October, 2008

18 24 26 30 31

10/18/08 - Title: "Bogged Down and Having Trouble with the Engine"

I am in the driver's seat in my small car, a Beetle model Volkswagen, I think. It is night and almost completely dark. There is something about my dream group friend, Sonya, but just now I do not recall any more about her in this dream, just that she figures in it in an unknown way. Perhaps I need to, or am about to, give her a ride in my VW. But, if so, she is not yet in the car with me. In any case, it has been raining. Indeed, the rain is still coming down. The area where I am (or we are) is quite muddy and getting more so, with puddles growing due to the downpour. It is so muddy that the car seems to be slipping or sliding on its own in the muck. The tires have little or no traction. I am trying, over and over without success to start the engine, turning the key in the ignition while pressing the clutch down, the gear shift in neutral. The starter seems to be running well, but the engine is not catching, or, if it does, it soon sputters out, and I must start over. I wonder if Sonya is standing in the rain waiting all this time for me to drive over and pick her up, or if, failing that, she would need to wade through the rain and mud to get into the car for shelter, till we can get this situation sorted out. I am (or we are) alone. There is the sense that others were here but have already left.

Interestingly, I have not noticed having any dreams except this one since the last entry, though usually, for the past couple years or more, I have had several each week.

10/24/08 - Title: "Ruined New Shoes - Crap-like Muck"

I'm walking into a large basement or barn. It has a quite high ceiling or roof, maybe three or four regular floor levels up. A very large door (maybe 20-30 feet wide by 30-40 feet high) is wide open to the outside, having allowed me entrance here. I have walked in several steps before realizing the floor or ground (for there may be no regular floor, just dirt, here) is so muddy that with each step I sink down till the mud is over the tops of my nice new shoes. I am distressed by this. I do not think I shall ever be able to clean them well enough to get them like new again. Meanwhile, in whatever way I walk, either to retreat or go on in further, I must walk through more of the muck sucking at the shoes, covering them with a crap-like mess with every step.

10/26/08 - Title: "Embarrassed by My Wife, Feeling Humiliated, Incompetent, and Out of Place, I Must Still Persevere"

Frances and I are observing a military operation, going with a company or two (200-400 troops) of Army soldiers and seeing their activities. They are collecting ripe or overripe tomatoes and fruit. Huge amounts of rotting or nearly rotting tomatoes and fruit are being harvested, collected, and moved toward a storage location. Fran, walking a few feet to my right along with numerous troops going the same way we are, loudly and sarcastically comments, mocking the entire effort of all these soldiers, "Yeah, like we really need a bunch of rotting veggies and fruit!" The troops within earshot, a lot of them of course, clearly find the sarcasm offensive. A little later, a captain, the troops' commander, stands in front of me and angrily confronts me, saying something like, "The woman who is with you..." Nervous, I stammer a reply: "Yes, she's one of my girlfriends, I mean, my wife." And the captain, still staring hard at me, with the troops listening in, says: "Did your girlfriend or wife say 'Like we really need a bunch of rotting veggies and fruit!'?" I stammer some reply again, agreeing she had said that, but that she really did not understand what was going on here, adding that she does not speak for me, though actually I did not know why we needed to be gathering and storing lots of rotting fruit either. "Well," the captain said, glaring, "I would suggest if you cannot assure that she speaks around my troops with respect that you keep her away from things she doesn't understand!"

He left, but I felt humiliated, all the more so because I could now hear several of the troops laughing and mockingly repeating my first response: "She's one of my girlfriends, I mean, my wife." They were clearly pleased I had gotten a dressing down from their commander.

In another scene, I am an out-of-place, out-of-shape older worker among many minority group (Latino, Black, or Asian-American) workers or soldiers handling the vast supplies of rotting veggies, etc., especially tomatoes, trying to find proper vessels, such as large (about 3 feet high) undulating glass bottles or jars (bottles or jars that look like large symmetrical clear vases, with, from top to bottom, some parts wider and some narrower, reminiscent of the female form) in which we can pour the rotting produce and/or its reddish brown juice. Often, the empty bottles or other places (containers) and receptacles are out of reach, for instance on high warehouse pallets or shelves. Often too, what needs to be done with the produce is challenging to or beyond my (now old) physical capacity. Yet I am working beside really competent, physically fit young men. They are used to doing this sort of work all day long, full-time. I feel incompetent and useless here, but believe I must keep trying to fit in and do my job. >

