9/10/08 - Title: "Not Willing to Get in the Water"
I am sitting in the front passenger seat of a car. There is a conference, workshop, weekend retreat, or some such going on, and we are going back to the large old house where it is being held. I am younger (than in reality, perhaps middle-aged or a little younger), and another younger (but perhaps also about middle-aged) man is driving. There is a younger woman, perhaps in her 30s or early 40s, in the backseat, and the three of us have been talking, evidently about things related to the conference or workshop we are all participants in. I become aware of a man's hand sliding over onto my left thigh. At first I am confused and think it is my own hand, but when I go to move it I realize it is not my own but the driver's. Naively, I assume then that it has been placed there by accident. But then I have moved it back already a couple or three times, yet it is coming back a third or fourth time. As I am forcefully moving it back, now against resistance, I angrily yell at the driver to keep his hand off me!
While I am angry and outraged, the driver seems to be hurt and embarrassed by my rejection of his overture. When we get to the house a few moments later, I see that the woman is no longer with us in the car. It is as though she has simply disappeared. She shows up a few minutes later, having walked up the last stretch of the road. I ask her where she had gone. She said she had just slipped out of the back of the car when my incident with the driver happened. She said it seemed better if we dealt with that more privately, and besides she had been assaulted in the past and really had a hard time even being around anything like that again, so she had just left. I can see from her face that her earlier experience had been traumatizing. I complain that this has almost never happened to me before, that the last time anything like it occurred was over 20 years ago, and now it has happened to me twice this weekend. (I take it there was another incident this weekend, but do not remember any of that part of the dream.) I worry that there may be something about me that has made gay men feel I would like it if they made a pass at me. Ironically, I think one reason for our all getting together this weekend at the big old house was for me to get married. The driver, evidently still feeling rejected and ashamed, has now left in the car after dropping me off.
A man and his teenage son who are already here at the house have been mildly arguing with each other. The man insists his son needs to take a driving lesson. The boy says there is no car to drive now anyway. The man turns to me and asks if I have the keys to one of the cars here. I say yes, that my car is parked over there and I have the keys to it. He assumes he can just use my car and asks for the keys. I hand them over. He and his son go off to use my car for the boy's driving lesson.
After they have gone, I worry about the safety of my vehicle and when and in what condition they will bring it back. "Now why the hell did I just turn over my keys like that!?" I ask myself. I am feeling anxious about the car and also angry with myself for not being assertive and merely telling the man to take a hike.
Then I am over with a few others at a big swimming pool. We are all wearing swimsuits. The others have gotten in and been alternately playing in the water, getting out, sitting on the side, getting back in, etc. I have not yet gotten in but am on the side, walking on a narrow side area at the edge. I have only a precarious footing and must step over or around the people who have already been playing in the water but are now on the narrow side/edge area too. I could just fall backward into the water deliberately and swim around awhile. I might fall in by accident anyway, because there really is not enough room here on this side/edge for both walkers and swimmers. However, I do not feel like going in the water now and so continue stepping around the others in a gingerly, awkward way.
9/14/08 - Title: "Not Quite Getting My Identity Back"
I am younger, maybe in my 30s. I've been up in the Chicago area and doing some business there. Some of what went on was not on the up and up. I may have been dealing with some Mafia types or other rough characters. Now I'm back and am expecting to just pick up my regular life and activities here. But I am out of work or otherwise have as yet an unsettled life.
While trying to get things sorted out, I go one night to a dive near my residence, a blend of a bar, cafe, and a Stop-N-Go type grocery. I ask a guy behind the counter in the Stop-N-Go part, who looks like Bruce Willis (hereafter BW), where the coffee is. He acts tough and like I shouldn't ask stupid questions. I later find it and pour myself a cup. It is thick and hot. I get a little other stuff. When I go to pay for it, I am surprised to discover the driver's license and other wallet type ID stuff (cards, pictures, etc.) are those of Esther Dupchek. The tough BW character sees my confusion but doesn't make a big deal out of it.
