Clearing Space for the Future

John:  As my dream starts off, I’m in an area where I see a lot of trails cut through after a snowstorm. It took a lot of work to do this – it’s a monumental feat.

I’m in a campus area and there are a few buildings and then a huge open area in the middle. There are sidewalks that go this way and that under the snow, leading to the various buildings.

Everyone is basically asleep or unaware of what has happened in the night. These trails had to be opened up because come morning people have to move about. The shoveling has already been done, so most people don’t pay any attention to it; they take it for granted.

In looking at this, I’m impressed. They trails may be narrow, just a shovel pushed along the sidewalk and a pathway opened up, but it’s enough to walk on. It’s not like the whole sidewalk is exposed. So there’s still a need to widen and groom the pathways.

Henry is the man who got up early and did all this. Now Henry’s attention has switched to doing something that’s very time consuming: he’s clearing the open area in the center, which will add a more comfortable feel and people can actually hang out. It adds a spatial ambiance, a type of light, to the place so it’s not just cut up into trails.

To do this is very time consuming, and it’s not readily appreciated because the immediate need is to go from one place to another, quickly.

I notice a number of women in the courtyard, and I see them criticizing how the job’s been done. They’re critical of Henry because they don’t see him doing much, but they seem to appreciate my service as I’m further grooming the trails, clearing the snow all the way to the edges. This makes it easier for people to pass back and forth, but not necessarily to hang out in an overall ambiance.

People weren’t up and around to see what Henry did – they were asleep – so what they see him doing now seems a waste of time. They ignore him and invite me to join them for tea.

Before I do, I have a responsibility to quickly finish grooming the sidewalk. But I’m a little confused about joining them because they’re critical of Henry who did the initial trailblazing.

They have their opinion of what needs to be, and because they’re in a position of authority, they may even want to fire Henry. I find myself caught in the overwhelming energy projected by these women, collectively, in which they’re dismissing what Henry has done. And they can’t appreciate what he’s trying to do right now because it’s slow, time consuming, and it doesn’t fall within the immediate needs.

Did you figure out the meaning of this?

Jeane: No, I never figure it out!

John: The uneasiness I feel, and I’m beating myself up about it, arises when I try to sort out the value of the big picture. In other words, that’s what Henry was working on, creating an ambience where all the trails come together.

That wouldn’t be possible if there hadn’t been the necessary trailblazing at the beginning. So the trailblazing is done, and what’s currently needed is the grooming, which I’m doing. So the trailblazing is a thing of the past, the grooming is what’s occurring now, but, what about the bigger picture?

No one wants to pay attention to the bigger picture. It’s as if, when you deal with the bigger picture, you disappear.

I was focused on grooming the trails to be more serviceable, and that’s what’s noticed and appreciated, because that’s the short-term need. Yet I recognize and value the process of trailblazing, and also can appreciate the aspect of focusing on the overall.

Those in power don’t recognize the need to accommodate the overall, and I may not have the sight to know where Henry’s process is leading. It’s not like I can try to say anything, because deep down I’m not sure what’s the best use of Henry’s time.

It’s such a different level of need when you’re dealing with the overall, how do you know? What’s required isn’t as readily apparent.

The reason for the dream is that I’m sorting out, within, how to take on the need in all its aspects. I can see that the first step has been done, and that’s the trailblazing.

Then comes the part that’s now at hand, which is the grooming of the trail and I’m involved in that. But Henry has moved on to the bigger picture – he’s moved on from everyone else. A huge gap seems to exist in the collective consciousness, and I noticed that Henry became more invisible, in terms of the whole, with his focus on the bigger picture and its overall ambience.

In other words, he’s becoming more and more isolated, by carrying that sense of the overall from a depth inside him, which is becoming subtler and subtler in terms of whether others can appreciate it.

In a way, this dream captures the arc of spiritual history. The great writings and teachings exist from those who have done the trailblazing in human history. What is called for at present is a refining and an updating of those understandings in the way we live our lives. But at the same time, the overall must be considered, and the future must be considered, and incorporated. Yet there is resistance from the “powers that be” who only have a short-term view.

