In Natural Dreamwork I’ve been talking awhile about the most important affirmation about our dreams– whether they are so-called bad dreams or so-called good dreams– the affirmation of the dream itself.
That we dream, all of us, this “fact of the dream” as Borges called it– that there is an ongoing process in all of us– constantly sprouting new images, which we often see much more clearly with our eyes closed, but which are emerging one after the next within us. This fact. You need but close your eyes a moment to see this.
The mind is not a blank slate, a tabula rasa. Oh no. The psyche is like a garden of rich soil and seeds and those seeds are sprouting tiny green shoots, some with the wild extravagant life of exotic plants, some that bear fruit, some spindly weeds with loose roots destined to blow away– you see right here in this sentence how images build, turning, churning. I believe this image-making is simply a creative process in each of us, if we allow it. If we honor and respect it instead of saying, oh it’s only a dream, it’s only your imagination, it’s mere poetry… which is what the world is always saying about what is most precious in you.
How can dreams be important though when we are facing a catastrophe like the coronavirus pandemic? Shouldn’t we drop all this dream nonsense and poetry nonsense and pay attention to what is real? So worldly voices say. So they say within us too.
This morning I sent a photo to a friend who wanted to see my garden. He was in grief, he had nursed his wife for a long while with Alzheimers and now she is gone.
I wrote underneath, “This too is happening”.
I was thinking of him and thinking of the virus too.
THIS TOO IS HAPPENING.
So I want to say about primary imagination: whatever is going on in the world, however bad the news is– this too is happening.
This experience of burgeoning in us is an important aspect of our work with dreams, regardless of whether you are experienced in working with the precise images of your dreams, as we have learned to do in Natural Dreamwork through so many years of encounter with our clients. Or– you are simply a person who cares to remember your dreams. The ongoing contact with growth within yourself, which is always happening .. but which happens all the more if you pay attention to it, because love is a kind of focused attention– if you love whatever arises in your imagination, whether it is so-called good or so-called bad, whether it is a scary image or weird or fabulous, or north or south– matters not– as long as you are in touch with it, taking the images in, contemplating the images in your dreams– then you are in touch with the most creative force within you.
And not to get too theological– oh hell I will get theological and say– this is the “Ever-evolving” which is the new name Moses heard from the burning bush: ” I will be what I will be.” When Coleridge spoke of the primary imagination as the echo of the eternal I am, this is what he meant: there is an “I will be what I will be” working in each of us.. our own unique native imagination.. if we would but pay attention and value it.
Let me share a dream for this time and a few poems that maybe will help.
THE TWO CORONAS
I dreamed that I was in a classroom , a big class and I was the least of the students, just one among many,. How beautiful to be the student. And someone was talking about mysticism, about kabbalah, and I saw a book, and it was called the TWO CORONAS. And in the dream as we often do in a dream, I did not make any waking life association. Simply there was this chart on the cover which showed two spiky crowns, two coronas, and they were bright white light on a sort of stem connecting them, one at the higher level and one at the lower level, and they were both one also.
I think if you thought of an old man dandelion all white and about to blow its seeds away, but instead of one flower head, there were two, one flower on top and bottom connected by a green stem– you might have an image of what I saw in this dream. And the words under the image read: TWO CORONAS.
The highest and the lowest, the loftiest and the most humble were all part of one experience. And that was the teaching of the two coronas.
Corona means crown, and in fact in kabbalah there is a concept of the crown [known as keter] which is simultaneously the highest expression of the divine.. it is in fact the same as “I will be what I will be” and at the same time it is also “nothing.” It is also in us the humblest.
Keter corresponds to the quality of humility. To learn to be humble with the highest, to learn to be humble with the highest within ourselves, the ever-evolving, to not use it , to not make something else of it, but simply to experience it, to feel it, to know it deep within, and to live from that knowledge of what is creative within each of us.. this is a way of beauty. This is our way of dreams.
[Image of actual coronavirus from NIAID/ NIH lab in Fort Detrick Maryland]
The coronavirus is so named because it has a spiky crown and those spikes enable it to implant itself in our cells. The virus is very humble, very low in the chain of life. There is a dispute in science whether a virus is a living thing or not. It is on the border of living and non-living, and for us right now it is very frightening. It is a humble existence– a virus, and yet a virus embodies the ever-evolving also for it is part of life.
