Posts tagged: spirituality

The War & The New Seed; Transformational Dream Image Work

Some months ago I had a client come to me confused and curious about a dream she had. We had become acquainted while taking a class in Science of Mind spirituality founded by Ernes Holmes at a center called Bridges of Wellness in So. Florida. At the time Jenny, as we shall call her, was involved in closing on a property and planning to move. She was having some problems with leans that were established on the property with the previous owner many years back, leans she hadn’t known existed and she was afraid that the time it was taking to clear these leans would alienate her potential buyer. She had also ended a relationship recently but the man was still calling, asking to borrow money, and generally not accepting the end of the relationship. I asked her to close her eyes and keep them closed throughout our experience re-entering the dreamscape. Here is her dream just as she related it:

I am somewhere in the South. There is a conflict between blacks and whites. There’s a standoff — everybody has guns, including me. I side with the blacks. I start shooting my machine gun, just spraying bullets everywhere trying to kill as many people as possible. I run out of bullets. I start running to try and hide. I dig a hole and bury myself in the ground. I hear people searching for me. They are right on top of me. I worry they will step on my nose. I worry they will see me and shoot into the dirt. The dirt is soft and muddy. I stay there even after its quiet because I think they are watching and waiting. I have to pee, but I still won’t get up I’d rather pee myself in this hole than get caught. I imagine the whites have lynched all the blacks from trees. I don’t want to go back there. Finally, I have to get some water and I decide to get up.

    My initial reaction was that I know Jenny slightly from the spiritual group we’ve attended and she is a gentle, loving person. I thought there must be some anger or fear that had produced such aggression in the dream. Of course, dreams exaggerate, but this much violence definitely conveyed that somewhere in her unconscious she felt threatened. We closed our eyes and I had her tell me the dream slowly scene by scene. At each scene I questioned her, hoping to make the images as clear as possible and then allow her to feel the emotions behind them deep in her body.

We began with the conflict and all her associations to issues between blacks and whites. Naturally it is in the news quite a bit, and being from Florida, we both were well aware of the overly–exposed trial of George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watchman who killed Trayvon Martin, a fifteen year old, unarmed black student who looked suspicious. Jenny’s association was that she sympathized with Trayvon’s family. She sides with the African Americans in the dream instinctively in the dream. It is just a given. And the location is the deep South where she herself is under attack. She assumes these are white, prejudiced people that are out to kill the blacks. In her own life she has not had this experience and was not aware of any fear, but she did feel some anger about Trayvon’s case.

Jenny felt herself into the woods, which is often a place indicating the deep unconscious mind. In fairy talks, transformations take place in the forests, the heroes fight their adversaries and often the animals or plant life will serve as helpers. The scenario is right out of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Jenny felt that the blacks in her dream were disadvantaged and needed to be defensive. I asked her if she felt like the underdog in any of her present situations and she confessed that she felt victimized somewhat by the banks putting off the final sale of her house, and that she had little control over removing these leans on her property. She also felt besieged by her ex boyfriend who was continuing to call her when she had asked him to stop. She had helped him numerous times with his finances and was now saying No.  

So we established the layout for her battles and I encouraged her to get in touch with her anger. As she felt it come up, it was in her belly, her third chakra the place where we carry our power and emotions. I asked her to feel her anger slowly, taking in the situations in her current life and her feelings about the local, highly publicized trial. When we had heightened those feelings, I moved to the boyfriend and her experiences with him.

It turned out she was at her wit’s end with him texting and calling. He had moved away but that had even exacerbated the contact. She felt the anger move up to her chest and had a sense that she would be unable to breathe with the weight of his oppression. We heightened these to feelings, overlaying the images of the dream. I asked her “So what is it like fighting all these white people, how does it feel pulling the trigger on them, moving them down with your machine gun?

As appalling as it was for a peaceful young woman to be playing Rambo, she got right into it. “I’m killing them left and right” she chuckled. I asked, “So what’s it like to be The Terminator?” She related immediately to the pun and the situation with her boyfriend. She had “just said NO” and got behind her power in being able to terminate the relationship, whereas in the past she felt powerless and remained in contact too long. She had known it was over but actually had compassion for the man and kept helping him out.

I asked her again about the Zimmerman trial which was on every station of the TV. She felt her frustration about that and about the backlash the black community was feeling, and then we layered that feeling over the frustration with the boyfriend. It took awhile to differentiate the feelings but she was willing to own them despite her initial unawareness that she had repressed these unconscious emotions.

