I woke up today understanding one simple thing: that life is a cycle of one big going and coming.
Going into the womb, we come into this world.
As children, we venture outside the world succumbing to culture and tradition, veering away every single day from our authenticity just to obtain acceptance and belongingness. We only seek identity to become one of the tribe. We only want to become one of the patterns in this world we live in.
As we get older (and older), we realize that such attachment costs us a price – and we start to rebel against the very culture and tradition we breathe in order to gain back our authenticity. That is when we start to turn our back and retrace our step back to where we came from – back to our own soul (the way we were when we first came here: unconditioned, innocent, authentic).
That is when we realize that, truly, we all walk our path alone… We are forced to change by an unseen hand – and by changing, we have to let go of people, things and desires.
A tree in a dream. An old tree. Like the ones I saw in ancient remnants of temples and civilizations in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Grayish trunk, roots and branches. Sturdy. Rooted deeply in earth but reaching up for the sky. In its body, I saw the words “pupae,” “four,” “Padre Faura,” and another one which I could not recall upon waking up (but something related to foundation – at least, that was how my mind interpreted it while dreaming).
I was being reminded of the inevitabilities of life – the reality of death and rebirth. “Pupae” is like a butterfly, we all started as caterpillars inside a cocoon (like the womb). “Four” is the number of order in the universe – the elements, the seasons (signifies birth, death and rebirth), the points in the compass, and the phases of the moon (again, birth, death and rebirth). “Padre Faura” was a Jesuit priest who invented a barometer, Jose Rizal’s favorite mentor, and also refers to a poem authored by Danton Remoto that talked about the execution of Rizal. My attention was called to this part of the text:
“And on this day, with the year beginning to turn, salt stings my eyes. I see Pepe, a blur between the soldiers with their Mausers raised and the early morning’s star: still shimmering even if millions of miles away, the star itself is already dead.”
Notice how this particular line speaks the ability of a star to continue to shine and give off light even after its death. Notice how it seems to say that “something” remains “eternal” despite its mortal death.
The spectacular thing (and that is how I come to believe that Carl Jung was right that there is an intelligence that dwells within us and communicates with us like a spiritual compass or teacher) is that I do not think I ever encounter or read the poem in my whole life. I understood pupa and the importance of number 4 in numerology but I cannot see the relevance of Padre Faura until I read the texts of the poem.
The dream tree was about life, death and rebirth – the dream tree connects both heaven and earth. Merely, it was telling me that it is time to relax my hold on attachment to life and start my journey back into the self – a journey (deconstruction in order to become whole) we all must take alone.
And in that lone journey, the series of dreams were pointing me to the fact of deconstructing the façade – the persona – that I have mistaken for as my real self.
I prided myself for being independent, strong and logical. I wouldn’t think for a second that there is anything wrong with that. But there IS something wrong with that. In that, I created, unknowingly, a prison that revolves around the ideals of freedom, strength and logic. In that prison, I made myself my own prisoner. In that prison, I created an illusion of a giver who is capable of sustaining herself – not needing. I believed that. I lived that.
Life, apparently, is not about how independent, how strong and how wise one could get. Life, apparently, is our capacity to be whole and full. And by being whole, we must learn how to be un-whole – by being full, we must learn how to be empty. For only in our emptiness we can allow life to flow and conduct its business of giving and receiving.
Now, note that I am understanding the dream intellectually. In reality, I am at a loss on how to concretize its message. The trait I considered good is the very same trait that is hindering my growth. I do not know how to allow people in my personal space – that space is the bubble that protects me – that space is my fortress – that space is a trauma response because somewhere in the long past, I did not feel supported, protected and cherished.
Be your own best friend. Be your own cheerleader. Be your own hero. That has been my mantra. It is not wrong. Yet, we have to be aware of the “why” of it in the first place.
Today, I understand profoundly what Carl Jung meant when he said we have to make the unconscious conscious because it will lead us to understanding our own soul better and deeper.
In the coming days, you might find me talking about dreams and Jung as I slowly piece together the meaning of my dreams which, to my total bewilderment, were not meaningless babble of the mind after all. You may want to pay attention to your own dreams and find out what your own soul is trying to tell you.