I was a math major, and although I enjoyed working on math homework, as I progressed
through the years, the idea of making a living at became less attractive. Teaching math would have seemed to have
been a likely option, but I didn't find my math teachers to be inspiring role models. I didn't want to be like
them. The other choice made available to me was to be an insurance actuary.
For a summer job, I went to the east coast to work as a student actuary in a large
insurance company, to see how I would like it. It didn't take me long to learn: I hated it! I returned to college
in the fall in a real predicament. I didn't want to be a math teacher and I didn't want to be an actuary. What
was I to do? My work in math began to suffer. I fell into my first mid-life crisis at the end of my junior year.
My teachers noticed that I wasn't my usual self. I had a frank discussion with
my math major advisor. He seemed very concerned about my predicament and sent me to the college counselor. The
counselor gave me a lot of tests to determine what I'd be good at and would enjoy. When I returned to his office
to learn the results of the tests, he told me that the tests indicated that I needed to pursue a professional career
of some sort, and, he wondered, based upon my scores, had I ever considered being a psychologist?
Have you ever received a suggestion that really clicked inside? The idea comes
from outside, from the person making the suggestion. But the click that happens inside makes you realize the idea
was inside you all along, just waiting to be noticed. Did you ever wonder why you hadn't noticed that idea before?
Well, I had to think hard on those questions after the visit to the counselor.
When I heard the word, psychologist, I heard bells ringing. Literally, and I really
mean it. Something clicked. A light flashed--those are metaphors. What happened was that I heard a cascade of bells
ringing, and felt a flash of happiness. I said no, I had never thought of it, but that it sounded like a fantastic
idea. He said, very seriously, that it would mean that I would have to go to graduate school. That was great news,
because I could continue my career as a student. I was off and running once again.
I went to over to the psychology department and explained my situation to the
chairman. I explained that since there was only one more year of college left, I couldn't switch to be a psychology
major, but that I had to get into graduate school the year after that. The fellow was sympathetic and arranged
for me to take advanced classes when fall started, and suggested I read up on basic psychology during the summer.
I went to the bookstore and bought many textbooks. Then I spent that next summer, again working as a student actuary
on the east coast. But at every break, and every evening and weekend, I read psychology books.
It was that summer that I experienced my first psychological "self-insight."
I was gobbling psychology books with ease and my mind was filled and thrilled with the various concepts I was learning.
I found myself wondering, "if I'm finding myself so naturally drawn to psychology, why didn't I ever think
of it before?" Suddenly it hit me: my dad was a psychologist! I realized there was a block there, you know,
the "I don't want to be like dad!" syndrome. Here is a clue that one's intuition into oneself can be
blocked by developmental issues. When someone else suggested psychology, the way was made clear, it suddenly became
permissible. Judging from the immediate and strong reaction to the suggestion, the idea was dormant and ready to
be released. Would I have come to it on my own? I'll never know.
What intuitions about yourself are hiding within you waiting for permission to
be known? I think that some people go to psychics hoping that some of their most dear, most hidden, intuitions
will be voiced aloud by the psychic. What a clever way to release yourself to be your secret, real you! I'm sure
that there are other ways to do it. I wonder if sometimes the things we stumble onto by accident, things that release
new energy and motivation within us, were not encountered by accident. Do you ever wonder if your own intuitive
wisdom was responsible for some of those remarkable synchronistic moments?
I was certainly experiencing a new surge of enthusiasm and motivation by the time
I returned to college that fall for my senior year. I took as many psychology courses as I could, and applied to
graduate schools in psychology. I had to take the Advanced Placement test in psychology, but since I had read so
much, I scored a perfect 800! I subsequently went on to graduate school in psychology at U.C.L.A.
Since I had become a skilled student, graduate school was a breeze. Once again,
for awhile, things were going my way. But as my studies progressed, I began to realize that the world of psychology
as it existed in the university had its own constraints. Just like in the world "out there," I needed
to fit in to the system of university research. I was exploring some interesting phenomena in human communication,
but it wasn't readily amenable to translating it into numbers for statistical analysis. I found myself drifting
into the work going on in my mentor's laboratory, and earned my keep by thinking up better experiments for his
assistants to do. In fact, that's how I got my dissertation research done, by one of my mentor's laboratory assistants.
Meanwhile, I was exploring consciousness, meditation, and dreams. It was the dream
stuff that was going to make the difference, but I didn't know it at the time. I know a lot of people who ask,
"When did you get interested in all this spiritual stuff?" How do you answer that question? Here's how
it happened for me:
A friend of mine inspired me with his dreams. His dreams were different than the
kind we were learning about in graduate school. At that time, during the late 60s, dreams were viewed as something
like medical samples: something best viewed by experts in their laboratory, and not something you would want done
in public. My friend's dreams were inspiring, and he used them himself, without the aid of a professional's diagnosis,
to guide his life. I was impressed, and asked him where he learned to dream like that. He said something about
a guy named Edgar Cayce, and suggested that I create a dream diary.
Do you remember the first time you thought of dreams as something of value? What
image did you form about the power of dreams? Do you remember?
