Ten Thousand Days

Eternal Flame

April 29, 2022

Day 2802 – Day 2813

Over the last few years, I’ve written occasionally about the idea of a Twin Flame that is a popular idea in the new age spiritual community right now.  I’ve been on the fence about it.

I do not believe that one soul is shared by two people.  I do believe there is a collective soul and that some people have the spiritual gifts of mystics.  But, what do we know about the contours and shape of the soul? All we can do is approximate its dimensions through our yearnings.

I’ve had a lot of dreams over the years about a certain man.  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, the stories told by the subconscious mind, or the soul, always persist.

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.

As I said, 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, in my dream, he wanted my approval, which I couldn’t give and when I ran into him after spending time with her, I ignored him.  This angered him, but I felt that he had not been a friend to me in this life, and so, I felt he had no right to expect me to affirm his choice of partner.

To be clear, I have no idea what his wife is like. This is about how my subconscious saw her.

Over the last year, my dreams of him have 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 and push past my boundaries to achieve it. And, in my dreams, that always annoys me. I awaken, feeling annoyed.

Our interactions, in reality, have always been pretty one sided as far as affirmation and approval goes, though he solicits it.  And, when he has had the opportunity to respond (he’s had many) he has dropped the ball.  He’s been rude and arguably exploitative to me, both personally and professionally.  Expecting affirmation without being able to reciprocate reveals the kind of childhood narcissism that doesn’t have a place in adult connections.

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 feeling foolish.  I was embarrassed though he was the one that had crossed my boundaries.

It is not uncommon for those who have routinely had their boundaries disregarded to feel the shame that belongs to the transgressor.

Annoyance (Anger) and Shame (Embarrassment) are powerful red flags.

Last night’s dream saw a new theme.  To set the context: in real life, I don’t understand him.  There’s a very good chance that who I thought he was, was my own projection,  but he seemed to change, significantly, when his (now) wife came on the scene.  He has a pattern of morphing his personality to match those around him.

He’s become much more successful, materially and maybe even socially.  From his behaviour, though, it appears that he has set aside his more professed spiritual values.

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.

I don’t want to pass judgement and maybe it’s possible his spirituality was always just for show but I got the sense that it was important to him and that he was seeking, in earnestness, but found himself in a kind of desert, wandering alone and aimless.  Seems to me that being without a Sangha (spiritual community) who are committed to enlightenment and without a solid set of ancient wisdom to guide you there, makes it easy to lose our way.

That’s exactly when our own ego and desires can lead us to believe the corruption of sacred texts that gave rise to the prosperity gospel or the cult of manifestation that came from pilfering and repackaging vedantic texts into The Secret.

There is nothing wrong with money, per se, but when the choice is materialism or enlightenment, I can’t understand turning away from Spirit, in favour of distraction.

It makes me sad, if I’m honest.

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. (An interesting choice that signals my boundaries and priorities need attention).

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.

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

The significant shift in this dream over others is that I no longer feel annoyed; I simply don’t understand what’s going on and I am embarrassed.

I’ve told you more about myself from these dreams than about him.  I’m sure there is a part of me that is annoyed with myself for wanting HIS affirmation (and the affirmation of important people from my childhood) despite his withholding it.

The fact that the play makes no sense is a loving kindness from my subconscious or soul, to my waking myself: The narcissists that have populated my life will always pretend and withhold. There is no point in trying to understand them. The relationship with them is all smoke and mirrors.

Maybe I can stop trying to understand and just accept that they are who they are.  I don’t have to be the audience to their game, anymore.

I don’t have to waste time on things that aren’t real, anymore.

I also 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.  I don’t have to feel shame. I have a right to my boundaries.

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.  I thought I could avoid comment by saying that I prefer to give feedback on a written script.

In real life, I am a playwright.  It is an affirmation of my talent, and a reminder to keep my boundaries around my talent.

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.  It’s time, says my soul, to stop taking on other people’s shame for their behaviour.

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.”

Evasiveness is a red flag from my soul, calling out to me to hold firm my boundaries, saying: “Stop wasting time and energy on the feelings of people who disregard your own.”  To do so distracts me from my own priorities, values, and purpose.  I want to place my full attention on my own happiness, which shows up in my dream as those “events happening elsewhere.”

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, or to give their feedback on my choices and my boundaries.

I affirm myself.

If any of my readers are struggling with similar themes, I urge you to find reliable and supportive people to help cut through the crap and see things clearly.  I could not have unpacked this dream and identified these themes in my life without the support of my spiritual group (Sangha) and some very loving and supportive friends.  A good therapist is another very helpful option.

Where does this leave that Twin eternal flame that may or may not be at the heart of this connection? Well, while the idea of a Twin Flame is romantic and I love romance, I have decided that, for me, it is a story full of nonsense.

With this story, the new age spiritual community may be doing a disservice to vulnerable people trapped in unhealthy patterns. There is a guarantee of long term clients on anything branded Twin Flame, for sure.  If you’re on the fence about this notion, I recommend the Twin Flames video by Dr Ramani Durvasula for an analysis of the similarities between a Twin Flame relationship and one characterized by narcissism.

There IS a strong pull to some people. Often it’s because  the “connection” mimics familiar dysfunctional patterns.

The soul will use this, in your dreams, if you pay attention.

The man has hurt me and reminds me of people who have hurt me. As humans, they deserve love – with detachment.  They don’t deserve a place in my life.

I forgive them for being withholding and I accept that they are who they are and not who I hoped they would be, or who I deserved to have in my life.

I remember a dream where this man appeared as a storm made of light.  A metaphor for a spiritual transformation if ever there was one!  Jung might suggest that this storm holds a lot of my energy.  Time to reclaim and integrate my own radiant light.

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

I may be wrong about twin flames (I doubt it) but if this man and I have a soul connection, there will always be a bookmark here and I may always feel its contours in the yearnings that live between the pages of my story.

I can live with that.  Anyway, I have no choice; He’s married.

In all of this, what makes me grateful?  I am grateful that my experience of this man triggered my soul to send me disturbing dreams that helped highlight 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 can cut through the smoke and mirrors of the narcissist and heal, at another level, these old wounds.


For what are you most grateful, today?


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