On Sunday, October 4, 2020, I sat down to listen to the State of Emergence podcast of the conversation between Terry Patten and Paul Levy entitled Dreaming Each Other Awake and Breaking the Curse of Evil. Starting the podcast, I was reminded of a recent mysterious dream. Sensing that the dream was related to the podcast, I decided to work a little with the dream before continuing with the podcast.
The dream occurred during the night of Tuesday, September 29, 2020. Originally, I named the dream #137 because the number 137 kept coming towards me from up ahead, both from the left, and from the right, always in front of me, the same number again and again. Even when I briefly awoke, I remained in the context of the dream. The dream was pleasant, and I felt content. When I awakened in the morning and remembered the dream, I felt a little disappointed that the dream was not real in the ordinary sense. However, the feeling of contentment stayed with me, and I wondered if the number 137 had any particular meaning. Nothing occurred to me immediately, although subsequently I began to associate the dream with the Stone Age Passage Tomb of Newgrange, in County Meath, Ireland.
When I googled 137, I found the following:
- In mathematics 137 is a prime number, it cannot be broken down.
- In physics it arises over and over again and could be significant in unifying the fields of electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and gravity.
- Symbolically, in the Kabbalah tradition, the number 137 emerges at the meeting place of the physical and spiritual realms.
I sensed that the dream was inviting me into a deeper embrace of wholeness, away from fragmentation and toward coherence, and that more clarity would come to me in the Paul Levy podcast.
I have now listened to the entire podcast twice. The tone is beautiful. I felt drawn to the heartfelt and insightful words of Terry, so poetically spoken, and to the sincere revelations of Paul regarding his long journey through the crucible of abuse and through the difficult work of accepting and embracing his personal agency in opting to act from deepest wisdom.
I have only personally grappled with a miniscule part of all that the podcast offers. I will write about this by framing my thoughts in terms of my dream, which I now think is a gift. I know that Paul was referring principally to lucid dreams where the dreamer knows she is dreaming. Nevertheless, I feel that even though my dream came to me in deep sleep, it is of, and for, the whole, and requires that I witness its light.
First though, I note that the podcast is rooted in quantum physics and I am only slightly familiar with the main concepts of this branch of science. What fascinated me on this occasion was the perception that there is a completely new way of understanding the emergence of reality as we experience it. It struck me that aspects of what I have understood as reality are the product of interpretations that are assumed to be fixed and correct, whereas in contrast, now it is becoming clear that what is central to reality is the endless creativity available in all that exists, especially within human consciousness with its corresponding capacity for choice. This is both amazingly simple and amazingly complex since everything is linked and interrelated. The meaning of this insight is what I am endeavoring to explore here, guided by my dream.
It is worth noting these new perceptions of reality have been brewing for just about one hundred years, the time that it usually takes for the grasping of a new framework of reality to take hold.
Aligned with Terry and Paul, I wish to pay tribute to the efficacy of steady contemplative style prayer and embodied prayer. I have known the intimate link between the practice of these types of prayer and the sudden light of expanded perception – not in the sense of cause and effect, rather more in the sense of a seed arriving gratuitously to a fertile field, usually when least expected and when one is otherwise engaged, and even in dreams.
Ultimately, I have come to understand that the effort to stay with this form of prayer leads beyond the space of conscious knowing to a realm that is not describable and to insights that affect and mold behavior. I have been enticed along this path by the work of Cynthia Bourgeault, another podcast contributor. Terry’s book A New Republic of the Heart also clearly addresses this experience, raising an antenna that amplifies awareness of what is happening.
In addition, I think that it is of utter importance to engage this process for the sake of deliberately contributing to human evolution, dwelling in a State of Emergence, moving decisively beyond our present general pattern of consciousness to that which is fuller; for the well-being of the whole. My dream fits here with its constant repetition of one single number of rich dimensions coming from up ahead, drawing me forward.
The main point is that we find ourselves physically dwelling in a world that has infinite inner possibilities that may link and ultimately shape the physical world. Truthfully, I am at a new edge here and, although I grasp it, I cannot explain it. To my pleasure, I find it eloquently expressed in the podcast with Terry and Paul.