I envisioned having dreams that would guide my life. The image of a native making
his way through the wilderness with his dreams to guide him inspired me. It was as if with dreams, you could see
in the dark! They were like a compass, a pair of infra-red glasses, a super telescope, a crystal ball. As soon
as I remembered my first dream, I was embarked on an adventure that would continue to this day.
Near the end of my days as a graduate student, I traveled north to Vancouver,
British Columbia, to attend a psychology convention. On one of the days I played hooky from the convention, I spent
a wonderful day in Stanley park. I had a vision of being at one with nature that was very influential to me. I
hugged a tree for the first time. I remember looking across the water from the park and seeing the skyscrapers
of downtown Vancouver. I recalled a vision from my youth, from around the time in junior high school, when I had
to choose a career. I realized that even as a youth, I worried about being captured by the monster society. I saw
myself marching off each day to a cubicle in a high rise building. Inside my cubicle I'd crank out my work, and
I'd get in exchange coupons that I could turn in for food. At the end of the day, I'd march off back to home, on
the way turning in my coupons for some food. The next day, I'd march back to work to crank out some more work.
It seemed like the life of a prisoner of war. I looked at all the office buildings in Vancouver, and thought about
my experiences working as an actuary student in a skyscraper in New York City. So many of us were prisoners of
war, marching back and forth from our work cubicle to our home cubicle, cranking out work for food pellets. I compared
that scenario with life in Stanley Park. Here in the midst of civilization was this beautiful nature sanctuary.
Here I had seen that I was one with nature, and had discovered kin folk in the trees. I vowed that I would do all
I could to make sure that I did not become a prisoner of war, but a happy and fulfilled resident of nature. How
could I live in a park while enjoying the benefits of the city?
How do you balance creativity and security? People talk about having a secure
job, but that security can be a prison. People are wistful about having a creative life, but creativity involves
exploring the unknown and having a relationship with uncertainty. At that moment in Stanley Park, I was evaluating
my own approach to balancing creativity with security. I recognized that there was a missing ingredient, and it
came from within myself.
When I graduated from U.C.L.A. with my Ph.D., I continued my career as professional
student by becoming a psychology professor at Princeton University. Yet I was leading a dual life. On the one hand,
I was attempting to learn how to play the university game, and find numbers in my research. I was also studying
my dreams and learning how to find messages from my higher self.
Isn't that what a lot of us have done? On the outside, you try to appear as "normal"
as possible, but on the inside, in your private moments, you live the secret life of the "crazy" or "real"
you? Is there no way to bring those two lives together? Near what turned out to be the end of my career in the
university, I brought the two lives together for awhile.
I had spent my sabbatical semester away from Princeton University at the C. G.
Jung Institute Sleep and Dream Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland. There I helped design new types of laboratory
experiments involving humanistic interactions with the research subjects. Along another track, I had found the
source of my friend's reference to Edgar Cayce and had made the acquaintance of Charles Thomas Cayce. I had become
a member of the research advisory board for the Association for Research and Enlightenment, in Virginia Beach.
In response to an invitation to put on a youth program on dreams at the A.R.E. summer camp, I drew upon some dreams
of my own to develop a "dream tent." I help kids prepare to sleep in the tent to have special dreams.
It was a great success. The kids were having inspirational dreams, healing dreams, even out-of-body experiences
and past life recall in the dreams. When I returned to Princeton, I wrote up this work in the form of a scholarly
research article and submitted it for publication to the Journal of Humanistic
Psychology. It was immediately accepted by the editor, with no revision
required. That was a rare honor. But when I showed the article to the chairman of the psychology department, he
was very upset with me. I had used no numbers in my research, but had advocated, instead, the use of symbolic ritual
to tap into deep, spiritual levels of the dreaming mind. I thought I was opening an entire new approach to science,
but instead I was accused of not really being a scientist. My contract at Princeton was not renewed. Bringing together
these two parts of myself didn't seem to be working too well, or so it seemed.
I continued to work with A.R.E. and created a home-study dream project for its
membership. My dream life was quite active, and I was discovering more and more about myself. My outer work and
my inner work were coming together in another special way. The home study dream project led to the idea that the
participants' interest in dreamwork could be well served by some publication devoted to sharing ideas about how
to incorporate dreams into daily life. My own dreams were taking me into an exploration of the meaning of community.
It had external meaning for me, in terms of getting along with others, cooperation in getting things done, and
collaboration in being creative about it. It also had internal meaning, in terms of finding ways for the various
parts of myself to work together in new ways, such as bringing my intuition and my studies together.
I had some dreams that suggested that I needed to research "Sundance"
as a way of enhancing creativity in community. I was intrigued to discover that there was such a thing as a Native
American ceremony called the Sun Dance. How did my dreams know that? The Sun Dance, as I discovered through some
research in the library, was a community ritual. Its purpose was to help advance the cause meet the needs of the
community. Part of the symbolism in the ritual was the theme of integrating the "many and the one," as
in bringing together in community a oneness created out of the various individuals in the community. The way Edgar
Cayce would express it was that each individual is unique yet one with the whole. I used the name Sundance for
the name to our new dream publication. We called it Sundance: The Community
Dream Journal. It was quite successful in providing dreamers a needed
forum to empower them as to their ability to work with dreams on their own, and showed the wider world that it
was possible to create a public forum for dreamwork, something that had not been attempted before. The creation
of this journal, as historians would later note, helped spark the national "dreamwork movement" that
brought dreams to the attention of the public, removed their stigma as "medical samples," and helped
them to become more accepted as a natural personal resource.
