You Have a Dream

I cannot clearly say how I had entered
the wood; I was so full of sleep just at
the point where I abandoned the true path.

Dante, Inferno, Canto 1: 10-12

Your life is but your dream. How we think of ourselves, others, and our interactions are all played out inside your dream.  How we regard others and our relationship to them, is all based inside your dream. But the most amazing thing about your dream, is that it is a shared dream. And in this dream appears all our world and all that is living in the world. In this dream appears our good and our bad, our ugly and our beautiful, our right and our wrong. Yes, you are dreaming now. Can you hear what I am saying while you are dreaming?

We do not ask where this dream comes from, because we believe it is just this way and because we are in it. We do not ask if perhaps we are dreaming, because we would feel to be wasting our time in such philosophical musings.  For if you were a sea creature who never experienced the surface of the sea, the land, the air, or the sun, you would find it laughable to imagine anything outside of that sea. “Impossible!”, you would say. “I could not even live outside of this sea.” In fact, you would think that anything outside the sea was a dream, and that the sea itself was life.

Now there is a very powerful river that flows beneath the bottom of the dream, as a river of the underworld, and in this river, hidden, dark, and turgid, lives all the shadows and spirits who have helped you create and support this dream that you are now dreaming.   These are called Dream Weavers. You do not know these Dream Weavers until you have traveled, like the maiden Persephone or a Shaman, through that dark river of the underworld. For when you arrive there, you would see exactly how they make the dream that you believe to be your life.  But until that time, you believe that life is truly as you experience it and could be nothing else under the light of the sun.

However, although most cannot see them, the influence of the Dream Weavers and the power of that river does not completely escape you. When that great river swells with the storms that fall upon it – for there are wild storms of fire and brimstone down below- you begin to experience a sense of unrest and disease. Sometimes the swell and discomfort is so great, your dream starts to feel like a nightmare or perhaps an earthquake. People become disfigured. You are frightened. Love turns into fear and the beautiful turns sour. You feel that you must do something quick and urgent. Sometimes you will consult others in the dream for help, and they will tell you exactly what you want to hear, for the strange thing about dreams is that we only talk to ourselves. Everyone else in our dream is just an aspect of our own reflection. We are truly alone in the dream, even when it seems that we are not.

But, of course, feeling that fear – no matter how great – and discomfort still doesn’t convince you to let go of the dream. For you are the sea creature experiencing your sea.  In fact, the discomfort is what allows the dream to survive. For the pleasant and the unpleasant are also part of the dream, and all you think you have to do is run from what is painful and run towards what is pleasant. This activity, will allow you to escape the nightmare.

Many times, people help others escape their nightmares as well.  There is pleasure in great numbers; for the dream feels more real when more people appear to agree about it and that gives us the greatest sense of pleasure, to be agreed with. The greatest sense of pain comes when most do not agree with us. And this is the true motivation behind pleasure seeking. We are always running from the nightmare, and we are ever running towards what seems to protect us from that nightmare. The pleasures show up in the form of people, places, things, substances. The pains or nightmares also show up in those same shapes, only in an unpleasant manner. But whatever our pleasure is, we become addicted to it, like a child becomes addicted to a blanket and a favorite toy because it removes the monsters beneath the bed.

Now this kind of life, the running from pain and the seeking of pleasure is what we consider to be the normal activity of life, and so we just accept any discomfort, pain, and disease that we feel as if it were “normal”. But the truth is that we are generating so much energy with our fears and our desires, that we no longer have the power to escape the dream. Many do not even have the mental power to challenge it. Now the Dream Weavers who live in the dark and turgid river love this, because they need energy to create your dream. Your restless and constant activity in the dream feeds the energy required for them to make your dream. Some people have become so distraught from the running and chasing that they become anxious and call themselves victims of anxiety.  And they do suffer anxiety, but it is due to their own participation in the dream. Every time they give attention to any part of the dream, they are feeding the Dream Weavers. And the Dream Weavers use that food to create more of the dream. On and on it goes, the circle of life, the circle of feeding, the circle of absurdity.

