On Day 18 of the 19-Day Transformation Program, titled “Out of Contentious Relationships and Into Intimacy and Play” Richard Hastings presents many topics to consider. This one post alone has within it so many important concepts and ideas that it is like the introduction to an entirely new book all to itself.
Here are a few key points worth exploring in more detail which emerge in this post which was originally published on http://www.DreamsForPeace.wordpress.com on March 10, 2013 when I was living in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
- When we sleep we find ourselves in far off cities without moving our hands, feet or body..we can speak even without moving our mouth…how can this be?
- Sometimes we see in real life something which happened in a dream 10 years prior
- We can ask courselves: what is this (dream) world, where without eye and ear and hand and tongue a man puts all of these to use?
- Second, how is it that in the outer world I can see today the effect of a dream from 10 years ago?
- It does us well to consider the difference between these two worlds and the mysteries which they conceal so that we can “attain to divine confirmations and heavenly discoveries and enter the regions of holiness.”
These 5 points come from a passage from a book called The Seven Valleys. Here is a link to this book online.
I first started deeply studying this book when I was 17. At that time, a boyfriend had raped me, and the shock and horror of it so devastated me that I wanted to kill myself. When I began considering ways to end my life, I found that my spiritual beliefs prevented me from being able to follow through with the intention to die. But the pain of that terrible act of violence was too much for me to bare and I had no way to speak of it. I had no one to talk to whom I trusted. I was terrified that if I told anyone what had happened that they would exclude me from their lives. I was so ashamed as if I had done something wrong.
At that time, between the ages of 17 and 19, when my head and heart was suffering from the result of the pain of that act of violence which I endured in secret, at that time when nothing in the world made sense to me anymore, the only thing which made sense to me was the book The Seven Valleys. So I read it again and again and again.
Sometimes I would read it 2 or 3 times in one day.
What made sense to me, among other things, was this idea that life was a spiritual journey and the metaphor for the way we travel through life is like climbing and descending up and down mountains.
The big message of the book to me at the time was that I understood that being raped by someone I cared about made me feel like I had been tossed off a cliff of a mountain and left to die in a valley. The message of the book taught me that although I did not choose to be violated I could choose to pull myself back together and to “climb the mountain” so to speak. I could choose to heal. I could choose to live a good life. The book taught me that my life is an inner journey towards self-mastery and metaphorically it was as though I decided to become a mountain-climber.
The following years between age 19-29 were all about seeking to heal from the trauma and to choose to break the cycle of addiction to sorrow which lead me to continuously living in conditions of abasement. There is a lot more I can write about this time period of my life, but for now I will just keep it focused on what I learned about “the dynamic between ego power and true intimacy.”
The reason this is a key concept is because of the way it showed up so clearly in a dream about a pool and some bears, and then so eloquently expressed in the 19-Day Transformation Program.
When I read the work of Richard Hastings in my 30s, it was as though I finally found someone who also understood The Seven Valleys the way I did – or at least stood in a position of awe and wonderment at the message of that book – in the same way.
Here is a passage from Day 18 of that book. Richard writes:
“When you live in the realm of astonishment or awe, the proper response is gratefulness for the bounties because unlike many phenomena, the content of our dreams is out of our control. No one creates their own dreams at night nor is it desirable to ever try. How is it that the same bear appears in the dream life of two different people?”
Here is what stands out for me in this paragraph:
1) Having Gratitude is key to understanding the message of our dreams for our life
2) No one creates their own dreams, nor should we try
3) A similar image can appear in the dream life of two different people
It was my dream of a beautiful pool and an angry bear which Richard called “Chapter Two” of the ego-power issues and when he wrote that, it occurred to me, that in my 20 years of spending hours a day in meditation and reflection I had actually learned something important. I had gained a spiritual insight which if I shared it openly with others could really deepen my relationships with them, but it could bring me joy in life again. It would restore a sense of meaning to my life after that had been taken away from me in my adolescence.
(Please note: Even though it felt great at the time to be spending hours in meditation and prayer for decades, the problem was that this pattern of behaviour effectively excluded me from the “real world” of business and money. Since 2014, I have been consciously and continuously taking great strides to repair the financial mess I made as a result of not valuing money for a very long time. I write more about my story of From Poverty To Prosperity on my blog http://www.rachelandgracie.wordpress.com.)
Anyway, here is what Richard says about the significance of my bear dream and it following so closely on the heels of the other bear dream he received. He writes:
“In this dream we see where the previous dream about the bear and wolves on top of the snow mound is headed. In that dream the goal was to warn the dreamer to stay out of conflict with ego-power so that extremely negative things wouldn’t happen. In this dream we get chapter two of the transformation process by showing were we are headed if we stay in process and stay out of conflict. Many people would argue that we ought to fight with negative power so that the side of right gets on top, but that approach has never worked in human history.”
