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Strange dream

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Jun. 15th, 2012 | 08:24 am

Last night I had a dream that I was apparently intending to do my japa, but instead of holding my mala I found myself holding my tesbih. Instead of facing the east wall as I normally do, I found myself facing the wall that is closer to northeast (i.e., qiblah from here). I saw myself placing my white NAJ dervish cap on my head, which felt a little strange as I haven't done that in a long time. Then, interestingly, I saw myself placing a black cap on top of that. I found myself reciting "La ilaha il-Allah," which also felt strange. Overall, there was a kind of sad, confused, resigned feeling to the dream.

Thoughts that come up as I feel my way through the symbolism of the dream are that it may relate to the letting go I'm doing around Amma, Inc. I think that this time of year is a good time to be examining that stuff. For one thing, I'm not crazy busy with teaching, etc. For another, it was precisely at this time of year when I was initially drawn into my friendship with X and, along with that, the Amma phenomenon. I've been noticing that there are times when unsafe, anxiety-laden feelings start to bubble up with no necessarily immediate cause (although critical student evaluations seemed to be a trigger for some of this recently), and I'm trying to be patient and let them "thread their way through" those places (mainly abdomen and diaphragm) where that energy tends to feel stuck or bottled up. One idea that comes up every now and then is that some of these feelings may be due to my learning how to deal with the stresses and strains of daily life, without relying on a spiritual path to be a band-aid or a talisman against distress. Feelings of distress come up and then they subside (not always as quickly as I want them to, but nonetheless they do subside eventually), generally within a 24-hour period. Maybe that just has to be good enough.

Another thought that comes up is that I did, actually, put aside Hindu practices and take up salat and zikr again for a time, about a year and a half or so ago. Ultimately it wasn't as compelling as it once had been. It really did feel like a part of my past rather than of my present or future. As I compare my personal experience of Sufism and the Amma phenomenon, my experience of Sufism tended to feel somewhat two-dimensional in comparison to the "surround-sound" experience related to Amma. Ultimately, however, there isn't anywhere to go within the Amma org other than to volunteer oneself to death in the hope of reaching enlightenment. Otherwise, it tends to serve as a series of spiritual vacations for those who can afford the travel costs, of which I am not one. In my current circumstances I am limited to the local retreats, which have by now come to feel routine and less inspiring than they used to be. Within the satsang, there is a kind of middle-class smugness that "this is how things are done" that does not allow for any real questioning or any real growth in political or social awareness. Anything that would challenge the prevailing myths most likely feels threatening, and so a kind of invisible teflon veneer builds up around the group that results in things feeling very static and ultimately rather stale. Since I have begun to release more and more of my identification with Amma, Inc., I'm coming to see more clearly how the blend of European sensibility and Hindu archetypes that is expressed in the work of Peter Wilberg and others seems to resonate with a wider spectrum of my interests and experiences, even though this is not a matter of membership in a specific, socially defined, spiritual group. And so, perhaps, it simply is at this point.


Om Kreem Kalyai Namaha,

okm

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