Aftermaths

MAJORTRUMPS.XXI.DeathOne of the most painful things about the death of a beloved is not how much difference it makes in one’s days afterwards, but how little. My sweet 14-year-old cat, Urdwill (a.k.a. Burd), was as much part of my day and night as any close family member might have been; but I still have to get up in the morning as usual; shower as usual; make my basic three daily meals as usual; go to my Twelve Step meeting, counseling sessions, and supermarket as usual. I spent part of this week repotting sweet peppers and tomatoes I am raising from seed; shmoozing with my landlord’s sweet American bulldog, Julie; accessing and returning my friend Lee’s car, all as usual. How, I ask myself, could I have gotten over my pet’s demise so quickly? “You never really loved him, that’s how,” the Accuser whispers.

Of course that is not true. The mourning that began with wails of grief has simply shifted, that’s all, downsized itself, gone largely underground. My rented room feels empty, now, without him. When I am out chatting with a friend I think, “Oh, I had better get home now, Burd will need his dinner,” then remember that Burd’s dinner is no longer my concern. When I come back to my landlord’s house and unlock the outer door, I automatically check the area around my feet to see if Urdwill is crouching there, ready to spring past me into the street. At night, whenever I would wake (and I wake up several times a night), Urdwill would be there, ready for affection, action, food; I sometimes nearly tripped over his black-furred body, invisible as it was in the darkened room. The relaxation of my hypervigilance concerning him—the relaxation issuing directly from his death—has been a relief. But it has also been a source of enormous feelings of guilt. How, I ask myself, could I be so heartless as to feel relief over Urdwill’s passing? “You never really loved him, that’s how,” the Accuser whispers again.

Such accusations would have no power to affect me were there not a long, old history behind them. In Ireland, where they had lived for six or seven years, my mother died of alcoholism in 1991, a year after my younger brother Jeffrey, her caretaker, died of AIDS. I hated my mother for having emotionally and sexually abused me, and I felt as liberated by her death as I had felt devastated by my brother’s. It took years before I could acknowledge my love for the part of her that was good and kind, and feel any  grief over her passing. “You could have saved her from drinking herself to death,” the Accusers whispered at the time, but this was a lie easier to shrug off; I knew by this time that alcoholism is a progressive illness, and that she had not been willing to do the 12 Step work that could have helped her find relief from it. The Accuser’s other whisper, “You could have saved Jeffrey from dying of AIDS by insisting he return to the USA for treatment,” was harder to shrug off. At the time in Ireland, so strong were the laws against birth control that one needed a doctor’s prescription even to buy condoms in Ireland; AIDS treatment was even more primitive and limited by public prejudice than it was in the US, where our present cocktail of meds had not yet become available.

In the end I have been forced to the conclusion that my brother, my mother, and my beloved cat Urdwill had their own paths to follow, their own stories, and their own Higher Powers. I have been asked by Spirit to accept that I, like they, am a student of Love rather than a master; and that no matter what the Accuser says, I could no more have rescued my little brother from AIDS than I could have cured my cat’s cancer. The only power I have is in the here and now: the power to choose Love right now, today. •

A Message From “The Family”: On Pets

Rand.UrdwillMister Rand is today facing the possibility that his pet feline, Urdwill, may have more cancerous tumors growing upon his body. They may be malignant or they may be nonmalignant, but in any event Mister Rand’s cat is not eating, although he is drinking water. Mister Rand is remembering all the pets, and all the humans, he has lost to death over the decades, and has been showing great signs of anxiety, guilt, and shame, because part of himself feels (1) that males should not feel such feelings, (2) that he ought to have “saved” his transformed loved ones from death; and (3) that his future spiritual belongingness–whether “God” accepts him after death or not–depends upon his being perfect in all his thoughts, words, and deeds. He even believes that we may be fictions, or worse still, Satanic messengers sent to draw him and those who read his blogs away from the One True God. Mister Rand does not believe any of these things consciously. But all selves exist within the Self, including younger versions of the self, and all their voices sometimes sound within Mister Rand’s heart at once, contradicting the quieter voices of his reason and spiritual insight.

Mister Rand has vowed, when ever it is Urdwill the cat’s true time of leave taking the body, never to have another pet, because he says he “cannot bear” the thought of watching another pet die, or worse still, causing their death by having them euthenased by injection at a vet’s office. Mister Rand says that his grief is too great to bear, since (as he is aware) his grief over losing a pet is also grief over his losses of all the animals and humans in his life (and other lives as well, though he may not know this consciously). There are times when he even feels guilty over having a pet at all, both because of the impact pet-rearing can have on the environment and because he wonders whether it is good for an animal to be shoehorned into a human’s life rather than be permitted to live out its lifespan in a natural environment. Yet even in these things he knows the truth: that there are no natural environments, for your world has been made and remade by Humans repeatedly over the millennia; that in the “wild,” animals live a much shorter time than in “captivity;” and that humans can bring enormous comfort and fun into a domesticated animal’s life.

