Every once in awhile a message from some unknown source comes to me. This one appeared in a dream, one strong enough to wake me up, almost with a gasp. The dream narrative itself is muddled. All I can recall of it is that at the end some powerful presence seemed to come near me. It “read” me, and then said this: “The cause of all your pain is unused potential.”
That was it.
I lay awake for a few moments still listening to the words. It seemed at first too simple. And yet there was also a resonance that could not be put aside. And it has made me want to go look at my potentials, whatever they might be, just to see if I can draw the connections with pain. There’s something there, without a doubt. Perhaps because I believe in potentials so much and have always been a believer in the work to go beyond my own known edges.
I was talking today with a colleague about the dream and he asked me, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” And I replied rather automatically “I don’t know. The dream is only a month old!” And so it is. Only a month old. Maybe the dream of an infant. Maybe the dream of an old man for whom a month is nothing. Maybe it’s just a shadow, a blackbird.
Have I been at fault for not doing more? Is that the pain? Were there paths I should have taken and chose not to take because it kept me safe or comfortable or ignorant? The shadows gather into a skein of dark threads, a jumble it has become my obligation to sort out and somehow weave into a lighter cloth. Is this merely a dream about the unfulfilled expectations that I have placed on myself?
Farmacia de Dios
The questions come, but also, and this is a surprise, a sense of equanimity. So that was what the pain was for, to remind me of who I could be, whether or not I chose to live it in that moment. I believe it was Marie Louise von Franz who said that we do much better bearing our sufferings if we know why we have them. It is when we don’t yet know that they are unbearable to us.
So perhaps, for now, that is enough. That presence, that being, whatever it was that came close to me, gave me the reason for pain in a way I might be able to understand it and to connect it to all my work and to my life in this world.