Said another way, we must let go of the past, act in the present (awaken), and be open to the future. It’s a process of integrating ourselves with everything. And it’s what’s required of the human, as a response, in these times.

A Bridge to the Future

John: In this dream, I start off by going into a government building located in an area of the city I’m not familiar with. Something compelled me to leave my home and go to this place. Once there, I change out of my normal work clothes and into something more casual.

I place my work clothes on a corner shelf in a safe place. However, I’m suddenly compelled to go to another government building, and I simply leave my things behind.

I get so engrossed with what I’m doing in this new building that I don’t realize the time until it’s five minutes to 5pm (closing time), and I realize I’ve left my wallet, identification, and my clothes back in the first building.

I know it’s probably hopeless to return and retrieve my things before that building closes, but in my panic, I rationalize that there may be a way to get in.

I’m in a busy little city, but first I come to this huge hill that goes straight up in the air and then comes straight down. It’s like a tremendous loop, but you can’t imagine a hill being this steep.

Then, as you come down, the road swings out into a hairpin turn, like on a roller coaster, and I no longer have any idea where I am. The odd part is, I saw this coming, I tried to avoid it, but I still get swept out into this sharp turn.

By the time I come looping out of it I’m not even sure I’m in the city anymore. I was trying to maximize the five minutes, but obviously I’d have to know exactly where to go to have any chance to get in the first building again.

So, I have to endure the inconvenience of not having my identification or clothes until the next time that building is open.

As circumstances would have it, I meet up with a friend who works in the same building. He tells me about a group of employees who got into trouble. Something out of the ordinary happened and this group was accused of spying. They were arrested and then raped.

He thinks there’s a possibility I could be accused of the same crime. It doesn’t make any sense to me because everything I did seems easily explained, yet at that moment I pause: I’m distracted as I look at the shirt I’m wearing.

It’s a sweater that zips up from the center and I’ve been wearing it backwards, or inside out. I notice because I have to zip it up differently, i.e., I have to reach inside and use my fingers in a different way to pull it up.

When I wrote this image up I thought, gee, this is the first time I’ve had a dream where I haven’t the foggiest idea what it’s going to mean. But then when I sat with it, I think I saw the deeper meaning.

I think this is a dream that describes how changes in the future might unfold. And there’s the suggestion here that I’m caught in a time warp, or an in-between state, because how I’m able to be, and how I am, are two different things.

First, there’s the aspect of being compelled to leave the comfort of my home, i.e., my comfort zone.

Second, I enter a power building (it’s a government office) and get overly casual to the point where I forget my position, or get lost in it, and I end up wandering off to another government building.

Third, because my attention is caught by looking at something in this new place, I suffer a kind of amnesia that has me lose track of the time and, ultimately, lose my way. The amnesia is a type of shock, and that shock is the inability to pull the two states together – the comfort zone and the new, unknown places. This inability to reconcile the two places in me is represented by the awkward, inside-out zipper.

The friend from the same building, who shows up to help or guide me, in the sense of grounding me with something familiar, also portrays a worst-case scenario where I’m arrested for spying. But this worst-case would be the result of me “going back.” Yet after my detours, I’m not as concerned about going back, because my focus is on the inside-out sweater and zipping it together.

In other words, I’ve left my comfort zone and fumbled around in the unknown by being a bit too casual in my approach. This causes me to lose my way – I’m not handling the new place very well and I face danger in returning to where I began.

So the dream is showing me that these two states need to be pulled together within me. The future is an unknown territory, which always draws us away from our comfort zone. If we are too casual in this, i.e., we aren’t able to consciously hold our connections and inner stability (keep our wallet and identity) we put ourselves in danger of getting deeply lost.

The relief I needed in the dream was seen as my plan for making the zipper work in its inside-out fashion. In reality, we humans live our lives from the outside in, forever in reaction-mode to the things happening in the world around us.

In the future, humans will need to live from the inside out, in the sense that our connections to inner guidance, and our ability to process the higher aspects of ourselves – and bring those through into life – will be our main source of stability in a changing world.