the dream. To interpret them in the waking state requires a conscious understanding of ones inner symbolism and how that is projected onto the outward reality. This is not an easy task and very often requires the aid of observers outside the mind.

Dreams are all about symbolism, the meaning projected onto to each image, each event, and each person, or animal in the dream. This is also the reality of our waking state in that we almost never see reality for what it is.

In short, you and I “dream” our reality into existence. We may actually always be dreaming.

And just as with the lucid dream within the sleeping dream one can create ones meaning and outcomes beyond those that the waking dream seems to be presenting. For example, if you don’t like the current events of your waking dream life, then change them, create another reality, dream another response set to the reality about you. In other words, become lucid within your waking dream– start noticing that you are indeed asleep, then wake up!

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For more on Lucid Dreams try this link: http://www.driccpe.org.uk/portfoliocat/luciddreams-psycho-spiritual

 

 

 

 

Nightmares, Night Terrors, and fear in dreams

 

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By thinking about what each dream element means to you or reminds you of, by looking for parallels between these associations and what is happening in your waking life, and by being patient and persistent, you can learn to understand your dreams.

Nightmares are very common among children and fairly common among adults. Stress, traumatic experiences, emotional difficulties, drugs, medication, or illness often cause nightmares. However, some people have frequent nightmares that seem unrelated to their waking lives. Recent studies suggest that these people tend to be more open, sensitive, trusting, and emotional than average.

Recurrent dreams or nightmares, that can continue for years, may be treated as any other dream. That is, one may look for parallels between the dream and the thoughts, feelings, behavior, and motives of the dreamer. Understanding the meaning of the recurrent dream sometimes can help the dreamer resolve an issue that he or she has been struggling with for years.

Some people experience extreme feelings of fear in their sleep. As opposed to nightmares, which happen during REM sleep, night terrors or ‘incubus attacks’ occur during stage four of sleep. Unlike nightmares, which we often remember as movie-like dreams, those who suffer from night terrors can rarely explain what they were dreaming of, other than that they experienced an extreme sense of fear.

However, when they do remember, spiders, snakes, animals, people, paralysis, or an evil presence in the room are often featured.

Some sufferers continue to hallucinate when they wake, which can cause some to become violent, either as a response to their dreams, or in an attempt to run away. The cause of night terrors is thought to be increased brain activity, or a chemical reaction that makes the brain ‘misfire’. For many, medical treatment is necessary to help them cope.

Note that in children any night terrors tend to dissipate over time with most children no longer experiencing by the time they reach their preteens.

For more on nightmares you might want to consult the following link:

http://thedreamingwizard.com/nightmares_304.html

Another link that looks at nightmares is a March 15, 2017 posting on this blog:

https://darkknightofthesoulblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/nightmares/

If interested in exploring this further go to this blog’s “search” box (to be found at the bottom of any posting page after clicking on the title of any posting) and type in “Nightmares” and several posts dealing with dark dreams will come up.

Gunmen in dreams, people shooting at you or others in dreams, killing or being killed in dreams

 

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Gunmen in dreams, people shooting at you or others in dreams, killing or being killed in dreams all very scary, what’s it mean?

Simply put these images suggest anger, fear, aggression, conflict (inner and outer), confrontation, hate, the forcing of ones views/opinions/beliefs and/or feelings of being targeted, or victimized.

Not so coincidentally the same actions and images in ones waking life have the same meaning. The ultimate meaning, however is that the perpetrator(s) are neither expressing or feeling love, or self-worth…no, harassing, hurting, oppressing, enslaving, or killing someone does not enhance self-worth, importance or Godliness. Quite the contrary, it diminishes it. Forcing your ideas on another diminishes you. Living in a society that narrowly defines self-worth by how much money you have, how thin, smart, young, talented and beautiful you are also diminishes the vast majority of its citizens.

Limiting someone’s ability to express their divine self diminishes you, controlling someone for your own gain or to some imagined gain of religious meaning, or political meaning diminishes you. Bottom line, anything that limits the free expression of ones soul diminishes them and no God would ever ask any one to do this, only a confused ego-self would attempt such an affront, only a confused and frightened ego-self would do anything but love.

Love is not a feeling of being gaga over someone or something, it’s an action born of knowing that we are all connected, all children of one God, one Earth, with different ways of worshipping and praying, but all equal and the same in our divinity. Anything else is not love and anything else is not of the soul or the one spirit that enliven us all. Anything else is ONLY of the self-involved, self-serving, greedy, simple-minded, and self-centered ego-self…period!

What you lose when you ‘hate’ is your own self, your own soul, and your own connection with God regardless of what name you give to him or what religion or ideology you follow.

The killing that you see in the world is not love, it is not of God, or the greater spirit of humankind…it is pure and simple fear, hate and an expression of the loss of our connection with the divine and each other and can never bring peace or enhance the well-being of anyone or anything and all the revenge and retribution and misguided religious, or nationalistic, fervor will only drive us deeper into despair and further away from our universal inheritance and this is not just my opinion.

You only need to look at what non-love produces to know that I am right. You only need to look into your own unlimited soul to know it’s right! You don’t need some politician, leader, priest, rabbi, or Imam to tell you what is and isn’t love and what is of the divine and what isn’t.