So, you ask, “How can I escape this?”. Well, there are many ways to describe the route, but there is only one true path. Many wise humans have attempted to teach humanity about the way to master and escape the dream. Mastery of the dream is the mastery of life and the key to living powerfully. People attempt to learn the art of Zen, the Tao, Yoga, the teachings of the mystery schools, spiritual teachings of all sorts. Very few, however, have become masters. But that is changing. More and more people are become aware of the dream and how it has led them astray.

The ancient masters teach that if you overcome all pain and pleasure, the chase and the running, you will no longer feed the dream. All of that power that you gave to the dream will be returned to you, and in returning to you, you will help others to return their power as well. For you will have collapsed that part of the dream that they shared with you. You will set yourself and all of them who are willing, free. Then and only then will we be able to create a new dream, one free of the pain and struggle that we have learned to accept, like slaves who have accepted their bondage.

For if we stop feeding the dream, that river that flows beneath the dream will grow thin and weak, and eventually will dry up from all the fires that blaze around it.  The Dream Weaver spirits will evaporate into the void, and you alone will be what remains. You will be the only one left to create the dream that you thought was so impossible in the dream you were in before. Finally, you will get to choose the people, the places and the things for your dream. No longer will you be controlled by the Dream Weavers. No longer will the nightmares fuel their insatiable hunger for your energy. No. Now all of what you are will be as the butterflies who dance around the sacred thorny rose.


Eternal Light, You only dwell within
Yourself, and only You know You; Self-knowing,
Self-known, You love and smile upon Yourself!

Dante, Paradiso, Canto 33: 124-6

Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam
Then the seer abides in it own nature

Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, 1.3.

Eternity Beneath the Sun

there is nothing beneath the sun that doesn’t hide in shade,
that is where the singing games of children have been made,
hide and seek his Soul and Love’s truest cadence rhyming
she is but the mode to dance upon that sweetest timing.

as leaves climb up the tip top tree to fall yet down again,
as the rivers receive in spring what they in summer send
we bury each our lives learning more than the one before
Souls ever reviving to sing this, our Eternity, without a score.

The Gift of Writer’s Block

Dialogue is the digestive system of the spirit.


That is right. You read correctly. This piece is about the gift of the notorious writer’s block. However, if you look up the definition of writer’s block, it almost sounds like a disease. Read this from Wikipedia:

Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. This loss of ability to write and produce new work is not a result of commitment problems or lack of writing skills. The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Writer’s block is not solely measured by time passing without writing. It is measured by time passing without productivity in the task at hand.

Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writer%27s_block.


There are countless books, articles, and videos about how to beat writer’s block. But most of them – I can’t speak for all – do not see writer’s block as something good or as something healthy, let alone a blessing. However, I say that is a great blessing. Writer’s block, far from being something we need to get rid of, is something we need to pay attention to and explore, like a new friend or new lover. When we do that, when we open its door and listen to it, we will be surprised at what it has in store for us.

In this world, we have been well trained to identify afflictions just as we do with a mental or physical wound. In the medical field, this would be called making a diagnosis. We like diagnostics because it makes us feel like we understand what we are going through, and knowledge, as we like to say, is power. But I must wonder if knowledge is power if it is false knowledge. For example, there is another saying that we all know and think is true and that is the one that says “the first step to solving the problem is to identify the problem.”  But what if that saying and all the beliefs and habits stemming from it are completely wrong? What if the cause of the problem is in the very identification of it? What if our diagnosis is what makes the problem even more complicated that it has to be?  What if we are making a monster out of a hamster, and so rendering ourselves incompetent to handle the hamster (for how can we nurture a hamster if we think it is monster?). It is my assertion – and not just in the case of writer’s block – that our diagnosis of what we think is wrong is what causes, not the initial discomfort or issue, but the persistence of that issue.

So let’s try it. Consider that you have just diagnosed yourself with “writer’s block”. You are sitting at your desk or with your laptop or pencil in hand, and yet the ideas are just not flowing. They are confused or tired or used up.  You get a coffee, thinking maybe you just need a pick me up. You try reading to see if you can get some ideas going. You try just writing anything at all to see if an inspiration will suddenly appear, like mana from the heavens.  But even when an idea might seem promising, it never goes anywhere. The idea and feeling of writer’s block weighs heavier and heavier upon your heart, and you toss and you turn from the inside out, like someone who is afraid they will not fall asleep and so keeps themselves awake for hours on end, worrying about how they will ever stop the worrying that is keeping them awake. It is a train with no destination or with a destination that finds itself at the beginning again, and furthermore, it is a train that is being driven by an ever-increasing desire to just do something productive. When you have a desperate need to be productive, you know you have lost all capacity for productivity.

