Thursday, September 21, 2006

Intellect & Emotion

Last night I had a really interesting dream. Two friends who had been living together for a long time were breaking up. One woman followed the other out on the front lawn, yelling at her. She was completely consumed with her upset. At one point she threw something (a  glass something) at the little orange VW bug that apparently belonged to the other woman. The other woman was calm and sad. She was quiet, resolute. She had packed her things and loaded them in the car and was about to drive away from the apartment they'd shared for a long time.

In my dream, I stood at the back of the car (having just helped to load it, I guess), looking on with love and compassion. These women were both apparently my good friends from college. In my dream, I understood that even though there were many hurt feelings right now, we would all remain friends. I wasn't worried. I was even a little amused, because I knew the end of the story.

As I wrote in my journal and reflected on the dream (common theory being that all characters in our dreams are really parts of us), I asked myself where I was the woman heaving the glass vase at the other woman's car. And who was that other woman, calm, sad, quiet, but not operating from emotion?

She was my rational side, my intellect.

I think it's part of the human condition to be living out many influences at the same time. We are pushed and pulled between desire and will; between hope and doubt; between feelings and thoughts. We can intellectualize our experiences, but processing them requires opening to, being honest with, and giving our feelings a voice. And then after they've thrown glass vases at our reasoning, we need to give our intellect a chance to make meaning of the experience--what just happened? What does it mean? How does it enrich and expand the story my life is creating with itself?

I think the part of me standing behind the car (by the engine, in a VW bug, btw), smiling and knowing everything was okay, was my spirit. In spirit there was no argument--there's no division--there's no struggle or shouting on the lawn. The spirit has a vision I can only glimpse fleetingly, in harmonious moments.

And, of course, in my dreams. :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

God as gravity

This morning I was thinking about Oneness, about how it's more than a pleasant concept or some ideal we try to live up to. The idea of Oneness is becoming more real to me the older I get. The mistake of separation--the idea that we're little, alone, and vulnerable--is seeming more obviously a mistaken belief of the ego to me.

I remember years ago trying to imagine a sense of everything being One. The picture in my head was something like sunlight spreading over an open field--how it expands and lights up everything it touches. I thought one basic thing we have in common is that all of us, sooner or later, touch the earth in some way--right now you're sitting on a chair that touches the floor that touches the foundation of your house of office, which touches the earth. We drive in cars or ride in busses with tires that touch the earth. When we walk, run, jog, or bike we touch the earth. Even when we fly, at the start and end of our flight, we are touching the earth (and some would argue that we are still in earth's atmosphere even in the air, so we're still part of the earth.)

So as I experiment with ideas of Oneness, it occurred to me that maybe God is gravity--unseen like that natural force, but giving us such a powerful and constant hug that he holds us on the planet, each and every one of us, every minute. :)

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Moment of Grace

In the Today's Gift email I get from Hazelden, I found the following quote:

"Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied." --Pearl S. Buck

This is one of those ideas that stunned me for a moment because (1) I'd never had this thought in my head before, and (2) because it is so true. I can think back to choices I made in my life that caused me pain (or at least gave me a mess to dig out of later), and I can remember clearly the moment when I was struggling with whether to go forward or choose a different route. Even when I prayed about some of those decisions, I still often made choices that turned out not to be for my good. Turns out that I didn't know it at the time, but I was unclear at my hurting places, and I could easily be swayed into choosing the wrong thing for me. As a friend told me over coffee one morning, "The next time you face something like that, call me--I think even though you were praying about it, you ultimately told yourself what you wanted to hear."

A lot of healing and radical commitment to self-love gradually led me into a place where I could discern whether something was good for me or not. But I love the idea that this moment of grace is built into every choice. God puts it there for us. And we will eventually have the eyes and heart to see it. When you're pivoting on the edge of a decision, look for it. If you can't see it, ask a friend. If it still isn't clear, wait for it. Grace is always present. Sometimes our eyes just need time to adjust to the light.