We can only pray for those stuck in hate and fear that they will wake up from their dream before that hate consumes them, that they will cease to follow the small ‘g’ god of their limited ego-selves and open up to the bigger ‘G’ God that loves us all.

When death is seen in dreams it is often a metaphor for bringing an end to some negative behavior or ineffective way of being. Take heed, your soul is trying to tell you something.

 

“The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live.”

–Norman Cousins

Fighting Dragons

 

 

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St. George slaying the dragon by.- Hans Von Aachen late 16th c.

Sorry I’ve not been writing much lately, but you see I’ve been fighting dragons again for the last few days. Dragons, that’s what I call the depression that sometimes charges from its cave and overwhelms me. He takes on a number of forms, right now he looks like the giant “I’m no good” dragon where everything is better than, smarter than, more creative than.

I’ll be walking the paths of the kingdom feeling pretty good about myself when suddenly I feel his blast of hot breath reducing my fragile armor to ashes. I stand there naked and vulnerable suffering blow after blow of his acid tongue, his maniacal laughter seeming to come from all around me as though the very universe is laughing at my insignificance.

Nothing I do is of any consequence– I pull out my “I am bigger than this” sword and it melts to the beasts fire. I wrap myself in “I am worthy’s” but these are easily stripped from my body and again I am naked before him.

I get so wrapped up in fighting this demon creature of the psychic world that I quite lose myself, and forget the wisdom of the inner wizard. Somewhere in the acrid clouds of smoke and burning ego a little voice struggles to be heard. “Create!” says he and the tears begin to flow, washing away the helplessness and fear. And I begin once again the acts of creation. There is where wholeness lay, there the spirit plays and the soul expresses itself freely.

When I am in the act of creating, the dragon vanishes and it matters not what smallish images of self have been conjured for the real self is engaged in the expansive act of creation– the soul freely expresses during the alchemical process of creating and the universe expands to infinity– no room is left for the little knight and his demons.

So what the hell am I talking about? When I have nothing else to do my mind will conjure up all kinds of stuff to grab my attention and that’s when I start feeling depressed and begin to beat myself up. My ego-self can swing radically between noble grandeur and street urchin, from self-love to self-loathing.

I’ve learned what old spells from the past can cause these swings, but ultimately the knowledge doesn’t present me much succor. But I have learned that when I am in the process of creating, whether in the discovery phase or the expression phase, the ego-self is quieted and the overwhelming emotions, thoughts and judgments that flow in and around me from time to time just vanish. In the moments of creation these seemingly unconquerable personal demons cannot exist.

When I’m in the creative zone I don’t give a s%@t what the ego-self has to say. It’s as though I am transported back to the place before the personal mind was created– a place where I can just be me. A place that doesn’t compare, a place where all opposites are in union, a place where wholeness is king– the quiet place of creation.

But creation looks chaotic, noisy, frantic, frustrating, anything but quiet you might say. But that’s only to the outside observer because when we’re in the space of creating all of the noise is muted and every frustration points to another path to be taken toward the ultimate goal.

How do I create? When I write, when I draw, when I’m focused on the needs of someone or something else. I also create when I’m in the process of discovery, when I’m ‘doing’ and when I’m being. I am in the creative space when I take arduous climbs up mountains and when I embrace difficult tasks and then enjoy the process of achieving them. I frequently go to the world of the imaginal for it is there I can not only create my best self but also discover how to create the best world.

When I create I discover who I really am and it’s not the creature that is trying to look good or feel good or maintain the illusion that he’s in control. When I create I’m no longer in the limited space of my ego-self, my conditioned self. It’s a much happier place in here.

 

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see the real you, or what you have been conditioned to believe is you? The two are so, so different. One is an infinite consciousness capable of being and creating whatever it chooses, the other is an illusion imprisoned by its own perceived and programmed limitations.

–David Icke

 Shadow and Light Source Both

 

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“How does a part of the world leave the world?

How does wetness leave water? Don’t try to

put out fire by throwing on more fire! Don’t

wash a wound with blood. No matter how fast

 

you run, your shadow keeps up. Sometimes it’s

in front! Only full overhead sun diminishes

 

your shadow. But that shadow has been serving 

you. What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is

 your candle. Your boundaries are your quest.

I could explain this, but it will break the

 

glass cover on your heart, and there’s no

fixing that. You must have shadow and light

 source both. Listen, and lay your head under

the tree of awe. When from that tree feathers

 

and wings sprout on you, be quieter than

a dove. Don’t even open your mouth for even a coo.”

From Soul of Rumi by Coleman Barks

 

Deep within the hidden reaches of your unconscious mind and in the place between your thoughts there lays a stillness that when embraced opens the door to your true nature.

Carl Jung believed that we all have aspects of both light and shadow within us and that the process, some would say goal, of life is to integrate the two into one whole thus reconciling both good and evil. The shadow or dark sides of ourselves cannot be merely hidden, shoved down into the caves of our unconscious mind for they don’t disappear just because they are no longer seen. They will have their say in everything that we do and if repressed long enough they will rise to the surface causing chaos in our dreams and in our waking lives. The energy of the shadow is always there and can be used for good or evil.

As Rumi said “But that shadow has been serving 

you. What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is

your candle… You must have shadow and light

source both.