Ten Thousand Days

Eternal Flame

April 29, 2022

Day 2802 – Day 2813

Over the last few years, I’ve written about the idea of a Twin Flame and a person with whom I felt a strange connection.  I resist the idea of a Twin Flame because I’m not certain that the idea of one soul between two people exists.  I believe there is a collective soul but what do I know, in the end?  What do any of us know about the contours and shape of the soul? All we can do is approximate its dimensions through our yearnings.

About a week ago, I was experiencing a sense of sadness and that person was on my mind.  Was it my sadness?  Or, was I picking up on his? There is a distinct quality to the sadness of others.  It usually washes over me like an uncontrolled tidal wave.   If it was this other person’s sadness, then I am sad for him.  And, with compassion for us both, I don’t want to be picking up his energy.

He recently got married.  And, because we don’t have a strong pre-existing friendship – in my mind – that kind of ends whatever story might have developed between us.

And yet, it doesn’t.

If there is a soul-level connection, the physical limits of this world don’t stop the story unfolding.  It continues energetically and in our dreams.  Whether we pick up on the connection or not probably depends on our openness to experience.

I should say that, in my spiritual tradition, there are dreams and there are “experiences.”  Experiences happen when someone – usually the spiritual teacher – visits in the dimension of sleep.   Experiences are very rare and I am told that you will know it when it happens.

Then, there is the dream. My spiritual path draws on the work of Carl Jung.  Dreams are symbolic and reveal our hidden emotions about someone else, a situation, and about ourselves.   I always like to ask what part of me do I see in those who appear, and where is the strongest energy in the dream?

Dreams are fundamentally important to soul work. They tell us the stories we can’t tell ourselves by using symbols we recognize from our lives or from the collective unconscious. They are an invitation to deepening our experience of our own and the collective soul.

Last night I dreamed of this man again and I noticed something had shifted.

I have had many dreams of him and I even dreamed of his wife, in early 2021, probably around the time that he was considering marrying her.  In my dream, he really wanted me to like her.  He wanted me to spend time with her but I knew right away she was not my cup of tea.

It wasn’t like she was a horrible person to me. In my dream, she was blonde and tall and sporty – attractive.  She was also status-conscious, wanting to go to all the “in places” and eat at trendy restaurants.  She was very materialistic. She was ambitious and driven to “succeed” materially and keep up with the Joneses.  Not. My. Cup. Of.  Tea.   She must be his cup of tea, and that is what should matter, to him.

But he wanted my approval, which I couldn’t give.  In my dream, I ran into him after spending time with her and I avoided him.  I felt that he had not been a friend to me and so, I felt he had no right to expect me to affirm his choice of partner.

I have had several dreams of him.  Over the last year it’s been pretty much the same theme – every time he appears in a dream, he wants approval or my help in some way.  He often tries to charm me to achieve it. And, in my dreams, that always annoys me.

Our interactions, in reality, have always been pretty one sided as far as approach, affirmation and approval goes.  And, when he has had the opportunity to respond (he’s had many) he has dropped the ball.  One time he made an effort, but made it all about himself.  He took a private gesture from me and made it public, leaving me looking foolish in front of others.  Expecting affirmation without being able to reciprocate reveals the kind of childhood narcissism that doesn’t have a place in adult connection. I’m sure it would annoy anyone.

But last night’s dream was a bit different.  To set the context: in real life, I think that I’m having trouble understanding his choices.  There’s a very good chance that who I thought he was came from my own projections, but he seemed to change, significantly, when his (now) wife came on the scene.  He’s become much more successful, materially and maybe even socially.  From his behaviour, though, it appears that he has set aside his more spiritual values.

In my dream, we bumped into one another and he assumed I was in that city to attend his play (I was not).  I reluctantly agreed to go, because I had no easy way to beg off.  I was given the liberty to take any place I wanted although the show was sold out.  I moved around, standing in different places.  I couldn’t make sense of the play, no matter where I stood or from what angle I watched.  I wondered if I’d had a stroke or had experienced a fugue state or if the play was in a foreign language.  It made no sense to me.

His brothers were in the play with him, and they all wore fantastical, almost cartoonish, foam costumes.  He stopped the momentum of the show, smiled at me, preening.  Rather than be annoyed, however, I felt awkward. I wondered why he, a married man, was vamping for me.

I knew he would expect some kind of nice feedback after the show and I felt that whatever I said, I should make reference to his new wife (who I didn’t see, anywhere in the audience).

There are significant shifts in the recurring themes of my dreams of him.  I no longer feel annoyed; I simply don’t understand what’s going on.

Whatever his assumption, his choices create a scenario where I have no obligation, and it’s arguably not appropriate, for me to even try to meet his needs for attention and approval.

I’ve told you more about myself from these dreams than about my relationship to him.  I’m sure there is a part of me that is annoyed with myself for wanting HIS affirmation.   I’ve been hurt and angry with him for a long time for being rude to me.  I’ve been hurt and angry for the way he dismissed me as a fellow creative, for the way he made me appear foolish and the way he expected but did not reciprocate affirmation.  I’ve been angry with myself for having stayed stuck on wanting his approval for so long and for the way a childhood wound seems to re-open, when I least expect it.

