The Dream, “Meeting the Inner Saboteur”

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Meeting the Inner SaboteurPainting of a dream given to me by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D

You asked for a transformational dream and so I give you this one which came at a time in my life when something had happened with an individual with whom I worked, that was very difficult. This was the first time in my life I felt hatred for another person to the point that my waking life was totally consumed by my feelings for this man. I dreamt of him every night for months and I felt possessed by this hatred and my life poisoned. I didn’t know what to do, so I went into therapy. Nothing helped. I was a teacher of forgiveness, yet I was unable to shift my consciousness with this man until I had this dream:

I was in New York City and I was greeted by two Buddhist Monks in orange bath robes. I became lucid and thought to myself “This must be a spiritual dream.”

The dream continues… I am trying to cross the street. I run because the light is short and I can’t make it before it turns red. I know I am dreaming and I know where I am supposed to go—A brownstone building. Time is short so I will fly. It’s over there…

I fly there and I go to the top floor of the brownstone. There inside is a very dangerous young man, a gang member. I look at him and say, “He is very dangerous…He could kill me!…On the other hand I am dreaming.”

As I look at him something remarkable happens; an exchange of energy and light through our eyes and hearts. All of a sudden the exchange expands into a near death experience as I see what must be a review of his life, but I am in the position of a being of light and so I am able to witness without judgment, with pure love. I see scenes from a very abusive childhood. At one point he is even pushed down the stairs by his parents! As a being of light I feel deep compassion for this child. The room begins to fill with the most beautiful light and love.

The dream ends with me thinking to myself, “Do I want to use my dream body to visit my mother, or shall I just sit and meditate?”After the dream I felt changed and the hatred gone.

In a couple of months I was attending a party and happened to see my former colleague. When we saw each other the same energetic exchange seemed to occur between us, from the eyes to the heart and we just smiled at each other. Also, the feeling of this dream has stayed with me through time and I continue to remember it whenever I feel challenged to forgive.

Brenda Ferrimani’s Comments

When I invited Joan to participate in my “Amazing Women’s Dreams” art project, I never expected to receive from her such a beautiful shadow dream. It was very courageous of her and I am very grateful, because it has given me an opportunity to work with my own psychological processes on a deeper level than ever before.

It has been my personal experience that within my psyche tremendous power is always locked up in my shadow. When I am brave enough to encounter these unconscious parts of myself I stand to grow and change the most. Like with Joan’s experience, these types of dreams have been powerful agents to personal transformation.

There’s an expression “Life imitates Art” which we often use to express the interesting mirroring that occurs between art and what happens in the world. In a personal way this is “Oh, so true,” for I am constantly amazed at the mirroring of my dream painting’s subject matter in my waking life! Almost immediately after starting Joan’s painting I experienced a rare and surprising falling out with a friend and partner, which left me reeling in darkness for months! While hatred was not an issue for me, my anger toward my partner and myself had to be acknowledged, let go of and finally forgiven. This eerie sychronicity was the backdrop to my artistic work all the while I was painting.

Joan’s dream is rich with many layers of meaning and visual images. Knowing I couldn’t paint everything related to me in her dream, I had to choose. New York City is a very powerful and energetic symbol and I felt it had to have as much of a presence in the painting as the male and female characters I focused on.

Looking at the universal layer of meaning in this dream, it has become clear that the dream illustrates an instant wherein healing the individual heals the whole. New York City, as a symbol of the world collective, is where all nations meet in trade, politics, art and culture. It embodies all that is positive and negative in human experience, and I am reminded that by recognizing (with compassion) not only the positive but the negative traits within my own psyche, such as hatred, greed, etc…I am healing and transforming myself and the collective simultaneously.

The dream also speaks to me on a personal level. I often dream of New York City, and as an emerging artist, it tells me about my own desire for commercial success. Artists of all types go to New York in hopes of making it big! When pondering the significance of my inner saboteur I wonder: How do I unconsciously ruin my success? What voices do I listen to that say to me that I am undeserving, that I am not good enough, or that wanting material success is bad, do I listen to?

Also, when I sense in others competitiveness or jealousy what is my reaction? Do I hold back so that they can feel better? If I unconsciously hesitate to share my work with the world because I fear someone will not like it, my behavior becomes self-defeating. I sabotage my success and in doing so I am not the only one to lose! The world loses out too when I don’t allow myself to shine.

Painting this dream has allowed me to face my Inner Saboteur and to embrace the energy there. I have learned that when I have negative thoughts and feelings that could harm me I can consciously resist, and I can send compassion to these injured parts of myself. Knowing that I am still growing and evolving like everyone else, I can forgive my imperfections, my doubts and fears. I can let go of the inner critic and instead focus my energy on my endless potential. As I learn to do the work I love and share it with the world, I can stop worrying about the acceptance of others, their acknowledgments and rewards. When I am finally able to give of myself with detachment from the possible outcome I realize true success. If money and acknowledgment come…I can handle it! In fact, I will welcome it, but I no longer need this outer validation.

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