And this is where hopelessness can be seen, looming upon the horizon. Some of us become sad; some, angry; others google “writer’s block how to get rid of”. Others might just now how to brutally push writer’s block aside and churn something out that is as satisfying as a piece of cheese for Christmas dinner.

But here is the truth. Writer’s block is not a disease. It is not a bad thing. It is not something you need to find a remedy for. Yes, writer’s block is not your enemy. Writer’s block is actually your friend. However, it is the friend that is brutally honest, the one that will never tell you a lie, and the one that is asking you to dig deeper.  If you do your quick search on google you will see tons of content about “beating writer’s block” or how to “combat writer’s block”, or my favorite, “five neat tricks on how to get rid of writer’s block”.  It seems like most people on the internet think that writer’s block is the enemy.  But here is where I remind you about that other saying which says “what you resist, persists.” That one is absolutely true.

Let’s backtrack a little bit. Writer’s block didn’t start out as writer’s block. It actually was something else before you named it. What it was at first was simply a situation where you were having trouble getting ideas to flow from inspiration to paper. That’s it. And that trouble is what you fear most of all, and once you fear it, it grows out of proportion, like the child who insists there are monster beneath the bed no matter what anyone tells her. And the more evidence she hears, the more the wind knocks the trees against the windowpane, the more her fears grow, and to such an extent that she runs out of the room and into her parents’ bed. Fear makes us run for cover. When we sense that we might be stuck, that we can’t do it, or that something is blocking our path, we get scared. All sorts of fear-based stuff floods our subconscious in ways that we cannot begin to imagine, and then only later does it flood into our conscious, where we identify it simply as “writer’s block” and convince ourselves that is something that must be defeated at all costs.

So much of being adult is hiding our subconscious fears to make us look like we can handle it. Eventually we all drown. But I digress.

Then, out come the boxing gloves and you are ready to make war upon the writer’s block. At this point, you are in defensive stance.  But the more you take this defensive stance and the corresponding tactics, the more difficult it will become in its mode of offense. And even if you try to make a truce, you are still just making a truce with a much hated and feared enemy.  That enemy will always return and with more force and even more reinforcements. You are just delaying the inevitable when you do this. “But,” you might ask, “what is the inevitable? Is it the end of my writing career or the end of my dream of one?” No. The inevitable is the confrontation of the real problem, which is not writer’s block, but what writer’s block wants to offer you. Yes, writer’s block comes with many gifts, and until you understand that, it will constantly be knocking at your door. It will always be there for you, waiting to be invited in for tea, and unlike an ex-partner or ex-friend, writer’s block will never leave your side. It will never set you free. And that is simply because it loves you and desperately needs you to give it the time of day.  It is that kind of pain in the ass friend that will never give up on you even when you scream at it, kick it, and curse it to hell.

So, what is this gift? What is your friend trying to tell you?  Well, that is a question best for you to answer. But I will give you the most obvious and general points. First and foremost, writer’s block is telling you to stop writing. Yes, stop writing. I know, I know. All the articles say “WRITE AT ALL COSTS”. But I tell you, if you try to keep on writing, you are just going to make the writer’s block worse because you will be writing when you are not supposed to. “Well,” you ask, “who is telling me that I am not supposed to?”  And I answer that, truth be told, it is you telling yourself. Writer’s block is your subconscious way of telling your conscious self that you need to put down the pen.  But then you ask, “Why is that productive? I have a deadline! I have needs!” Well, imagine that you have a tiny plumber inside of you that always warns you when you have a blockage. Let’s now pretend that you ignore the tiny plumber one day when it tells you to stop eating what you have been eating, mostly because it is causing you digestive trouble. The plumber wants you to eat something else first so that you can clear yourself out and start fresh. It is kind of like that. You ignore him. You suffer more. I don’t need to tell you what you will have trouble getting rid of or what might come out. Writer’s block wants you to stop doing what you are doing so that you can do some much-needed maintenance work. Then, you can get cracking.

