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At 7:10 A. M., I awoke with this shocking dream:

I’m alone, watching a horrifying scene: a bald nude unconscious man, with pasty skin, lays on the ground surrounded by enemies, their steel-toed boots kicking him. One of them covered his privates with a rag when a cameraman came by and began taping. 

This dream from the collective unconscious still shivers my innards—more visceral than accounts of Nazi and Soviet torture that I’ve studied over the years. Even the morning spent at Germany’s Dachau concentration camp was tamed by the sense of it being a tourist attraction, with informative signage.

Stunned, I still shudder. Long ago, I learned that the Dreamer tells the truth: hatred, anger, and penchant to retaliate—even with violence—behaviors I would never own in the conscious world, hide within the shadow of my psyche.

But such behaviors come with being human. Following the collapse of inner restraints, instinctual madness zings through dripping caves like bats: their mayhem terrifies. We all have breaking points, and I have mine, whether expressed or not.

The concentrated negative/evil energies, all masculine, also suggest the collapse of my own, in the face of my mortality, given the minuscule increase in my symptoms, from month to month. No longer is it appropriate to remain passive, unconscious like the victim. I am still breathing and the Twelve Steps of CPA are still to be practiced.

The antidote to this insanity is found in Step One: humble acceptance of my powerlessness and the acceptance of the unacceptable; then on to the cleansing and forgiving Steps, with Higher Power’s release of noxious energies and restoration to wholeness, until the next time.

It takes daily practice…

Clusters of plump red berries, the autumn fruit of Missouri Honeysuckle bushes (Lonicera maackii), red-flag the attention of environmentalists. These berries, of no nutritional value, attract birds that either ingest them or drop them on the ground to be reseeded for the next season.

Originally planted in gardens as a border shrub, the Missouri Honeysuckle has become a nuisance. Its aggressive growth chokes out other native plants around them and infests easements, forest floors, and creek bottoms making them impassable for hikers and hunters. Utility workers have labored for hours to free up their lines.

Brush cutters, chainsaws, or hand tools, together with applications of herbicides are the only effective means to eliminate these bushes that can grow up to twenty feet tall.

The untrammeled growth of Missouri Honeysuckle bushes, I used to note during walks, still gives me pause—a prodigious greening power that kills life around it. Obvious parallels with bacterial infections, including Covid, come to mind. However, lesser ones, like unconscious rituals, unthinkingly practiced for decades, can be just as deeply rooted and harmful. On the surface, like the glistening red berries on the Missouri Honeysuckle, everything looks proper, but a closer inspection reveals shallow thinking and skewed choices that produce turmoil and confusion.

Reliance upon the power of God can eliminate such infringements into our psyches and enable us to walk unencumbered into the Light: streaming into our senses and ordering our sense of on-going creation.

“If you love the truth, be a lover of silence. Silence like the sun will illuminate you in God.”—a trenchant saying attributed to Isaac the Syrian, the seventh-century Bishop, theologian, and monk, regarded as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Simple words, if pondered, reveal the unseen caught in the flux of time. Key to this process is passion, whose firelight, like the sun, ignites inner worlds. But who cares to go there? To discipline unruly instincts clamoring for expression? That would be like dying. Such flies in the face of our cultural mores, engulfed in denial and rationalization. The predictable is more comfortable, yet soulless.

It does not take much to see who is truly alive among us: their quickening gaze, their resonant voices, their authority, of whatever age and background.

That’s what happens when you sit in the fire.

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