When I look at my life now it seems to me that much of what I knew has passed away, and consequently I’ve had to learn to live in a rather different way. There is less certainty in my life. Each day has to be negotiated as a new beginning. Life doesn’t run on the old familiar tracks as it once did.
As a consequence of this I feel, and tell myself that I’m stronger, that I’m clearer. I’m more able to find security and stability in myself, and less reliant on external conditions for a sense of well being and security. The path has led, often through loss, into this new landscape.
The positive side of this is a greater sense of freedom. A greater ability to be myself. More able to get out of my own way. After all, it doesn’t really matter that much!
But I’ve also noticed the other side of the coin. My dreams continue in much the same way as they’ve always done. Here, it seems, things are no better. The same troubling things happen. I’ve done something bad. Disaster threatens. I’ve displeased someone. Someone has angered me, etc, etc.
What do I make of this? It seems to me that as my internal space becomes somewhat clearer, the dross becomes more visible. As I “polish my mirror” the whole drama of my ego self, “me”, “julian”, becomes more clearly visible....especially in the mirror of my dreams.
There’s always a deal to be struck; some deed to be hidden; someone to be avoided; some situation to be manipulated. This is the way of the ego, the game of the person I call “me.”
For me its not so much about analysing the content of the dreams, although that can be useful and revealing. Its more about seeing the whole story reflected there, and just seeing it for what it is. What’s seen is the story of “me” – the archetypal hero’s journey, told since time immemorial.
What to do? Nothing. Just witness. Just see it for what it is. Not good. Not bad. Welcome the “good” in oneself. Try to love the shadowy and murky within oneself. Feel the joy and pain of existence as deeply as you can. Drink deeply from this cup. This is the medicine.
_We can’t help clinging. We cling to people, to beliefs. Clinging is the natural tendency of things to embrace one another. Clinging displays the power of attraction. Things are held together through clinging. For example gravity is an expression of clinging. The earth clings to the sun through gravitational pull. People are attracted to one another through clinging.
But clinging also obsesses and fixates. “I cling to you and wont let you go.” Thus clinging produces the pain of separation. The person that was clung to is now perceived as the source of pain and loss. Thus clinging produces aversion, produces hatred.
But clinging happens. It is Eros. It is love in action. So clinging happens... it can’t be avoided. This is a given.
So what to cling to? How to express clinging?
In the commentary for Hexagram 30 (Chinese Book of Changes, Richard Wilhelm translation), we read the following:
“...The trigram Li means “to cling to something,” “to be conditioned,” “to depend or rest on something,” and also “brightness.” A dark line clings to two light lines, one above and one below – the image of an empty space between two strong lines, whereby the two strong lines are made bright... As an image, it is fire. Fire has no definite form but clings to the burning object and thus is bright.”
“What is dark clings to what is light and so enhances the brightness of the latter. A luminous thing giving out light must have within itself something that perseveres; otherwise it will in time burn itself out. Everything that gives light is dependent on something to which it clings, in order that it may continue to shine.”
The Judgement for the hexagram also states that “care of the cow brings good fortune.” Clinging means we are docile. We devote ourselves to something. Except it’s not some “thing”. We devote ourselves to the Self, to the inner guide. We are docile, like the cow, allowing ourselves to be led.
“A dark line clings to two light lines, one above and one below – the image of an empty space between two strong lines, whereby the two strong lines are made bright.”
What we cling to is not a thing. It is emptiness. This emptiness is also the light. We are conditioned by the mysterious emptiness at the source of all, within all, which is also fire, energy, brightness. The emptiness appears as energy, which is to say movement, motion. We allow ourselves to be informed, to be led from within by this energy. This is what we “cling” to, are “conditioned” by, and are “dependent” on.
What does it mean to be devoted in such a way? “What is dark clings to what is light and so enhances the brightness of the latter.”
We bring all that is dark and negative within ourselves, and offer it to the fire. We don’t suppress the negative emotions. We offer them to the light. To cling like this, to be devoted in this way is a conscious act. It is a discipline. We choose not to act out of negativity and defensiveness. Even though we feel the full force of these things in us, we choose not to be moved by such things. We choose to be guided (light) by the mystery of our depth (dark).
Short pieces from Julian on all aspects of healing, psychology and spirituality