I once had an important dream about the future.
I can’t remember exactly how it started, but there was some major disaster coming and we were getting behind some protective barrier and time was running out. We thought at the time that getting behind the barrier would make us perfectly safe. Somebody who was with me (perhaps some family member or a close friend, maybe even McKenzie, but I am not sure) was still on the outside of the barrier wand was with some bad people. We let the person who was with me in behind the barrier, but the friends who were somewhat bullies wanted in as well. We felt intimidated by them and didn’t want to upset them, so we let them in as well. But then the computer said that they could not stay because nobody with a criminal record could stay so they had to leave. There was nothing that could be done about it, they had to go. But because of that delay of me letting them in we were almost too late to shut the protective gate. I was kindof in charge up until that point, but because I had made a mistake my leadership was no longer desired by the group.
I then found myself towards the back of the room just on the inside of the protective barrier. I believe I had Seferina with me. I then commented to somebody next to me how I was leading from behind and it felt more appropriate to do things that way. I then saw who I think was Kiara towards the center of the room, a little bit lower than where I was, and she was mostly alone and I knew trouble was coming. So I went down to be closer to her. I was then with her and the catastrophe was about to happen and I said out to the entire group, “OK, let’s do this” in kindof a pumping them up sort of way before the disaster. Then I said jokingly, “if I say anything stupid (when the crisis comes) I am sorry in advance.”
Then the crisis started coming – quickly, and like before in my dreams leading up to the landside, it was rising catastrophic sea levels rushing in and we all started running. I then found myself with who I believe was Seferina and we were in the back country (from the barrier) with many other people all running for higher ground as the waters started rising very quickly. I then starting running towards and saw an area which was the highest ground, and it also had some trees. I remember thinking we could go up there and get in the trees, but it could get complicated in the trees, and it seemed like the water was going to pass the trees as well and there was nothing higher. The high area was starting to fill up fast with fleeing people, and the powerful waves were gathering.
Then I saw Claudine, who I believe was running holding Kiara, running in an area slightly below and the paths we were each on were forking. I then yelled out to her, “Claudine”, but she did not hear me. I then yelled out to her again very strongly, “Claudine” and she heard me but we were both forced to still be running. I yelled, “If we get separated, let’s promise we will never stop looking for each other, EVER.” I had really strong compassion, commitment and dedication in my mind at the time. She agreed, but had to keep running and we were going to be separated. It felt wrong to let her go, so I said, “fuck it” (abandoning the path I was on to join her) and I jumped (I think I had been holding Seferina while running this whole time) the long distance onto a narrow (but lower) path that she was on. The path was narrow, and had a sharp fall on the other side and if I had jumped too far I would have fallen, but I just barely made it onto the path and I started running after her.
We then found ourselves in a slightly more urban environment near a port, running along the port. There were fleeing people gathered up in the city area. The crisis was coming soon, but it did not have the immediate immediate urgency of fleeing danger, but it was not far behind and it was inevitably coming. Claudine then dropped Kiara down into a crevice to some boat which was tied to the dock and already partially submerged. I remember not getting it at first, but then she helped me understand that there could be pockets of air in there inside the boat and we could be safe. I then thought to myself and said that this was a clever idea. I then looked down the dock area and asked ‘where was McKenzie.’ I had thought he was with us, but he wasn’t. There was some child who looked like McKenzie (but wasn’t) who was lurking close by trying to join us. I remember Claudine saying or me thinking something about how others must have captured McKenzie and were using him. Lacking time and thinking it was a good idea, I then dropped Seferina down the crevice and also jumped myself.
To get into the inside of the boat where we thought the pockets of air could be, we had to go through this narrow opening. I saw bubbles coming from inside this area and thought yes, indeed, there would be air pockets there. Feeling like I was running out of time, I then went through the small opening into the boat. Once inside, there was some air but only a very little bit as the chamber was filling up fast with water. Claudine was slightly ahead of me, and we were trying to put our mouths to the very top of the area where there was just a thin layer of air. I realized we were trapped, there was nowhere left to go, and I desperately tried to grab some air. I managed to get a few slurps of air, at one point I thought I was going to be OK and have air to breathe, but then one or two breaths later I realized it wasn’t going to last and I couldn’t get any more. I don’t remember having died at that point, but clearly that was what was next, and I woke up with a very clear memory of the dream.
When I woke up, I immediately realized that this was an important dream like the ones I had had in France and when we found out about Claudine being pregnant with twins. So I tried to start remembering the dream, realized that if I didn’t get up to do my practice there was no way I was going to remember. I then came out into the living room at Oakwood and started doing my practice. I then realized I needed to write it all down into my blog, but my gompa and my blog computer were not set up. I then thought I could go onto Claudine’s computer, but I didn’t know the web address for the blog. Finally, I realized I could type it into an email that I send myself to be added to the blog later.
So what does all of this mean?
- First, that some sort of catastrophe is coming once again, just like before the landslide.
