resurrecting the bear


By connecting one dream to another, I can see how I’m progressing on a problem…

Take these three dreams for example:

In the first dream…

I’m alone in my house in the middle of the night.

The knob to a side door twists ever so slowly, this way and that, as if someone wants inside.

I wait, but no one tries to push open the door.

I look out the front window.  A white car is parked sideways in the driveway.

I open the front door a bit, then close it.  I don’t know what to do.

When I first considered this dream, I realized…

  • Any dream character represents something within me.  So this dream says I feel threatened by some unknown inner aspect.
  • But it won’t force a confrontation.  It’s up to me to open.  If I remain closed, I’m trapped.

Okay, so I need to bring that aspect into awareness.  Ah, but that presents a quandary: how can I realize it, when I don’t know what it is?

I wasn’t able to answer that question.  So I was surprised to discover, a few weeks later, that I’d made progress on the problem.  According to a second dream.

In the dream…

I’m on vacation.  I’ve just returned to my hotel suite, after a walk in a nearby forest park.

I sense the presence of ghouls in the darkness beyond the front room.

I want to be strong—I want to confront those ghosts.  I decide to search them out and begin to move slowly through the rooms…

I come to a door.  I know those malevolent spirit-beings lurk on the other side.

I try to open the door, but the demons pull against my pull.  When I exert more force, the beings match my strength.

Realizing I can’t beat them, I try to push the door shut.

But again, the beings resist my efforts.  I can’t go forward or back.

This dream, like the first, had a strong impact.  My initial thoughts went something like this…

  • The situation doesn’t seem fair. I’m willing to go beyond my fear. And yet, the door won’t open!
  • Perhaps the answer is: the opening can’t be forced. It can’t happen abruptly–nor should it. I need to time to accept what I find. On the other hand, having begun to open, I can’t shut myself back down. Actually, this “unfair” situation is good for me.

No, this second dream doesn’t match the first in detail.  But both dreams are about opening to the unseen.  So I think the connection is clear and valid…

However, connections are not always so obvious…

Consider the third dream…

A polar bear follows me as I go about my apartment.

I stop to do little chores, here and there–all the while, trying to ignore the bear.

Finally it takes my hand–gently–in its mouth and I’m forced to stop.

So how does this dream connect to the others?  I didn’t see it until much later.  In the first dream, the car in the driveway is white–as is the polar bear.  That white represents active male energy.  Positive male energy.

But what about the second dream?  No bear, no white in that dream.  Just dark ghosts behind the door.

Well, as long as I kept that polar bear energy locked away, it was dead.  Like a ghost: dead yet still alive.

The third dream tells me: I’ve allowed the door to open, and in so doing, resurrected a powerful aspect.  When kept in the shadow, it’s a negative force.  But in the light, it’s positive.  Potentially beneficial.

But positive power can also be scary.

I don’t want to deal with it, but having let it out, I have little choice.

If I try to pull away, that strong-but-gentle energy could destroy me.

Nearly four years have passed since I received this sequence of dreams.  So have I made progress on this problem?  I’m not sure.  As far as I know, I haven’t received a fourth dream.

But I’m sure the subject will come up again.  It wasn’t a dilemma of the moment–it wasn’t a temporary conflict.  I’ll probably be dealing with this issue, in one way or another, ’til the day I die.

But I shouldn’t feel alone.  I believe we’re all dealing with this dilemma–to some degree at least.  It’s a human dilemma: both individual and collective.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Searching for my Best Beliefs: a poetry book

About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, and storyteller...A new mythologist, a peace miller, a dream worker...I don't qualify as an illustrator or photographer--I just "make pictures"...I have thirteen books available at amazon... I currently reside in northwest Arkansas, but have lived and worked all over the United States... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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