My dream of a few nights ago may be telling the story not only of my life but of our collective life. In it, I have traveled a long distance to the same town where my Beloved resides, but am there to fulfill other obligations. There is only one short window of opportunity in which we might actually get to be together but I am committed during that period, a thing I genuinely must do. I become aware that something has shifted so that the event I am committed to may possibly fall through and I will thus be free! My heart wants this desperately. I believe that all I can do is wait and hope.
After awakening from this dream a flood of realizations and memories occurred, a lifetime of seemingly intractable situations in which the love and connection I hoped for was seemingly so close, yet stayed out of reach. Like it is air in the same room with you, but won’t enter your lungs. Like it is just on the other side of a thin veil but the veil is impassable. The exceedingly possible remains impossible. The words, “so close and yet so far away” were burning painfully in my reflections.
I looked out my window at a tree that I love, and it hit me with a force – Nature is feeling the exact same thing in regard to our relationship with her. The scintillating spirit in the tree, the spirit in the mountain, wind, plant, river, birds – all are alive, intelligent beings communicating with us and loving us, yet for the most part we remain on the other side of an impassable veil unable to apprehend and connect. In the course of modernity humanity has developed an autism, as Thomas Berry puts it, losing our capabilities to interact intelligently with the non-human world. The pain that I began to feel considering that aspect of my dream’s meaning exceeded even that of the personal stories I had been reviewing. I fell into a paralyzing sadness, got up in the wee hours, went to my altar, lit all the candles and sat.
The dream narrative describes how far I had traveled to be in this town where my Beloved was and yet possibly we would not be able to connect. I felt the dream may also suggest the journey of a soul into this Earth. We have traveled so far to be here. As spirits we have arrived into this density of matter for great purpose. Yet possibly we may ultimately fail to meet up with what we most love and what most loves us back.
Scientists explain that humans are now accelerating the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. (See The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, book by The New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert, or article by Sarah Zielinski “Climate Change Will Accelerate Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction” at Smithsonian.com among other sources) The loss of diversity on the planet as well as the pollution of soil, air and water may mean that humans will be among the extinct species, some scientists acknowledge.
On the positive side, those informed on this issue do believe, and I sincerely sense and believe, that we still have a choice. Certain things have been set into motion that cannot be undone. Species that it took our Earth billions of years to create are now gone, but a radical shift in human behaviors can yet prevent the worst scenarios from happening. It will take as many as possible of us to awaken, shake off the denial, find a voice for the unspoken, to act, care, love, remember, hope, believe.
The suspicious part of my dream, a dear friend (author Dawn Brunke) pointed out to me, is the belief that I have “obligations” that prevent me from deciding to drop the things I think I have to do and simply go be with my Beloved. What are these obligations I think I have that prevent me from doing this? And what are those that prevent us as a species from taking time to wake up to the consequences of our actions so that we will protect what we love? In the media we discuss every other thing in life at exhausting length. Yet the issue of climate change, which exceeds every other concern, is given about a 15 second spot every other month if we’re lucky.
Who is my Beloved that this dream references? Sincerely it feels to me that it is the spirit of Earth Herself, the Mother of us all. Without her, all of the other loves of my life would certainly be impossible. I want to connect to Her in hope that my children and grandchildren might have a healthy and happy home in which to thrive. It’s personal.
Recently, a newly emerging great world leader, Pope Francis, issued an astonishingly brilliant encyclical calling for action regarding climate change. In his opening he says, “Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet.” If you have not read it, I ardently encourage you to do so. At least read the first page and see if you aren’t hooked to finish. This document is carefully researched, thorough, passionate and inspired. Here is a leader who is not in the pockets of billionaires and politicians, free to speak of this issue in its moral, philosophical and spiritual implications.
Frances says that we must draw attention to “the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; (my italics) otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms.”
Carl Jung said similarly: “The world hangs on a thin thread and that is the psyche of man. We are the great danger. Man is the great danger.” We need more psychology, we need to understand ourselves, to make the unconscious inertia conscious so that we can change it. I definitely believe in us, we are a vastly creative and loving species. We can change ourselves, and this.
My daily work is with dreams, my own and those of my clients who I assist on the telephone and in my downtown Asheville office. Dreams are Nature herself speaking directly and personally to us, always offering the “raw, unvarnished truth,” as Jung puts it. Dreamwork is my focus for now, but there is much more and other work to do. It seems important to create Dialogue, among other things.
How to reduce the distance between “so close and yet so far away” and connect with the Beloved? Courage, science, practicality, moral fortitude and magic will be involved. I know it is possible.