Adam and Eve had everything in the Garden of Eden, didn’t they? Well, almost everything. They didn’t know the difference between good and evil, but we are told that Eve and the snake changed all that. God had given Adam and Eve only one rule: Do not eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. For a while, Adam and Eve found it easy to honor this rule, for there was much to discover in the beautiful garden and each other.
When we were in our thirties my husband and I were invited to a party at the home of a couple we’d recently met. Halfway through the evening I was sitting on the stairs when a man I didn’t know sat beside me. As we made small talk I began to realize he was flirting with me. I’m not great at flirting so I was a bit uncomfortable. But he wasn’t saying anything the least bit offensive or inappropriate so I kept my manner open and friendly.
I’d like to tell you about a particularly potent form of inner work that helped my daughter achieve her career goals. Julie was at Florida State University (Go Noles!) working on her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy when the time came to write her dissertation. Suddenly, the psychic energy that had served her so well for so long hit a wall.
In my last post I said that understanding and compassion can heal dysfunctional relationships. While I know this is true, I also know that some relationships are not worth saving. The problem is how to tell the difference between those with healing potential and those that are truly toxic. Some relationships are vehicles to higher consciousness; others are accidents waiting to happen.
Every experience presents an opportunity to grow into our heroic selves. The spiritual journeyer’s question is not, “Why did this happen to me?” but, “What is the most authentic and beneficial response I can make to this situation?” Thus, one level of meaning in every dream pertains to our behavior in the outer world, and another to the inner condition of the psyche from which it originates.
Dreams express things essentially unknown to the ego. Most believe, however, that they are primarily about emotions, which are charges of energy that influence our thoughts and behavior. Sometimes they create so much anxiety that stopping to reflect on what we are feeling before responding does not come easily to us. We find it far easier to act immediately, often with disastrous consequences. Emotional awareness is the stairway between the archaic being at the deeper levels of our psyche and higher consciousness, and dreamwork can help provide this awareness.
This is a continuation of the last post about my most recent dream: I find myself on a narrow (12 foot wide) runway bordered by silver metal railings. The ramp rises higher into the sky and farther away from the platform I’ve left behind. The woman (an aspect of my shadow) to the right who is absorbed in her creative work warns me against continuing but I’m determined to find the fountain.
Someone recently asked me how I work on my dreams, so in this and the next two posts I’ll demonstrate my process using my latest dream as an example. I have only a vague idea what it could mean and frankly some of the symbolism worries me, but it feels important so I’ll begin by exploring my associations with the symbols.