The level of our consciousness is determined by how much we are influenced by the psychological conditioning of our ego. The more we recognize this mental conditioning and act independent of it, the higher our level of conscious awareness. In turn, we will be able to act from our authentic self, rather than from the place of the fearful ego.

Years ago I woke up from a dream that could be considered quite disturbing. However, I was surprised to find that I was not gripped with fear, as would typically be the case in a dream such as that. In the dream, I went to a party where many friends and family had gathered. My former wife, her parents, and my daughter were all there. My brothers and sisters and close friends were there as well. There were also several strangers present who seemed to be friends of my former wife. Near the end of the dream another friend and his wife showed up. I greeted them both with a warm hug and everything seemed to be going well.

Out of nowhere my former father-law suggested I go. He said, “You are making people really uncomfortable and you should leave.” I was shocked! I had no idea why he would say that. As I questioned him, the exchange became heated. Soon, many others were chiming in and they all seemed to be supporting my former father in-law. Then my former mother in law came over and joined in. She was adamant about how strange I was acting but she was being vague with her observations and I couldn’t figure out what she was trying to say.

Consoled By Friends

Next, an unfamiliar woman approached and was much more specific. She said I was using strange words and discussing weird concepts. Everyone seemed to be turning on me. All except for a couple close friends and my older brother, whom were all attempting to console me. For some reason, my former wife seemed to be the least judgmental and condemning of anyone.

After talking to the small group that was supporting me, I began making my way through the house, attempting to decide if it would indeed be best for me to leave. Everywhere I turned complete strangers told me how weird I was acting. One man that was more belligerent than most screamed at me and told me I was a freak. The man pushed me up against the wall and I punched him in the face as hard as I could, sending blood splattering on the adjacent wall. Then another man grabbed me from behind. I flipped the man over my shoulder and threw him hard on the ground, creating a thud from the floor and a loud crack from the man’s back. Soon others began attacking me from all angles and I became engulfed in a sea of people who were hitting, punching, and kicking me.

A Dream in a Dream

I used all my might and broke free from the group and started heading for the door. As I was about to leave, another stranger accosted me. We became engaged and were about to fight as well when the stranger put me in a dream like state. So now, I was in a dream in a dream!

In the dream I was shown hellish sights. I saw visions of people on racks being tortured by demons. I saw victims of accidents with mangled bodies and limbs torn from their torsos. I saw bodies stacked on top of one another as if they were nothing more than a pile of manikins in the back room of a department store. A hazy cloud loomed blood red as if there were a curtain placed in front of my face, veiling me from a clear picture of the gruesome scene.

Hellish Dream Produces No Fear

Suddenly I awoke from both dreams. Although the nature of the dreams would have typically evoked fear, this one did not and I tried to go back to sleep and pick up the dream where it left off. This demonstrated to me that I was not fearful, as I would never have been interested in returning to a dream such as this in the past. However, this dream was different and I knew it. I felt there was a message to be received and I didn’t want to miss it.

I was not able to go back to sleep that morning so I went down stairs and began to contemplate the meaning of the dream. I believed the reason I wasn’t fearful was due to the fact I was looking at it from the perspective of a witness, rather than as an actual participant. I did feel a part of it, as if it was happening to me, but I also felt a part of myself watching it happen, like it was happening to someone else.

Dream Characters: Different Parts of Personality

It seemed to me that this perspective was inspired by my desire to eliminate the ego from my life. It was as if my past ego was fighting for survival. To me, all of the people confronting me were representative of different parts of my personality and they did not like this “new person” I had become. They wanted to get rid of the new me because I was making them uncomfortable. Therefore, the fighting was between the new personality I was creating for myself and all of my old personalities that I was attempting to let go of. Out of the sheer desire of survival, these parts of my personality were fighting back.

One aspect of the dream that really stood out was that even though most of the people in the dream were saying the same thing, I refused to believe any of it. Another aspect that stood out was that I verbally sparred with many, but only physically fought with strangers. Although it was close to becoming physical with family members, it never came to blows. Perhaps these parts of my personality were closer to my true nature, or the authentic self that I so often talk about. It could be that the “strangers” were the parts of my personality that I most wanted to rid myself of, such as Jeff the worrier and Jeff the control freak.

The Symbolism of a Flower and Consciousness

Then I noticed something quite startling. I looked toward the window in the dining room and my eyes came upon a bouquet of flowers sitting on the window seal. The flowers had died over a week ago and I simply hadn’t gotten around to throwing them out. However, now there was one large white flower standing out amongst the dried carcasses of the rest of the tribe. To me, this lone flower was a symbolic representation of the “new” self that was emerging from the carnage of the “old” self that was gradually being shed. It was as if the Universe was confirming my take on the dream that it was a figurative representation of the ego trying desperately to survive.

When I gazed at the flower I immediately thought, That’s the new life that’s beginning to blossom, the flowering of human consciousness, the life of my authentic self. I got up to investigate the flower closer, as if the mind couldn’t believe it had really happened. Sure enough, right in the center of the old decaying flowers was a single fresh bloom sprouting out, stretching just beyond the reach of the dead.

Symbolism Is No Mere Coincidence

I was certain that, like so many other of the symbolic messages I had been receiving, this too would be considered to be a coincidence by most people. However, I knew that it was more. Too many messages such as this had been sent my way and there was no way that I could believe they all happened by chance. I could even hear my own ego telling me it was a coincidence, but I chose not to listen to it, as I had already discounted the voice of the psychological self, knowing its propensity to error.

I now heard the voice of the psychological self more clearly and accepted it for what it was. It was as if the mind, the logical part of it at least, was attempting to reason with the self. However, the authentic self was one step ahead of the ego. I went over to check the calendar, knowing that I had purchased the flowers on Valentine’s Day as a gift for my daughter. When I checked the calendar I saw that Valentine’s Day was over three weeks ago! Although it was not impossible for one flower to survive that long while all others died, it still added credence to the idea that it was a message from the Universe confirming my analysis of the dream.

There was another, more profound aspect that stood out about the message from the Universe. The flower was not only a fresh bloom, but was also pure white. This added to the symbolism of the message as white represents something that is wholesome and new. It seemed to exemplify the freeing of the authentic self as the psychological self died around it. And much like the blooming of a flower, consciousness has been rising ever since.

Zen Professor Book Store