Do I need to go AWOL in order to find myself?

 

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The Dream:

I’m in a resort with many other people, but as time goes by I note, as do some others, that everything is pretty much the same and all is regimented. We all ride bicycles around and around the grounds, eat together at the same time and in the same place, lounge around the pool in the sun together. There’s not much of any independent action.

One day, when riding around together I divert from the group and take another route, sometime even off the road. Other people, who are working in the field, look up and are startled as I pass by. I spend the rest of the time trying to find different things as well as a way out.

Somehow I do find a way out (but not a physical way out in that I seem to escape without going anywhere and yet I’m not there any more!), but then realize, “Oh my God, I’m AWOL. But how can that be, I’m not in the military?”

Possible Interpretation:

Normally I would treat this as just another “feeling trapped” dream, or a dream that is telling me to be creative toward some solution. But this time I thought that as the dream suggests I might try being creative and avoid the preconditioned interpretation.

Perhaps the boundaries of the resort and its entertainments are representative of my ego-boundaries? Do the routines represent classical conditioning i.e. a conditioned response to the events of my life? Is this kind of stasis a manifestation of ego-bondage? Is what I’m doing in my life that should be pleasant, become just a set of prescribed, or even proscribed, behaviors or pleasure responses? Is the dream an inner command trying to be heard that though I may not see I am probably mired down in yet another ego-identity designed to create yet another boundary between me and others.

Have I allowed myself to remain mired (I like that word!) in preconceived answers e.g. in a preconceived formula to living? I myself have dedicated myself to an idealist schema of self-exploration beyond what I identify as my ego. In this quest I’m looking for what I call the authentic self, which is a little difficult to do in that I don’t yet have a well-defined picture of what the authentic self looks like. My tendency is to want to follow what is comfortable, though it frequently becomes boring in the long run. In another scenario I seek to reject the dictates of outside authority (yes I have issues). Failing that I then try to change how it looks as though that will bring about something new and entertaining again, thus my life becomes one long string of chasing what can’t be caught (or avoiding what I reject and thus is chasing me) and I forget what the authentic self is all about.

When I diverge from the path that I’m on it’s as though I am functioning outside the rules of my life that usually guide me safely through it, but that just traps me in a conditioned life, in concert with everyone else, but not authentically me.

Following the social-ethical rules may be like following the ethical rules such as the Ten Commandments, or Buddha’s eight-fold way, but will these alone enable us to find ourselves? Alas I don’t think so, one needs to go beyond, that is to escape from, the letter of the law toward its spirit. Given that the spirit of who and what we are is right here and right now, we have gone nowhere other than where we are when we have escaped the boundaries of where we find ourselves (read that line again, it makes sense!).

The goal that this dream may be alluding to is to soften the hardened boundaries of my ego placement a little in order to get outside this imagined self so as to see yet something new. I wonder how one might actually do this? This might be a good subject for another posting.