But I was no longer angry in my dream.

I just didn’t understand.

I see this life as an opportunity to find our way home, spiritually, and all the materialistic stuff and nonsense of this world is a distraction from that. I can’t understand why he would stand at a fork in the road, when he was claiming to feel he was on the edge of a spiritual “awakening,” and choose a life of materialism.

Maybe this is a reminder of the preciousness of my own spiritual quest for awakening, and the need to not get distracted by the thousand-and-one things of the material world, which of course, requires healing those childhood wounds that keep us trapped in ego.

Maybe I can let go of my anger with all those people who, throughout my life, have been distracted and who have been withholding.  Maybe I can stop trying to understand why they withhold, why they value things that I do not and just accept that they are who they are, and I don’t have to be their audience anymore.

I don’t have to feel guilty about my own acts of withholding – of my time, energy,  affirmation, or story – from people and situations that take more than they give.

In reality, I have disengaged from this man for some time now – and yet, the subconscious mind processes things slowly and deeply, catching threads that weave throughout our lives.

In the dream, I was concerned about what I could say about the script, which he had probably written. In real life I think he’s a good writer but I couldn’t say anything about that play.  I thought I could avoid comment by saying that I prefer to give feedback on a written script.  In real life, I too, am a playwright and I am his creative equal.  It is a reminder that I also have talent and sage wisdom that is sought after, and valuable.

In my dream state, I was embarrassed at his vamping for me and I wanted to draw attention to the fact that he is married.  In reality, maybe I’m embarrassed that I’m still dreaming about a married man.  He is attractive and I know the door is closed and sealed with vows.  Yet the subconscious honours none of the boundaries of convention and commitment.

In the dream, I decided to be evasive and say that I was “overwhelmed by the costumes and pageantry of it all,” and that I was “distracted by events happening elsewhere.”

As for distraction, well we’ve touched on one aspect of that.  I think I have not been fully conscious of the way that I have allowed myself to become distracted from pursuing my own potential and living my own purpose by my foolish ego.

I can let go of the need for my father or mother or sister or brother or teacher or baker or candlestick maker to affirm me.  I don’t need anyone else to understand or approve of me, my choices and my boundaries.

I can learn to let it be enough that I affirm myself so that I can put my attention squarely on my own purpose.

Where does this leave that possible eternal (Twin?) flame that may or may not be at the heart of this connection?

I naturally wondered if my strong pull to this connection was romantic but I think this is because we aren’t really taught the many facets of love or the ways our wounded ego draws us into repetition compulsion.  Our culture places emphasis on romance in any attraction.

There is less emphasis on the creativity and healing aspects of Eros or the love between family and friends or even divine love. So, we might jump to conclude that this is limerence, but there are two things that make me think it is something more mysterious and profound than an unrequited romance.

First, I painted him 2 years before he appeared in my life and I felt an inner knowing that the man in the painting was on his way into my life.  It wasn’t until several months into experiencing him that I realized he was the one in my painting.

He wasn’t who I was expecting.

I called the painting “Messenger” because I sensed that if he appeared in my life there would be a message for my soul.  What is that message?  It appears to be about setting boundaries, about healing childhood wounds, about breaking the cycle of repetition compulsion and about leaning into self-affirmation, self-acceptance and our own spiritual evolution, values and purpose.

Secondly, I know that this isn’t infatuation, a crush or limerence because love plays very little, if any part in those conditions.   And I can truthfully say that I do have unconditional love for him.   My love isn’t exclusive to him and it is more sublime than romance.

Despite publicly seeking connection, this man ignored all my bids for professional collaboration, or for friendship or for spiritual companionship.  I tried.  I can’t have regrets, because, years before he married, I did try.

I forgive him for being withholding and I accept him for being who he is and not who I had hoped he would be.  I wish for him to find happiness, even though I am not a part of his life. That wish, to me, defines the contours of love.

I remember a dream where he appeared as a storm made of light.  A metaphor for a spiritual transformation if ever there was one! He has certainly instigated a painful storm of healing in me.  Whether I will be done with him in my dreams depends on whether I have integrated the soul lessons he is capable of stirring in me. I hope to be done. Storms – even enlightening ones – are exhausting.  As Jung might suggest, he holds a lot of my energy in that dream. Time to reclaim and integrate my own radiant light.

In my own story, I forgive myself for wanting to be loved by people who – for their own limitations – cannot love me, affirm or approve of me.

If this man and I have a soul connection, there may always be a bookmark here and I may always feel its contours in the yearnings that live between the pages of my story.  If it is not, then it is not.  I’m okay with letting that mystery unfold, as it will.

In all of this, what makes me grateful?  I am grateful that my experience of this man triggered a wound that needed healing.  I’m grateful that my spiritual path values the messages of the soul that we find in dreams, and, I’m grateful that I am healing old wounds.

 

For what are you most grateful, today?

 

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