A few nights later, I go back to the same establishment. The BW guy is not there. Another fellow behind the counter is even more brusque than BW had been when I ask him a question. Later, before I have left, BW comes in. I try to say "Hi," but he ignores me. But when others are not around, he comes over and hands me a well used toilet bag (usually for taking a comb, razor, toothpaste, and such on trips), inside of which is a long, old billfold. Inside it is a set of cards and a license. It is a not so well done version of mine, including my signature as I wrote it (in reality) 30-40 years ago. I find this all puzzling and confusing and tell BW they look like mine but are not. I go to show him my real I.D. stuff, to point out how the signature is now different, but all I find in my own billfold is Esther Dupchek's ID stuff. Astonished, I point out to BW that she is long dead. I realize somehow a switch must have been made while I was in Chicago.
BW says, yeah, he saw that things were not right when I had come in a few days before and that he had pulled some strings to get a facsimile of my stuff made. He said it would cost a LOT to get my real ID back, but that this would do for most things and pass muster without much scrutiny. It took some trouble and had cost some dough but not a bundle. I ask him how much I owe him, but before he answers others come in, he gets busy, and then he needs to leave.
I go around outside, on a dirt and mud road full of ruts, toward the back of the place (perhaps to apply for work? or to drink?). Some young fellows show up and are going there on the rough road with me. They take me for the bartender, but I tell them no, that I am just the hanger over the bar guy.
This afternoon, the DG discussed the above dream. Highlights:
- It is about identity, learning, transformation, and guidance for getting what I want.
- My ego identity is no longer complete, in the sense of being the (actually unreal) Phil Wagner I took myself to be. And it would cost a lot to get it back, perhaps a lot of energy being required for that since it would be movement in the wrong direction. On the other hand, the dream may well have a double meaning here. The other is that it would cost a lot to reacquire my REAL identity, which is other than that familiar ego one, more akin to my face before I was born, or other such riddles from esoteric paths. Yet that is a cost worth paying!
- There is a call to take more risks and delve into things more deeply, but also to regard things more casually, sort of like the "lazy man's guide to enlightenment," the art of meditating by not trying so conscientiously.
- The Bruce Willis shadow character is the kind of ally one really needs in one's corner, and would be a great one to teach me how to be more macho. He is masculine, confident, competent, even heroic, yet also likeable, charming, and at times sensitive and tender, especially, for instance, in the movie "The Sixth Sense." So he is a fitting role model for my persona (the public self whom I present to the world). No need to go overboard, just to have the intention to own and be more like this shadow, and to take more risks in the process of this kind of healthy transformation. It might even be beneficial to become a Bruce Willis movie junkie for awhile.
- The Esther Dupchek anima character, whose identity I have (in the dream at least) inadvertently acquired and who, like the Bruce Willis character, is already a part of me, is, on the other hand, demonstrating right feeling and is there to show the way to where I want to go. She was a deeply spiritual, loving person, an excellent meditator, and psychic (though also just a little garrulous and senile at times!). And she was good- and warm-hearted and always tended to see the best in people and in her situation. She had a great sense of fun and could amuse and tickle herself easily, like a child. She was also an appreciator of poetry and somewhat a poetess herself. She was a pioneer in the introduction of the Lifestream Way to this country and a personal friend of Maharaji, its spiritual teacher. She was also like a Jewish mother in always trying to get more good nourishment into me whenever I would visit.
- My facsimile identity, not quite the original Phil Wagner but an adequate, serviceable copy, will be good enough for most everyday purposes in this transitional period. It won't get much scrutiny because people will just assume I am much the same as usual.
- Yet interestingly, it is given to me to replace the Esther Dupchek identity (that of my old Lifestream Way close friend, from when I was in my late 20s to early 30s and she was in her late 70s to early 80s and living in VA where I had gone for my first decent job, and we would see each other about once a week in town - she only lived about a mile from me at first - as well as on reasonably long and frequent car trips when I would drive us to the Lifestream Way gatherings (of other disciples on this path) in Washington, D.C., or Virginia Beach, VA. She was usually so up that even when I was in one of my many moody phases she could get me out of them.
- It is significant that the facsimile (male) identity is given to me inside a long old billfold, itself in a travel bag. It seems my maleness was inside a rather female genitalia-like set of enclosures, as if the "toilet kit" were the vulva and the billfold inside (that holds my new male identity) were the vagina, or else that both the toilet kit and billfold inside it represented the openings or folds of a vulva through which the maleness fits on its way into the sheath of the vagina.
- As usual when there is reference to "younger," the dream may also mean "Jung-er," as in related to Jungian psychology.
