Monday, April 25, 2011

What I Saw When I Closed My Brain (Revisited)



What you are about to read goes over the edge of reality.
[If you've already visited to read the poem, skip to the end of it if you're curious about its animal symbolism and today's additions.]

It's a vision I had during a meditative hour on Saturday. I offer it as my Poetry Bus ticket, which this week was to be something in excess. It's excessively long and excessively full of creatures. You'll find more excessive work on the Science Girl's blog.


What I Saw When I Closed My Brain & Opened My Eyes

Beneath the oak tree a century of decomposing leaves
softer than a mattress and malleable, sweet scented
with a sheet of new grass, cradles me as I lie down
above a swift-flowing stream rich from winter rains.
A snag of sodden limbs and twigs rises in midstream
like a shattered tree regretting its dissolution.
Three bickering crows alight on the far bank,
screeching their malcontent and striking one another
in a cacophony of bitterness that belongs elsewhere.
I reach with searching fingers for a stone but hear
Watch, and here he comes, my resurrected Christ
crunching through the mat of leaves in long white robes.
I bade him come but thought he wouldn’t, yet here he is,
dressed for someone else’s dream. No white robes,
I say and look away at the terrible crows, gone
quiet now, and I see in the sunlight the shining
green among tar-black feathers as they sedately sip
at the water’s edge. In worn blue jeans he reclines
beside me, shoulders broad in a tight T-shirt,
sandaled feet in the brown leaf mulch. His hand
touches my shoulder like the tentative nose of horse.
Watch, he says. I look again at the mournful snag
and I see there where the stream parts a rainbow trout
surfing the current, and just behind it, a smaller trout,
their colors glinting in the light. Upstream bushes
rustle and a brown bear lumbers into the water,
slogs unerringly for the snag and reaches a paw
for the trout as if it knew the trout were there.
With a small undulation, the first trout meets the paw
and the paw encloses the trout, and I see the two,
the bear and trout, agree to feed and to be fed.
The crows lift off and a white owl settles
in the place they left, fixing his yellow eyes
on me. We stare at one another like old partners
suddenly met in an unexpected place. Beside me
a lynx has crouched to watch the owl. A cougar
slinks down the bank upstream and dips its head
to lap the water, resting on a rock. I don’t know
what my Christ is thinking. The owl says something
in a soundless voice and waits with me, the lynx,
my blue-jeaned Lord, for whatever happens next.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Meanings & Symbolism

I was interested in all the animals who appear in this meditative dream, and so I looked a little into Celtic and Native American animal symbolism.
Among six animals there are:
12 references to insight and intuition
2 bearers of power and courage
2 guardians
1 guide
1 messenger
and a crow times 3

The facilitator of my meditation group uses no descriptive words, only such verbs as "breathe," "observe," "listen," and "be." She's a psychoanalyst and she tells us that the process of observing will allow the unconscious to speak. I asked what this meditation might be saying to me, and she just laughed. That’s what you have to figure out, she said. So here’s what I think:

What I Saw When I Closed My Brain & Opened My Eyes

Beneath the oak tree a century of decomposing leaves
softer than a mattress and malleable, sweet scented
with a sheet of new grass, cradles me as I lie down
above a swift-flowing stream rich from winter rains.

[The surroundings are serene, but a bad attitude affects my interpretation of the view in the lines that follow:]
A snag of sodden limbs and twigs rises in midstream
like a shattered tree regretting its dissolution.
Three bickering crows alight on the far bank,
screeching their malcontent and striking one another
in a cacophony of bitterness that belongs elsewhere.

[I see brokenness and regret, dissonance and discontent, but how true is my vision? The crow, despite my annoyance, represents a mass of good things, such as metamorphosis, clarity of vision, bearer of light and understanding, keeper of mysteries and wisdom. I don’t see any of that until my spiritual guide appears, wearing the wrong clothes.]

I reach with searching fingers for a stone but hear
Watch, and here he comes, my resurrected Christ
crunching through the mat of leaves in long white robes.
I bade him come but thought he wouldn’t, yet here he is,
dressed for someone else’s dream. No white robes,
I say and look away at the terrible crows, gone
quiet now, and I see in the sunlight the shining
green among tar-black feathers as they sedately sip
at the water’s edge. In worn blue jeans he reclines
beside me, shoulders broad in a tight T-shirt,
sandaled feet in the brown leaf mulch. His hand
touches my shoulder like the tentative nose of horse.

[This is a wonderful interaction to me. Like many of us, my belief system was instilled when I was small with simple picture books and complicated nuances. The 12-Step program is emphatic that we must come to a personal understanding of God, in whom we can entrust our lives and hopes. This scene tells me that process is at work in my life and my God is perfectly happy to “change his clothes.” His appearance in the scene changes everything for me.]

