Slipping Into Myself


I began recording and working with my dreams in 1989. In those early days, many of my dreams  had to do with conflicting feelings about my career.  This is one of them.
Dream #198: “Hiding From the Enemy”
Someone desecrates my small, primitive wooden house and ransacks my possessions while I’m away teaching writing classes.  It’s a dark night and the enemy is looking for me.  I’m in danger.  I hide, lying flat on the ground, pressed against the outside wall of the classroom.  I’m afraid to breathe or make a sound.  I know my tribe values my contribution and won’t give me away.
In dreams, houses usually represent the psychological condition in which we’re living.  So right away I’m being told that my inner life is cramped and primitive.  Moreover, it is a mess. But instead of trying to fix it up, what am I doing?  Hiding in terror behind a classroom! In other words, I’m using my job as an escape, a way to avoid conducting some inner work and confronting an unknown enemy that’s really messing with my mind.
And who or what is this enemy that has my dream ego holding its breath and cowering in the dark?  When I had this dream I couldn’t imagine what it might be; dreams are, after all, dramatizations about the unconscious self.  But now I know and the knowing makes me sad for  my cluelessness and the needless anxiety I was suffering. I was a puppet of convention and terrified of my natural, authentic self!
At that time it must have looked to others as if I had the world by the tail; but inside a battle had been raging for over nine years between two apparently irreconcilable opposites. On one side was my ego that was growing increasingly unhappy with its lack of personal meaning and spiritual fulfillment, but still preferred the familiarity and safety of the status quo to the dangers of the unknown.  On the other was the compelling new voice of Sophia whose call to freedom from conformity was deeply attractive but felt dangerously subversive. Which side was right? Which was wrong? Nothing in my life had prepared me for this excruciating dilemma. How was I to choose?  Rejecting either one would have felt like a terrible mistake.
My solution was deceptively simple and came in its own sweet time. I listened to my inner opposites and tolerated the tension between them for nine long years without shutting down or rushing to premature closure. Gradually I grew more aware of a fuller range of choices and braver about making original ones that honored my inner life as much as my outer one. Then I had a big dream in which I was going against the current in a rushing river and walking back upstream toward my true home. This dream told me that something in my psyche had shifted. Without my ego’s full awareness I had changed directions and simply slipped into myself.  Why? Because I was taking my inner life seriously and paying attention. I was just trying to stay conscious.
It seems to me that the energies of life support two basic human endeavors: to become ourselves and learn to love.  And until we get the first one right, we can’t accomplish the second. That’s why making the unconscious conscious is my career now and nothing less will ever satisfy.

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0 Responses

  1. Jean………..I love your website; I felt I could have written
    this most recent if I were but as articulate as you in
    describing your inner workings. A Jungian therapist
    told me I HAD to leave the collective to find my inner
    authenticity etc. etc. I don’t think I have done that but
    I’m working on it. Houses are always my repeating
    images/gatherings of people in houses/ etc. I wish
    you would seriously practice your dream work with
    our remaining Moonbeams…..would you work with me
    individually? do you work on others dreams via this
    blog and do my repsonses go out on the internet ? or what could we do? MB

  2. Dear MB Helen,
    Knowing you as I do, I also think you are suited for this giant step into the unknown!!
    I’d be happy to work with you privately, by phone, e-mail, or in person when possible to give what assistance I can in helping you tap into your deep wisdom. As you know, the ultimate goal is for you to become so familiar with your own inner workings that you no longer need confirmation or affirmation from anyone outside yourself.
    E-mail me privately and we’ll see what develops.
    Much love, beautiful lady,

  3. jeanie—when i was 19 and just getting exposed to eastern mysticism, i dreamed that a small squat snake with a drooping mustache was leaping to bite me in the living room of my parents’ house. i tried to defend myself by picking up big heavy books and throwing them, trying to crush the snake but it was much too quick and unpredictable. finally, after much drama, having chased it into the bathroom, it did indeed bite the little finger of my left hand, and i immediately felt myself growing numb and paralyzed, sinking toward death. the snake, for its part, leaped into the bathtub and disappeared down the drain, back underground…
    a turning point of a dream. pushed me away from cold intellectualization and the conventional way of my parents’ living room, toward the living dynamic of the ever-emerging unconscious.
    several years later, i came across a bronze casting of a crouching dragon, complete with drooping mustache, that was the very image of my dream’s sip of the collective unconscious’ well…..
    thanks for your work.

  4. I love it, William. What a great dream! What did you make of the drooping moustache? Perhaps a nod to the West’s image of the inscrutable Eastern mystic? (Too many Charlie Chan movies?) Did you buy the bronze casting?
    At the age of ten I dreamed the Lone Ranger, my hero at that time, shot me. Many years later when I ran across an 8 X 10 glossy of him and Silver standing regally atop a cliff beside Tonto and Scout I bought it and kept it around to remind me of my life’s work: to stop living vicariously through external heroes and tap into “the living dynamic of the ever-emerging unconscious.”
    I loved your new blog in the Huff. I’m still thinking about it.

    1. the drooping mustache surprised me since i wasn’t exposed to eastern art at the time. the dragons of the east tend to have long “mustaches” somewhat like catfish, not made of hair of course….
      it appears in retrospect that the archetypal image had broken through my conscious acculturation…..
      and yes, i bought it on sight and still have it all these years later. like yourself, i kept it as a visual reminder–for me, it has served to keep me aware of the utter mystery of the world, the inseparability of dreaming-awake and dreaming-asleep.
      getting shot by the lone ranger: i really like that! maybe a first push away from white-hat versus black-hat conventionalism???
      as for the recent blog on HP: it’s still rolling around in me, too, like long thunder…..i appreciated your comment!

  5. Several decades ago I would have a recurring dream where I was wearing a black slip-dress and holding a cup while talking with a group of friends who completed a circle. They were in shadow with two on my left, one oppositre me and one on my right. i worked on this for several years and still wonder at the missing components. The dress was an indication to pay attention to my feminine components, the drink was the gift of life, the circle represents the hidden components of persona, with the other individuals representing radically differing parts of the self. The right-hand part is the killer ( prone to violence) and the opposite part is my professional counterpart responsible to the world’s demands, but the two on the left are still puzzles.
    This dream along with many others is responsinle for my recognition of my contrasexual self and the resulting support for GLBTI issues. It also appears in my participation in philosophical debates and support fot Jungian Societies.
    James Q. Burgess, P. S. I was the one at the Sarasota meeting who clapped during your talk about the dysfunctional god-images.

  6. Hi James, it’s good to hear from you. Thanks for letting me know who you are. Your clapping was much appreciated! Will you please come to all my talks?
    Yes, I too see the circle as a symbol of the Self in all its various components. Did you know that Jung said that it was only in the advanced stages of the individuation process that the ego has contact with the Self in its feminine aspect? Sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of inner work for a long time, and bringing it into your outer life as well. Another wonderful example of how life-changing a dream can be. Thank you for sharing it with me.

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