John: In the next dream, I’m crossing a bridge and, just as I reach the other side, I see a small commotion and two people are sitting there pondering what has happened. There are some figures of authority milling about, but the people of interest seem to be the older, hippie-type couple who are offering their opinions.
Then I realize that some of the vertical support columns from the bridge have broken loose. It seems at one point they were affixed to the building on the other side of the bridge for extra support. That extra support appears to have helped avoid what could have been a disaster; someone could have plunged off the edge and been hurt.
These two people are evaluating the situation, trying to decipher the old signage that was attached to these columns. They are trying to figure out what the letters “PAT” stand for.
I offer the word “patent” as a possibility, but they say “No, no it was more like PALT or PLAT.” I want them to show me exactly where they’re looking, but instead I end up looking at another sign that seems to date back to the Sixties. I don’t remember what it said, but it created a joke in a cynical way.
During this exchange, I begin to think that I recognize the woman from somewhere; I know she’s from Montana. My sense is that she views Montana as a place that won’t be much affected by the coming changes.
I ask her where she’s from and she says, “Bridgette, near Millet.” I ask her if that’s south of Dillon. She says, “Yes, by about 80 miles.” I’ve taken the position that I know Montana really well, but I now have to admit that I don’t know much about that part of the state.
What can I learn from this dream imagery? Basically, I’m looking at what it takes to be independently strong in the face of diversity. Wherever I look today I see everything being affected by one dilemma or another. Yet there still is the sense that hope can be found within the turmoil, even though it’s isolated.
This insight comes in an odd way – this woman is not something that I expect. Her husband seems a little cynical, and yet she seems to feel that she has security that’s based upon her isolation or separation (in Montana). I don’t know what to make of that.
As I’m pondering this I see another image of me riding into a herd of cattle, like a cattle drive, and I’m riding into it against the flow. In other words, the cattle hands are pushing this herd along and I’m causing a disruption because I’m riding right into the face of it.
This confuses things and I realize that I’m disrupting what is deemed to be standard practice. This causes me to take another look at the importance of the cattle drive in relationship to me; by going against the flow I’m causing the raw energy to have to adjust.
The dream with the bridge – with the extra support from a building on the other side – having its structural integrity compromised causes me to realize that, little by little, things everywhere are being compromised. And what’s being compromised is the effect of the inner life upon the outer life. That effect, which is proper to the way of human existence, is becoming less and less.
Everything I look at, with a few exceptions, is showing the effects of losing structural integrity, and that’s because real structural integrity comes from the inside out.
In the cattle image, I am seen to be going against this trend or pattern in the herd mentality of the culture. I’m trying to deepen my inner life and let it radiate into the outer world. That’s what a spiritual path is about – allowing the god connection within us to bloom and shine through. In these changing times, when our structural integrity has to come from within – because outer structures are falling apart – it’s more important that ever to have a strong inner foundation.