Mr. Urdwill has lived a reasonably long life for a cat of his size and genetic makeup: 14 years by Mister Rand’s present count. For all but 8 months of those years, Mister Urdwill has roamed free within his territory, Mister Rand’s backyard. He has enjoyed much fresh air, sleeping under datura leaves, chasing toads, terrorizing Mister Rand’s dogs (<-this is a joke>).

[Broken off because of need to take Urdwill to vet; resumed early next morning]

The purpose of the communion between “pets” and humans varies from pet to pet and human to human. Why did Mr. Urdwill choose Mr. Rand as his human companion that day at the pound in 2002, when Mister Rand, following an image of a black cat that had persisted in coming to him, visited the pound and experienced the black Abyssinian mix cat open the door of its cage, walk out, and sit upon Mister Rand’s foot? Mr. Urdwill wished freedom from enclosure. And freedom from enclosure is what Mister Rand gave him, for most of the years of their time together. Both cat and human also wished love, for all beings wish love, even rodents, which humans frequently despise because they closely resemble humans in some of their habits; and lizards, which being “cold blooded” are thought to have no need for love, only sex and food. It is just that Love takes different forms amongst different beings.

What Mister Rand really wants to know is, did he love Urdwill and his family and friends who have passed, truly love them “enough” for God to forgive him for not having been perfect? For having resented and quarreled with his beloved younger brother who died of AIDS in 1990? For having hated his abusive-seductive mother, who nonetheless had loved him in her way and he had loved her in his? For having heeded his lover Alex’s psychic command not to enter Alex’s room the evening of Alex’s suicide, when Mister Rand had returned from a gig the both of them had been scheduled to lead? We say, Yes, you have loved truly. Yes, you have expressed this love at times imperfectly. That is because one purpose for incarnation, the great task of incarnating in physical reality, is to learn to integrate the Divine Love at one’s core with one’s physical self and circumstances. And all students perform imperfectly—they are learning.

Mister Urdwill’s life is drawing to a close due to cancer and complications therefrom. Grief is difficult for many humans to express and bear, for it makes them feel weak and vulnerable and foolish in the eyes of other adults. We ask for all who experience grief over the loss of a companion animal or human relative or friend that you pray for Divine Love to help you forgive yourselves for being students of Love rather than masters thereof. And we thank you for sharing. •

— Channeled April 14-15, 2015, Santa Fe, New Mexico

A Message From “The Family”: On Dreaming

ImageThere is no one way to interpret the multidimensional, emotional, contextual, and physical phenomena you call dreams. This is because no one dreams in the same way. Even a symbol in a dream can shift meaning from one frame of the dream to another.

It is a mistake we feel to assume that all dreams have messages hidden within them. Some dreams simply manifest as expressions of digestive difficulty or of immune system attack struggles. However, those dreams that do convey meaning appear to fall into the following categories:

1. Dreams of Revisiting the Past: These are very common sorts of dreams, in which the dreamer finds him or herself in surroundings, or talking with persons, known from previously in his or her lifetime. The emotional contact of such dreams can be nostalgic and pleasant, or tense and fraught with worry. Such dreams can yield useful data on unresolved past events about which the dreamer is still conflicted, for the consciousness level of To Blame often makes itself known through dreams of the past.

2. Dreams of Friends and Family Still Living: Dreams of persons known to be still living by the dreamer are, if pleasant, frequently experiences in the nonphysical of the two energies of the two individuals meeting and communing in the dream state during sleep. Sometimes these dreams also are simple rehashes of already experienced physical events, but where they are not they often signify an actual meeting of souls in the dreamtime.

3. Dreams of Danger, Horror, and Dread: Nightmares, as such dreams are called, frequently contain biophysical vectors: substances being cleared from the body, immune system attacks being warded off, or past trauma rising up in symbolic form to demand scrutiny, voice, and clearing. Such dreams usually reflect anxieties also experienced in the waking state [and as such mirror the consciousness level of To Threaten]. If one is feeling vulnerable at work or in a relationship or at school, for example, one might dream of being naked in public. And so forth. (Mister Rand does not feel we need to give further examples.)

4. Dreams of Delight and Mystery: Dreams of delight and mystery are often called numinous dreams, dreams that transcend spacetime and represent experiences of the Divine. This is not always the case, particularly when the dreamer is an imaginative person or has witnessed a particularly moving moving picture on television or in the theatre. But true numinous dreams always contain a very very vivid certainty that they are Reality as or more real than the waking state.

5. Dreams of Frustration or Seeking: Dreams in which the dreamer finds him or herself unable to complete a desired task often indicate attempts in the planning state to chart a course in physical reality from where you really are to where you really wish to be, attempts that are feeling incomplete or frustrated to the dreamer. Mister Rand frequently dreams of seekiing his car in a parking lot and finding it has been moved or he has forgotten where it is. Such a dream can signify that the dreamer is seeking an opportunity for love or prosperity but cannot figure out how or where to find such experiences. Such a dream can also signify that the dreamer has been traveling in the dreamtime from one level of reality to another, and is now attempting to chart a course back into thought reality and space-time so that he or she may awaken.