When we’d finished with that scene, Jenny was feeling empowered and somewhat heroic. The anger and fear transformed to a sense of control. As much as she was against killing anyone, in the dream world, it had been necessary and she needed to express it. Once she saw the scene from this perspective she was able to release her horror at killing people. I also had her embody some of the black victims and she felt their pain keenly. By slowly putting her into the body of a white killer, she did identify with the aggression, did feel like killing off her old boyfriend, that is, booting him our of her life and she did feel like blowing her top at the extra stress the banks had been putting on her while delaying her closing. But she had initially been horrified at the dream.

Next we moved to the scene where she is out of bullets and must run and hide. There are moments of panic and she identified it as being in her chest. I had her feel the difference between the panic in her chest and fear/anger in her belly, as well as the empowerment. It was hard for her to layer them but she could feel them sequentially. The energy was now swirling around her 3rd and 4th chakras (belly and heart).

I instructed her to begin digging into the earth for her hiding place, asking her about the dirt and soil, how it felt in her hands, how easily the hole was made for her to cover herself. She leaves a slight opening to breathe through and feels the urgency to pee. Often the need to urinate in a dream may correspond to an actual need to void, and most often we wake up at this prompting and take a trip to the bathroom. Here the urgency is heightened because of the danger of revealing herself to the white people who are still looking around for more blacks to kill. Even though Jenny is white, she knows her antagonists are anxious to kill her. When I had her move into the bodies of the white people and feel their anger and she was able to own it. Of course, it is her own anger at her victimized situation and she could feel how the white people were also acting out of fear.

This is one of the great benefits of Dream Image Work. When we leave the ego we are able to own our projections much better, we see how we created them, and we can even feel their point of view, which creates compassion.

I was interested in the dirt because she kept saying how muddy and cool it was. I had her feel safe enough to move around in her hole, holding handfuls of the dirt, and finally asked her what the soil felt about having her amidst it. She needed to imagine herself as the soil and yet she went with it easily. This is when the AH HA moment was released. Jenny claimed that she felt protected by the soil. When she was able to identify with it as EARTH, a mother of sorts, The archetypal Great Mother perhaps, the basis of our being, and where we all end up, she felt the soil as her own potential for growth, for growing through these two big changes that were happening in her life. She was going to move her location and she had cut off contact with a man she’d been involved with and somewhat abused by.

I suggested she play in the rich soil for a while and she found it refreshing, felt like a seed implanted there. When I asked where in her body she could feel this emotion of being loved and protected, she felt it in her heart. Her heart was warmed and reassured her she was loved, by the universe, by source, by the Great Mother, and All There Is. I asked her to feel the earth’s love pouring into her heart. She exclaimed it was beautiful and purple.

At this point I brought Jenny back to the earlier scenes of the dream and she was not as frightened. We layered the fear and the anger into the 3rd and 4th chakras again but the love of in the 4th chakra overpowered any fear and anger she felt before. The dream no longer seemed scary.

Jenny came out of the imaginative realm of the dream, the theta brain state which alters our mindset, and opened her eyes. She immediately expressed that she felt more confident about the selling her home, that the deal would go through when everything was inspected etc. It was just a matter of time. Mother Earth had held her and she’d regained her faith that the universe wants what’s best for us and that we must proceed without fear. She felt stronger for breaking up with her ex and knew if she did not respond to him, he would eventually leave her be. Mostly she was thrilled the vision of herself as a seed being nurtured for new growth.

I told her how the woods is often the place for transformation and shape-shifting in fairy tales and legends. That it was a logical place for her to begin a change. I’m happy to report Jenny is on a new journey today. She has relocated, things going off without a hitch. She is happily planning a hiking trip with friends into a new forest. She has seeded her changes and dissolved her fear of change.

