The Fabric of Dreams: Part 1

I don’t dream a lot when sleeping. Most nights my brain does a garbage dump of fragments and disorienting images. Some of you might think this is odd coming from some one who has been a dream worker for most if my life. The training over many years developed discernment and a deeper understanding of how the brain works, it’s impulses and chemistry. From the endless documentation of moon cycles, diet, seasons, emotional navigation, menstrual cycles, sugar/caffeine intake, etc…. a picture emerges of what goes on up the in my cranium. Most dreams are just the images formed by chemistry as it passes through the body. It’s not glamorous. It’s not insightful unless it disturbs you and you reflect and take actions to change your diet, get sober, or any other behavior change.

This is why I tell my students to keep a dream journal. You have to unravel the mystery of your body and mind. This comes from the first question in spiritual journey: Who am I?

What drives and motives the brain into action? The input from the senses, what nutrients enter the body, emotions, behaviors, addictions and reactions that unfold because you inhabit a body. These folds of fat and neural activity are constantly being stimulated and adjusted to the body’s interfacing with the environment it navigates.

Learning to read your dreaming takes time and there isn’t a certificate at the the end. You just know how you work body and mind better. Yet, through this knowledge into dreams and dreaming there is a door way into other worlds…. Time bending…. Interesting things happen.

When I do have a dream of significance I know based on my understanding of my process that it is worthy of furthering study and documentation. For me these dreams are lucid. I am alive in them, fully in my senses and I navigate them as if I were awake. The imagery is rich in ancestral, archetypal content and symbolism. To decipher these dreams I spent years writing down repeating people, places and things and then mapping that against what I ate, moon cycles, menstrual cycles, location, emotional state, interactions, shifts in relationships, environmental factors, political dynamics, general health, etc…. and over time I created for my use a glossary of a dream language that my mind works in.

I share all this because you can’t understand how to work in the dreamtime unless you have learned the machinery that creates the dreams. This is why it so important to know the difference in types of dreaming, what stimulates the dreams and how your body and mind work together in order to produce dreaming that is effective in your life. Be that a Shaman, artist, engineer, scientist, healer, etc….

Webs…

Drop of water on a leaf – 2014

Since the early 90s the push has been to create a web of information that allows for the free flow of information and the potential to access it from all places of our society. The home computer started the process and has generated an avalanche of access, technologies and ways to keep humanity involved and invested in a world created out of light and the ability to store and send information. Games. Email. Texts. Digital photography. Blogs. Vlogs. Social media. The list goes on and on. We created a virtual world… a dream time of sorts where the real, solid, viseral are blurred with the elusive identities of self, belonging, architectural archetypes of self and society’s ability to navigate and regulate a landscape that doesn’t really exhist without a power cord.

The self became an avatar into this world. In techniques of a shamanic sort: entrainment, curiosity, bridging worlds, and creating control and magic in mysterious worlds. We became the dream. Wizards. Warriors. Empowered Goddesses. We could be the perfect size. The perfect person to master this world. We were no longer just the dreamers. We became trapped in the nightmare of a technical cosmology that morphed and changed with out warnings. Upgraded and tweaked to improve. Abandoned plots. Cryptically mysterious and maddening… Autocorrect and all the disorienting stuff that disturbs the sleeping mind and soul.

The anchoring points of friendships and families slowly devolved to images on screens and texts. Dispersing the physical world far and wide. Held together by these threads of a web that grows strangely long and meandering. The delusion of connections and the reality of distance and loneliness.

We trade true intimacy for a public forum of opinions and seeks a tribe of like minded in a world where nothing can seem sure or real.

This dream world tells us to trust it. Their are people working to improve the experience. Make it easier to connect. These are hollow words for those who are hanging on the edge of how to navigate being in both worlds.

To brand or not to brand?… That is the question….

I started my training as a shaman in at the beginning of the technological revolution. I have been fascinated and critical of it. I find it is useful, useless, efficient and maddeningly time consuming. I also see how these webs of information poison the very fabric of our humanity… and in the same breath I see how it has connected and changed in some very good ways the understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

The current situation of the world is exploiting the breaks and fragility of this web. We are at a pivotal point in how we want to live together on this planet. We hopefully can see the flaws of where we have been and how we have weaken our lives, this society and perhaps fashion a new kind of web that is more about the real vitality and virtues of our humanity.

Where are we?

Success of a Species….

I was born in 1964. In the middle of a country clashing to move toward a different way of being. I am a product of that free love thing some of you practiced. I came into the world on a wave of revolutionary turmoil. That rebellion would lay down the foundation for my life and the journey many of us would take from that exploding torrent of counter culture and the dream of a more humanitarian world.

What happened. The good paying jobs from my parents generation evaporate and were sent over seas. Leaving a vacuum in place of long term choices and stability. Unions were demonized, pensions became 401 plans that gambled the stock market, you got paid what was deemed the minimum to keep stuck until your usefulness or experience betrayed you, hope for any kind of real retirement today looks pretty non-existent.