6. Dreams Sent By God: Some kinds of dreams are, or appear to be, direct communications from the Holy Spirit of the Creator to the dreamer. Sometimes this is true and sometimes it is not. If the dream contains force, threat, or blame attitudes then it is not from the Creator. And what do we mean by “the Creator”? We mean the dreamer him- or herself. For as we see these matters, all reality is a dream in which all of us join to collaborate, and the physical events of spacetime are projections of agreements already made in the dream state and physical planning state, even horrific ones such as force, threat, and blame events. [Rand: To me this paragraph makes no sense. Just saying.]

Many traditional cultures offer dream interpretation  services from priests or shamans or (as you would term them now) psychotherapists and psychics. There are also books that purport to contain interpretations of dream symbols. We suggest availing yourself of such resources if you feel they might be helpful at stimulating your insights. But we again urge caution: as Mister Rand’s mother Kaye often remarked, “Although Doctor Freud said that a cigar appearing in a dream actually represented a penis, in fact sometimes a cigar [in a dream] is just a cigar.” And this we feel is true.

The best way to interpret a dream we feel is either to write it out or draw it or both. Then take each frame of the dream in turn and treat it as a dream of its own. Each element—person, place, thing, feeling—in the frame represents something in or concerning you the dreamer. Take one element and ask yourself, “What does this remind me of in my own life?” For dream symbols are often analogies. Sometimes they are even puns. For example, a person concerned overly with the size of her posterior might dream of some large rabbits (or “buns”).

Sometimes it also may be helpful to talk through the dream with an insightful individual who knows you well. If after attempting to understand your dream you appear to fail, do not despair or feel that the Greater Self has abandoned you. Simply release the dream. Your unconscious will find another way to communicate with you, either through another dream or through a serendipitous utterance or event in your waking life. And we thank you for sharing.

—Channeled 28 October 2013.

To Blame

ImageTo Blame is the fourth least creative level of consciousness after To Control Absolutely, To Force, and To Threaten. As To Threaten focuses the soul’s attention on the future, thus inhibiting balanced creative action in the face of fear, so To Blame traps the soul in the past. Persons focused on the consciousness level of To Blame cannot stop hating, and therefore can never be free of those forces that have hurt them.

To Blame consciousness not only traps those focused within it, forcing them to relive over and over again the hurts of the past; it also erodes, slowly but surely, their sense of proportion and responsibility, until the original hurt and its perpetrators loom larger and larger in the consciousness until they become a sufferer’s Higher Power. To Blame consciousness also erodes one’s sense of responsibility, tempting the soul to attribute all its travails to the persons and incidents who have harmed it, therefore robbing the soul of its power to make positive choices.

Does this mean that we must crush our anger over wrongs done us and throw ourselves with gritted teeth into the arms of forgiveness? Of course not. The only way to forgiveness is through anger: acknowledging it; using it to help us take positive steps to extricate ourselves from harmful situations and people; and when we feel safe enough to do so, slowly beginning to permit ourselves to soften around our anger and the memories that gave rise to it. Eventually the hurts become part of the landscape of the inner self, like the soft eroded hills of the Appalachians, which once, eons ago, were massive and forbidding.

The flip side of To Blame is To Accept Blame One Does Not Deserve. Unjust guilt feelings and the shame that accompanies them can drive people to suicide. Abused children and spouses frequently blame themselves for their abusers’ actions; rape sufferers have often been accused of “asking for it” because they were dressed in a sexually appealing way when they were violated. Religious groups regularly target specific fringe populations as particularly hateful to God. And when members of such fringe populations internalize that hatred, accepting that censure, terrible things can happen.

My former pastor, a kind and brilliant man who ran the Evangelical Presbyterian Church I once belonged to, committed suicide because he was homosexual. He was not a child molester. He had not hidden his attraction to men from the board of elders who oversaw his stewardship of the church, and had vowed a celibate life. He had continued to pastor his congregation with wisdom and prudence, and was known in the larger community for his work in comforting dying AIDS patients. But in the end, his acceptance of our religious group’s censure of homosexual desire killed him.

To Control Absolutely, To Force, To Threaten, and To Blame are the four least creative consciousness levels. And they are not static; once the consciousness starts to collapse, it tends to keep going. People who blame others tend to be easily threatened. Fearful people tend to turn to force to protect themselves. And violent people engender violent societies in which individual freedoms are eventually abrogated entirely.

How does one stop the collapse of one’s consciousness into less and less creative levels? How does one lift oneself out of To Control or To Be Controlled, To Force or To Be Forced, To Threaten or To Be Threatened, To Blame or To Accept Blame One Does Not Deserve?

NEXT: To Accept With Intent To Learn.