Art & Life Blog
I am working with a Zen teacher. He wrote a Master's Thesis on Jungian Dream Analysis. He tells me dreams are a sacred place where you have a chance to listen to the unconscious, which has messages to give us. There are figures in our dreams that represent parts of us- he says everything is you- in your dreams. He also says the imagery of art is like the imagery of dreams. He is always quick to stop me when I start trying to analyze, to think. Zen isn't interested in thinking.
I am walking through my deceased grandparent's house, where I spent a lot of time in my youth, I am alone looking for something, and part of the house scares me so I'm avoiding it, a hallway or something. It's dark. I suddenly become aware that most of my family members that used to spend time in that house are now deceased, and I walk through it and start to feel very comfortable and at peace being alone carrying on the legacy of their difficult lives, as the children of immigrants, growing up in the depression.
The older I get the more often I remember things from the past and I have a pause- did that happen, or was it a dream? My Zen teacher reminds me all of life IS a dream, and to try to let go of the ego related dramas that I find myself enmeshed, and occupied in. That our true nature is spaciousness, expansive, free, immutable; what we are left with when we strip away ego, is love.
Is it my memory? Is it my projection? The residue from old photographs?
I am maybe 7, 8 years old. Easter reveals signs of spring but what I feel is very cold, damp weather. I wear a very uncomfortable heavy polyester Easter suit, as does my little sister. It is early and we are going to Easter Mass. After weeks of sober services on the death of Jesus, today feels like there is hope, and while I know Jesus was crucified and has died, suddenly the books we study show a young, clean Jesus, surrounded in light. I feel the deep seriousness, sacredness, and miracle of his resurrection as I sit on a cold, hard pew in the Church. I feel looking at the spring flowers that maybe there actually will come an end to the dark, cheerless winter of my Massachusetts town.
My Zen teacher says- as it is the same for him- once Catholic, always Catholic. But we are both working on it.
I am looking for a place to live, and suddenly I am looking at my old house. The things are old but I say it's okay it still works, I can live here. Suddenly there's an attic that wasn't there before. The rooms get bigger and bigger. X's clothes are there and there are lots of photos of my family, Y. looks depressed in the photos. I see prices on the photos like they are for sale. I realize these belonged to my deceased relative Z and I feel strange looking at all of these things, for sale to the public.
I work in two churches. I deal with the homeless, people who are legitimately traumatized, and at times appear quite desperate. I watch the relief when they receive assistance from us, and often they become very emotional, remembering that sometimes people want to help, and then suddenly will say, "God bless you", in a way that tends to feel obligatory. I don't ever speak of religion, or god to them.