Chapter One - The Beginning of the Journey
One of my friends believes her life task is to facilitate abundance in the lives of street people. She has puzzled over this for years and maintains that one day she will find the pieces, and put them in place. Others share her intent. Yet despite a spate of books on how to manifest our destiny, make our dreams come true, and attract prosperity into our lives, most people still experience their lives through lack, never having enough personal belongings, excitement, time, or intimacy to satisfy.
As I began this book in the spring of 2003, news programs carried no stories about abundance, other than an abundance of rain in the weekend’s forecast. Instead I heard clips about SARS severely straining health care resources in Toronto, and Mad Cow Disease closing the border to transportation of beef from Canada to the United States. Farmers and fisherman were suffering. Hospitals and patients in New Brunswick, my home province, complained of a shortage of nurses and doctors. Three years later, headlines have shifted to oil shortages, the price of gas, and the aftermath of tragic hurricanes.
In our affluent North American society, we must ask “Why?” What prevents us all from knowing abundance? Pat answers about eroding social systems and welfare mentality overwhelm us with the impossibility of the situation; we close our eyes to the problem, and move on with our own lives. Street people, child poverty, and want, seem to be here indefinitely. Yet what truly stops each and every one of us from having glittering joyful abundance every day of our lives? Such was the flow of my conversation with my friend that night.
INCUBATING A DREAM
After my friend and I said goodnight, I went to bed to incubate a dream. By that I mean that I asked for guidance through dreams, for a dream story or a series of images which would help me understand my specific question. That night, because I was so focussed on my purpose, I did not follow the practice of writing the question in my dream journal or on a slip of paper tucked under my pillow, as some do.
Dreaming has long been underrated in our society, yet much wisdom can be gleaned when we remember and record our dreams, later to dive into the depths of their content and symbolism. The concept of reviving a dreaming culture spurs the enthusiasm of dreamers around the globe. My desire is that we would regularly share our dreams, seeking their riches for our own waking lives and for our communities. In that vein, I will share with you the dream I had that night.
I dreamed I was in charge of many baby bunnies. These cute and cuddly little rabbits lived under my bed, and were persistent in their attempts to escape through the bedroom door. Every time one or two escaped, I caught and carried the wiggly little things back into my room. Yet each time I opened the door, another would slip past me. After a while, I was travelling with the rabbits. Some hopped into the woods. I caught most, but a few were gone for good.
I laughed when I shared this dream with my friend, because the only bunnies I had under my bed in waking life were dust bunnies. What could it mean? Throughout the day, I let the images percolate. The reproductive prowess and quick energy of rabbits could easily represent abundance. Furthermore, whenever abundance bounces into our lives, something, someone, seems to snatch it back. In this dream, I was the keeper of the door, capturing any rabbits which might dash out into the world. Did I represent whatever keeps abundance just out of our reach? That question reminded me of two Bible stories: one of Daniel, waiting to understand his vision, and the other of the angel guardian at the gate of Eden, sword flashing.
Daniel was an Old Testament prophet, best known from the Bible story about Daniel and the Lions’ Den. The book of Daniel includes a number of his adventures while exiled in Babylon. He was a dreamer and a dream interpreter in the royal Babylonian court, and left a record of prophetic visions for his own time and for times to come. At one point he was carefully studying the writings of Jeremiah, another prophet of Israel, to decipher how long the people of Israel would be in exile. While praying for guidance, he had a vision in which the angel Gabriel gave him a brief summary of what would come to pass: the Israelites would indeed return to their holy city, Jerusalem, but they would continue to face war and desolation.
Upset by this news, Daniel mourned for three weeks, not washing, nor drinking wine, nor eating any delicacies. One day, while he and his companions stood on the banks of the Tigris, in what is now Iraq, a large bright Being appeared, with a face like lightning and a fearsome voice. This Being explained that he had set out immediately to help Daniel, but that he had been detained for three weeks by the Prince of Persia. At last Michael, one of the chief princes (probably the archangel Michael), had come to his assistance. He would now help Daniel understand more about this vision of the future. Several kings would come, he said, and wars would be fought, but Daniel’s people would be delivered. We were not meant to know all that Daniel learned that day, however. The Being instructed Daniel to “shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end” when there would be much running to and fro and much increase in knowledge.
What could better describe our society in the twenty-first century with our hurried pace, our constant travels, and our sense of overwhelm at the extent of the information coming at us in so many forms? Maybe we are nearing the time when these hidden things are meant to be revealed. Maybe abundance, symbolized by the bunnies hidden under the bed in my dream, would soon come out of its hiding place, and into the world. Could abundance and freedom soon be ours? Nevertheless, something, someone, kept them inside, away from those waiting for abundance to manifest in their lives.
GUARDIAN AT THE GATE TO EDEN
My second insight while meditating on the bunny dream was of the angel guardian at the entrance to the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve were sent out of Paradise, God placed an angel at the gate to prevent their return. As I imagined the scene, however, I saw the angel step back, as if his task was complete. The gates to Eden stood open, unguarded, allowing ready entrance to abundance, life and Paradise. I could see this clearly, and wanted to believe, but if the way was free, what still kept us in the realm of Lack?
THE VEIL OF BELIEFS
In recent years, some people have come to experience themselves as mega-beings. Some of them claim to have come from star systems far beyond our own. Books and web sites about civilizations such as Atlantis and Lemuria proliferate. We are told that we use only a tenth of the capacity of our brains, and many hope to improve on that by reading how-to books on psychic phenomena. If these things are true, then essentially we have lost access to the powers and skills which are rightfully ours. I believe we have the ability to know, to manifest, to heal and to create, but our tendency to believe only what we see in front of us has kept us from reaching for more. Even though science has put man on the moon and robots on Mars, few humans have explored beyond their own perceived personal limits.
We believe we are creatures of dust, returning to dust at our deaths, yet we are told in scripture that man was made in the image of God. To be made in God’s image implies that we are not the puny finite earth beings we think we are. Nevertheless, our belief systems, like a veil of forgetfulness, have kept us from experiencing ourselves as eternal powerful beings. To remove the veil could prompt the realization that the life we think we are living is actually as unreal as a play on a stage.