“I am on a train in the US where the overall atmosphere is volatile. There is danger everywhere. People have formed gangs and territories and carry weapons. You must be careful where you go and with whom you are aligned. I get stopped by security guards who ask me for the address of where I am staying, which I don’t seem to know and can’t properly write down. They empty my bag, take my identity and verbally abuse me, which is common police practice meant to demoralize the detainee. I don’t know if they’ll let me go.” John, New Westminster
Our dreamer spent most of his life taking up responsibility. When he was young, he and his friends bragged to one another how they never cried until, eventually, it became true. Growing up, John watched his father go silently to and from work every day, providing for the family and keeping complaints he might have had carefully hidden.
As he got older John attended university, acquired a degree of debt, and began to work in a respectable job to pay it off. When the time was expected, he married, had kids and bought a 25 year mortgage on a house. He never imagined that after taking all the proper steps he would find himself miserable.
John’s cage has begun to rattle so much lately, that he can no longer ignore it. His body is suffering painful symptoms, he is having disturbing dreams, is distracted at work, and weeping suddenly for no reason. The tower he’s worked so hard to build up around him has begun crumbling and he can’t think of what to do to stop it.
But his tower is one amongst millions. The dystopian setting of the dream, where danger and fear are the currency, is a very real picture of what cities look like all over the world. Like him, many people have been working their entire lives for the promise of security, (which is a roundabout word for scarcity), but when you add everyone up, you have a village of fear and loneliness.
Overburdened with responsibility and disentitled from his feelings, John takes up the weapons of self-protection. Under the groupmind pressure to be a provider and pillar of strength, he shuts down his heart and loses his personal identity. He can’t remember where his home-soul is in the dream, as anyone detained from his purpose might not. Like so many others who live on the treadmill, John is a citizen of a police state of mind.
But where the ‘security agenda’ rules too long, chaos will always pull the rug out.
Water levels are rising on the planet as well as in individuals. Weapons are useless against the welling up of change. As John begins to touch how empty and demoralizing living this way feels, he finds himself at a terrifying tipping point where the task being asked of him, and so many others, is to let go of that power for something as yet uncertain.
It will take great courage to give up the busy, victorious identity for something more meaningful. I once heard it said that true masculinity is the ability to perceive a goal and work with fidelity towards it. Though we often focus on the fidelity part, I’m rather more intrigued by the modesty it takes to see what is truly needed in one’s village of things.