(The annual flooding of the Nile that built Egyptian civilization, from Crystalinks)
I woke up early this morning in a severe depression. Not quite a black pit, but one of the deepest pits since I resumed my spiritual explorations. It was one of the usual suspects, the feeling that I’m being buried alive in multilayered ways and will never dig myself out, but suffocate first. I was a long time getting back to sleep, and even as I faded away I was still having a flood of negative images fill my mind – the last one, bizarrely, was an image of the grave of the famous 20th century dancer and radio / movie / TV star Bill “Bojangles” Robinson being vandalized by someone carving a swastika into it.
After I got up this morning my mood gradually improved (partly on its own and partly thanks to a food-filled festive event at my employer), but my mind kept creeping back to the middle-of-the-night depression. As I have countless times before, I wondered how much was biological (haven’t you ever woken up in the middle of the night worrying about a dozen different things?) and how much had other causes. But this time, when the teeth of the pit finally released their hold, I had an epiphany about my recent flood dreams:
They all had the same theme but carried different messages.
If I’m right, it’s one of those things that seems obvious once it’s been brought to my attention.
It only today occurred to me that each dream was showing me that I could overcome adversity, but each one was demonstrating this happening in a different way.
The first dream, the mega-tsunami, had me rescuing myself (and my loved ones) through elevating myself spiritually.
The second, slugging through floodwaters with the help of a guide dog, would seem to indicate that friends can help guide me when I’m threatened with being washed away. (This – asking for help – is something I have an incredibly hard time with.)
The third, watching a growing flood from my employer’s second floor window, would seem that my job, or where I live, or both, offer some measure of protection.
Then the last, the warning of a coming storm bad enough to call up the National Guard, suddenly struck me today as indicating that I might not necessarily know who my helpers are, but they’ll be out there helping me nevertheless, the same way that soldiers we’ve never met and likely never will are constantly defending us.
And that’s not all. I had a flood-related dream this week that I didn’t include because it wasn’t me directly witnessing a flood or a storm’s coming, but today I realized it might carry a powerful message as well. In this dream my friend Alexandra was in Florida directly in the path of a Category 5 hurricane, but she got a message to me that she was safe.
In contemplating this dream after being gnawed by the depression’s teeth earlier this morning, it occurred to me again (as it has many times recently) that part of the depression’s source these days is feeling like I’m not doing enough, or can’t do enough, to help the people I love – or the fear that if they ever need me to help them, I won’t be able to. But this dream would seem to be a reassurance that even if there’s no possible way for me to help someone I love directly, just keeping the lines of communication with them open may be enough.
Flooding, when it doesn’t get out of control, is necessary for the ground to stay fertile. And I suspect a metaphysical version of this is necessary in our own lives too.
I wondered yesterday at Alexandra’s prompting if it wasn’t a coincidence that I had all of these back-to-back flood dreams at a time when I wasn’t otherwise doing anything actively spiritual. Now I’m certain that it was no coincidence. Not in the least.