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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…

In today’s quiet, I returned to the lyrics of the protest song, Sounds of Silence (1964), its symbols pin-pricking the Alice-in-Wonderland world shapeshifting around its composer Paul Simon. Then, it was the war in Vietnam, with nightly footage of its atrocities numbing many viewers into powerlessness, voicelessness. Something was very wrong in our world. Switching channels helped.-

In my perception, Sounds of Silence still evokes shudders and speaks to our country’s splintering beneath heaps of social, political, and economic disorders. Morals no longer work; in their place, the bastardization of language.

The protest song opens with the imprint of a powerful dream upon the narrator that commands its communication to

People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

And at a later disaster was heard: “Just keep them quiet,” said one of the terrorists on the phone recovered from the debris of United flight 93.

The lyrics continue as if echoing Yahweh’s pleas in the Psalms:  

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

The warning was given. Yet, with passing years, even more trivia has dulled imaginations, stoked hot pursuit of substances, and atrophied psyches—even evolving into monster-like-minions of

 the neon god they made

The timeliness of conversion of heart has never been so urgent—it can be done.

So it’s about the Hebraic conversion of heart, shuv, the ongoing response to my sinfulness, as found in the Mosaic Law. Convinced that I am powerless to effect this existential change on my own, I rely upon the psalmist’s prayer, “Create, O God, a clean heart within me!” or simply, the mantra, ”Mercy!” together with working the Twelve Steps.

In my perception, however, the concept of sin appears forgotten or unimportant by many, from the global elite to street gangs to the politically and socially and academically prominent. Even spiritual leadership rots in its sanctuaries. Few to none participate in the world of the unconscious, source of dreams and spiritual direction. Instincts have a field day spinning subtle errors; recourse to head-language sets norms for what’s called moral behavior, until accepted in common practice.

Such unbridled insanity/sin leave the psyche’s doors wide open for the ravages of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: war, famine, pestilence, and death. The media reports their galloping the high and low roads of our globe; they are everywhere. Chronic shuddering attests to their presence—No denial or substance abuse can assuage their terror. “Getting back to normal” seems illusory.

As bleak as this scenario appears, conversion of heart still works; its access requires rigorous honesty and humility and simplicity, within the context of prayerful solitude. We are not God and never have been.

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