Ever had one of those dreams just before you wake up that really messes with your head? You start thinking, “Was that a dream? Was it a message?” or “What in goodness’ name was that?” (I changed my initial less polite wording in that last part!). I want to share with you the dream I had this morning which went from strange to lovely. Read on to find out more….
So, in the dream my sister Maria and I (with whom I used to share an apartment many many moons ago during our university years) were walking home, chatting happily about the day. Then, I noticed a large brown dog at the side of a building. It had the most enormous head which was peeking out from under a cardboard shelter. As we got closer, we could see that it was more than a little shabby, dirty-pawed, soaked through from the recent shower burst. Yet its long tail whipped from side to side as we approached. Was it a stray? It certainly had no identification on its collar. Perhaps it had run away. What to do? Maria and I exchanged worried glances.
“We have to take it,” I pleaded. “Just for tonight till its owner comes for it.”
The dream continued happily. We spent a few lovely days with our four-legged friend. We named him Chuckles, we fed and walked him (borrowing a neighbour’s leash) and gave him lots of love and cuddles. At the same time, I knew that we only had temporary ‘ownership’ of Chuckles, and so with a heavy heart, posters were put up in local shops (we didn’t have social media then!) asking for anyone who had lost their dog to get in touch.
“Non-attachment is the freedom of real love.”
And of course the day came when his real ‘owner’ arrived to take him home. Teary-eyed, clutching the blanket that Chuckles had slept under, we watched with amazement as he leapt up at the sound of his name being called excitedly from the hallway, “Simon! Simon, c’mon boy.” Our Chuckles had gone, and so soon would Simon, leaving to return home. We were happy for him, especially to witness his utter joy at being reunited with his owner, but we clasped each other all the same, Maria and I. Perhaps we were hoping for a last-minute reprieve. Perhaps we were clinging on to something that had never really ‘belonged’ to us. I woke up not sad but happy, in an “Aha!” revelatory sort of way.
What did I learn from this dream that changed my sadness to joy? That attachment – the sense of clinging on to something or someone, or grasping at possessions, money, status and so on – is pointless and counter-productive. We can never take any of our material goods with us when we are called back home by our ‘owner’ (God); and in fact, those material goods were given to us by Him to look after for the short period of time that we were on Earth. They hadn’t ever really belonged to us. Nothing or no-one does. Everything belongs to, and comes from, God. Period.
On a spiritual level, non-attachment is seen as a most beneficial spiritual quality. There are many aspects of non-attachment (to our thoughts, acts, words; to the senses; to material goods; to people). The aspect being explored in my dream was that of attachment to our loved ones (people, animals). The brain is a phenomenal instrument, isn’t it? Using familiar images and scenarios in the subconscious state, it can process complex issues and help us to work through life’s challenges, so that in our conscious state, we can adjust our thinking and habits, and in so doing, help ourselves and others.
Parallels can undoubtedly be drawn between this dream and the recent loss of my beloved pet dog, Jet. She left her body 5 months ago, called back to God. I was telling my husband just last night that I missed her, my little friend and companion. I know that she is now pain-free and happy, yet there is still some sense of attachment to – and sorrow for the lack of – her physical presence. It will ease in time, as with all grief. We have to get used to the new normal. Much love, Anita.