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Dreamwork as Spiritual Practice
Jan: Dear Ramji, first of all, I want to wish you, Sundari and the whole of ShiningWorld all the best in the new year.
This passing year was very significant for me. Two years ago Isvara speaking as Ramji gave me shit for not keeping my mind on the teaching and wasting time exploring past lives. I took it deeply into my heart because it is a self-evident truth. If we want to be free we have to keep our minds on the teaching. I put any further inquiry into mythology on a back burner.
But this personal stuff kept coming up and could not let go of it. This made me think: Am I in a position to dismiss it all as mithya and say no? If I am not able to do that, perhaps I should approach it with both/and attitude. I followed this path gingerly, always reminding myself that its purpose was to help me to disarm the patterns that keep me stuck in mithya. The outcome was a dream like I have never had before.
I am in a small village in Sweden. It is a lucid dream, I know that I live in the US and have never been to Sweden in this incarnation, but everything appears so vivid and real that I start believing that this must be a “real reality.” This shows me how strong my Scandinavian vasanas were. What a grace from Isvara to show me experientially equal status of dream and waking realities. Of course after waking up I knew that none of them is real.
I walk around the village. Suddenly there is ankle-deep water running down the street and I notice huge wall of water approaching from the distance. On one side of the street there is a depression that is the beginning of a massive, bottomless ravine. I will be swept into it. I notice a small building high on the edge of a depression. I struggle to reach it through raising water.
The building turns out to be a cross between community center, cafe, library and a temple. There are few people there. The atmosphere is very peaceful. There is a big glass door to a patio that steps down towards the ravine. I warn everybody that the flood is approaching, and we all sit on the patio to watch it. The wall of water arrives and the flow is deep, very powerful and crystal-clear. I notice that big boulders start appearing in it.
Suddenly the water dries up and there are only massive boulders the size of trucks rolling down. They are terrifying, incredibly destructive, unstoppable. The noise is deafening, there is smoke and dust in the air. The patio has a form of one big slab of concrete, and I notice that boulders started undermining it. Nobody sees it but I sense that it started moving down the ravine. I scream at everybody to jump off it onto the ground above. The patio disappears but we are are all safe. Only one person has a minor injury.
Water is a well-known symbol of sexual passion. What I felt once was crystal-clear but fast-moving, high-volume flow started picking up boulders on its way. Boulders are symbols of heaviness of anger and hatred I carried in my heart. And everything went down the ravine in a small, Swedish village where it had appeared to the primordial source of Creation. The small building high on the ridge is a symbol for spiritual knowledge that saved me, and through me the others on the patio.
It is a long story how this anger and hatred developed and how it got resolved. My experience taught me over and over again that reflecting on other incarnations can be a very helpful tool to uncover and disarm karmic patterns operating in the present. They may be Maya’s vomit, but when one throws up it can be reasonable to look at it and figure out what made one sick. Of course we may not forget that freedom is our fundamental goal. Now I can see very clearly that the essence of all these patterns is what Vedanta says: I didn’t get what I want or got what I didn’t want. It was just a matter of how quickly I was able to fully assimilate this knowledge.
There were lots of other beautiful dreams this year.
I walk by a barn that has openings on both sides. On my side there is a four-foot wall. Suddenly I see and hear a commotion behind it and see black birds like crows flying into the opening on the other side and dissolving into thin air. I look over the wall and see many more of them ready to take off. Something in me likes them and it wants them to like it back (I guess that would be ego appearing in me) but they are just scared out of their minds. The funny thing is that they caw, and I understand everything they say: “Here he comes again, there is nowhere for us to hide and rest, couldn’t he just leave us alone?”
I would interpret that black birds represent my vasanas. Indeed, there is no point in chasing them all, but there is one I definitely have to deal with: fear of financial insecurity. Despite of all the blessings this jiva received from Isvara, it still does not fully trust Her. I see that jiva has fallen into the trap of using spirituality as an escape from mithya and not responding appropriately to its demands. It is all a result of excessive tamas in my subtle body. I try to overcome them with excessive rajas and end up on a roller coaster ride. I definitely need better guna management, more sattva and sattvic rajas, not only when I study but also in daily life.
In another dream I talk spirituality with some people. To my surprise I notice that we are underwater, and they do not have oxygen tanks. To my even bigger surprise I realize that I do not have one either. The Self does not need air to breathe. Thank you, Isvara, so much for your constant guidance!
Damn, how much I stared loving the Bhagavad Gita. I am waiting impatiently for your videos from Carbondale. Watching you speak helps me immensely to concentrate on the teaching.
I guess you are getting established in Spain, and, Isvara willing, I hope to see you again either in America or Europe this year.
As always, any comments will be more than appreciated.
~ Lots of love
James: Dear Jan, my only comment is that this email shows how well the non-dual understanding is established in your mind, how wisely you value Vedanta. I’m a bit of a dream analyzer myself and I concur with your interpretation of the symbols. Yes, dreamwork can be an excellent sadhana for liberation if it is used in the context of Vedanta. You needn’t feel disturbed that security is your number-one issue. That’s why it is first on the list of samsaric orientations. As your confidence in your Self grows, it shrinks. Doing your level best to take care of business and leaving the rest to Isvara is the only way to go. I admire and applaud you for your devotion to the truth.
Everything is going beautifully on this side. I’m in Schiphol airport, Spanish residency visa in hand, waiting for my entry into the life of a householder. At 77 it’s about time. I hope you will come to Trout Lake this year.
~ Much love, James