It is a part of life and those who think, oh it’s a Chinese problem, it’s an Italian problem, it’s those folks in New Orleans or New York who will get it– they don’t understand the awesome indifference of this form of life. The virus is wonderful that way: it loves everybody, doesn’t care whether you are black or white or Asian or Native American or gay or straight— it loves us all! If only we could learn to love like this virus does, we could infect everyone with love.
There is also something inherently creative about a virus. In fact a virus is a kind of writer, for it writes its RNA into our cells and forces the cell to copy. So in a sense we can learn from a virus if we stop seeing it from the waking life point of view, and start feeling it in the imagination.
That is what happens in a creative process and it happens also in our dreams– certain images in waking life cross over into the deep primary imagination. We are all blessed to experience primary imagination directly in our dreams. And from that imaginative “take”– a richer and deeper view emerges. Which is why dreams can help us in this time, help us reframe our experience. Help us look for what is beautiful in our experience however difficult that beauty might be.
A few weeks ago, the “coronavirus’ crossed over from my waking life consciousness into my dreaming-poetic consciousness and I wrote this:
The virus — a fierce engine of poetry— writes itself in every cell but can only say one word. No cry of help warning squirt of ecstasy just me repeated in a row of me. A lover so egotistical he can only see himself in the other —an image in a mirror stripping its skin to nothing. I can’t breathe the patient said– the virus did as commanded and multiplied.
In this poem the virus is wonderful: it is like a poetic engine. The virus is terrible: it will multiply when the patient can’t breathe. The virus is “commanded” by its own relentless engine, like an egotist– and yet we can also “admire” the virus’s intensity, its will to live and reproduce. We can go from the higher corona to the lower corona, we can learn from the virus to continue to create, to write ourselves into every cell of life.. for the virus is a poet. Even though all it can say is me me me.
The image of the virus is wonderful and it is terrible, just as images in our dreams are wonderful and terrible, and we cannot really separate the higher from the lower, they are two coronas that are one. In the command and control of the waking life ego we separate experience into what is good to us and what is bad to us. What is high and lofty and “spiritual” and what is low and earthly and to be shunned. We look at every experience from a simplistic point of view, is it good for me or bad for me? This is our survival mode and this is what we are experiencing right now in our fear and anxiety. And sometimes this distinction is necessary to our survival. But not if it becomes a wooden habit. Then we have quarantined ourselves from life itself.
So many speak of dreams and of nightmares as if they were entirely different. But they are all just dreams. We say good dreams and bad dreams– but they are all dreams– all produced by primary imagination for us to experience.
We cannot separate the good from the bad, without losing the whole. In Natural Dreamwork when we are with our clients and their difficult moments in dreams, we suffer with them, we sit with them, and we acknowledge that each image, if it carries a strong feeling must be felt.. which takes a lot of courage, but in the long run is worth it. We learn to practice the difficult feelings: pain, terror, disgust– We learn to feel the deep and wonderful feelings of love joy and excitement.
It is how we become whole. We want life whole, not half. We want both coronas, both crowns. The crown of the highest, and the crown of the humblest.
I also wrote this little poem and now I realize that the dream carried into the poem, the dream of two coronas became the poem of two suns… for we speak of the corona of the sun, of the sun as having a crown of light that surrounds it.
Two suns make one sun. Then we knew what light was. It shines through us all the way to being. Have you seen being? It is at first a light at a distance like a lonely beacon then it is suddenly through you–shining everywhere at every point. You are the light and you are the sun in this new dark world. Everything adds up. We make two suns together. Two reappears as one. One reappears in two. Much love. Much love.
The working of imagination within us is like a sun that is always rising. And dawn is always the hour of beginning a new day, of waking with a new inspiration. At dawn I write these little poems in the wake of my dreams, in the perfume of the dream. I write my dreams and then write the poems or write the poems and then write the dreams.
I see the crown of the highest and of the humblest and I stand before the process of primary imagination with wonder and gratitude, as I stand in life including the virus– for it is ever-evolving.
Much love. Much love to you all.
–Rodger Kamenetz founder of Natural Dreamwork works with clients in a program of spiritual, imaginative and creative development through the contemplation of your dreams. If you are interested in this sort of work, please contact him at email@example.com
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