Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Divine Potluck part 2--Showing Up

In my previous post, I mentioned accountability and dreams and lucidity almost in the same breath. By way of further explanation, I have to give you a bit of background and tell a story or two.

I often have lucid dreams (in which I become conscious of dreaming while in the midst of one). Anyone who experiences a fair amount of this can hardly resist making the comparison between these dreams and regular, waking consciousness. There have been several occasions when I woke from a lucid dream, unsure if my waking was yet another part of the dream, or...? Where did the dream end and "reality" begin? The fact that I wasn't sure, even for a minute, was unsettling.

Perhaps as a result of these experiences and many other non-induced "altered states", I have a great respect for dreams, as much as I respect "normal" consciousness. Sometimes even more so, since dreams speak quite directly, bypassing our usual duck-and-cover filters. I have shared the same dream with another person, as if we showed up in a different reality at the same time, describing it to each other the following day; I have had precognitive dreams, "remote viewing" dreams, and instructional dreams in which the purpose of particular plants, events and visions were explained clearly. Dream symbolism often bleeds over into everyday consciousness, if I don't pay attention to some message, as if life suddenly has a "theme" that I need to be aware of.

The point is, no matter when, where or how consciousness is altered or changes on its own, there is always a single factor, present and aware through waking, sleeping, world-jumping or time-traveling. It is the designate reference known as I, me, this, here, now. There is always this "awareness", which both defines and is defined by endless "states", but is statelessness itself.

No matter what you are inclined to feel about the fuzziness of dreams or the sharpness of normal consciousness (or vice-versa), it is nonetheless true that you, and you alone, are at the bottom of all your experiencing. You happen to "belong to" a universe that is absolutely encompassing and totally penetrated by all possible universes, belonging to any "I" anywhere and anytime. So what we cherish as our assumed security and privacy, our secret vices and powers, are actually not bounded or hidden as we would like to believe. A self may deny until death, and often does, but original Self is quite aware. God knows no distance.

In spite of this and along with this, the opposite is also true. No "other" can see or experience things from exactly your unique perspective. Each apparent individual person, place or thing in your world is an appearance, dreamed up by you and defined by you. Every act, no matter how redeeming or repulsive, is committed by a character within you, an appearance "of" you. Your singularity, in this sense, is complete.

Young children, sages, shamans and other "medicine people" understand this kind of dreaming without question. Such openness is incapable of denying reality for the sake of a self-image. To be clear, "reality" is exactly what appears in the sensual field, in all its beauty and ugliness, bliss and pain. By simply accepting it for what it is, we accept an invitation to a feast--in which "fulfillment" needs no explanation.

One of the first sparks of "accountability" was thrown out several years ago in my world by a Native American medicine woman, whom I'll call Carla. She was on a mission to tend to some "unreleased" spirits on a mesa near my home. She had seen this place in dreams, and through a series of events, ended up as my guest for a few days.

Carla was under five feet in height, and seemed almost as round as she was tall. She had great Presence, like a planet unto herself. She didn't say very much, but what she did say carried a gravitational pull. In a pause between her thoughts, one could almost feel the turning of galaxies. I was initially skeptical of her "title", but honored in spite of myself to have her there.

We had several conversations, the most memorable of which was about the prophecies of her people involving cataclysmic events on Earth. She told me, in a simple and symbolic way, that her ancestors had foretold a "great white wave" of people that would sweep from the East coast of this continent to the West. Once this wave reached the West coast, it was said that it would turn back upon itself and begin to destroy itself and the land. This would be followed in time by earthquake and flood, fire and storms. People would die and the population would thin out and disperse. But all of this, she said, was in preparation for a "new tribe", one that was rainbow-like in color, and which carried the "old ways".

(I must note that this conversation arose from a discussion of a series of recurring dreams in which I was traveling through a landscape transformed by water along a no-longer familiar West Coast. So her descriptions were chilling, to say the least.)

I shook my head at the 'great white wave' analogy, remarking on the greed and ignorance of some of our esteemed forefathers. Carla looked at me, wide-eyed and serious. "No," she said. "It was our fault."
How could that be? What did she mean?
"It was our fault," she insisted, "that white men came in the spirit that they did. It was the fault of us medicine people."
She explained that it was the work of the medicine people to care for the spiritual health and well being of the land, as well as the tribe; that there were "points of power", of energy, connected across the earth like veins or roads, one to the other. The medicine people failed to do their job, she said, when they began to care more about what men thought of them than the land. The energy turned "negative", and the greater body got sick, allowing a kind of dark force to come in.