Some months ago I had a client come to me confused and curious about a dream she had. We had become acquainted while taking a class in Science of Mind spirituality founded by Ernes Holmes at a center called Bridges of Wellness in So. Florida. At the time Jenny, as we shall call her, was involved in closing on a property and planning to move. She was having some problems with leans that were established on the property with the previous owner many years back, leans she hadn’t known existed and she was afraid that the time it was taking to clear these leans would alienate her potential buyer. She had also ended a relationship recently but the man was still calling, asking to borrow money, and generally not accepting the end of the relationship. Here is her dream just as she related it:

I am somewhere in the South. There is a conflict between blacks and whites. There’s a standoff — everybody has guns, including me. I side with the blacks. I start shooting my machine gun, just spraying bullets everywhere trying to kill as many people as possible. I run out of bullets. I start running to try and hide. I dig a hole and bury myself in the ground. I hear people searching for me. They are right on top of me. I worry they will step on my nose. I worry they will see me and shoot into the dirt. The dirt is soft and muddy. I stay there even after its quiet because I think they are watching and waiting. I have to pee, but I still won’t get up I’d rather pee myself in this hole than get caught. I imagine the whites have lynched all the blacks from trees. I don’t want to go back there. Finally, I have to get some water and I decide to get up.

My initial reaction was that I know Jenny slightly from the spiritual group we’ve attended and she is a gentle, loving person. I thought there must be some anger or fear that had produced such aggression in the dream. Of course, dreams exaggerate, but this much violence definitely conveyed that somewhere in her unconscious she felt threatened. We closed our eyes and I had her tell me the dream slowly scene by scene. At each scene I questioned her, hoping to make the images as clear as possible and then allow her to feel the emotions behind them deep in her body.

We began with the conflict and all her associations to issues between blacks and whites. Naturally it is in the news quite a bit, and being from Florida, we both were well aware of the overly–exposed trial of George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watchman who killed Trayvon Martin, a fifteen year old, unarmed black student who looked suspicious. Jenny’s association was that she sympathized with Trayvon’s family. She sides with the African Americans in the dream instinctively in the dream. It is just a given. And the location is the deep South where she herself is under attack. She assumes these are white, prejudiced people that are out to kill the blacks. In her own life she has not had this experience and was not aware of any fear, but she did feel some anger about Trayvon’s case.

Jenny felt herself into the woods, which is often a place indicating the deep unconscious mind. In fairy talks, transformations take place in the forests, the heroes fight their adversaries and often the animals or plant life will serve as helpers. The scenario is right out of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Jenny felt that the blacks in her dream were disadvantaged and needed to be defensive. I asked her if she felt like the underdog in any of her present situations and she confessed that she felt victimized somewhat by the banks putting off the final sale of her house, and that she had little control over removing these leans on her property. She also felt besieged by her ex boyfriend who was continuing to call her when she had asked him to stop. She had helped him numerous times with his finances and was now saying No.

So we established the layout for her battles and I encouraged her to get in touch with her anger. As she felt it come up, it was in her belly, her third chakra the place where we carry our power and emotions. I asked her to feel her anger slowly, taking in the situations in her current life and her feelings about the local, highly publicized trial. When we had heightened those feelings, I moved to the boyfriend and her experiences with him.

It turned out she was at her wit’s end with him texting and calling. He had moved away but that had even exacerbated the contact. She felt the anger move up to her chest and had a sense that she would be unable to breathe with the weight of his oppression. We heightened these to feelings, overlaying the images of the dream. I asked her “So what is it like fighting all these white people, how does it feel pulling the trigger on them, moving them down with your machine gun?

As appalling as it was for a peaceful young woman to be playing Rambo, she got right into it. “I’m killing them left and right” she chuckled. I asked, “So what’s it like to be The Terminator?” She related immediately to the pun and the situation with her boyfriend. She had “just said NO” and got behind her power in being able to terminate the relationship, whereas in the past she felt powerless and remained in contact too long. She had known it was over but actually had compassion for the man and kept helping him out.

I asked her again about the Zimmerman trial which was on every station of the TV. She felt her frustration about that and about the backlash the black community was feeling, and then we layered that feeling over the frustration with the boyfriend. It took awhile to differentiate the feelings but she was willing to own them despite her initial unawareness that she had repressed these unconscious emotions.

When we’d finished with that scene, Jenny was feeling empowered and somewhat heroic. The anger and fear transformed to a sense of control. As much as she was against killing anyone, in the dream world, it had been necessary and she needed to express it. Once she saw the scene from this perspective she was able to release her horror at killing people. I also had her embody some of the black victims and she felt their pain keenly. By slowly putting her into the body of a white killer, she did identify with the aggression, did feel like killing off her old boyfriend, that is, booting him our of her life and she did feel like blowing her top at the extra stress the banks had been putting on her while delaying her closing. But she had initially been horrified at the dream.

