Dream Incubation & The 2 Million Year Old Man
& Forthcoming events for w/c 27th June 2022
How can dreams offer guidance to help us in our lives and spiritual practice?
As a child of the 70s, my mother raised me to listen to the radio, just as she did. As an adult this has translated into listening to podcasts. One of my go-to shows is This Jungian Life.
The usual format is three Jungian analysts talking about some aspect of life from a Jungian psychological perspective.
I was put onto the psychology of Carl Gustav Jung by my late Zen teacher Daiyu Myokyo Zenji. She always claimed that if it hadn't been for her own interest in Jung's psychology she would never have gone to Japan for her own Zen training. In fact, when I first joined her group in the 1980s Frieda Fordham's book An Introduction to Jung's Psychology was required reading.
On a Saturday morning, Shobo-an Zen Training Temple holds work parties and I recall, back in the day, after a morning spent cleaning the Zendo and Shrine Room we had lunch upstairs in the dining room. Over coffee Ven. Myokyo-ni would ask us if we had had any dreams lately? We would discuss each other's dreams and their relevance to what was going on in our lives particularly how it intersected with the Zen training.
In the latest podcast from This Jungian Life the trio of analysts interview Machiel Klerk about his latest book Dream Guidance: Connecting to the soul through dream incubation. South African by birth, Machiel has spent some decades exploring methods of dream incubation for healing and development. Dream incubation is to consciously ask the dream-maker for guidance to answer a formulated question. In the interview he talks about his method for crafting the question and sketches the outline of his method of asking for guidance. Jung talked about a '2 million year old man (or woman), who lives in all of us and is the collective wisdom of our species which is the inheritance of us all.
Back at the turn of our century I was at our Fairlight Temple and was staying overnight. Ven. Myokyo-ni used to split her time between there and Shobo-an. After breakfast, and out of the blue she asked if anyone had any dreams to report. The curious thing was that from about the mid-1990s she had stopped asking for people's dreams and the subject was rarely mentioned.
I piped up saying that indeed I had one. In the dream I was at The Buddhist Society's annual summer school and had been slated to give a talk. Someone comes up to me and tells me that as well as the talk I was also to give a whole series of talks of which I'd not been previously advised. Although it was a bit of a surprise I wasn't phased by this and thought that I would be able to handle it even though I was unprepared.
When I'd finished narrating this dream, Ven. Myokyo-ni looked at me strangely for a moment and asked if anyone had informed me that as she had decided that her infirmities were making it increasingly difficult to travel far, she had decided to no longer go and deliver the six practice talks and that I was to do them instead. I replied that no-one had said anything to me at all! "Well" she said, "Now you know!"
Our weekly live-streamed Zazen meditation session will be on this Thursday 30th June at 1900hrs BST. The link is on the meditation page.
A number of people have expressed interest in having a tutorial on Zazen over Zoom, so that will be scheduled for Monday 11th July at 1900hrs BST. The zoom link will be sent out nearer the time. I'll make a short presentation but this is really for you to ask questions or give feedback on your own practice, so there's plenty of time to think about what you might like to say.
That's all for now - wishing everyone a good week ahead.