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Karl: Hi, James. I have read more of the satsangs, specifically on dream work, and I found the comments on Shadow content helpful. It seems I am dreaming a lot of late and some I have an understanding of what the vasana is.
James: Vasanas are the substance of the dreams. Isvara arranges the vasanas into a story that is meant to give the jiva knowledge that will resolve its issues.
Karl: Last night I had one I would appreciate your comment on.
Karl met a woman who was fair, slim and of great beauty in a radiant manner, as opposed to physical beauty. Karl had an affinity toward her and asked, “Can I get to know you, please?”
James: This “woman” is called your “anima.” She is the “feminine” part of yourself. Because she is beautiful, radiant, compassionate, shameless, open and non-physical she stands for your self. Your affinity is inquiry. You are looking into yourself, Karl, and the self with the help of Vedanta.
Karl: She smiled with great compassion and without shame exposed herself to me. Her genitals and reproductive organs were scarred and greatly mutilated by childbirth. The scars and mutilation had healed badly in a deformed way. She also showed her anus which was also mutilated but in a different way, from illness. The skin was dark, swollen and blotched and covered by a pale, mucous-type skin in the form of a web. She commented on the web, but I am not sure why.
There was no shame, anger or bitterness in the exposure, only love and peace. In a way the deformity made her “more beautiful.” This exchange between her and Karl was tender and compassionate.
James: She is teaching you that your wounds are nothing to be ashamed of, that seen in the light of the self they have a certain beauty. The web of skin is probably the story you have made of your wounds. A story is like skin, in that it hides what is inside. Her comments probably mean that obsessing about your wounds hides your spiritual beauty.
The scarred reproductive organs probably refer to the damage the abuse visited on you dampened your creativity, your ability to live creatively and freely. This web of thoughts and emotions about your abuse is an illness, it is a waste, spiritually. It is “shitty.”
Karl: Karl, after a while, asked her if she could still have sex. She smiled and said no, but could still love in a very deep way. This type of love was somehow communicated to Karl, who got the meaning to be a love that is a lot more real, fulfilling and satisfying.
James: Somewhere along the line you confused sex and love. No blame, most everybody – particularly men – make this mistake. Sex without love is self-centered, little more than masturbation. Love is the nature of the self, open, free, compassionate, beautiful, radiant, etc.
Karl: Karl then asked if she had such a person to love; she smiled and gave Karl a deep hug.
James: The self – you – love Karl. This is why you are trying to lay the abused-boy thought to rest. When it is gone, you can love yourself. By “gone” I mean that when you see that it is just a story, a web of ideas that generate a predictable set of negative emotions, it will no longer have a hold on you. The thought (I am unworthy, damaged, etc.) will arise, perhaps – it is one of those thoughts like a fetus in the womb that will stop in its own time – but the feelings associated with it will no longer appear, because you will appreciate it as mithya, only a thought, not a reality. The abuse stopped a long time ago, but you kept it alive, carried it forward and allowed it to contaminate Karl.
When you take a stand in awareness, your story is like a movie. You may be sitting in the theater watching it, but you know it and the tears it engenders are not real. The bad things that happen are nothing to be ashamed of. They had to happen. There is a lesson in them. And the lesson is always love. So this dream woman is telling you how to see your ugly past. It is not ugly. It is beautiful. Love it. Sex is looking for love in the wrong place – the body. You can’t look for love, because you are love; you can only appreciate it. What happened is a gift from Isvara, prasad. So the next time you think about it – or feel inclined to tell someone about it – present it as a twisted but beautiful story that leads to love. “Zero-sum” means that there is an upside to every downside. Keeping this fact in mind and looking for the upside in every thought and situation is the discipline of Vedanta.
In Chapter XI of the Gita, Krishna shows Arjuna all the evil in the world and Arjuna can’t appreciate it. The idea of this revelation is that unhappiness with evil is pointless because evil exists. It always has and it always will. It is a consequence of ignorance of Isvara. The jiva cannot remove it. It can only view it in the right light, as an inevitable and necessary part of the apparent reality that has its own beauty.