Basic wages stagnated for the greater population while the world economy grew exponentially for a few clever and “brilliant” visionaries. As this growth harvested the natural resources for profit and preached the almighty gospels of Capitalism, Consumerism, and Power. It propagandized the delusion that you are what you own and you had to fake it until you made it with loans, credit and borrowing money to pretend you are part of the club. Investing in the stock market was a tool for showing the health of an economy that could not save itself from any seismic shift that forces it all to tumble down.

They print more money and it cheapens everything. Dangerously deflates the value of time and human resources. It is the promise from a deranged God that laughs at his sadistic power to make everyone love him for a piece of paper with out any backing.

Our species has evolved into over population. We can not reconcile our numbers to match the reduction of resources and the fragile ecology of the environment. Like the defining truth of supply and demand we are less valued because the resources it takes for most of us to survive is not worth the investment. Governments corrupted by corporate moneys, disregard the poor and support those who praise their brilliance…. they mock the vulnerable as lazy and continue to take away any infrastructure that could create a way out of the despair. Worth is measure by what is put into the Capitalist game, which is why those with power can without much consequence measure their worth against the shining tower of the wealthly and Capitalism. They won the game.

In all of this today is tangled with a silent killer that many are not educated enough to understand from the very system we pay for with taxes. We have shifted from reality to a cartoon of reality. We live in a world of pretenders and liars. All of them trying to sell something or convince you that they know the way. We are trapped looking at tiny screens scrolling because the world got dangerous and no one planned for it. We are angry, miserably lonely and uncertainty of what comes next. For the average person the failure on every level is damning and terrifying. Rent. Mortgages. Bills.

But in true skewed reality we are fed all these ways to make it fun or productive. While sorting through the slog of Covid-19 news that presents contradictions as information and leaves us with our free will and choice as we shoulder the burden of responsibility to figure it out on our own.

The sky and the natural world has some how started to fill the gaps of our absence with beauty. Bird sounds. Flowers. Tiny buds and leaves. The bleakness of winter is shifting into a climate that is touched by less humans. This is the ultimate truth of this planet it keeps adapting and changing to mitigate it’s survival and evolution.

This planet is also our home. We have a hard and difficult road ahead. The transformation that must happen will not be one that continues what we had. It needs to… has to come from a truly wholistic and interconnected place. The future can not be made from a foundation of consumption, Capitalism and consumerism. Every great society, every species that has achieved unchallenged success hits the wall of limited resources, population, corruption, disease, and collapse. We are right there. What we do now depends on great sacrifice and actions to ensure we do have future on this planet.

Some will rebel as we are seeing. Some will hide out and wait for things to pass. Others are standing in the trenches of medicine desperately trying to do what is necessary to help those in need. The natural selection of choices will ultimately decide the fates of many. Like the Mayan, Angor Wat, Rome, and the rest we will be defined by the remaining structures that we invest in as crucial to our sense of existence. I would hope we can agree that it needs to be more than piles of plastic, raped lands for resources, and the failure of our selves to navigate and sustain a meaningful connection to this Earth because of a blind selfishness and an internal chemistry that poisons reason for pleasure and gratification.

Tangled Prayers

The way to God is a masked face gazing into the last breathe with a thin plastic  veil between them. Words clash and summon in all the languages…. lifting up rage and fear looking for a God or Godless leader to kick this contraption into motion spitting out something … anything we all can love and feel safe with…. Ranting images and pixels across screens land in the hands of those over saturated, seeking, planning…  the world teeters into doubt and fights over who is right and wrong. While the answers slip between the letters and fall unnoticed  in cyber dust. Empty spaces of worship echo the last murmured invocation tugging at the the very edge of their usefulness… to survive….to live is to not unite. Spring unfolds with the blooms of new life and the potential seeds for a new generation. Anarchists plot the burning of traditions with the slogans they stole from those before them. The sun passes over head and the moon spins… tides rise and fall… We are 10,000 suns these are fixed Arjuna knows….

Resurrection

Filtered Sun and Clouds – 2020

My spiritual roots are Catholic. Easter was a church day. Although, my parents weren’t terribly committed to the practice. I have always felt that the brown and brick modern building of St. John Vianney church with it’s resurrected Jesus behind the altar made it more about the mystery than the misery. Something lives in us that connects to something greater… we belong and God ( that poorly described entity with a beard and a temper) was some how protecting and encouraging. My relationship to this ideology would shift and change thought out my journey yet I have never felt the need to sever the root. This was where I found a door way to the magical. Miracles. Things that pushed the edges of what we know into the mythical and mysterious. That gap of possibility, awe, and wonder. As a child this space was fertile ground for images, and ideas. Allowing me to further my pursuits to question and curiously explore the world around me.

My curiosity lead me to devour the sciences in my adolescence. This created conflicts and doubts about the truths the church was offering. My passions became Darwinism, evolution…. Biology… physics… and all the different ways to study the world/universe around me. These new ideas and concepts broke down the simple mysteries and challenged my naive beliefs… this was further complicated by my awareness of disease, war, poverty, sickness and the things that caused suffering that somehow could not be resolved in my teenaged angst mind. If there was a loving God, why would he allow such pain in the world… Isn’t that why his son supposedly died?

