Thursday, January 10, 2013

Life's Greatest Treasure

Having recorded over 1000 dreams, I've noticed that certain dream symbols seem to go together. It seems whenever I have a dream involving a museum, there are always ghosts involved. I suppose it makes a certain kind of sense. Museums and ghosts both have to do with the past, with things that are dead and gone, but that still retain a kind of half-life through memory and through history. Since I am a historian, it makes sense that I would have dreams that involve both museums and ghosts! Except that usually when I have these dreams they're kind of scary. This was certainly true of the dream I had this past Monday night. The dream culminated with me and Göran and all of the inhabitants of some unnamed Hawaiian island gathered in front of a museum that was haunted.

In this dream, the powerful evil spirit that possessed the museum had been pursuing and harassing me throughout the dream. Göran and I had to been on a flight to Hawaii, when the evil spirit had possessed the navigation equipment of the airplane and caused it to crash into the ocean. Everyone on board drowned except for Göran and me. Later, out of paranoia that the spirit might possess anybody, I attacked somebody, resulting in a fight and then a pursuit to the shores the ocean.

As I reflected more deeply on the dream symbolism, I realized that the museum, which from the outside looked like an enormous mansion, represented the powers that rule this world. In some Gnostic literature, the ocean represents worldly, material consciousness. So the evil spirit trying to drown me and Göran by crashing us into the ocean would represent the dangers of losing one's connection with higher consciousness or the Spirit. Paranoia, preemptive attacks, retaliation, and escalation of violence in the dream were symbolic of the struggles for power and the vicious cycles of material existence minus higher consciousness.

Following the plane crash Göran and I swam to shore. If the ocean represented drowning in material consciousness, then the island in Hawaii would have represented the possibility of human enlightenment. (Hello James Kent!) At a key point in the dream we arrived at a hotel, a temporary residence. When we reported that we had lost all our possessions when our plane crashed into the ocean, we were told that we had insurance that would replace everything of value.  What happened next is what got my attention. The woman asked me what the value of my material possessions had been, and I told her I had had nothing of value -- except for a few dollars in my wallet, which I still had with me in my back pocket. Then she asked Göran what had been the value of his possessions, and he told her $27,000. She promptly handed him $27,000 to replace what had been lost.

When I told our foster son M. this part of the dream, he said, "Oh, that's because Göran is more materialistic than you!" That's what I had thought at first too. I can't deny that Göran has frequently accused me of being a "monk" and of caring too little our material possessions and surroundings. He likes to have his Louis Vuitton bags and designer clothes! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this is not what the dream was actually about. It was that number that got my attention. Twenty-seven thousand is three to the power of three times one thousand. Numerologically, then, 27,000 would represent the ultimate spiritual treasure in infinite abundance (3 symbolizing spirit, 3 to the power of 3 symbolizing ultimate spirit, and 1000 symbolizing endless abundance). I realized that Göran "having worth" valued at 27,000 symbolized that he is my treasure. It is in my relationship with him that I will find an endless abundance of spiritual treasure. 

So the dream seemed to be telling me: Pay attention to your relationship with Göran! Guard it, protect it and stay close to him! The point in my dream when I succumbed to paranoia and got involved in escalating warfare with angry adversaries was right after I had parted ways momentarily with Göran. He had gone "upstairs" in the hotel and I "downstairs." After my adversaries pursued me to the ocean shore, leaving me wondering if I would be forced back into the waters, Göran arrived and the adversaries dispersed.  The conscious thought in my dream was that Göran would protect me. Or, rather, the way forward for me is to stay true to him and to our relationship.

The dream also seemed to be telling me that worldly adversity could not take this treasure from me. Though the plane crash had threatened to destroy us and take away everything of value to us, ultimately we had "insurance" that prevented that from happening. No one and nothing can take our love away from us or detract from what we have together. (No one but us, that is!)

There was a message in the dream, I think, about material possessions. It was not unlike Jesus' teachings on the subject. If we focused our lives on what really mattered, we would have enough.  I had a few dollars in my wallet; Göran's $27,000 would be more than enough for us to meet our needs on the island.

The end of my dream was fascinating to me partly because of its open-endedness.  After a plane crash and after nearly being driven back into the ocean by a deadly conflict, I was gathered with all the inhabitants of the island (a symbol of the world, of all the inhabitants of the world). Everyone was there, including my erstwhile adversaries. We were contemplating the haunted museum together, deciding whether or not to go inside.

At the gate of the museum was some kind of sacred shrine, with a figure inside of sky blue and tan. (It made me think of the Virgin Mary.  It could have been Sophia, divine Wisdom.)  The shrine reminded me that we had a choice: We could choose to go inside the mansion/museum, or we could choose to leave. 

This is the choice we make every day, between the world and the Spirit. We eschew the world by worrying less about things, and by trying not to become obsessed with status and security. We embrace the Spirit by paying attention to what our real treasure is, by trusting that nothing of true value can ever be taken away from us, and by investing our lives in what matters. (Others!)

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