My friend Kathy, who is studying to become a spiritual counselor in the Mile Hi Church, tells me that none of what we experience in daily life is real. Only Love is real.
I have been thinking about that.
A month ago, I had a moment when I seemed to see myself from afar, an old woman with a cane walking down a winter street in the late afternoon, bare tree branches stark against the sky. It felt like a dream image.
It seems as I age that my identification with the persona of “Heather,” with all her history, experiences, perceptions, and elderly habits, has grown more and more tenuous. There have been other occasions when I have seen myself from afar, as if from the other side of a veil. Then the question arises, who is seeing me from there? I have no conclusions about that.
It is not a new idea that this world of the five senses, that we insist is reality, could be a dream. Certainly if we see it that way, we would have a different perspective on all our dramas. Often I have waked from a nightmare or the ecstasy of flying and said with relief or regret, “It was only a dream.”
For many years I danced the ceremonial long dance at solstices, equinoxes, full moons, and cross-quarters. The longest and most powerful dance each year was at the summer solstice, when we danced in the forest for two or three days and nights, rocked in the rhythm of the drum, dancing through dawn and midday, twilight and starlight. Many adventures unfolded for each of us—solitary dances at the center pole, entrainment in the circles, dances with others. Dramas and comedies emerged in the central courtyard, laughter and tears. We called it dream time.
Then after the drum stopped and the closing spiral unwound, we gathered in the talking staff circle and shared our experiences and visions.
Could it be that after we die, we gather with old friends and the guides who have watched over us, and realize that this lifetime, that now feels so full and important, is like a long dance or a dream?
Forty some years ago, when I was in Arica Training, we often ended our long day by chanting a mantra. Usually it was in Sanskrit, but one afternoon our teachers surprised us and made us laugh. Then we sang:
“Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily.
Life is but a dream.”