- The reference to my being in my 30s may be an emphasized 3 (3 x 10), which can mean transformation. Similarly, 40 may represent an emphasized 4 (x10) or "manifestation in reality."
- Chicago has a dual significance for me. I went there in the mid-1970s for a large gathering of followers of the Lifestream Way and was moved while there by the examples of some quite spiritual people I met who, like Esther, had been among the early U.S. pioneers in that path and seemed to me to be rather advanced souls. I also went there about May of 1991 (shortly after my brother, Ralph, had died of cancer), along with my sister-in-law, Mary, and my brother, Allen, both (as Ralph had been) quite involved then in the Lifestream Way. That trip too was for another large gathering of its followers.
- But Chicago was the favorite big city too, when she was growing up, of Frances, my wife, who lived most of her life before college in one of its nearby suburbs. I have gone there more than once with her to see various secular sights and attractions.
- So, Chicago may represent a place that unites for me the spiritual and the secular. In contrast to the others associated for me with Chicago, Frances is atheistic and sees in nature all she needs of values beyond people. Yet in her way Fran is often operating at a Zen-like level when it comes to natural history awareness.
- The dream shows a lot of contrast between macho aspects, such as going to a dive, going to Chicago and interacting there with the Mafia or other tough folks in not so up and up business, being seen to be a bartender, associating with Bruce Willis, etc., then my rather nondescript, colorless usual (if fake) Phil Wagner identity, and the quite feminine, matronly aspects personified in Esther Dupchek.
- The references to coffee and possibly going to the dive for alcoholic drinking remind that I have had (or still have) what might be called an "addictive personality," particularly as I had a significant drinking (alcohol) problem in my youth and since then, till earlier this year when it ceased due to my trying to overcome acid reflux disease, I tended to drink from 2-4 or more cups of black coffee daily. Now that I am doing neither, at times I feel like life is just not, on its own (i.e. without the benefit of extra chemistry), enough.
- The DG leader pointed out that I am an empathic, sensitive person (but in a good way!) and that for such people often the negative aspects of existence, especially in the broader world beyond themselves, are harder to take than for those who do not notice or feel deeply the suffering all around them.
- It was her opinion that the remedy, though, was not in drugs, caffeine, booze, etc., but in going much more deeply into things, in my case through meditation, as if I must go through the worst of my own inner hells to get to a place or places in which greater calm or acceptance may be discovered.
- Her personal inclination for me, though, was to not do so through any formal, terribly serious or strict meditation practice, but instead via a lighter, more easygoing path. (She had not taken well to the meditation weekend workshop I told her of last spring, and that she attended, but which she may have felt was too formal and not receptive enough to her then expressed ideas, etc.) But, in any case, with lightness or not and with more risk-taking or not, the lesson is to go on in the way Esther Dupchek would have, until that deep inner realm can be a sanctuary, a source of refreshment and healing, from which I might then later be more available in a mentor capacity to others having similar struggles.
- She offered to put me onto her own preferred meditation teacher, whom she said exhibits the kind of lightness and lack of rigidity about the inner trek that she felt would benefit me, but for now at least I declined. I am not desirous of accepting another person's version of what I need to fix what they see as my problems, which may be partly a projection of the recommending person's ego need to control and so to have me do as they would wish. She was a little defensive at my polite "Thanks, but no thanks," as though she were already a bit invested in whether or not I would follow her advice. But I do not think yet another "way" is what I need. I know enough already to make progress in meditation, if I am ready and wish to do so.
- The blended dive, cafe, bar, and Stop-N-Go establishment has the latter portion in the front, corresponding to the persona, but the dive, bar, and cafe in the back, corresponding to the shadow aspects.
- The dream is about learning, in that I had quite a history with Esther and no doubt learned a lot from her. She remains a powerful anima character within, a resource to draw on for my own inner journey.
- The dream somewhat mirrors my current practical circumstances, for I am wanting to readjust and get back into a regular day-to-day life, though currently not entirely settled now that my main volunteer work had come to an end and things are in flux with my involvement in the dream groups, especially the one that meets in evenings, and in my book groups. There was the thought I was going to go help out with the family of my nephew who now has bone cancer, but, at least at first, they have not been receptive to that, so that I am again in limbo. But there is much to do from one day to the next simply with current projects, though not so much that involves interaction with others. And if I truly commit to an in-depth meditation sojourn, that alone will be quite occupying for awhile.