Monthly Archives: April 2016

Why remember our dreams?

I am doing dreamwork with two people. Both are just starting and both are having a hard time remembering their dreams.

It is very common for people not to remember dreams especially since behavioral psychology started conditioning people to focus on behavior as a goal in therapy, as if we could change, or resolve anything by altering how we act, as if the key to being happy and successful was based on self-control.

Jung’s work was cut out for him when he realized how essential dreaming really was. Dreams aren’t  just for defusing the issues that might rob us of sleep. Some dreams, that is remembering some dreams, is more important than a good night’s sleep. . .such as the kind of dream that actually wakes us up. That has survival value! And the kind that repeats. That also has survival value, as if the psyche is saying, here is where we are stuck.

But dreaming is a mirror really, for how our life looks from within, full of characters who can become important allies in helping us move forward and also characters who hold us back . . . negative shadow types.  Remembering dreams serves us in two ways at least: 1) It dissolves the split between consciousness and the “unconscious”, wakefulness and sleep, shining a light on our process so there is less “unconsciousness” in our lives. It breaks down that wall. I think that life without dreaming is sailing without a rudder. Dreams enable us to make micro-adjustments in our steerage so we don’t wind up some place where we don’t want to be. 2) It launches a new kind of relationship with our “inner” Self . . . the Self being our wholeness which manifests piecemeal over a lifetime. Continue reading

Today there is still hope for the American political system

This is the day of the New York primary. I have no illusions about Bernie’s chances, which is why I am writing now, in the afternoon of Tuesday, April 19th, about seven hours before the polls close. This is a very special time for those of us who believe that change in this country is absolutely necessary. Maybe change won’t come about politically. That might be asking too much of the system . . . to change itself. The reality is, the opposite seems to be happening — the two parties are deeply entrenched, shooting at anything that moves including their own shadows.  For Bernie to make it as the Democratic nominee would call for a miracle. The system would almost have to change at the soul level. And isn’t that what many of us are hoping? . . . That change will come as an awakening of the national conscience, like sleeping off a hangover? . . . That a social-political-ideological earthquake won’t be necessary? One way or another, something has to give. So watching Bernie’s credibility and popularity rise in the polls has been heartening. We who are sick to our stomaches of the creeping conservatism and rampant greed of American-style consumer-democracy . . . (Democracy? That’s a laugh!) . . . have taken heart during Berne’s run. The mere thought that he stands a chance makes me feel just a little better about our prospects. Some innocent part of me, that has somehow survived all these decades of disappointment in our system, tugs at my sleeve and says, “See? Things aren’t so bad.” So, yes, there is Bernie!  Today is special because  today, right now, as I sit in the Yellow Deli in Rutland Vermont, Bernie can still win. For seven more hours, technically six now,  I can hope that the system can really change without feeling like a dreamer!

A word about the writing of “We’re not all in the same boat”

    I wrote “We’re not all in the same boat” with reservations. It is a shadow-poem. In other words, I think I am writing about my shadow.

    The critical situation, as depicted, isn’t  true in the sense that it can’t be corroborated by any objective source. But is it true enough? Is it emotionally accurate? Does it resonate somewhere in us? Are most of us comfortable with identifying ourselves with the 95%, even though “we” are all walking different paths in a diverse society and our incomes range from 0 to a few hundred thousand dollars?

    If this metaphor does speak to us, how strange a position to find ourselves in. We, the vast majority feel like a minority, but not a minority in number but a minority in potency. We have essentially been minimized. Our place, in terms of determining our own destiny, has been minimized by a world that maximizes and magnifies wealth, status and power. This is what it feels to like to live in an oligarchy. We are like ants. We are the peasants. We are many but we have no voice or vision or power to enlarge our presence or status.

    I have just finished writing a book about initiation, and karma. I have concluded that we can’t effect any shift in the disastrous status quo without undergoing initiation. Something is playing out here. Being in a raft is an image of utter helplessness. So be it.

    Do you know anyone who is in the 5%? I don’t. There is only one time in my life when I crossed paths with a millionaire. When I was young and living on the rural outskirts of the University of Continue reading

My reading that nobody attended

It was when the librarian told me that people have been checking out my New Wasichu, Crossing that I decided to offer a reading Thursday evening.

Arriving right on time, I followed the librarian to the back where there were a dozen chairs set up. Some older guys, my age actually, were looking over a map that they had spread on a table where I was going to stand. The librarian kindly asked them to move. “We are having an event.”

The library is an old stone building on Main, the original building, dating back to the 1880s, with the name of the town rendered in granite  over the arched entrance. The interior is divided into two high-ceilinged rooms: in the front room is the service desk where you check out books. In the back room, where most of the books are shelved, there are a few computers.

These old, small town libraries hold a lot of neutral or dead space, space for books that aren’t moving. They aren’t moving because there is nobody promoting them; they have fallen out of time. Some of them are really good books, well written, well-conceived, some are even great books in their own way. So there is more space in such a library than people, if you get what I mean. And that’s the way it should be — space where a person can be alone with a book, or Continue reading