The Lost City

John: My dream starts off with me realizing that I have to be shown the areas I’m moving in, as if I’d never seen them before. The truth is that I’m moving in these areas every day, yet somehow I’ve stopped seeing them to the point where I don’t recognize the terrain anymore.  

The problem is that, left to my own devices in terms of this huge overall territory, I have gotten into a pattern of going over and over the same places until what’s there has gotten boring. Through constant repetition, everything has become so mundane that I’ve forgotten any characteristics about it.  

As a consequence, I fail to appreciate the aliveness of the area – I’ve become numb to it. I’ve even lost touch with the fact that there are four distinct cities in this region. That information comes as a surprise to me.

As a result, because I didn’t realize that there were any cities in this area, it doesn’t alarm me when I learn that the fourth city seems to have disappeared. Someone has brought to my attention that there are cities, and I can’t even tell where three of them are, let alone the fourth one that now is somehow gone.

So, I have to be taken out of my usual travel routine and shown again the region. Yet I can only be shown in short glimpses, because it’s like my faculties, or my senses, can only process so much information. Consequently, I don’t have enough information to be able to go to the cities on my own, nor do I know their whereabouts. I only know they exist from a space that I carry. 

One way to describe what’s happened is this: Originally I could come and go in this region and it was no big deal. I was in the natural flow, but I was asleep. I just did it, without having any real consciousness.

I didn’t think about whether there were cities or anything else. I could just freely come and go. It’s just like the free-floating you experienced in your dream (see Into the Mud). Then, over time, I got accustomed to particular repeated patterns and failed to appreciate the degree to which something lies before me – I just let it all go.

Eventually I come to learn (as I begin to awaken to the fact that I’ve gotten anesthetized) that there’s more in this area. That starts to stir me a bit because I realize that something is trying to awaken me out of this trance and I’m being slowly shown various parts of this big picture. But what I’m able to experience is limited because I can’t handle much. I’m too shut down inside.

Slowly then from that I come to realize that at one time I was simply in the overall, and it wasn’t the maze to me that it now is, now that I have to take it into full account, consciously, when before I was just in it. Then I was able to go to and fro with ease.

Now, if I try to reconcile what I think I know, I would realize that I have forgotten what I’m a part of and, as a result, I’m not able to appreciate the immensity. It’s like I’ve gotten lost.

In terms of the imagery, I don’t know the whereabouts of the three cities, and there used to be four cities, which represents a type of completeness that’s now askew. So it’s like I can’t help but say, oh my gosh, the consequences of these patterns are really leading me astray, or closing me down to the possibilities.

Still, the state I’m in is a begrudging one, because no one likes to be shaken from their sleeping state, to be jostled out of their patterns. We tend to fight this because what’s familiar seems important to hold onto – if we don’t know any better.

The patterns, and what they allow you to perceive and face in yourself isn’t much, because they snuff out the rest of the space and the natural knowingness that can be there. You could sum up the significance of this as realizing that what has been lost is an appreciation of the process. And that’s the loss of the appreciation of a human life.

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