Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Desire and the Greater Will

We all need guidance at times, and everyone deals with uncertainty in different ways. Some people do research or ask the input of others. Some turn to ancient religious scriptures or modern spiritual practitioners. Some of us listen to our gut, but occasionally the answers are not clear. I have a habit of interpreting my dreams, in addition to some of the above.

My question a few nights ago was one of the more profound questions of human existence. What is the will of God? I asked because I believe we have an extent of free will as humans, but I also believe in destiny and a Greater Power. I think many great acts have been done because people chose their divine destiny rather than personal gain or whatever was convenient at the time. It is difficult to put into words, but at times there is power in a decision or experience that I don’t always feel in everything that I do. My question was how to align with this power through the choices I am currently faced with.

My dream material surprised me, because they showed things about my past experiences that were less than desirable. In the dream were two people I have felt a connection with in the past. One was a romantic encounter that did not work out and the other was someone I wished I could get to know better, but I never really had the opportunity.

The first encounter was a highly confusing experience I had as a teenager. I desired someone even though my friends told me to stay away from him if I wanted to avoid getting hurt. They were right, but nonetheless I valued the experience because I learned something about unconditional love. Much as we would like infatuation to be safe and comfortable, it is usually not the case. Still we can respond to the feeling and learn through our choices. In my dream I spent time with this person and the contact was amiable. I even defended him when another woman, presumably rightly, made demands on him and expressed her frustration.

The second person in my dream showed up and we had a friendly conversation while others around us were fighting. The chat was nice, and perhaps expressed something about wishes that were never fulfilled.

A third symbol in my dream was a grey house-cat which was confined to the kitchen of the house where I used to live. Genetically the cat was from a wild place in the far north, such as Lapland. It wanted to escape the kitchen and explore its wild origins, and I knew I could learn from its journey. On waking in the morning I felt that the cat represented something about belonging. In its domestic space it was not quite at home regardless of appearances. The wild space was less safe and perhaps not suitable for a tame cat, but nonetheless it instinctively felt drawn to its origins.

I had to think about what these themes of desire, belonging and exploration meant to me, especially considering that everything was not perfect in the dream. We often think of divine will as those moments when everything falls in place, but maybe that is not the case.

Desire is an invitation to love. Without responding to desires we don’t deepen our understanding. It might be the safe option to steer away from where our hearts lead us, but it might not bring us closer to our destiny. Desire is usually not an experience of wholeness or perfection. The disappointment we feel when things we care about don’t work out is a painful reminder that in the human condition we cannot control everything.

Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Public domain via Wikimedia commons.
The grey cat encouraged me to think about our true origins as humans. When I look for divine will, the underlying motivation is usually the need to reconnect with Source/creativity/love. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the cat in my dream demonstrates something about the tension between wild nature and tame nature. Adam and Even became self-conscious and started wearing clothes when they became distant from God. Likewise the cat was frustrated in its domestic condition. Its desire to return to the wild, of which it only had instinctive memory, raises the question of where the cat’s true home is. As humans then, is it our nature to be broken but cultivated, able to make rational decisions or at least be under the illusion of free will? Or do we still have our wild naked identity underneath everything we cover it up with? Can we recover a lost paradise within ourselves?

I don’t think that these questions will be answered in my lifetime. But I think the dream told me that desire is the gateway to paradise. Through desire we can know what it means to be human, including feeling broken. If we embrace our humanity, we might find something of the divine in mundane reality.