Watch, he says. I look again at the mournful snag
and I see there where the stream parts a rainbow trout
surfing the current, and there behind it, a smaller trout,
their colors glinting in the light. Upstream bushes
rustle and a brown bear lumbers into the water,
slogs unerringly for the snag and reaches a paw
for the larger trout as if it knew the trout were there.
With a small undulation, the trout meets the paw
and the paw encloses the trout, and I see the two,
the bear and trout, agree to feed and to be fed.

[The bear is a powerful guardian, with great courage and strength and a deep connection to the Creator. He also represents intuition and introspection, which is interesting to me. He looks inward with understanding and thoughtfulness, but at the same time he looks outward to protect and guard with his strength and courage. He represents healing, death and rebirth. The fish, an ancient symbol of Jesus Christ, sacrifices itself in a nourishing relationship with the bear. The snag stops being a mournful broken tree and becomes a shelter for the trout.]

The crows lift off and a white owl settles
in the place they left, fixing his yellow eyes
on me. We stare at one another like old partners
suddenly met in an unexpected place.

[The white owl has lots of jobs in animal symbolism. He’s a messenger that brings enlightenment, wisdom, or spirituality. Sometimes he foretells death. In this dream, it seems like we used to work together but our relationship ended. Now he has something to tell me but I can’t hear it, and so he waits with me ~ which strikes me as a kind thing to do, but maybe not.]

Beside me
a lynx has crouched to watch the owl. A cougar
slinks down the bank upstream and dips its head
to lap stream water, resting on a rock.

[The lynx joins me, taking a protective stance. When he appeared in my meditation I asked if he was a bobcat or a lynx since I didn’t know the difference between the two. He specified that he was a lynx, which I later learned is wonderful. In animal lore the lynx is both a guide and a guardian, equipped with keen vision and foretelling, and he’s the keeper of all secrets and mysteries. The cougar brings balance between strength, leadership, wisdom, and freedom, and is a sign of coming into your own power. I could use some of that.]

I don’t know
what my Christ is thinking. The owl says something
in a soundless voice and waits with me, the lynx,
my blue-jeaned Lord, for whatever happens next.

[In this meditation an awful lot of characters know things, except for me. But I learn something important ~ my perception of “life” is transformed when I bid my Higher Power to be with me. And all the possibilities symbolized by the animals who visit seem to be available somehow when my view changes from negative to positive. I don’t know how, but maybe I’ll learn more during “whatever happens next.”]

Have a great week, my friends. I’m going to try to meditate more without the facilitator, just to see if something happens next.

22 comments:

Andrew said...

Yes Yes Yes. Be still and watch. Just look and see what happens.

I once stood in silent communion with a mature Doe, only a few feet between us. There was no fear, only peace and understanding of the beauty of Being.

Joker the Lurcher said...

this is very special. i loved reading it and imagining being there too.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

beautiful, nature is the best muse!

Jeanne Iris said...

I love the excess here, Chris! And what a hot Jesus! Yeah, baby!

Enchanted Oak said...

I was interested in all the animals who appear in this meditative dream, and so I looked a little into Celtic and Native American animal symbolism.

Tomorrow I think I'll write about what I learned. All of the animals are powerful totems with good qualities, which tickles me. What if a cockroach or a jackal had appeared? Am I a meditative snob?

Steve E said...

Don't want to think ANYTHING here Chris I just want to meditate!!!
How GOOD your memory!
How GOOD your communication!

Whatever happens next--WILL happen!
PEACE!

And that OUTSTANDING photo of greenery!
WOW.....

Brian Miller said...

haha...what a delightful romp chris...

RNSANE said...

And those were completely sober musing!! How spectacular, Chris. You alwys amaze me. Jesus in Jeans. How befitting.

NanU said...

Delightful, Chris, I'm still watching.

the walking man said...

Sounds like a glimpse of your heaven to me. I could live there for a time and be at rest.

Magpie said...

Looking forward to what you found out about your dream creatures. What did you find out about yourself?

Helen said...

I would meditate more often if my vision could come close to yours! WOW!

The Bug said...

It really is fascinating - I love how quietly happy it feels. You might not have meant for it to feel this way, but I know that I would be happy sitting there watching all the action.

izzy said...

Yes and Jesus probably has a great sense of humor- nice meditation! Thanks.

Doctor FTSE said...

A very contented poem. Thank you.

Peter Goulding said...

There's a great Biblical feel to this, Chris. Maybe you should take to the highways and byeways and relate your vision to the world? Although I suppose the blog is the modern equivalent!

Lolamouse said...

That was one intense meditative experience you had! Fascinating!

Karen said...

I read the other day but didn't have time to comment. Today, the interpretation takes this to a whole different place. It is fascinating!

Padhraig Nolan said...

What a trip! Thanks for sharing it.

Magpie said...

Totally fascinating! I must start meditating again.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Interesting that there was a crow 3 times.Reminds me in a different meaning of 'crow' of St Peter at this Eastertime.

Syd said...

Dreams are so interesting. I like the animal totems. It sounds peaceful and balanced as Nature is. Thanks for sharing this. I wish that I had such peaceful dreams.

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