Complete readings here.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
it fears not the heat when it comes;
its leaves stay green;
in the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.”
Both of my regular readers are by now familiar with the theme of doubt which informed my last few sermons. I’m eager to share with them a dream I had, which I believe speaks directly to this doubt. I want also to share a passage or two from Jung’s Autobiography, which has been an inspiration for me in this time of change.
The dream begins in a dark room, a kind of shop where I’m the last person left to close up. It is late, and dark outside. I’m killing time, waiting for the moment when I can leave. A knock at the door calls me over–the person at the door is looking for a coffee shop, and I offer them directions as best I can. Again, the feeling of nervousness and fear pervades–I’m hesitant to open the door all the way because I am alone at night and this is, after all, New York.
I close the door, and as I turn back to my work I’m startled by a large, imposing figure who steps out of the shadows. I realize suddenly that he has been there the entire time! I struggle to speak to him, but I stammer over my words and am unable to communicate. I am afraid, but I know he is not there to harm me. Then I wake up.
Now some Jung:
Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
but stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.”
“We know that something unknown, alien, does come our way, just as we know that we do not ourselves make a dream or an inspiration, but that it somehow arises of its own accord. What does happen to us in this manner can be said to emanate from mana, from a daimon, a god, or the unconscious. … The [Christian] myth must ultimately take monotheism seriously and put aside its dualism, which, however much repudiated officially, has persisted until now and enthroned an eternal dark antagonist alongside the omnipotent Good. … In the experience of the self it is no longer the opposites “God” and “man” that are reconciled, but rather the opposites within the God-image itself. That is the meaning of divine service, of the service which man can render to God, that light may emerge from the darkness, that the Creator may become conscious of His creation, and man conscious of himself.”
In my dream the figure in the darkness is the presence of God–the Tao, the force which moves, the unconscious “Big Brain” which speaks to me before language. That large, imposing figure in the dark is both real and is ever-present. It is terrifying, but without any ill-intent. It is the experience of God. It is what it feels like to stretch your roots into the stream and fear not when the heat comes.
Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.”
It is an experience open to all of us. Indeed, it may be the natural state of man. Rationalism has taken us very far away from the manifesting hugeness which we once feared, worshiped, begged for help and for forgiveness. But rationality does not mark the limits of our life.
Tonight I encourage you to close your eyes. Cut away the thoughts of tomorrow and the preoccupations of yesterday. Breathe, listening to your breath. Your ego-self is everywhere inside you, sticking to your body like a glue and giving the impression that it animates you. But your breath occurs before your consciousness, without effort, and that is why it is the gateway to your bigness.
We are not alone in ourselves.