Awakening from the Dream

Awakening from the Dream

View from Blue Ridge Parkway near Cherokee, NC
View from Blue Ridge Parkway near Cherokee, NC

It was a dark and cloudy night. I was riding my bicycle in the mountains and had followed a friend to a turning point. After he made it to his driveway, I turned to go but mistakenly took a wrong turn and ended up behind a fence and at the bottom of a very steep, winding road. I knew the road would take me home but the danger involved was too great in the darkness.

So I turned around and headed back beside the fence to the main road. But along the way saw huge, fresh bear tracks or scratches where a bear had claimed his territory. I got very frightened and as I pedaled faster, I passed a large, dark shape. I became even more frightened. Then something started chasing me and as I glanced down I saw it was a large coyote. I pedaled faster. Another large coyote appeared and both were attempting to drag me off my bicycle. I tried kicking them and launched my cat off the bed. He wasn’t impressed.

Coyote
Coyote

My legs actually ached and I was so shaken that I sat up and wrote notes on the dream and attempted to decipher it. What the heck had I eaten for dinner? 

When I went back to sleep I dreamed I helped people speak to large gatherings. In fact, I even helped Bill Moyers speak to a group of students. His chair, for the gathering, was beautifully colored in white with red and purple flowers.

Maybe the answer to my nightmare came in my final dream of the night–Bill Moyers. He worked with Joseph Campbell in a series entitled The Power of Myth. As I started researching on the internet I found an interview Moyers did with Campbell on the journey of the Hero archetype. Within this 51 minute recording I found answers.

Entrance to underwater cave in Akumal, Mexico
Entrance to underwater cave in Akumal, Mexico

Campbell  spoke of this journey we undertake–that of slaying the ego–to find our true nature. In this journey there must be courage as we face our darkest, deepest fears. The journey includes a theme of death and resurrection…a dying to a part of us that no longer serves us and being born into a greater version of ourselves.

The journey always begins by going into darkness, our unconscious.This triggered an experience I had in meditation last week where I journeyed into dark water, through a vortex and ended up connecting with a huge whale. Campbell spoke of the whale as being a symbol where all that is unconscious within us is held. He says the unconscious is the edge or interface between what can be known and what can never be discovered. We must learn to live life with knowledge of its Mystery and our own Mystery.

Pre-dawn Gulf of Mexico
Pre-dawn Gulf of Mexico

Life is an adventure of being alive. We journey into our own unknown in order to slay the ego so that we can follow the soul’s path. He said the journey to save the self actually saves the world. We bring the world to life by bringing life to the self.

“Follow your bliss,” he reminded as I listened intently. The ego tells us why we can’t follow our bliss, the path of the soul. It’s what keeps us small. The adventure of the Hero is having the courage to do it anyway.

There is within each of us a quiet center and from this center is where all action comes. Unless the center is found, we’re torn apart because we act from outside ourselves. This always leads to ruin in some form, he reminded.

Magnolia blossom
Magnolia blossom

The dream was a reminder for me that I am on a journey into my own life, my own unconscious. I choose this journey willingly and admit it is scary as hell at times. We all have darkness or unknown dragons or coyotes nipping at our heels. And it may indeed feel as if they want to slay us.

Campbell said that as the Hero leaves the realm of light and moves toward the threshold of the unconscious, the monster comes. The Hero is either resurrected after being torn to bits by the animal or kills the animal, tastes the blood and transcends.

I suppose we each have the choice of continuing our slumber or taking the journey of the Hero and risking everything to find our true nature. Ultimately it is a journey we do alone but made sweeter by those who have the courage to shine a light for us as we emerge from the dark waters to welcome us back home.

Sunrise in Akumal, Mexico
Sunrise in Akumal, Mexico

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