The Messy Secret
I live in a rainforest that has become a giant mud puddle. I also live on a little speck, swirling in an expanse of space that is inconceivable. Both reveal how life has a Messy Secret.
We were just recovering from Gamma, when hurricane Delta blew through. When Gamma arrived, the winds were ferocious, but I noticed how the torrential rains had an exotic smell and incredible energy.
After all, the storm had traveled all the way from the other side of the world.
As I watched from my window, I imagined a marquee: Today only! Gamma and the Blow Monsters! They'd play a few of my favorites: The Caribbean is Too Hot, Clean The Planet, and who can forget their biggest hit: You’re Never too Big to Fall?
Messy is Good
Nature churns the waters that extend from Africa to New Orleans and cools them. The swirling clouds are lifted into a giant water bucket, brought to the rainforest by the Gardener. As I watched the Great Cleansing, I could trace the outline of the Gardener in the wind.
The trees began to sway like true believers, and I don’t think there was one creature who didn’t stand in awe of nature's power. Once Delta arrived, it became obvious that Gamma was only the warm up act for the main attraction.
It is morning now, and curiously, the usual birdsong has yet to begin. I can get online to see that the storm has passed, but many of my ground dwelling and branch hopping friends remain skeptical.
After the storms had passed, my yard resembled the day-after mess left behind after a concert. Yes, there were a few casualties like a huge, flowering cactus I adored. I wasn't happy to see it brought down like that. But then I saw a few smaller ones I hadn’t noticed before. They’ll have easier access to the sun and nutrients beneath the soil. Three will rise up where before, there was only one.
Yes, it is all very messy, but messy drive’s nature’s abundance.
The Beauty of the Undefined
The day before the storm, I was interviewed about the healing power of dreams and was asked about lucid dreaming. This is the practice of maintaining wakefulness while dreaming. For example, when we awaken in a dream, we immediately want to fly. We realize we can make the dream anything we want it to be.
Like the Secret, many people believe they can use the dreaming mind to cultivate a different version of reality. However, dreaming is a journey into the undefined. Interpreting the symbols from our dreams allows us to understand how we create our reality and why.
Pursuing wakefulness while dreaming isn’t the same as pursuing wakefulness while waking.
Dreaming is a way of accessing and giving life to our untapped potential. Like the giant cactus, ego can tower above all else and declare: this is all I am. Dreaming is a conversation between the witness and the unlived self. Ego was not invited to the conversation for a reason.
The portions of the psyche associated with logic and ego abate while dreaming. This allows us to cultivate the unlived self and resurrect the power of the undefined.
Dreaming is a nightly healing to let go of ego’s self-limiting defenses. It is also an adventure into a more empowering existence and the freedom to be real. We dream about unexplored potential, but awaken into ego. This is why we have difficulty remembering dreams.
Ego doesn’t want to know what it has repressed because it had a reason for burying its misunderstandings. Bringing ego into the disorganized and messy landscape of change...well...defeats the purpose.
Lucid dreaming is often the manipulation of ego desires. Authenticity can be sent underground because of ego. Some part of us didn’t get the right response from others when we were young. What may have felt like the shame of not fitting in – was actually the budding of our authenticity.
Dreaming is a way of bringing our authenticity into the light of day.
Digging is Messy
I am in the business of helping people understand their unconscious motivations. People are always surprised to learn I don’t have much interest in lucid dreaming. I prefer the digging and the messiness of pulling out weeds that can smother our authentic root.
We wonder why we can’t just focus the mind on a specific outcome and make it happen. Dreaming usually involves letting go and releasing something. This allows us to fortify a stronger and more authentic expression of who we are.
Our version of what we need may fortify ego, but not our authenticity.
By day, the mind is usurped by ego to create all sorts of things we think we need. Before we can change reality – we have to learn why we constructed it the way we did.
We have no control over what we dream. Dreams are often presenting the opposite of what we believe to be true about ourselves. Because the curriculum transcends ego, dreams reveal the Messy Secrets we attempt to hide.
