During last night’s class I used the example of waking up from a disturbing dream as a practical application of mindfulness practice: how to respond to stressful thoughts by shifting awareness to physical sensations in the moment. Afterwards someone drew attention to C.G. Jung‘s approach to working with dreams: “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
This morning I woke from an unsettling scenario in which a woman tempted me to act unethically. Instead of feeling unfairly accused (a familiar state), I experimented by bringing awareness to my breath while keeping the images before me. I welcomed them for what they were — mysterious aspects of the subconscious — all the while breathing in and breathing out. Very quickly, discomfort turned to insight. The dream pointed to my ability to make choices, act responsibly, and transcend old/harmful behavior patterns.
It so happened that at the end of last night’s class I read aloud these lines by Rumi:
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
source: Rumi (1207-1273) in: Barks, C. (1995). (trans. with J. Moyne). The essential Rumi. Edison, NJ: Castle Books, p. 109. image: sleepapneadisorder.info