So what is the maintenance work? Is it five tips on how to get rid of writer’s block? No. Stop focusing on getting rid of the block. This is where it gets a little tricky because no one but you has the answer to this question. There is something you need to do or work with in order to clear some kind of blockage in your system. Vague, isn’t it?  But now that you know that writer’s block is your friend, you can legitimately start talking to it. Ask it what the problem is and really listen – turn the television or radio off. Turn off the internet and/or your phone. Get off social media. Just sit with your eyes closed and say hello to writer’s block. Give it a pleasant name. What does it feel like? Maybe it nags you or is angry – but consider that those who love you will nag at you or get angry especially when you treat them like common criminals. Start there. Then proceed into a real conversation – not one about the weather or how much time and money you don’t have, but more like a curious inquiry. What does it want to tell you? What do you need to do during this time of rest?  Let it give you the story. Behold! It might be more interesting than one of your stories.

This is a bit like meditation in that you must clear yourself of the anger or frustration with the writer’s block. Be willing to listen and to engage in discourse. Talk out loud if you have to. No one will hear except the dog or cat – hopefully. It also may be helpful to cover your eyes with an eye mask of some sort, just so you are not distracted by lights or figures. I don’t recommend soothing music as it is a distraction. Just begin with your heartbeat, and then your breath. Just listen. If you get uncomfortable and bored, notice that. You don’t like sitting with yourself. How can a writer not like sitting with themselves? This is strange, that I would not enjoy this. I sit with myself all the time, writing. Notice that discomfort. Try again. Be curious about the discomfort. Is there a relationship between the discomfort with myself and the writer’s block? Do we both annoy ourselves equally as much? Listen to the answer. Just listen. Repeat this, as if you were trying to get a child to sit still at the dinner table. It takes patience, kindness, and love to do this. Find that within yourself. If you can’t find that right now, that is okay. It is just more work to do, which is awesome, because originally with writer’s block, nothing was happening. Now you have something to focus on. Keep exploring until something starts to flow. Don’t expect this process to be comfortable. It isn’t and never will be. Comfort breeds familiarity and familiarity doesn’t breed what is fresh and new. Get to know your new friend, writer’s block.

Okay, so that was just a suggestion of what you can do to begin a relationship with writer’s block. At the core of writer’s block is simply you. You are the block. But it is not like you are doing this with conscious intention, just like your heart doesn’t beat because you are conscious of it. No. So much of our lives – in fact, most of it – is run subconsciously. And yet, when we are trying to fix writer’s block, we are using our conscious mind to “fix” the situation because it isn’t a desirable state to be in. We think we have to be constantly writing, ever inspired, ever flowing from the mouth of the nine muses. We know better, but we behave as if nature – our nature included – needs to abide by the publisher’s deadlines. Whatever it is we think we are supposed to be, we are not that – at all. We are more like the surface of an ocean that can barely see anything below it. Don’t even mention the bottom, because we will never experience that without dying first. So, relax, and begin looking at some of the benefits and gifts of writer’s block. I will start with just a few.

Friendly Reminders
Writer’s block is your subconscious way of saying take a breather. It is the subconscious wanting your conscious mind to engage it.  It also is suggesting that you are not utilizing your full potential. There is something stopping you from being the best writer you can be, and it isn’t writer’s block. If you keep persisting by trying to get rid of the writer’s block, it may move out of the way a little bit just because your ego is a battering ram, but it will be back later in full force. And one day it might bring one hundred battering rams. That brings us to the next point.

I’ll Be Back
Writer’s block teaches you that you can ignore it and kick it to the curb, but that this measure is only a temporary fix. It will be back, and better than ever: more prepared, and well-armed.  You will also notice that the more it returns, the more you can be sure that your creative juices will fall to a trickle. You may output the writing you want, but it is not going to inspire you.   You will then begin the process of looking for inspiration, which is better than fighting writer’s block. Maybe you will go on a vacation or just take a hike or learn something new – anything at all to get you out of everyday habits and behaviors. You might finally put down the pen and do something else. That is a good first step. Don’t do what some do: party, drink, drugs, sex. You know why.

