Our dreams bring lovely, connected and supported moments. They also bring material that can be difficult to be with. We don’t want to feel it in waking life and we don’t want to feel it in our dreams.
Having a meditation practice has helped me be with these difficult moments…to feel the feeling…take a breath and stay a bit longer, letting the feeling move through me…all of me. That’s what it wants…that’s what the dream needs for its medicine to work.
About the same time I began training in meditation in the 70’s, I also read a book that helped me learn to stay with these feelings, not react, learn what it is they have to reveal…and then see changes in myself, reflected in both my inner and outer world. It was a novel, Hanta Yo, about the Lakota Sioux. A young boy, Ahbleza, had shamanic tendencies, one of which his teacher recognized as the ‘staying power.’
That became a teaching for me.
to stay with whatever arises…
to take one more breath into it…and perhaps another…
the staying power…
until it teaches me what it wants to teach me.
In so many situations, difficult situations, I always ask myself this question…“Do I have the staying power?” Working with my dreams, trusting them, their personal mapping for me, open to what they reveal, the still small voice inside asks me this question in any moment…Do I have the staying power?
Is this what the about-to-be Buddha, taking the one seat under the bodhi tree for 49 days was doing…staying…under the onslaught of Mara…staying…touching his finger to the ground…calling the earth to bear witness…staying…and he awakened?
Is this what Jesus was doing for 40 days in the desert…fasting…staying…tempted…. staying...tempted yet again…staying…and he awakened?
Is this what they and other teachers model, what meditation trains me in…the staying power? As my breath rises and falls…I stay. As my thoughts rise and dissolve…I stay. As my feelings arise…delicious, painful, loving, fearful, aching…I stay.
Perhaps staying is a verb of awakening…my willingness to stay with whatever arises.
Mary Jo Heyen is a Natural Dreamwork Practitioner working with clients throughout the country and abroad in person, phone or Skype. Learn more about her work with dreams at www.maryjoheyen.com or www.thenaturaldream.com