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Isvara Is Your Friend
Mike: If I may, I would like to share a set of dreams I have had over the past few years. In reading your commentary on dream work I found your insights most helpful.
To date these dreams are a trilogy and all have a common theme of great typhoon-type waves at sea and me in the dreams encountering these waves in some way.
James: I emboldened and added my interpretation of the most important symbols after the words and made synopses after each dream.
Mike: The first was some three or so years ago, I do not recall the exact chronology. The location was the ocean and I was skippering [in charge of] the boat [your life] of my young boyhood years, basically the scene where my apparent self was apparently abused. I was at sea and suddenly huge storm waves appeared in succession, threatening the safety of the boat. Through skill [Isvara gives us all a special knowledge that allows us to survive] I managed to weather these waves, and after some length managed to skipper the boat to the lee [peace, safety, the self] of the harbour. I recall the “texture” of the dream as being extremely fearful. There were no other people in this dream.
The second was about a year ago. A different setting, an island – very flat and I was some distance inland. Appearing over the horizon, out of the sea was a single huge tsunami-type wave [maya], clearly one that had the power to obliterate the island [the little separate self] and all that was on it. I recall that I was alone [I am the self; there are no others], yet there were many people [thoughts] towards the direction of the wave, [guilt-thoughts; fear causes guilt; essentially, they are synonyms] much closer. I do not know the outcome, as the fright of the wave appearing woke me up. The texture of the dream was not so much fear as observation and knee-jerk reaction (I ran).
James: The self enters this dream. It is the observer. It means that you are developing a dispassionate relationship with the fear. The guilt/fear is just maya. Sundari called it “free-floating anxiety” in her recent letter to you. It is a universal force/power in everyone. I had a reoccurring variation of this dream from about age three to age 16.
Mike: The third happened this morning. I awoke around 2:00 am in extreme anxiety as is my pattern at this time, meditated on the self and discriminated the anxiety as an object and after an hour or so fell asleep again. This is when the third dream happened. The setting was both mountain, beach and rocky outcrops into the sea. If Isabella recalls Kalk Bay, it was this type of setting. The atmosphere (weather) was much darker, pregnant with potential storm. There were people around and I had some sort of distant or separate relationship to them, as if I was for them “of knowledge.” I had a camera [inquiry] and I am not sure why.
James: See the progression of ideas. In the third dream, you have a tool, inquiry (the camera) for dealing with maya.
Mike: Next, there appeared over the horizon and sea another huge typhoon-type wave. This one was distinctly different to the others, as it was of dark, muddy-water composition. A sort of mixture of sea [the self] and dirty brown river water [the negative vasanas], the sort of typhoon wave one could imagine seeing appearing at the mouth of a great river like the Amazon. There was debris, trees and logs within the wave, as if it had travelled a great distance to get to me [the vasanas are “far away” from the you; it means they can’t contaminate you], collecting this filth as it progressed on its path.
I took a picture and reported the event to the people who immediately started to evacuate up the mountain [inquiry inoculates the self under the spell of ignorance from these bad feelings]. I knew they would make it out [you would get moksa], as there was time before the wave hit [the wave never “hits”; it is not real]. I, however, had left something behind on the beach in a sunny spot [the self] on my blue beach towel [blue is the color of the self; it means infinite like the sky and the ocean]. I recall the texture of this spot was distinctly different to the surrounding ominous atmosphere [the self is other than dread], yet it was just a spot and of “no consequence” [you forget who you are when you are in thrall to fear] to the enormity of what was happening. I recall having a battle with my mind [in the dream] that I did not really need what was there and I should leave and that going back for it was gratuitous and no longer needed.
James: When you are guilty you leave your self behind. It makes it seem as if you are of “no consequence,” meaning you have low self-esteem. The feeling that you did not “really need” to retrieve yourself from the clutches of maya is an ego that derived some kind of pleasure from feeling bad. There is always some kind of upside to the downside of misery. Remember, life is duality; for every pain there is a pleasure. It is hard to assimilate this fact. The dream’s idea is that if you don’t do self-inquiry and neutralize this fear, you can continue to wallow in self-pity. “How delicious! See the juicy karmic possibilities. I am a total failure. There are a lot of bleeding hearts out there will give me the sympathy that I am not willing to give myself.”
Mike: I am not sure if I did actually go back for it, as my concern then was about the camera [my inquiry] and the images [the positive teachings of Vedanta] I had taken and getting those to safety. [You are seeing the value of self-knowledge.] I ran to follow the path [of inquiry] out, and all lights [the teachings] failed and the terrain plunged into total darkness. [At the same time you appreciate the value of the idea that you are the self, a positive entity, you doubt that self-inquiry will work. See the war here.] A storm broke and rain fell in the darkness, yet had the feeling of being “appropriate.” I attempted to navigate out – to follow the path the others [two possible interpretations: (1) thoughts of otherness, the samsaric option or (2) the path of others means self-inquiry] had taken; however, the path and all clear “direction” was engulfed in the void [doubts about whether or not you are up to it, i.e. lack of confidence], obliterated. In attempting to follow, I was getting snared in bushes and thickets, making no headway. It was then that I awoke.
Again, while this dream was a lot more graphic than the second and I was fully immersed in it, there was not much fear, more observation and a sense of willing participation, like watching a movie, yet a lot more real.
James: Isvara is saying that you are becoming dispassionate about your trauma and the identity that the Mike-jiva constructed around it (Vedanta calls this jiva sristi, jiva’s creation). Isvara sometimes jumbles the symbols: it doesn’t think in a straight line like the subtle body, so it is not necessarily clear if “fully immersed” refers to self-inquiry or if it refers to samsaric thinking. I think the context warrants the second option (self-inquiry) because, perverse as Isvara seems to be at some times, Isvara is also a bit of a cheerleader. It is on your side. It is your friend. So it is saying that you can willingly participate in self-inquiry, that it is the way out of your labyrinth.
~ Love, James