This Wonderful Life
Writer’s block will always show you where you are stuck and so it will always show you where you need to open doors to let in more creative passion and inspiration. Once you get used to being friendly with it, instead of trying to combat it, you will be excited when it arrives. You will ask it where you can let in some more fresh air, and it will be glad to show you the way. Your creative output will increase exponentially as you do this more and more. It is not easy at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Expand your Mind and Heart
As you engage with writer’s block in a more powerful and loving manner, you will discover how it has allowed you to expand both your mind and your heart, into places you didn’t know were possible. You will become larger, more expansive in your viewpoints, and deeper in your storytelling. You took the time to meditate and dialogue with your inner voice and you will be rewarded with the proper flow of ideas, just like you are rewarded with healthy blood flow when you take care of your body. You will be amazed because you will get to a point where the “block” happens only for a few minutes, while the rest of the time, the ideas don’t stop flowing. You might have so many ideas that you won’t know what to do with them all. But that is a different sort of problem.

At the risk of become overly exhaustive and verbose, I will close this discussion here.  I do not profess to have solutions for solving individual issues of writer’s block, but I do hope that you take to heart the main point which is that that writer’s block is not something to fight against. It is not “bad”. It is not something you should ignore by trying to write through it and get to some imagined overflow of creative downstream. You are in your body. You are in your spirit. You are in the world. You are of this world, of nature, and her flow. Sometimes it is time to listen to what stops us, because what stops is comes as a friendly and loving warning or piece of advice. In world that encourages non-stop relentless work and the cultivation of an ego that takes no prisoners, we first might want to admit that we stand in the way of our dreams because we think we need to work so hard to have them, when the truth is the answers and the guidance are right there with us all along if we would stop, take a break, and give them the time of day to have a dialogue with us. All we have to do is listen, engage, and allow. Then all your gifts begin to flow in abundance.

Where the Heart Aches

I taught my heart to follow the sunset,
for fear that she’d trouble the moon.

I taught my heart to keep her voice silent,
lest she’d sing in the midst of the heavenly tune

No, a broken heart does not fall into pieces,
it melts into melancholic pools of curious color
where lyrics dip the final tips of their brushes,
sad songs too ashamed to reveal who they blame,
the stern faces of parents, cruel lovers, the same
all coalesce in poems painted in the heartfelt rain

I taught my heart to trace the sun with rhythm,
for fear she’d step too far out of grace

I taught my heart to find hope in whispy clouds,
that she’d have places to vanish without a sound

No, a broken heart does not fall into pieces,
it’s philosophy and the heavens that she teaches,
wearing her symmetric and astrological gown
she knows only precisely what she hopes is true
amidst cheshire grins grinning in upside-down view
hopes dashed against teeth of that wild wicked brew

Where the Heart Aches

I taught my heart to follow the sunset,
for fear that she’d trouble the moon.

I taught my heart to keep her voice silent,
lest she’d sing in the midst of the heavenly tune

No, a broken heart does not fall into pieces,
it melts into melancholic pools of curious color
where lyrics dip the final tips of their brushes,
sad songs too ashamed to reveal who they blame,
the stern faces of parents, cruel lovers, the same
all coalesce in poems painted in the heartfelt rain

I taught my heart to trace the sun with rhythm,
for fear she’d step too far out of grace

I taught my heart to find hope in whispy clouds,
that she’d have places to vanish without a sound

No, a broken heart does not fall into pieces,
it’s philosophy and the heavens that she teaches,
wearing her symmetric and astrological gown
she knows only precisely what she hopes is true
amidst cheshire grins grinning in upside-down view
hopes dashed against teeth of that wild wicked brew

Choice

what is infinitely small is also infinitely large
our desires and our pains are like that;
for they come in and out of focus as we will them to:
becoming greater with our strict attention
becoming smaller with unflinching ignorance.
we always get to choose how big or how large
how much pain and how much pleasure,
and how much both will consume us all.