Messy like Muddy Water
I use the word ‘messy’ in the way mud is celebrated in the Tao te Ching. Taoists believe there is nothing more wonderous and invigorating than dragging your turtle tail in the mud. My town is named for the turtle, and I imagine dragging my tail as a way of keeping tethered to the earth. I prefer to remain lowly like other ground dwellers.
Yin is watery, muddy, unformed and nebulous. But Yin is like a valley that is fertile with potential. We dream in Yin and awaken into Yang.
The masters practiced being vacant like a valley – being obscure like muddy water. The entire Tao te Ching teaches us to flow like Yin – to be open.
Ocean temperatures rise and cyclones stir it all up so the waters can be cooled. What we see as disorganization and the loss of clarity is simply how nature orchestrates balance and renewal. Over time, the waters will clear, and the reason for the change becomes clear.
Yang is form and definition. It is aggressive, and resembles ego’s desires and tendencies to control the outcome. Yin is viewed as being more powerful because acquiescing will always meet with no resistance.
Yin is like water that can overflow a dam. Yin is our connection to the field.
When we let go, we follow, and allow the illusion of being in control to dissipate. Life can be incredibly profound when we allow the host to show us what it is.
And the Gardener is always reminding us that it is in charge.
Clarity in the Undefined
The Messy Secret is learning to be at home in the undefined. It's finding comfort in discomfort, and not having to be right during discord. It's remaining tranquil in disturbance, and allowing the waters to clear on their own. It's not wanting to rush ahead to control the outcome and miss out on seeing the mystery.
Living in the undefined is not only much easier, it is the way.
Just as we can awaken in a dream and make it whatever we want it to be, when we awaken into undefined reality, we can access a similar power. When the world is our larger body, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.
That same power that can heal an ocean is inside of us.
Just as there is a purpose for a storm we might view as bad, being in flow with life’s greater energy allows our journey to be made more clear to us.
Clarity comes from connection and relationships, not perception. In the way the muddy water will clear on its own, clarity emerges when we stop stirring it up and embroiling. We recognize how ego and its desired outcome disconnects us from the flow.
Messy and Out of Control
The difference between lucid dreaming and dreaming is how we give up our sense of control. The body is paralyzed when we sleep and we have no control over what we will witness. Ego wants control to ensure its version of reality endures. Living in flow, much like how we are free of logic when we dream, is learning to give up the need to define everything.
The Secret, or the idea that we can put the Self in the center of the universe to achieve our desires is ego’s way. The Messy Secret calls us back into the infinite, where we can identify with the unfathomable. We root ourselves in the nebulous. The more we give up perfection, the more beautiful we become.
The masters keep the universe and our connection to it at the center of everything. We do not attempt to organize the flowing perfection of what is. Because we give up control, we are swept up into the power of something greater than ourselves.
Children are Messy
The imagination blossoms in mud puddles. A child uses all sorts of mediums to create their budding version of reality, and often become messy doing so. In time, they will be taught how to stay inside of the lines – or how to conform to what others expect.
As adults, they will dream of ways to regain their footing beyond the lines. That is what dreams do. They return us to the unfathomable so we might redefine ourselves.
In childhood, it is as if we haven’t given definition to the ego as being separate from what it creates. The paint colors often end up on us, and on the walls around us too. Crayons look like candy and so we taste them because we are explorers.
Eventually, we are taught to become master organizers – because that is what organisms do.
Like children painting – dreaming allows us to experience ourselves beyond the lines.
We’ll spend our lives trying to shape chaos into understandable designs. We’ll keep trying to trace our outline in all we see – rather than see the outline of the world within us.
Ultimately our designs, words and ideas will take the place of reality.
The Secret would teach you how to change reality into what you desire. The Messy Secret would return you to wonder. It would teach you that you don’t need to change anything because it is all unfolding perfectly.
You are already there, perfect in time, and need only wake up to experience it.