I asked Carla if these foretellings existed before the time of the onset of this illness. "Long before", she said. I asked her if the coming events were fated, set in stone. Or perhaps they fulfilled themselves...

She smiled, explaining that there are many possible futures, and that the prophecies exist as warnings and opportunities to remember "the old ways", or what is vital and important to human beings in relation to the world. They are dreams that haven't happened all the way, yet, that can be changed...up to a point. At the time we had this talk, she reckoned that the point of no return had come and gone, and the tribes, she said, were already making preparations. She was very adamant that I teach my children the "ways" (which she insisted I knew), and that they weren't just lodged in the natives of the lands, but in everyone.

"You don't have to be an Indian," she told me, "to know. People just ignore. That's all."

There were lots of things we talked about that I glossed over back then, as concerned as I was with the vividness of my "water" dreams and her descriptions of a tough future for us all. I was focused on the survival aspect of this information, naturally, and fear. The events around her visit were nothing less than surreal, and took a really long time to process. The fact that she considered herself to be responsible, both generally and personally, for the condition of the land--it somehow bothered me, and I didn't understand it at the time.

Since then, there has been plenty of digestion and assimilation. The "theme" of responsibility comes around again and again, through wisdom of various cultures, and other storylines in my life. There were shadows that I did not want to believe I had anything to do with, though they showed themselves all the time; there were things I would dismiss that reappeared, things I would run from, only to somehow crash right into them again.

They did not resolve when I declared that I was ready to "put up with" them. They hung around when I tried to wait it out. They laughed when I felt I was going to outsmart them someday. They endured easily through all the methods I tried and the tricks I pulled and the explanations and justifications I came up with. They were completely unsympathetic to my "martyr" routine, completely unimpressed with my rage.

But the minute I saw that they are here because I am, this shadowland underwent a transformation.

A new kind of language opened up, and my former enemies, from the bothersome to the frightening, became my allies and teachers. I realized that all my dire problems were simply my own reactions to my fears and my projections. Even when anger or grief or confusion was directed at me by another person, I saw clearly that I was the emotion, the circumstance around it, and that I could not ease the conflict from the position of being outside of, or in opposition to, this distraught appearance. This is my dream.

It was a shift in perspective, and more. It was the truth, finally. It was resolution. I didn't have to "deal with" these things, anymore. My job was simply to remain clear and hear everything out. My task was not to decide who was right or wrong or what should be done; all I had to do was wait, not create defensive characters with big mouths. But I had to wait in the spirit of responsibility, not tolerance or suffering. There is always a "telling" going on, exactly as in a lucid dream; some direction, some appropriate action is unfolding in which I remain aware, one foot in the actual.

Often, when people are ranting and I am listening, what is going through my heart are things like "I'm sorry", heartfelt compassion along with the knowledge of this pain; and "I love you",
not directed at the personality before me, but at the Beloved who is speaking to me. If at any time I am drawn into the drama, the story, and I think to myself that "I have a solution for you, if you will just listen", then I have just abdicated responsibility. I have just cut myself off from what's authentic. I have just decided that this is not my doing, that I am not accountable; I am now a conquering or victimized character, believing it is real.

Always, without fail, there is some kind of "good" change or healing that comes out of these encounters. I am not helping "other people" in this space. I am attending to myself. And because deep attention leads to natural "right" action, the process is greatly simplified, and energy goes where it needs to go, unconfused.

It's easy to think that life just happens and we are along for the ride. It's sometimes appropriate to act as if this is true. However, everything that shows up in your reality is put there by you. If we must have a self, then we need to take it to maturity in order to understand the deeper language of being. We are not victims of circumstance, in actual fact. If we dream that we are, there will naturally be a great deal of disconnection, in which we turn away from this "hidden order" of reality.

I have spoken about this "accountability" in the light of a problem-solving "skill", but this hardly touches the heart of the matter. It is actually a willingness to be open...not just to shadows, but to light, intense and hidden beauty in a life we dismiss as "common". When your own hand is felt in all of creation...when you realize how you gather from the dream you are waking up in, and combine all the "ingredients" in ways which fascinate you, and present your creation at a gathering collected by yourself...there is much gratitude and appreciation and real love. There is no more waiting for crumbs to fall, or for recognition, or companionship.

You are invited.

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