I met with my friend some weeks ago and was telling him what a rich summer I’d had: time to be with family and time to pray, read, think, explore and mull. I felt greatly blessed, not least in all the movement and activity in my soul. I’d had a series of meaningful dreams, and bursts of intuitive knowing as a result of which some significant progress felt as if it had been made in my soul’s journey.
He wrote to me a little while later to say that he’d never previously paid much attention to his dreams, indeed was hardly aware that he’d had any, but subsequent to our meeting he’d wanted to take his dreams more seriously and had been surprised to find that he then had a number which he remembered on waking and which he’d found meaningful
I replied that “One of the funny things in life, in my experience, is the way that if you open your mind to something [in this case dreams] then you quickly become conscious of their presence. It’s as if we have to turn a ‘welcome’ sign on first”.
I’ve often noticed this with people who are contemplating a significant change of direction in their lives. Such a change usually feels very daunting and scary and they are rightly apprehensive of the risks and dangers they might encounter. They fear that they might even come to realise that they’ve made a mistake!
I recall the story of the Buddhist monk fleeing Tibet after the Chinese invasion and crossing the mighty Himalayan mountains to safety in India. On his arrival he was asked how he had managed such an incredible and dangerous journey alone? He replied: “One step at a time”.
At times of change, my instinct is to take one small, maybe symbolic, step in what feels like the right direction and then to wait. It is surprising how often what is needed next will then come and find you: you don’t have to find it yourself, but rather wait for it to pass your way and for you to recognise and seize it. You will often then experience what I call a ‘following wind’ which will carry you onwards on your journey.
But it won’t last long. As with all religious experience, it will flourish for a while and then fade, and the temptation is to give up, assuming that you’ve made a mistake. Better, to see the fading as an invitation to continue to trust your experience despite the lack of current supporting evidence, and to be aware that you aren’t in control of what you have experienced. Very likely it will come again at a time not of your choosing.
I am chuckling as I write this. I have just written two pieces about ‘Consciousness’ and sense that they are incomplete, but am not sure how to complete them! Suddenly I see that what I have written here has provided me with the clue I need.
The 3D material world doesn’t come with any meaning supplied: we are not born into this world with a set of instructions entitled ‘The meaning of life’, clutched in our fists. If we want meaning, and we are ‘meaning seeking’ creatures, then we will have to seek it ourselves. The means of doing so are available to us, through our basic need for relationship with others and the Other; and through using our imagination. The responsibility for utilising these means rests with each of us.
I can’t remember who said: “Your mind is free to interpret the world any way it wants.” But they were right. We can use whatever lies on the spectrum of consciousness as the lens[es] through which we will make our interpretation of the world, through which we choose to seek meaning. Our soul, the part of us that seeks meaning and purpose, is like a garden, we need to nourish there what we judge to be good, and weed out what we judge will harm us. If we neglect our garden soul it will become a wilderness, and life will seem meaningless.
We have great power if we choose to use it: we can access all manner of ‘other worlds’, like the world of our dreams, if we choose to do so. We have the power to shape who we are; how we see the world; how and where we will seek meaning and purpose. Not all the possibilities on the spectrum of consciousness will necessarily open for us, but some certainly will, and probably more than we expect: instance my friend and his dreams.
And we have particular God given gifts and guides in our ‘Memories of Home’, and in Jesus in all of His guises, human model, resurrected Lord and personal friend, and Cosmic Christ Who meets us in blessing everywhere and in everyone and everything.