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.