I went through the process of Confirmation when I turned 15. It was a series of classes and such to enter into being a full fledge member of the church/ congregation. It is designed to be a initiation. You take on a new name. There are responsibilities that are expected. There is a ritual. The last thing done before the ceremony is an interview with the priest. I went into that interview with questions… with doubts, with wanting to know if I was embarking on a path that could answer my millions of questions about life and universe…. Could the church support that? Was there room to think this way? Was I wrong to have such complicated ideas and yearnings?

The priest in the gentlest of ways said I would not find my answers in the church. That I would need to look elsewhere. And that my curiosity was not evil or against the will of God. I went through the motions of finishing my Confirmation for my family. Afterward I never went back to church in the same way.

Fast forward 41 years and I find myself on this Easter day in a world twisted into the complex ecology of a pandemic and it’s societal fall out. A cacophony of voices running the full spectrum of religious and scientific. The fragile existence of our species racked by the unseen pathogen that sees opportunities in the way we have evolved. The very human delusions , emotions, skills, intellect and persistence to find a way out of this. The irrational fears of finding a face or identity for the enemy…. the break down of the very systems that were supposed to take care of us…. the limits of scientific knowledge, the inadequacy of the economy… the willful ignorance and tricksters that see the opportunity to create chaos….As all this swarms around me, all these millions of questions explode in my brain… and this awakens in me something, it is born out of this embryonic fluid of chaos. That has not taken form, nor has a name… and I will never be the same because of it.

Signs 3

A pink moon rises into a cloudless night sky as the mice search for memories left in shadows. Winds blow, shaking trees…. dropping leaves and notes left behind by ravens. The clouds murmur. The Sun passes ignoring the empty streets.

Earthworms dream.

A Love Note From Behind the Screen

(This is not to anyone in particular. It is a love note to acknowledge the need for affection and connection that we are all wrestling with.)

The voice is the tapping of letters on to a screen. Language now the silent text in pixels. We touch the glass that safely keeps us connected and apart. Photos fill the gaps. The minds slips… autocorrect…. the call is a digital reassembly of impulses from far away zig zagging along airwaves into the slim box in my hand.

I miss the touch of daily activities. Textures. Gestures. Looking in the eyes that catch the light and convey all the nuances of connection. I miss. I miss the exchange of subtlety and curiosity. I miss the you in my world…

I feel the sun. It heats my skin. Its tactile engagement feeds me. The winds messed my hair. The water tastes good…. the earth warms and flowers bloom. I drawn in the scents… I miss the you to share this with.

Making Me Stronger?

Clouds and Blue – 2020

“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…”

Unknown

It has been a few weeks now that I have been dwelling in my car. With short temporary breaks. My diligence is in staying healthy and the responsibility of making sure I do my part to keep others safe. Over time this has create a very small universe… A contrast to my earlier travels where the open road and the giant sky fill me with hope, inspration and insight.

Today, I’m feeling the edgy effects of isolation, avoidance and lack of belonging anywhere. There are no libraries, galleries, museums, places to explore that are open. These were the places I gravitated to in order to recharge the battery of my introverted tendencies. These circumstances force me deeper … under the skin… into the dreams and blurry fears of what could be in there. The inner landscapes of a million intensions, unfinished projects, bad ideas, brilliance, the ones I was too scared to try, the emotional rubble left behind from past relationships, dreams neatly tucked in envelopes, poetry, the discarded stanzas of music in corners, the architectural mock ups of future things….into the infinite world of my mind and brushing up against the membranes of maddness….

I grew up hearing that hard work builds character….That if I wanted something I had to work for. Hard work paid off in the long run…. put in your fair share, etc…. some how I never dreamed it would bring me to living in my car watching the leaves burst on the trees as Spring announces it arrival. I’m not unhappy with the arrangement. It’s just different. I’m curious as to what I am supposed to do. I listen for guidance from the unseen powers that be and wrestle with the reality of the new normal.

My Prayer Beads – 2020

When I quit smoking 26 years ago, I had to take the time to go in and understand my feelings, figure out who I was with out nicotine. Accept my humanity and the human – isms of my being and the life I had lived. The biggest challenge was finding the courage to change and move into living a different way. It was not easy. I often say quitting smoking was one the hardest things I ever did. From that I learned to build on those skills in order to live life. Sometimes I got what I wanted…. mostly I learned more about myself and what I needed to learn to be a better person in the world. The process is as imperfect as me yet it works.

I started this writing to with quote,” what doesn’t kill is makes us stronger….”. Maybe it’s not strength it gives us. Perhaps it is authenticity. It makes the engaged experiences solid and embodied. We feel the visceral connections to reality…. unmedicated by the distractions of commerce and desire. It becomes less about beliefs and feelings and more about grace of being. It will be that grace (I think) that will carry us into the next part of this collaboration/cooperation experience with each other and the planet.