By Richard Hastings –
When there a bully in the schoolyard, he takes advantage of the fact that most of the children have a lot of fear. He can push his weight and size around because he is pretty certain no one is going to challenge him. He gains access to the feeling of power and getting what he wants. In the traditional approach to dealing with the bully, the bully is the problem that the school has to get rid of. A lot of effort is put into disciplining the bully. What isn’t so apparent is that the bully is only taking advantage of the fact that there is a huge amount of fear. If the school were filled with the virtue of courage, the energy it doesn’t have now, then the bully could be easily taken care of.
Courage is the capacity to go for a particular goal where there is a risk involved. If you just look at the above scenario in terms of the bully, then you don’t see that the people in the environment do not have the virtue of going after goals where there is some risk involved. They shrink into fear because of the risk, and then the bully has its way. If the environment promoted courage, a place where people could take risks safely, then bullies would go away on their own. Schools traditionally don’t promote courage or taking risks. They do the opposite. They promote conformity and following the rules because the ability to take risks is such a threat to the established ways of doing things. If you can promote courage, then when you get rid of the bully, he stays away.
When people have on-going digestion problems, they have a tendency to go for physical remedies like antacids or digestive enzymes or other medications. The first place they go shopping for a remedy is the medical one. The idea is to get rid of the digestive issue and return to the good ole days when you could eat anything at anytime. What if the fear was the cause of digestive issues, that is, that you live in such a state of fear that the body’s digestive processes just don’t work well? Medication, when there is fear involved, just gets you relief for a time. Your system can go back to where it was temporarily. After some time, however, the physical remedies stop working, the problems return, and the fear is as present as ever. This happens because the fear which comes from the ego is insistent. It isn’t going to go away by physical means. It is has an emotional cause rooted in some experiences. It calls for a new capacity, a new energy, or virtue because the person living with the fear is not fit spiritually to participate fully in what life is asking of him/her. Maybe the person needs determination, but is fearful that going forward means being treated unjustly by bad leadership. If this were the case, then as soon as determination is in place and the fear is gone, then the digestive enzymes would start working because the body would not be held in a tension filled state from fear anymore.
The logic of this approach is so simple and easy to understand. The physical problems are mostly held in by negative emotional patterns. Fear, anxiety, grief, anger, disappointment, frustration and jealousy cause the body to hold negative tension which cause physical problems. When you replace the ego patterns with higher new ones such as compassion, honesty, generosity, wisdom, and patience, then the body releases its tension filled energy with new energy that is healthier.
The higher energy is the lure to us. Our spiritual qualities are our purpose in life that never stop developing.. Life is about constant change and transformation everyday. Who you are today will be asked to change tomorrow to someone even better. It doesn’t ever stop. The higher being, your spirit, will be asking you to change. It will show you your places of change in your negative emotional patterns and the bodies reaction to them. What is your life needing right now to make it work? Where are you being challenged? Get out of the old pattern of trying to return to an old state of being. Advance to the new state.
What holds true for the individual also holds true for humanity? Some leaders are gaining a lot of support these days by trying to get people to go back to old worn-out ideologies like nationalism and racism and sexism because they feel so utterly incompetent in a world based upon cooperation, respect for the rights of others, equity, and lifting the downtrodden for the same reason that the bully in the schoolyard doesn’t want to have to share a swing. The bully just wants to be able to have the swing whenever it pleases. He is scared to death of having to share.
A lot of people are going to go kicking and screaming into the world of equality and unity and will experience a lot of pain in the process, but the higher self of the world is moving to higher energy. It isn’t going backwards. It is only going to go forward. Shouldn’t you be doing the same in your life? Find the virtue that is calling to you and let it develop without so much resistance. Try some tranquility for a change. Or maybe some tolerance. And by the way, tonight when you dream, your dreams will be showing you the way.
When Your Dreams Show You the Way To Shift the Paradigm of Power
By Rachel Perry
Interpreting dreams is not a new idea. When we look back into every ancient civilization on the planet we see evidence of dreams and the societies which honoured them, gave them meaning. What is new about dream interpretation the way I learned from Richard Hastings is to take the interpretation to a deeper level with a focus on transformation. Quite simply, this means gaining an understanding of the metaphors in the dreams, how those metaphors are providing clues into challenges in day-to-day life and then deciphering the clues to understand how to solve those challenges in a way which leads you to being uplifted, being free from fears, being capable of actualizing your authentic Self. The transformation which occurs is like how the sun rises at dawn turning darkness into day, or how a pearl slowly emerges from the friction within the shell, or how a caterpillar changes form to gradually become a butterfly. The inner transformation is like steel hardening in fire, or like ice melting in the Spring. All around us in the natural world we see examples of transformation from one shape or form to another. When we take a deep dive into our dreams with the goal of transformation, we become like miners deep in the caverns of the earth and with enough search and effort we can come up with a myriad of jewels, gems and golden treasures.
