Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I dreamt this morning that I went to roll at the place I used to go to. A friend was running the class, of a Saturday morning, and invited me. I had, it seems, made sure to make sure that the several persons in charge of the place would know about the invite, and my presence, if I came. They had, after a fashion, made it clear that I was not welcome. They wouldn’t be there, but I can’t do things that make me feel underhanded, or sneaky, or cowardly -- even, it seems, in my dreams.

So there I was, noting the changes, the new guys. The clarity of dreams, where the air scintillates and colors vibrate and every emotion is understood. I remember hunting for my belt in my bag, the old familiar action of putting it on -- ritualized now, from neglect. I remember anticipating rolling with the new guys.

I’m very gentle. That’s how I think of myself. Others may have different opinions. It’s relative I suppose. I’m told it hasn’t always felt gentle. After I’d, uh, left, I was given to understand that there were complaints. Oh, I’m glad he’s gone -- he was too rough. Alas, my bones are what they are. I tried to match their level. I fear that's what they didn’t like -- the fact that I could. In any case, with the new guys it was about teaching. I liked that.

In my dream, then, I looked up and saw one of the people who had a problem with me, one of the instructors. With the logic of dreams, I accepted the fact that he was there. He was engaged with someone, but the quality of his back told me he was aware of me. I stepped off the mat, waiting for a moment when he didn’t appear to be busy, so I could speak with him. I was going to inquire why he had conducted himself in a certain way. No drama -- an opportunity to communicate. Under such circumstances we expect defensiveness and blame and self-justification. But in my dream I just expected honesty.

He kept himself busy, however, and I had to help a child who wanted a snowcone. Then I woke up, snapped awake and couldn’t sleep again.

This is the second, only the second, time I've dreamt about such and such a circumstance. I woke up last time too, before I spoke with this same person. I don't generally remember dreams.

The ancient Celts believed that a wrong done to someone in a dream needed to be remedied in the waking world. They believed that a debt incurred in this lifetime could be repaid in the afterlife; all accounts would be settled. A worldview, then, in which imagination and reality were linear. They were correct, of course. Not in detail, but in impact. Consciousness may not control all matter, but conscience must control our flesh.

One of the most important things a parent must teach a child is how to forgive. We can only learn such a thing, by seeing it.


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