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Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Meeting and marrying the many selves

We are all patchwork, and so shapeless and diverse in composition that each piece, each moment, plays its own game. And so there is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others.

The quote is from Montaigne, the French master of the essay, a word that originally meant a trial, something that tests our mettle. Meeting and making peace between our many selves is certainly a life trial, for which dreaming is one of our greatest resources.

In dreams, we meet many aspects of ourselves, some quite remote from what Yeats called the daily trivial mind. We meet the wonder-child, the dark or bright Shadow, the lost boys and girls, the beast in the basement and – when we are fortunate and awake enough to recognize and remember – the Oversoul.

We meet selves in dreams who appear to be living lives quite different from ours, as if they have taken off along roads not taken by our ruling personality in the world of our physical experience. A self who is still living with the ex, a self who is still working in the old job, a self who stayed in the old place.

Patchwork is also called pieced work. It involves sewing together many pieces, some of which, as they say, are real pieces of work.

One of the fine arts of personal evolution, vital to self-healing, is to rise to a clearer understanding of our many selves, and make helpful bridges between them, so we can draw on the skills and energy and experience of all of them. Ultimately we will only make a lasting marriage between our many selves when we can bring them together under the aegis of the Oversoul or Greater Self, who forever seeks us through dreams.

 

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment diane bonds

    Dear Robert,

    This speaks to me in so many ways. This week I have been encountering selves from the past, rereading writing–often with awe and surprise–writing I did more than 30 years ago on Emerson and D. H. Lawrence (separately).

    I am a quilter–or have been. I have too many finished or “pieced” tops and not enough lifetimes to quilt them all by hand, which is the only way I like to do it. I often think of quilting as a metaphor for what I am trying to do with in my “life” writing.

    I had dream last night, featuring a small army of characters including two female friends who often appear as my shadows in dreams AND two little boys sitting in front of a fire with small flames shooting out of their shoulder blades like little wings. (It just occurred to me: Emerson and Lawrence, two writers who fired my academic writing?)

    Meanwhile, my quest in the dream was to find my “belt.” A belt is something that holds things together, even while defining a demarcation. It can make two pieces an “outfit.” I knew on waking that this dream had something to do with “pulling it all together”–my life, my self.

    This week I also came across a passage from Emerson’s “The Poet,” which never struck me so forcibly as it does know. I thought of you immediately because it uses (uncharacteristically) the term “dream-power.” The whole passage is wonderful to contemplate, and since you allude to the Oversoul, I send it on:

    “Doubt not, O poet, but persist. Say, ‘It is in me, and shall out.’ Stand there, baulked and dumb, stuttering and stammering, hissed and hooted, stand and strive, until, at last, rage draw out of thee that dream-power which every night shows thee is thine own; a power transcending all limit and privacy, and by virtue of which a man is the conductor of the whole river of electricity. Nothing walks, or creeps, or grows, or exists, which must not in turn arise and walk before him as exponent of his meaning. Comes he to that power, his genius is no longer exhaustible. All the creatures, by pairs and by tribes, pour into his mind as into a Noah’s ark, to come forth again to people a new world. This is like the stock of air for our respiration, or for the combustion of our fireplace, not a measure of gallons, but the entire atmosphere if wanted. And therefore the rich poets, as Homer, Chaucer, Shakspeare, and Raphael, have obviously no limits to their works, except the limits of their lifetime, and resemble a mirror carried through the street, ready to render an image of every created thing.” (next to last paragraph of the essay)

    Thanks for a great post. I love the quotation from Montaigne. And the quilt.

    Diane Bonds

    • http://www.mossdreams.com Robert Moss

      Thanks, Diane – especially for another wonderful Emerson quote. “Stand there…stand and strive, until, at last, rage draw out of thee that dream-power which every night shows thee is thine own.” This also speaks of the creative power we find when we take the raw force of “negative” emotions and turn it in the right direction.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marie Novak

    As a quilter, I was drawn to the picture, but I love the thoughts expressed. I often think that life is like a quilt – we put together all the pieces that are given us and from those pieces we construct a whole unit, a quilt that can be used to keep people warm.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Del

    Hi Robert,

    Thank you for another great thought-provoking blog post. I am wondering if there are common markers that may serve as clues for when we are encountering one of these other selves?
    Thanks

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