A Dream About a Bear
Last night I dreamed I was in a mansion with a crowd of people when we heard someone being mauled by a bear. We clustered into the attic and locked the door behind us, wanting to help but helpless. Guttural screams echoed from a room below as we waited, trapped, nothing to do but wait.
I’ve had this dream now several times. There’s always a mansion, me upstairs and violence on a floor below. Sometimes it’s a wild animal. Other times a man with a gun. I rush from room to room in search of an attic or a crawlspace, somewhere small to hide.
This morning in the office parking lot I sat and felt into the dream, trying to let go of logic and the need for interpretation. I’d been afraid of being mauled, afraid of stumbling across the body on my way down the stairs. It was an earthy fear, like spring mud and scat, thawing.
Let yourself be mauled.
That’s ridiculous, said the left brain. Befriend the bear maybe. Don’t be consumed by him. Violence isn’t the answer.
But deep in my gut, underneath the logic, I knew the dream had a mission for me: Go willingly toward the bear. Let yourself be mauled. Let yourself be torn apart, consumed, shat out, transformed into something new. Life is violence. But you cannot be destroyed. So look at the dead with open eyes, honor it with your attention, make it holy, embrace what comes.
I packed up my things and walked inside the office. The Who was playing over the loudspeaker of the bathroom: But my dreams, they aren’t as empty as my conscious seems to be.