Reflections

your reflections are carried by rivers of the wild land,
ebbing, flowing, mixing, marrying the stranger shapes;
don’t think that poets cannot know or cannot see you
glowing, dimming, glowing as the sun swirls ‘round

every thought you’ve dreamed walks upon this earth,
your intentional steps holding steadfast to the ground;
don’t think that poets cannot hear your loud plodding
Time’s turbulence does not dance with graceful sound

and yet your songs don’t flutter far enough into Space,
nor do eyes see how far from the Depths you’ve arisen,
for you see only what you want, inside “can’t” and “can”
not seeing who you are, within the rivers of this wild land.

What Shines Upon

“Well then”, Socrates began to ask “is it clear that there all sorts of different (base) forms that a soul can take on in accordance with what he pays attention to?”

“Clearly”, Cebes answered. “How not?”

Plato, Phaedo, 82a

be gentle to your heart with the light of earth,
and do not be too greedy with her bright gifts,
but instead return all of what she gave to you
for regardless of what you do, in a few hours
her great light will run away from you again,
beneath the horizon, behind graying clouds
the train of darkness will ever carry her down
to return, yes, but not how you remember
for she shines only upon what she wants us to

so listen to the wisdom teachers of the ages,
the ones who warned of addictive pleasures
and boring attachments that burden so many;
unlearn the longing despair for fleeting things:
the world is not here to make our souls forever,
for none can make forever what is already forever
but we can learn of beings becoming unbecoming
how they present for curious and fearless minds
as a recreation of eternal light in space and time.
shining only upon what we want us to.

The Old Gods

They are the stars in the night, sometimes showing up when there are no clouds. No one can touch them. They can’t touch each other. The loneliness is unbearable for them because they want to touch and feel and be inspired. Instead they have to project into a body to do that and pretend how marvelous it is. If they work hard at it they can sometimes see starlight in each other’s eyes and that gives them moments equal in both great joy as they look upon them, and in great sadness as they look away. Still as their body grows older, these stars, they are abandoned by society. The loneliness grows as well as the brightness of their minds and so they cultivate a cloudy hope that they are actually eternity itself who projects a million lights into the sky, an ethereal treasure to make this hell called human society worthy of all their soulful starry nights.

Erotic

O, how this spring of love resembleth
Th’ uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away!

Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I, scene 3, line 84.

Before Creation, Eros was,
primal Being of Eternal Love,
before the dark and the light,
before there was fight or flight
Love was all there ever was:
always loyal, never gone astray
never rejecting ever accepting,
Eros was free, abundant, whole.
But Eros was, although blissful,
quite alone.

And although this great Being.
was by itself, it finally thought:
I am now two: myself and my thoughts;
my thinking of Love and Love itself.
How much more beautiful it would be
if I could create a master puzzle of Me,
where a trillion thoughts fall as rain
together mixing glimpses of earth,
slivers of sky, nighttime, daytime,
creatures living what they’re thinking,
whether the body is gone or still alive.

the Great Cosmos will it be so named
and all the creatures will adore it
as they live held in thoughts of Mine.
But in order for them to remember
how to live inside my Love’s splendor,
I will give them each two separate hearts:
an invisible heart who sings only in Love
and a visible one, the rhythm of their life.

All will be gifted bright eyes three or more
that they might see Me in every corner,
in every face, in every eye, in every song,
they will be reminded of who they are,
their Love, a tiny light as if before the eye,
that will see them through the darker times,
lest they forget that they are born of Me,
of the Love that only the hidden eye can see.

And so this how we play this cosmic game,
you begin to seek for whom you’re named,
shedding this name crooked, that name false,
abandoning ideas that you once called your faults
until you finally see that you are not created,
that you are neither lower earth nor upper sky,
neither sun nor moon, nor falling star’s lullaby:
that you are not a creature who’s designed to die
but that you are simply only Me and my thoughts.

and so that is the game, the play that is this life,
the theater of Shakespeare was exactly right,
if you run amok in thoughts despairing or of pain
you will repeat that dark fantasy again and again
until you finally see, in joy, relief, and humility,
that those clouds were to challenge Love’s eternity
and all your life here is just Your Love’s playful dream,
your death, an illusion, the Joker in your final scene.