Posts tagged #carl jung

Iron John + Leo Tolstoy's nonfiction + Buddha in Suburbia

(Whenever I send out a new letter I post an old one here to the blog. To get the gems and updates all hot & fresh, just sign up here to my mailing list) Hello wondrous creature,

I always get extra-reflective on snowy days like today in Pittsburgh. I've got a handful of discoveries for you to share that reflective vibe, and exciting news about my work.


Iron John by Robert Bly (audiobook on youtube) 

In addition to being an amazing poet, Robert Bly is also the leader of the Mythopoeic Men's Movement, a movement dedicated to reclaiming conscious masculinity via ritual and myth. In Iron John, Bly offers an in-depth exploration of a fairy tale story that holds important wisdom about what it takes for a man to free his psychic energy from that of his parents and the culture at large, and to integrate as a fully life-giving individual. I found out about the book via the brilliant hip-hop artist Eric Venuto aka Bamboo, who recommended it to my partner, Dey. As soon as Dey mentioned that the book had a heavily Jungian point of view I couldn't resist digging in and reading it myself. I finished it in an afternoon because it's just that good. This audio version offers the distinct pleasure of Bly's soothingly gruff voice and the advantage that you can "read" it while washing the dishes and otherwise doing tasks around the house. (I would NEVER clean my apartment if not for audio books-- I'd be too busy reading!)

The Kingdom of God is Within You - Tolstoy (ebook)


Until stumbling around wikipedia the other day I never realized that Tolstoy wrote nonfiction-- but he did -- and quite an important work of nonfiction, too. This is the book that spurred Gandhi to adopt his principles of nonviolence which led to the liberation of India from British rule. In it, Tolstoy explores the radical political dimensions of Christianity and makes the searing (and still extremely relevant) point that Jesus' teachings leave no room to justify violence of any kind, including the violence of war, which many ostensibly Christian leaders in the U.S. and around the world encourage everyday. But his critique doesn't just target those in positions of power-- it also beckons whoever digs Jesus to get way more serious about integrating that great man's disruptive and profound teaching into everyday life. Read it if you're looking for an inspiring jolt for your political and spiritual awareness.

Buddha in Suburbia (streaming documentary film)


Buddha in Suburbia follows exiled Tibetan lama Lelung Rinpoche as he strives to get along in the Western world and to reclaim the lost teachings of his previous incarnation, teachings which are key to the legacy of Tibetan Buddhism. It offers not only fascinating insight into the plight of the Tibetan people, but also the pleasure of watching a man pursue a genuine epic quest for spiritual knowledge. I don't want to trivialize the difficulty or sadness of Lelung Rinpoche's work in the wake of the Tibetan exodus-- but he's seeking the missing scrolls of his ancient people. How cool is that?!


I'm delighted to announce that I'm launching a low-cost coaching program for 2012. Each one hour session is just $25 (that's about $75 less than you'll find most coaches charge). Curious why the price is so low? You may want to read my post that details the spiritual and political motivations that inspire me. I only have 20 sessions available per week, and two of those have already been taken -- so if you're interested in grabbing a slot, I suggest you go ahead and purchase it.



The frightening secret about why you don't remember your dreams


"I try to remember my dreams but I can't."

The alarm rings. You fumble to shut it off as fast as possible. Do you really have to get up and leave right now, or could you afford a few more minutes in bed? You try to estimate the risks of sleeping longer. You decide you really do, indeed, have to wake up now.

Then you remember-- you're trying to keep a dream journal. "What was I just dreaming?" you ask yourself.

But it's too late; there are no savory licks of dream-stuff left. It's all gone away, into the aether from whence it came.

Your heart sinks with a little disappointment.  You're really trying to remember your dreams; you really want to connect more deeply with your creative unconscious; it's just that the dreams slip away so fast before you can grab them.  Now you can remember nothing from your night's adventures and you feel a little soul-less, a little empty.  What, after all, is a person without dreams?

A person without dreams is someone who succeeds at fitting in and not shaking the airplane. (I could have said "and not rocking the boat"-- but what thought scares you more-- a rocking boat or a shaking airplane?)

A person who doesn't remember what he dreams is someone who is more easily roped into the counterfeit dream of the culture-at-large: the manufactured dream of constant high status, hot sex, and total security.

Have you noticed that the dream of the culture-at-large is not only unattainable, but boring? It's not enough to fire the full range of the human imagination; it's just enough to stoke our base cravings.

Costly, poisoned milk


A person who doesn't remember what he dreams is someone cut off from the marrow of his own being, from the sustenance of his own life.  He's like a desperate farmer who has sold his cow and now has to buy the milk back at a steep price. And not only is the milk costly; it's also been poisoned; it's actually dangerous to consume.

As we settle for the mass-produced dreams of television, commercials and popular film we're drinking poison milk.  That stuff, taken as our only nourishment, makes us weaker and weaker.  We notice the symptoms of what's happening to us: we're depressed and anxious, unfocused and miserable. But lie to ourselves about the root cause.  We think that we suffer just because we don't yet have enough status, sex, security.

We can't even begin to imagine that our pain and our boredom and our sense of meaninglessness might have something to do with the fact that we routinely ignore the vast and beautiful productions that our soul offers us each night while we sleep; the secrets of the universe which are hand-tailored to us; the magnificent gifts that come fully-made.

Your dreams are your dreams.  They are communications that have the power to awaken you. The more you ignore them, the more you ignore your own spiritual growth.

"But I'm trying to remember my dreams-- I just can't!"

This is never true.

You don't remember your dreams because you don't truly want to remember.

You can't remember your dreams because you want other things much more.  Why? Because you're too heavily plugged in to the pseudo-dream: the first thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning is your security, your status.  Do you need to get up and run? What do you need to do before you leave the house? What should you eat for breakfast? What should you wear?

You can't remember your dreams because those thoughts are more urgent to you, more vivid and more intense than your desire to be in conscious contact with your own soul.  Just admit that it's true.  You would like to remember your dreams, but frankly you're more worried about being on time for wherever you've got to go.

If you want to know your soul, you have to make that knowing your priority

If you truly want to remember your dream-time escapades, you have to be willing to care more about what's going on within you than what's going on without you.  You have to be more focussed on the world of your spiritual and emotional terrain than on the world of your oh-so-urgent duties.

This is an intense reversal.  This is a taboo reversal.  No one in our culture is allowed to do this-- do this and you'll become weak, lazy, worthless-- or so the notion goes.  I say do it and you'll become truly awake to the weird wonder that you are.  And out of this weird wonder you'll make full, vast, and sculptured treasures.  You'll bring back incredible gifts.  You'll enrich our day-time world immensely.  You'll be a hero and you'll have our gratitude-- for you were the brave one who made the journey where we were too scared to go.

To remember your dreams, you have to decide that your dreams are more important than what anyone else thinks of you

Your first thought when you wake must be: "I am dreaming a dream. What is happening in my dream? What am I doing?" And then you offer a kind of very soft, gentle attention.  You attend for some moments, laying still in the dark (so as not to disturb the swirling aether where your dream licks are laying in wait) and then once you've collected as much as you can, you pick up pen and paper and write what's gone on.

You make this more important than "being where I have to be." You make your dreams the most important thing.

Gradually, as you treat your dreams with this kind of respect, they begin to speak to you more loudly and more clearly.  They begin to realize that you're one who listens; you're one who attends.  They begin to offer the deep initiation to you, the initiation into your own transcendent power as the interdimensional creature you really are.

So make the decision right now.

Decide to dream at any cost.

It won't hurt as much as you think, my darling.