When you think of DreamWork in this way, it is easy to see how the change is about “adding” on the new qualities, about bringing in the new positive energy. You see? First you dive deep into the metaphor of the dream, and then you search around for the meaning and then you find how that message opens up understanding about new qualities, or virtues or skills which you can begin practicing and then you begin trying it out in your day and then you will see change happens almost overnight. In this way, you are adding new qualities to your life to solve the negative challenges. This is extremely different from every other model of personal development which exists in the world right now. Every other framework is about “letting go” of the problem … let go of anxiety, detach from depression, let go of anger, let go of fear, let go of … this and that and the other thing. Many self-empowerment practices include a very soft approach to healing, for example, the practices often promote “finding forgiveness” or “getting to your inner state of Calm”. There is nothing inherently “wrong” with these things but Dreamwork takes the process one step further because sometimes the quality which is needed is not as easy as that. Sometimes the quality needed is Self-Discipline or Obedience or Courage. The mental toughness that is needed isn’t gentle and easy to achieve sometimes. It’s painful and difficult and takes time. The effort is well worth it because when the issue has been dissolved and the new quality or skill firmly in place then so many wonderful and positive things open up in life.
When we are working on adding a new quality to our lives, we start with our Selves first, then expand out to our family, then our community and then to the world. In this way, amazing growth and accomplishment can be achieved.
Undoubtedly, when change starts to occur, it affects others and the challenge is that not everyone likes change. Not everyone likes growth. Some people cling to the past as though it has all the answers and they refuse to move forward. For an individual who is understanding their inner blocks and removing them little by little, adding strengths and courage and self-discipline and enthusiasm to their lives, they may start to see things change in the institutions around him. Marriages can undergo transformation when this happens, as can work places, and educational institutions, and even penal institutions or governments. Change can affect every area and every institution in society. The exciting part of this process is that it is exactly what is needed for the world of humanity to reach its next stage of human evolution. This is the time in history when old institutions are crumbling and new ones are being built up in their place. The two things are happening simultaneously. The old is being rolled up and a new one spreading out at the same time. People who had grown accustomed to having power in a relationship, or in a corporation, or in a school system, or in a political party, are finding they are no longer able to rule with the threat of a metaphorical sword the way they used to. The old ways don’t work anymore. It’s time for something new. When individuals empower themselves to persevere through the challenges in their lives they can affect positive change in every area of society.
I like the way Richard Hastings describes this process and how it leads to greater health. He writes, “The higher energy is the lure to us. Our spiritual qualities are our purpose in life that never stop developing.. Life is about constant change and transformation everyday. Who you are today will be asked to change tomorrow to someone even better. It doesn’t ever stop. The higher being, your spirit, will be asking you to change. It will show you your places of change in your negative emotional patterns and the bodies reaction to them. What is your life needing right now to make it work? Where are you being challenged? Get out of the old pattern of trying to return to an old state of being. Advance to the new state.”
Advancing to the new state seems like an “easy” thing to do, sort of. I mean, logically it makes sense that the True Self wants to experience something in this world, that inspiration & ideas come to mind to actualize it, that the ego/Self comes up with fears and concerns about what could go wrong if those ideas are actualized, that the True Self consciously works through the fears, eliminates them and then finds opportunities to make it happen. When a lot of work has been done on an issue and the opportunity to advance is right there in front of you, why is it still hard to just do it? What is the resistance? Why is “adding on” a new quality or skill so much more difficult than “getting rid” of the old ones?
The answer seems to reveal itself in the natural world. A great example of transformation is the butterfly – although there are limitations in this example I’ll still share it as a starting point. If we look at a butterfly we can see the biggest difference between it and the caterpillar is the capacity to fly. The butterfly goes through a transformation allowing it to develop an entirely new set of wings and now it can do so much more than it could do before. But really, it loses the “ability to crawl”. It lets go of the old crawling behaviour while acquiring the new skills of flying. In the transformation process, while it is in the chrysalis stage it not only loses the ability to crawl but it doesn’t yet have the new wings added on. It can neither crawl nor fly. Essentially, its body turns into a pocket of “goo” as the cells were busy re-inventing themselves. This process takes time, patience, and trust as the caterpillar essentially “surrenders” to the change.
