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.

Out of One’s Depth

Jeane: My dream seems to have been affected by my concern about my father, and whether he should go to see the doctor or not.

How that’s represented is that I seem to be in a different country, and I’m down in a coal mine with you and someone else.

Someone has taken a certain feminine energy and brought it into another part of the mine. I don’t know the best way to get the energy back. I’m wondering whether we should pursue it right now, or whether we should wait for it to come back, or whether we should get help with retrieving it.

I waver back and forth between these options. I don’t feel like I come to any conclusion about it.

John: First of all, the image places you in a foreign country, and in a coal mine. So right away we see that you’re out of your element, i.e., you’re not on your “home” turf.

A coal mine is also something that’s against a naturalness – it’s digging down below the surface, disturbing the bowels of the earth. So this image shows that you’re seeking to make decisions about how to handle this process, but you find yourself out of your depth.

The problem is, you can’t accept something on one level, and then seek to control it on another level. The bigger question becomes: Does the feminine have a right to micromanage something, when creation itself doesn’t?

The feminine, and her understanding within creation, has certain aspects of the masculine in her nature, so it’s easy for her to go off and think that she needs to micromanage or attempt to control something. Yet to do so is to narrow down the overallness that she naturally can hold in her being.

The feminine should not be doing that. She needs to leave things alone and allow them to be free. This goes along with the principle that the feminine has to know how to let something die. In other words, she needs the perspective to recognize what best serves the need of the greater overall.

If the feminine imposes her will upon something, she can stifle it, and, of course, your dream is indicating the ludicrousness of trying to do that. You’re already in a coal mine, so in one regard you’re accepting of something that’s an unnatural situation. At the same time, you’re rejecting something else, i.e., you feel something must be done to return the feminine energy. Digging a coal mine affects the wholeness of creation, yet the wholeness of creation is affected all the time as a part of the learning and evolving process.

The earth renders itself up in support of the human, so we can grow and learn. Animals, too, play a role in enabling the human to find its way. The feminine can’t then come in and make clearcut decisions about things because that would be overstepping her bounds, which is to uphold the overall. In other words, it would be attempting to dictate how that overall should be. That desire, which historically has been carried to an extreme by the masculine, is what gets us into trouble.

If everything is left to its own devices, it will find its natural course. We have to trust that. We have to know that. Of course it’s hard to know that in the face of circumstances where the power of what exists is so entrenched. But who are we to try to level the playing field on behalf of creation? That’s like putting ourselves forward as having some sort of superior consciousness, like a god.

In your dream you find yourself in a coal mine, and now the best thing to do is to just accept where you are and know how to let go. But instead you see yourself wanting to catch up with some aspect of your deeper feminine nature, in order to have a say about what takes place there. Some part of you thinks that by going to a greater depth inside, you’re going to know; but you can never really know.

This reminds me of the old story of the Zen master who’s approached by a woman from the village. She tells him her son got a horse, and asks “Isn’t that great?” The Zen master says, “We’ll see.” A few months later the woman returns and says, “My son fell off the horse and broke his leg – isn’t that terrible?” The Zen master says, “We’ll see.”

Then war breaks out between the villages, and all the men go to battle. The young man can’t go because of his broken leg. The woman rushes to tell the Zen master of this good fortune, and, of course, he says, “We’ll see.”

Basically this illustrates that we don’t have a broad enough perspective to truly know what’s good or bad. If we’re really conscious and neutral about events in life, we’ll just say, “I don’t know.” We have to wait and see, i.e., not be personally invested in the outcome, because it’s all part of a greater evolution.