- I allowed myself to be bullied and intimidated to let the bullies in when I didn’t want to because I was willing to sacrifice what was right just to keep the peace and prevent conflict. This was a mistake.
- I had been putting myself forward as leader of the group somewhat forcefully by just assuming the leadership by being louder than the others, not because they were genuinely following my lead.
- Because they had a criminal record (negative actions), there was no saving them. I understand this to mean that even though the catastrophe still struck behind the protective barrier, it was much much worse on the other side. Like they were trapped in the lower realms (hell realms) and I was still in the human realm even though catastrophe was coming (though at the time I didn’t realize that catastrophe could also strike in the human realm, I thought I was safe by just having made it on the right side of the protective barrier).
- Because I had made a mistake, I lost the respect of the group to be the out in front leader.
- But when I was towards the back, I still felt like I was somewhat of a leader, but that it was more appropriate to be leading from behind.
- I did not want to leave Kiara alone in the middle of the room and drew closer to her. When crisis comes, I felt my responsibility was to maintain that close proximity.
- Once the crisis came, everyone was fleeing everywhere and any sense of artificial leader of the group vanished and it was just about my responsibility to my family and this was OK and all I could really do.
- When the crisis came, it came fast and we just had to run. There was no time for anything other than to flee.
- Even though I could have made it to slightly higher ground, I did not feel that would be enough to escape the rising waters. There was nowhere that was safe, like there is nowhere safe even in the human realms. I had looked to the sky (the upper realms, perhaps) but they were not reachable – we were on the ground.
- Main meaning of the dream: It is my bodhichitta towards others that will keep us close to each other when crisis comes. Because I have the most compassion/bodhichitta for Seferina, there was never a point in the story in which we were separated. She was always with me. I cried out to Claudine that we promise to never stop looking for each other if we get separated. This was our pact with each other. We started to be separated when our paths forked and even though I could have stayed on higher ground, that didn’t seem right. What mattered was staying together so we do not get separated and lost from one another. While to a much lesser degree, I liken this to the bodhisattva who is willing to endure the fires of the deepest hell for many aeons for the sake of each being. It was my compassion and feeling of commitment that caused me to jump to the lower path to join her and stay together. Jumping to the lower path did not have a feeling of me having to engage in some negativity to join a lower path to be with her, but rather that there was no escape for me on the higher ground anyway and it doesn’t make sense for us to allow ourselves to be separated just so I can be on slightly higher ground. If I am going to continue to find them again and again, and if I am going to fulfill my commitment to them, then I need to mentally really focus my bodhichitta on them as this will keep us together. This is where my main responsibility lies. Following the path of commitment to others is never the wrong choice. It is by first learning genuine commitment towards them that I will then later be able to expand the scope of my bodhichitta and ability to help. Getting separated in the context of this dream refers to dying having lost one another. In the end, our family bonds are the ones that matter most. It is like Harris who, despite his heart attack, put himself on a Greyhound bus to come to Grandma’s 100th birthday. He wanted to be with his sister, essentially, when he died. My Dad is somewhat becoming more interested in building ties with family as that is what is seen as most important in the end. More broadly, it is my bodhichitta commitment to anybody that builds the karmic proximity necessary to be able to find people again and again life after life. The people in Spokane and the Sangha in Geneva are my family, and I need to develop a strong bodhichitta towards all of them. Perhaps I should send them a note to be read in class.
- Part of the meaning I felt when I woke up was I should not follow Claudine into negativity even though I should remain with her, specifically with respect to the Elizabeth situation, but I am not sure about this meaning (perhaps because I do not want to be sure about it…). But the two times in which I faced a choice about being able to go a different direction (at the fork in the paths and before getting on the boat), Claudine had already committed to a direction and there was no turning her back from it (not out of stubborness on her part, but it was just too late to turn back). So yes, I joined her, and yes, it wound up being a mistake relative to the external situation, it was right in the commitment sense because we remained and ultimately died together with the understanding that we would find each other again in future lives.
- I need to redouble my bodhichitta commitment to McKenzie. It was perhaps him with the wrong people at the beginning, and we lost him at some point. I need to build my heart connection with him and not just leave him on his own because he is capable of being on his own and I am too busy to spend time with him.
- The twins were nowhere to be seen at any point in the dream. I take this to mean that the depth of my bodhichitta commitment to them is so non-existent that they did not even appear. I must rectify this immediately. Again, I should not feel like I do not have time for them, but in my heart and with my time I need to try closer to them to build connections. Both them and McKenzie.
- This dream is happening at a pivot point in my life and is in many ways my message as I enter into this new phase of my life.
- I need to rebuild my connection with Geshe-la, Ven. Tharchin and the Sangha in Geneva. By staying close to VGL and Ven. Tharchin I remain close to them in life after life. I need to lead from behind perhaps with the Sangha, but in any case I need to maintain, build and never forget that bodhichitta connection.
Your turn: Who in your life are you ready to make an eternal commitment to? Describe the relationship and the commitment.