10/30/08 - On my birthday, my sister, Alice, who facilitated a dream group for nine years, called to wish me a happy 65th. We discussed my dream of 10/24/08, entitled "Ruined New Shoes - Crap-like Muck." Highlights:

  • It seems I have been considering the wealth of mucky images and thoughts coming into awareness during a meditation retreat to Taos and in hours of daily meditation afterward. The new shoes might be new ways of dealing with the crap in my life, but clearly my ego does not yet feel they are appropriate for the amount of mud, crap, muck, etc. that is coming into consciousness. Alternatively, it could be my ego is still too finicky and worries too much about walking in crappy muck, partly because he (I, Phil) forgot to put on big galoshes (whatever they are in normal waking life), which I could easily wash off when I get through with whatever it is I have to do in the crappy parts of existence.

  • Alice agreed that my notions, just above, about the dream may be correct, but said there are several other interpretations. The rest of the highlights, then, are hers.

  • The door being wide open suggests to her that meditation can leave one wide open and expansive, but also vulnerable.

  • The Phil or ego aspect could be seen as an intruder, barging on in without an invitation or permission from anyone else there.

  • In that scenario, the mucky floor could be like a protective moat.

  • The meditative self may have, as a result of a the recent retreat, been in higher consciousness states but needing more protection than usual.

  • The high ceiling is like a cathedral or the wide open sky of Taos. The shoes, in turn, may represent new Taos setting or meditative experiences.

  • The fact that the ceiling is seen as 3-4 stories high suggests I have at least 3 or 4 primary themes or stories in my life. (It also suggests, per my Austin dream groups, transformation and manifestation in reality.)

  • After the new experiences, I had to drive back to Austin. As a result, they may not have been able to be taken back with me in full.

  • There may be a positive aspect or intention in the dream, to help me not be so naive, i.e. to walk the meditative path but with more practical feet.

  • All pathways may be seen as sacred, and even a pathway through the muck is positive, so that, in that way, the "ruined shoes" are not truly ruined but may even be enhanced by the "dirt" of this healthy pathway. Alternatively, the now mucky shoes are appropriate for the pathway and might be used for work on issues that come up on this pathway with heart.

  • Another view of it is that if I had been more grounded I could have seen the crappy aspects of life in advance and taken off my shoes and socks, working in bare feet, which of course can always be easily washed off afterward and so be better for the task than taking my not so readily cleaned new shoes in there.

  • Alice feels it is always important to ground oneself well before exploring the wide open spaces to which meditation and explorations of the psyche can take us. This may be done simply by just focusing at first on the contact between the butt and the meditation pillow or between the feet and the floor, or merely by looking at one's feet. (In my own experience, the wide open spaces are more like 1% of the meditative experience, compared with 99% already grounded - and indeed stuck - in the muck, so a special effort at grounding seems of less importance.)

  • Alice suggests after the meditation session, it is important again to get grounded because otherwise one is vulnerable then. She recommends, for instance, focusing on a special rock related to the meditation experience, retreat area, etc.

  • The 3-4 stories may be tales of my body, mind, and soul, or of my body, mind, heart, and soul.

  • One should anticipate that there may be physical reactions following a meditation retreat. I am rather skeptical of this, but it is true my back was severely sore for several days immediately following my Taos vacation.

  • The mucky floor, Alice says, may balance the more ethereal or spiritual ceiling, that is, getting me right back to earth.

  • I also may lack a good support system for exploring the soul aspects of life or of my recent meditating, but the soft mud at least provides a weak cushion for my "fall" from higher consciousness "spaces."

  • Alice warns that, once back in ordinary life, it may be hard to sustain the sense of enrichment or renewal from a meditation retreat. The muckiness in the dream may reflect the relative messiness of a more normal day-to-day existence.

10/31/08 - Title: "Halloween Night"

A long, dark, chaotic night. It seems to last months or years, filled with screaming crowd images of great hate and fear. A wild firestorm burning through urban areas. General destruction. Yet there are newscasts too of Barack Obama assuming leadership, remaining calm, and taking charge, slowly bringing positive order and change, change that now is loved by masses of fearful people, though resisted by many as well. Images of Obama becoming a leader for the world, taking us through and perhaps later out of the crisis, as Lincoln, Churchill, and F.D. Roosevelt were essential statesmen in their times of turmoil. Mistakes are made, some with big implications. Overall there is improvement.

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