Next we moved to the scene where she is out of bullets and must run and hide. There are moments of panic and she identified it as being in her chest. I had her feel the difference between the panic in her chest and fear/anger in her belly, as well as the empowerment. It was hard for her to layer them but she could feel them sequentially. The energy was now swirling around her 3rd and 4th chakras (belly and heart).

I instructed her to begin digging into the earth for her hiding place, asking her about the dirt and soil, how it felt in her hands, how easily the hole was made for her to cover herself. She leaves a slight opening to breathe through and feels the urgency to pee. Often the need to urinate in a dream may correspond to an actual need to void, and most often we wake up at this prompting and take a trip to the bathroom. Here the urgency is heightened because of the danger of revealing herself to the white people who are still looking around for more blacks to kill. Even though Jenny is white, she knows her antagonists are anxious to kill her. When I had her move into the bodies of the white people and feel their anger and she was able to own it. Of course, it is her own anger at her victimized situation and she could feel how the white people were also acting out of fear.

This is one of the great benefits of Dream Image Work. When we leave the ego we are able to own our projections much better, we see how we created them, and we can even feel their point of view, which creates compassion.

I was interested in the dirt because she kept saying how muddy and cool it was. I had her feel safe enough to move around in her hole, holding handfuls of the dirt, and finally asked her what the soil felt about having her amidst it. She needed to imagine herself as the soil and yet she went with it easily. This is when the AH HA moment was released. Jenny claimed that she felt protected by the soil. When she was able to identify with it as EARTH, a mother of sorts, The archetypal Great Mother perhaps, the basis of our being, and where we all end up, she felt the soil as her own potential for growth, for growing through these two big changes that were happening in her life. She was going to move her location and she had cut off contact with a man she’d been involved with and somewhat abused by.

I suggested she play in the rich soil for a while and she found it refreshing, felt like a seed implanted there. When I asked where in her body she could feel this emotion of being loved and protected, she felt it in her heart. Her heart was warmed and reassured her she was loved, by the universe, by source, by the Great Mother, and All There Is. I asked her to feel the earth’s love pouring into her heart. She exclaimed it was beautiful and purple.  

At this point I brought Jenny back to the earlier scenes of the dream and she was not as frightened. We layered the fear and the anger into the 3rd and 4th chakras again but the love of in the 4th chakra overpowered any fear and anger she felt before. The dream no longer seemed scary. 

Jenny came out of the imaginative realm of the dream, the theta brain state which alters our mindset, and opened her eyes. She immediately expressed that she felt more confident about the selling her home, that the deal would go through when everything was inspected etc. It was just a matter of time. Mother Earth had held her and she’d regained her faith that the universe wants what’s best for us and that we must proceed without fear. She felt stronger for breaking up with her ex and knew if she did not respond to him, he would eventually leave her be. Mostly she was thrilled the vision of herself as a seed being nurtured for new growth.

I told her how the woods is often the place for transformation and shape-shifting in fairy tales and legends. That it was a logical place for her to begin a change. I’m happy to report Jenny is on a new journey today. She has relocated, things going off without a hitch. She is happily planning a hiking trip with friends into a new forest. She has seeded her changes and dissolved her fear of change. The imagination is a healing tool. Our dreams are offered to us to identify projected feelings and own them. The theta brain state is a relaxed, creative state that can imitate the dream. We can’t relive the dream but we can approximate it and see what comes up. I am always surprised how the truth of the dream unravels without the necessity of analysis. There are symbols of course, the seed, the soil, the forest, the archetypal antagonist, and the gods and goddesses (in this case Earth) as well as heroes and heroines.

If you are local to So Florida, I am giving a two day workshop Oct 19th and 20th. Please see the announcement.


Question Everything, A 4th of July Meditation


As it’s the 4th of July, I just posted an American flag by Andy Warhol on Facebook along with Whitney Houston’s video singing the Star Spangled Banner. I surfed through my friends’ remarks for the day, lots of flags and remembrances of those who fought for our freedom and support for our courageous troops who are still serving, as well as those who’ve paid the ultimate price.

It’s heart-moving and provocative emotionally to see the out-pouring of patriotism. But ever since I was a kid and learned about the divisions of borders, other countries, some hostile, some brutal to their people and what has been done in the name of patriotism (not to mention religion), I’ve had serious doubts about the separations these kind of loyalties create. And last night I was with a playful and talented group of people at a karaoke party where people sang plenty of good ‘ole American songs, and wore red, white and blue blouses and hats. Holidays are always great reasons to get together with others and celebrate. One guy sang Toby Keith’s notorious hit “Courtesy for the Red, White and Blue” almost as good as Toby himself.