Here is the bear dream which I shared with him and gave permission for it to be published in his book:
I dream I am entering into a large, crystal clear swimming pool. It reminds me of the pool setting at a resort. Pristine and elegant. There is a huge water slide and water playground. My daughter is swimming there too. I notice her under the water, and she can talk without getting water in her mouth. Hmmm…interesting. She comes up and then starts floating out to swim with friends. As I move out I realize I have to use the washroom. I don’t want to get out because the water is so warm and refreshing, but yet I of course don’t want to urinate in the pool either. I decide to just hold it in.
As I swim out to the deep end I hear someone say “Bear!” and notice a bear comes through the door into the pool area. It’s walking like a human but has a bear body and head. People are moving around and away from it. It swats at a pre-adolescent aged boy, and he flies through the air, nearly landing in the pool. I want to pull him into the water but he is too far away from the water, and my going up on the deck would threaten my own safety. Then this bear leaves and another bear enters, and he flings his own baby into the pool. Then there is this little bear cub who can hardly swim floating in the water. I also want to help the cub but want to stay out of the way of the cub so as to not to get close to the mama bear if she comes in the water.
Richard writes this about the dream:
In this dream we see where the previous dream about the bear and wolves on top of the snow mound is headed. In that dream the goal was to warn the dreamer to stay out of conflict with ego-power so that extremely negative things wouldn’t happen. In this dream we get chapter two of the transformation process by showing were we are headed if we stay in process and stay out of conflict. Many people would argue that we ought to fight with negative power so that the side of right gets on top, but that approach has never worked in human history.
The dream starts in swimming pool that is both crystal clear and has playful elements to them. Water is a relational element. In the previous dream the form of water was snow which is characterized by coldness in human relationships. Here the water is clear and playful, invites you, and allows you to be child-like and speak in depth. These are some of the characteristics of very positive relationships that create closeness. By first doing the work of the first dream by staying out of conflict, then we end up in the second dream which is closeness with each other.
Much of the world believes that the goal is to be on top of the heap of snow, but this dream teaches us that relationships and closeness are ends unto themselves that are much more valuable than being number one. The problem in the dream which signals the work begins when the dreamer has to go to the washroom. Holding in urine in a dream means that you are holding in anger. This is the problem. It probably happens because she doesn’t have confidence that the pool is going to be there when she comes back meaning that the warm and loving relationship will not be there when she lets go of the urine.
Because she holds in the anger rather than letting it go in the washroom meaning processing the anger, then the bears return to disrupt the intimacy when she is trying to get deeper. This is the principle of dealing with ego-power. When you hold onto anger and try to continue your positive life, the ego-power elements return. When you process the anger, the intimacy returns only even much greater. There are several teachings here about ego power that the dreamer (we) needs to know.
First is that when we have been affected as a young person by an abuse of power most often by one’s parents, it is like being swatted by a big bear. It creates anger inside of us that most of us hold onto because we would like to get back at the bear. The goal is to let go of the anger and let go of any motive to get back at the bear, to stay focused on creating love and unity in relationships. Here is why. When the second bear comes in, it swats its own baby into the water to drown. This means that when you stay out of contention with ego-power and focus on relationship-building, the bear kills its own future. As long as a bear is fighting others it gets stronger and keeps moving up. When we stay out of the fight and focus on unity and intimacy, the bear throws away its future. This is simply because intimacy and unity are so much stronger than ego-power.
So the goal for us when we are incensed about what is happening around us by corrupt leaders or an abusive history from our families is to go through a process of letting go of our anger and continue on our path to closeness to each other believing that if we stay true to our path, that the days of the bear are truly numbered.
Get close to your kids. Tell your loved one how much you appreciate them.
What I have learned since this was first published in 2013, is that when an animal shows up in a dream if it is negative then it shows an area of personal inner work to be addressed. If it is positive, it shows the potential for developing the quality and living with it in regular waking day-t0-day life.
If I were to carry this metaphor further, using images of the bear cub, pool and my daughter, I would say the lessons I’ve learned are about rescuing bear cubs and when the big bear’s number is up, we are all still in the pool able to play and swim and enjoy life.
Now that I’m nearing 40, and no longer feel as though the devastating wound of the violence I lived though in my teens effects me to the degree it did in the past, I feel excited about the opportunity to share more about insights into The Seven Valleys. It is like I am standing at the summit of a mountain in awe at its grandeur. And am really interested in continuing on this beautiful Path of life which is spending out before me. And excited about opportunities for sharing the learning with others because we are, indeed, all connected.
The full 19-Day Program can be purchased at this link.