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Lions Roar : May 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN MAy 2010 88 Vajrayana in Buddhism—they are in ser- vice of a deeper goal. The self-correcting quality in the figures is a clue that what we think we are is being dreamed in turn by a more profound layer of existence. For many years I lived in an outpost of Jung’s world, working with people’s dreams, a peculiar and beautiful life. I worked in a room with a red Bokhara rug on the floor and a Japanese screen of wisteria on the wall. Dream figures filled the room. It was like walking inside stained glass or mov- ing underwater. People would often tell me about their sex lives long before they would offer a dream or a vision. This was puzzling at first, but it came to me that, say, selling your body for cocaine is a kind of ongoing disaster, but in a sense public and uninter- esting. a dream, though, is intimate and tells something about who you really are. The deep psyche has an autonomy the way nature does. You have to work with dreams down at the dream level, or the presence goes out of the room. You can’t really say a snake means a penis or the veiled woman is the muse without drag- ging things up to a level at which they don’t breathe—the elephant in the zoo walking disconsolately in circles does not indicate her behavior on the savannah. I found that the same was true of koans—you have to deal with them down deep where they come from, where it is dark, before explanations appear in the world, before the world appears. This is also of course true of love, death, and eating breakfast. Jung conveyed this really well. Jung’s journey is interesting, harrow- ing, ridiculous, pompous, incomprehen- sible, amusing, sad, frightening, wise— the whole range of the human is there. Just like Buddhist practice. Jung’s point of meeting with Buddhism is that, at a time when darkness seemed and was near, he offered the example of a trust in the deepest possibility of transfor- mation, and in the involuntary processes that we contain, and in the depths of what it is to be human. I think of meditation as the act of showing up for your life, the one you ac- tually have, now. We can, Jung said, live a genuine life. ♦ Ligmincha Institute at Serenity Ridge, Nelson County, VA