I listen to country, corny as the lyrics can be, I like the stories, I like the beat. But I can get pretty uncomfortable with the raging nationalism. I remember the first time I heard the song, also called “The Angry American.” I was living in Boston and it was in the wake of 9/11, a time of heightened patriotism when America had the sympathy of most of the world. There were some lines in the song that offended some of us peacenicks, such as, “The Statue of Liberty is shaking her fist . . . Man, it’s gonna be hell when you hear Mother Freedom start ringin’ her bell and it feels like whole wide world is raining down on you . . . ” then, “we”ll put a boot in your ass, It’s the American way . . . “

In my opinion, it is outrageous, but on another level, I could see his viewpoint and chuckle at the machoism. I grew up in NY, I’ve got that dark humor, and it’s not outrageous in terms of the particular individual that Toby is. Many of his songs reflect attitudes that I don’t embrace but I find him a terrific singer and songwriter and could certainly see where he was coming from. 9/11 was horrific and his millions of fans here and overseas love the song. I’m a die-hard liberal but I admire the clever lyrics and the passionate music.

It’s a revenge song for sure and it talks about “lighting up” the enemy’s “sky like the 4th of July,” which we can directly associate not only to the war in Afghanistan, but especially the “Shock and Awe” which came later as the U.S. military began bombing Iraq. On faulty information as it turned out. And a lot of innocent people were killed. That’s not a chuckling matter.I don’t support the euphemism of “collateral damage.”

When I heard the song last night on the eve of the July 4th, I thought of another artist, Alice Walker, feminist Afro-American poet, novelist and activist. Years ago, teaching one of her essays to college freshmen, I came across her poem, “On Sight” which is embedded in the essay. In it she references the moon-landing of 1969, when astronauts planted the American flag on the moon. Here are some of her lines, the latter part of the poem:

The desert has its own moon
Which I have seen
With my own eye.

There is no flag on it.

Trees of the desert have arms
All of which are always up
That is because the moon is up
The sun is up
Also the sky
The Stars
Clouds
None with flags.

Point being, can you really own the moon? Do we even own the land? Native Americans thought they belonged to the land, not the other way round. Patriotism is nice to celebrate, a country’s birthday is a good excuse for a holiday, and we like holidays, watermelon, hot dogs and apple pie . . but . . . this late in history, at a time when technology has brought the entire world into communication and more and more young people around the world are creating the same culture, at a time when the entire planet’s environment is threatened by consumerism, overpopulation and continuing wars, too much patriotism may be an outdated, and dangerous habit.

Basic world values are also becoming more similar, countries are still struggling for democracy, even as our citizens raise questions about what true democracy is. Does the congress really represent our country and its changing population? Does it consider what is in the best interests of its constituents, or has it sold out to corporations and lobbyists? Is our media even reflective of true democracy? Or is it designed to keep us in a trance? It appears up front and personal until you really examine the profit over loss principle of capitalism behind it. Who are those guys on Wall Street that caused the melt-down anyway? And what kind of democracy lets them off scott-free?

Maybe we should have World Day, celebrate the Big Bang, the whole creation of oceans and continents unto every corner of the earth. Celebrate people everywhere who are willing to envision real global change. People who are protesting what they don’t like about the world. I like our flag, but back in the sixties I agreed with those who burned it in protest to the country’s activities in Viet Nam. It’s just a symbol after all. And a symbol is only as good as what it represents. Some people forget we have a right to protest our government. A symbol is also an easy way to rally sentimentality (which is feeling without substance behind it). Dividing people according to religion or borders is always a good way to control private interests and sometimes that’s what nationalism does.

Even as a kid I was always freaked out by the Star Spangled Banner’s bombs bursting line. And those bombs are kind of like fireworks. I prefer John Lennon’s lines in Imagine, “Imagine there’s no countries/ It isn’t hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too.”

And I know I’m not the only dreamer. . . Socrates called himself a citizen of the world, not just Athens. Then again, they gave him the choice of hemlock or exile. He took the hemlock because, as he said his “daimon” or intuition did not object when he thought that being exiled would defeat the purpose of his life which was to teach the youth of Athens to question everything.

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