In time, the “crawling” skill changes into the “flying” skill and the butterfly’s life suddenly becomes better than ever. If the butterfly could talk, it might say, “Wow! Look at me! I’m flying! I can’t crawl anymore but that’s okay, now I can fly.” Well, if we take this metaphor and compare it to the way many self-help approaches focus on the “getting rid of” part of the change. It would be as if there would be self-help groups for butterflies who were feeling depressed because they can’t crawl anymore. It’d be like, “Hi, I’m a butterfly and I’m a crawl-a-holic” or something like that. Clinging to the memory of crawling and dealing with all the issues about not being able to walk on twigs and tree branches anymore. Nevermind you now have the skill to FLY to the tops of the trees, lets cry & grieve about not being able to wiggle like you used to. Now I’m being a bit facetious & flippant here but just to exaggerate the problem with the “getting rid of” mentality. Think about it – if there were to be promotional signs for people joining a “Transformation Program” which told caterpillars they could “get rid of” their crawling issues would that be more effective then telling them they could “add on” the ability to fly? The “getting rid of” paradigm permeates our culture. Get rid of depression; get rid of anxiety; get rid of PTSD; get rid of nightmares; get rid of violence; get rid of alcoholism; get rid of drug addictions; get rid of anger; get rid of co-dependency; get rid of passive aggressive behaviour and the list goes on and on and on. But true, authentic, long-lasting change will never work with this approach alone. It would be like talking to a butterfly about “getting rid of” their crawling behaviour. How much more effective to teach a butterfly to soar in the sky than teach it to “deal with” the loss of its caterpillar self.
So how this translates to human transformation is that as we move from old limiting behaviours and grow into new ones, we are essentially letting go of the old and embracing the new. We are learning new skills, adding to our repertoire of skill-sets to draw on throughout our life experience. We are adding on capacities. We are developing new traits. We are discovering talents which are latent within us, lying in potential, just waiting for the opportunity to expand. Just like how a caterpillar has the potential to fly within it, so do we have the potential to do amazing things which have not yet been actualized.
The reason I used the butterfly as an example is because the interesting thing about a butterfly’s change is how it has that third chrysalis stage when it is neither a caterpillar or a butterfly. It’s in-between. It’s in process. It’s growing. It’s changing. I think humans go through this type of process symbolically as well and when people say they “don’t like change” or they “can’t handle uncertainty” this is what they are talking about. During the “inbetween stage” you cannot see any trace of the former caterpillar nor can you discern the butterfly. It’s just goo. If we are going through a growth process within our home, or our work environment, or our community we can see there are these “gooey” stages as well. Sometimes the fear of uncertainty is so strong for some people they may quit their job, or fire others during this stage. In marriages, some people may give up, go for divorce, or go for affairs. Someone going through personal transformation in a jail setting might find this stage nearly unbearable because the old behaviours are gone but the new ones are not yet fully established leaving a tremendous feeling of uncertainty and this can be a vulnerable place to be in, especially when surrounded by authoritarian figures. But in time, the wings start to grow, and in time the butterfly breaks free, and in time it’s easy to see the process was well worth the effort because flying IS so much better than crawling after all.
So this is why a butterfly is a good metaphor for change. If a butterfly were to show up in a dream, it would be a good symbol for this type of personal evolution of adding on new skills and letting go of the limitations of the former life before the new skills were added on.
As Richard described in his post, sometimes there is a bully-type person in an environment who likes to put people down. Bullies usually do not like change, growth, development. They like things to stay the same because they felt they had a control over things. What if there is a lot of growth and change in an environment – what if there is Courage instead of fear? What of the bully then? Well, either the bully changes too or he gets out. Most times, if there is enough positive change in the environment he will leave on his own will because he just can’t handle not being in control and power anymore.
So this is what the “adding on” paradigm shift is about – allowing for the process of change, and being patient while qualities such as Self-discipline or Obedience or Determination are being developed. In time, old fears, anxieties, and patterns of thinking can be dissolved and replaced with new more advanced capacities which transforms the life of the individual, their family, their work and every area of their lives. The effort and patience required is definitely worth the effort.