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Coils of barbed wire leaf out and produce a nine-petaled orange flower: such is the poignant design on the cover of the memoir The Choice – Embrace the Possible (2017) by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, an Hungarian-American survivor of Auschwitz.

Sustaining this teenager through ever-present death threats for eighteen months was her mother’s counsel, “You’re responsible for whatever you put in your mind. No one can take it from you.” Another factor was her life-plan with soul mate Eric enlivening her imagination, filling it with song and dance.

Yet, after the author’s 1945 liberation from the death camp, narrated within the first sixty-nine pages of this memoir, impenetrable evil continues weighting the balance. No matter what, Eger would be the free woman she was destined to become, without Eric, without her parents and grandparents, without her language, without her country.

But how return to life? What about the residual psychic wound, stalking beneath her ghostly shudders, dreams—this wound repelled by language’s efforts to make sense of it? How live with her senses having been saturated by the gruesome? Even others assault her Jewishness in other countries. Yet, decades of harrowing psychic cleansing empowers Dr. Eger to say to us: “…I would love to help you discover how to escape the concentration camp of your own mind and become the person you were meant to be.”

In my perception, Dr. Edith Eva Eger achieved a depth of psychic freedom few experience in this life. How privileged we are to have her memoir The Choice – Embrace the Possible that shows us how to change.

At 6:30 A.M, I awoke with this corrective dream:

Winter’s cutting winds knifed my cheeks as I headed toward church and its Sunday’s service. Inside the dimly lit vestibule, I pushed open the oak-paneled doors and slid into the last pew and lowered my eyes and waited. Only a handful of worshipers also waited. Footfalls upon the hardwood floor startled me. Without greeting me, relatives waited until I moved over, then sat down. Within a short span, more relatives joined them, until the breath of a double-belted crone, now sitting next to me, nauseated me. She grimaced as I crossed in front of her and moved to another pew.

 In this dream, there is no life, no Eros, no color. Death’s imprint cackles in uproar, spits nasties within psyches, and enervates resolve. Even worshippers resemble bleached corn-husks, forlorn in frozen fields, yet page dog-eared hymnals for sustenance. Indeed, Death reigns supreme in this dream.

So why has my Dreamer cast me in this story? What more is there still to learn?

True, I’ve spent decades searching for ultimate meaning in churches, in dream work, in the tomes of erudite philosophers and theologians, in study travels to prehistoric sacred sites around the Western world. Yet after the initial élan of each exploration, there was still another project to pursue the Ineffable.

So perhaps the Dreamer reveals the grief in my psyche over what was. True, my lifelong pursuits have carried me afar and that is laudable. But beyond the pale of these moments of ultimate meaning lies something else, far more profound, impossible of conception by the human psyche. This is the Ultimate Truth to which I’m called.

I pray to be faithful.

Available on Amazon

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