Terma or Hidden Treasure
Another new idea for me that is highlighted in the podcast is the concept of “Terma.” It’s a Tibetan Buddhism term meaning “hidden treasure” that is transmitted usually through a dreamlike state, when needed, for the well-being of society.
I read online a good article on Terma in the Shambhala Times, dated November 2018, by Holly Gayley. (https://shambhalatimes.org/2018/11/18/what-is-terma/)
While it is helpful to know the correct meaning of Terma, I am writing here about the impact on me of Paul’s words in the podcast. I could not help but feel that in my dream, I had received an important message, transmitted to my awake self by my unconscious and knowing self. I sense with certainty that this is an opportunity pulling me toward wholeness. More than that, the dream bears an insight: I have always thought and acted from a set of perceptions that I now know were not necessarily definitive of the nature of human life. Since the dream, and later the podcast, I have been catapulted to a field that is on a different plain from where I have always been. There is a freeing quality to this and a pervasive sense of joy. I feel liberated from trying to be normal, as if sprung from a trap, and more vitally involved in creative expression.
I reacted immediately to the term “hidden treasure,” and felt my dream encapsulated the essence of its meaning. Importantly, as indicated above, Hidden Treasure appears precisely when needed. Interesting too, my dream came as a particular number, a symbol of possibly endless meaning and unity. The true Terma or Hidden Treasure are often manifest through symbols. This feels enlivening and may reveal more as the days unfold. Actually, I relish the thought of all that may yet manifest and wonder if I will see a more obvious and practical social application.
Company of the holy
I thought that Terry and Paul spoke elegantly of keeping the company of the holy across time. I recognize this idea, as well as others, as hailing from the great religious traditions of the Ages. However, there is a freshness and enthusiasm to their conversation about this that communicates contemporary grace and vigor.
These thoughts led me back to associating my dream with the Passage Tomb at Newgrange. This tomb captures the first rays of light from the sun on the Winter Solstice. Through the construction of a narrow sloping passageway made of standing stones, the Neolithic builders of this monument allowed the light to penetrate as far as possible into the deep darkness of the Earth. There are graves at the point of the light’s final penetration.
I think this is a metaphor for going as far as possible, even in the darkest times, to shed light. I keep thinking of the recurring number 137 as the standing stones on either side of the passage forming the opening for the light to pass and, inevitably, for those who in death will pass through this space to burial. I am happy to be linked through ancestry with the creators of this monument and invite them to journey with me as we currently draw closer to the Winter Solstice and find ourselves in increasing darkness from our position in relation to the sun and, sad to say, from a wide-scale failure of human attunement to the light within.
Terry and Paul discussed the concept of Wetico, a North American Indian term that means a virus of the mind that affects society. It causes fragmentation and the failure to make decisions that are for the well-being of the whole. Twelve years ago, I experienced this graphically in Gallup, New Mexico, at a hearing of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Navajo Nation regarding the government’s intention to permit the immediate exploration for, and eventual mining of, uranium on Navajo land. The Navajo opposed this determination citing the agreement that the government would not encroach on Navajo land. The government claimed that the agreement only applied to the surface of the land. The Navajo, in turn, saw the land as an indivisible whole and the uranium as a danger that should not be disturbed, knowing by past experience it would release division, sickness and death into the atmosphere and into society, ultimately destroying the land itself. The smugness and self-importance of those defending the permit proposal was chilling. Wetico at work.
Wetico, though, contains within itself its own antidote. The globalized breakdown of the Earth’s life support systems seems to be finally impinging upon our awareness. Would that this awareness might be the antidote that breaks the curse of Wetico, of fragmentation, and draws us toward wholeness and coherence. This will not happen magically. A lot of hard work in an extraordinarily complex time is implied. There is no guarantee of success but there is choice in a Universe replete with untapped creativity.
I hope the readers of this paper will listen to the podcast and find in it the light that I found and the pleasure of discovering Hidden Treasures exactly when needed. May we dream ourselves awake, truly awake!