Dream time symbols… Can we ever know what they mean?
I caught of glimpse across time this morning. I saw with more than just my eyes, and for a precious moment, felt a sense of community as never before. My heart went out, and I felt a yearning for something so ancient and timeless it completely transformed my state of being. It was early morning, and the village was still sleeping as I drew back my curtains and looked out. Steam rose like curls of smoke from one or two houses, and all at once I ‘saw’ in my mind a gathering of round houses set in this landscape. I felt connected to it, part of it, all of it. With every cell and fibre I was this place, this land, this community. In that instant of recognition I felt a loving, infinite meaning for my existence – a purpose and a knowing all at once that brought me understanding. At that moment, I knew my place, and it was good.
A passing car brought me back, and the severing of that fleeting connection and purpose for life was painful. It still is.
Do others ever feel as I did in that moment? Do they feel it all the time? Do they live in communities who rejoice in their companionship, support and connection, one with another? I do not know.
I have lived in this place for over ten years, but I know but a handful of people. There are 300 houses here, and many farms around – there are many, many people I could know. But I do not go to church and I do not go to the pub. My children are grown and I never visit the little school. if you do not participate in any of these things, it is difficult to make contact. People are suspicious. Many are fearful of those they do not know. But everyone is someone you do not know – until you do. There are so many wonderful things we could share if we only knew.
A man died in his home the other week. He lived alone in squalor. He shunned visitors and preferred to let his final days be ones of solitude. One could say that was his choice, and so it was. I wonder if it would have been so in the days of the round houses? Would the community have been so detached that an old man would have been left alone to rot? I wonder.
In my vision this morning I could not see that outcome. It seemed there was a Oneness that could only mean that when one person suffered, ALL would suffer. It would not have been possible to look away. Surely it is this sense of community and compassion that has enabled humanity to have survived this far. We have done it by supporting each other…
What we do to another, ultimately impacts on ourselves. What we put out, always comes back. If I shun you, I am shunning an aspect of myself. If I help you, I also help myself. We know this is true, because we all know how much better we feel when we have given to another. When we were fully supporting each other, and villages like this would turn out to bring in the harvest together, we were held in the spirit of a community that looked after itself. No one was left out in the cold to die alone.
I would love to feel that sense of community again. It was magical. I felt safe and loved and in the moment. I would have been unafraid to walk out of my house and join with others.
Now of course I doubt myself. The shutters are falling once again, and I am overcome with a crippling apathy and cynicism for having such dreams. Why bother? Nobody cares.
But that cannot be true – because I care – and if I care, so do others. It only becomes true if I cease to care. If I give up on others, they will surely give up on me, and so I won’t.
I will hold my dream, and should I forget for a while, I will look out of my window across the village roof tops, and see the little round houses with the curls of smoke settled peacefully in this landscape. I will remember how it can be.
Yesterday I took the dogs and walked up to the top of the hill behind my house. I can see for miles up there, and in days when life has got me down and I need to look at the bigger perspective, it’s a good place to start.
A very old byway runs along the spine of the hill. It’s used by horsemen and walkers alike, and on Sunday afternoons lads on scrambling bikes carve up the ground and turn it into a muddy, noisy race track.
Yesterday it was peaceful with no distractions, and I quickly lost myself in my thoughts. At the end of the track is a wood with sprawling holly bushes, sturdy oaks and tall, slim beech trees that sway in the westerlies. The wood is old. The leaf mould on the ground is deep and luscious, and it smells just gorgeous.
Overhead some dark and raucous residents made their presence known. Rooks. They were nest building, and their untidy jumbles of twigs lurched back and forth in the freshening winds. Round and round they flew, circling the nest sites, cawing and calling to each other. I stood enchanted. Lost, for a few precious moments, in an hypnotic trance of something ancient as they turned and fell in the sky. This way and that they twisted with such ease, riding the winds in this element to which I have few points of reference. I was very aware they knew I was on the ground – man, the predator, never to be trusted. They were keeping a very sharp eye on me and my dogs.
Last night I had a dream. I was flying, my arms outstretched and my body turning and twisting over green fields full of wild flowers. I felt the wind lifting me, and with intention I found I could go higher, change direction, swoop low. I was human, still me, but free of the ties that keep us grounded. I was up there, with the birds.
To be able to fly, even in a dream, is to share something with all creatures of the air. In dream-time we get to understand that truly, there can be no separation between any of us – we breathe the same air and drink the same water. However different we think we are, in reality we share our life experience on Planet Earth with all beings.