Last night, during the special dream-zone, more specifically between 3 and 4AM, I woke and jotted down notes about interruptions. Of course, all dream figures can be seen as parts of oneself as well as persons outside this multiple-layered complex called the “self.” In this dream, the figure that was most clearly me, perhaps representing the “ego-self,” was speaking and being interrupted by a young man. Why might this restless border of consciousness be troubled, like the waves moving in and out at the ocean edge, by consideration of which voice has the right to be heard?
In reflecting on the dream, I recalled recent experiences of interrupting and being interrupted. I wondered what if everyone in a group just talked over the others, giving full expression to that desire we each have for center-stage: "Go on. Speak right now, before the line is forgotten, before the spotlight-instant passes by!" What a chaotic mess we make when deafened by the ego-desire, sometimes called the animal-soul.
If the selfish impulse were restrained, might a different, a deeper desire, arise? The one that focuses on listening and really opening to the other. Perhaps beneath the impulse to speak, as well as the one for listening, pulses the yearning for intimacy, to belong, to know and be known, to love/be loved. When I interrupt, am I not acting out my fear of being unseen and unloved?
My explorations in psychology, in religion/spirituality, and in natural horsemanship offer names of that higher goal: “true unity,” the One, the Self, and so on. In Sufi writings, such as Rumi’s Mathnawi, the parts of the self and the soul are presented in the figures of a king and an advisor (“vizier”). The king is as the spirit and the advisor like the intellect (Book 4, line 1256a, Nicholson trans.).
Rumi’s story contrasts two advisors; each even has the same name, with one advocating generosity while the other argues selfishness: “the corrupt intellect brings the spirit into movement (towards corruption)” [line 1256b]. Our interior landscape allows a variety of advisors. The intellect can be poisonous or sweet. The second advisor in Rumi’s tale is linked to a fallen angel. How vital that we continually discern and purify our inner and outer guides.
Sometimes when we are granted enough passing years to re-vision the difficult moments in life, we can perceive that what was taken as a calamity can be re-seen as the “death” of an ego-desire and a resurrection of a cleaner self. Sufis often recite “die before you die.” Cleansing of false advisors, especially ones reflecting the fallen angels, makes for a hard path. Rumi says:
Do not take the particular (individual) intellect as thy vizier: make the Universal Intellect thy vizier, O king./ Do not make sensuality thy vizier, else thy pure spirit will cease from prayer. [line 1259]
|photos taken at Chincoteague, VA, Oct 2016|
The pathway, the journey home, is guided by this Universal Intellect. Our deepest desire attunes to that calling. It’s even beyond our yearning for intimacy and comes through the escape from the ego-self, “death” of the animal-soul; it follows the surrender to the Self, the divine-soul. And to help us along the path we have “that angel whose dignity” corresponds to our better self, the angel who has the “radiance and testimony of the Sun.” [Mathnawi,Book I, lines 3647-3655]