It seemed that my inner life and the outer life was coming together after all.
Maybe the secret was that I was working within a spiritual community, a place where people would accept you just
as you are.
During that time period, I was invited to address young people about career development.
Since I was so heavily involved with dreams at the time, I naturally thought about career choice and career development
in terms of "seeking a dream," or of the Native American "vision quest." I reflected upon my
own career path, and the role dreams had played. In my reflection, my early childhood memory of Jungle Boy came
to me. It was at that time that I made the connection with Jungle Boy as a personal symbol of a life ideal. What
I realized at that time I can share with you here. I had found my magic elephant! It was dreams! They had provided
a vehicle that enabled me to venture into life, to go where my parents could not guide nor accompany me. It was
dreams that provided me insights into new ways of handling problems and issues. It was dreams that helped me discover
treasures beneath my feet. A promise inherent in dreams that I had dimly intuited when my friend introduced me
to dreams those many years ago had now come to pass.
The personal philosophy that the dream elephant gave me pertained to the idea
of the many and the one, being a unique individual among many other individuals, yet one with the whole, meaning
connected and inter-related to the whole and somehow analogous to the whole. There is a community within and a
community without. The idea of having a job, a place within the communal structure where I went every day to work,
was a lifeless vision. It was like riding the school bus, where much of my personal preference was overridden in
favor of the bus schedule. What a thrill it was to ride my bike to school, getting there and back on my own steam.
I had wanted to find a way to be myself, to really be me, with my interests and talents, and yet fit in, make a
contribution. Can the inner me be honored and valued and find a place in the outer world where my individuality
is a blessing and not a curse? I had wondered about that, I had had my share of difficulties with that, but through
dreams, I was now on my way toward achieving that goal. The magic elephant of dreams was taking me into that jungle
and it was leading me to find my own sacred spot.
I had found a match between my skills and interests and society's needs and mode
of fulfilling its needs. I was good at nurturing creativity in others, and it made me well suited as an editor
of a journal on dreams. I was helped to fulfill my own vision about dreams as well as help others gain confidence
in their own skills at dreamwork.
Three years after we created the Sundance journals, A.R.E. decided to stop publishing
it. Some people referred to the criticism that the journal wasn't "Cayce-oriented" enough. Whereas I
thought I was following in Cayce's footsteps by helping people find the power in their dreams, some people in authority
thought it more important to refer to and study what Cayce said about dreams than it was to celebrate what people
today were finding out about their own dreams. So, even though I was working in an visionary organization, a spiritual
community, I found myself in a position where what I was doing was beyond their notion of conventional standards.
My magic elephant had proven its worth, but having a magic elephant doesn't mean
the jungle clears itself and the way is made plain. You can't rely on being among "like minded people"
in order to fulfill your mission in life. Sometimes life steers us into new territory that we would not have ventured
voluntarily. Have you ever wondered if your problems and life crises haven't brought you some blessings? There
is more to my own story of finding, willy nilly, my mission in life. It really is a never-ending story and it contains
it share of mistakes and misfortunes. Yet the story of finding the magic elephant in dreams shows how I was led,
in my own unique way, to the intuitive discovery of some kind of matching between inner and outer "fit"
and how fluid and evolving this fit must be in order to be a comfortable one.
Mission Making: Matching the Individual to the Whole
The idea of a fit between inner and outer is a universal theme and is important
to the intuitive reality of "mission in life." It's that theme that I want to address now.
The universal theme that was reflected in the motif of the Sundance, that of the many and the one, is also a a reflection
of the idea of the inner and outer that is contained in the "mission in life" motif. The idea of a "mission
in life" is that there is something on the inside of a person, quite different in each of the many persons
living, that is seeking a unique fit with the outer world, that is proprelling the unique individual to be one
with the whole. In Richard Bolles' book, How to Find Your Mission in Life, for example, he defines the mission as "the place God calls you to, is where your
deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." In The Power of Purpose, Richard Leider describes how having a person purpose helps you to claim an issue, or
something the world needs, and make your own special impact on that domain. Deepak Chopra writes that our purpose
is to express our unique talents helping others. Is there a pattern here? Yes, indeed. It is an intuitive vision
of reality, mythic and full of meaning, a vision that is different than a mechanistic, materialist view.
I used to tease my students that what we all want is to simply be ourselves and
make a living at it. Have you ever had that wish yourself? We sometimes laugh at the idea because the joke relieves
some tension, the tension of having to suppress a bit of ourselves in order to fit in with everyone else. Sigmund
Freud had an important insight into human nature in this regard. His insight was that society is important for
human survival and progress, but it exacts a price--it requires each individual to surrender some of its natural
pleasure seeking in favor of a higher order of adaptation.
Do you recall a time when you were punished for what amounted to simply being
yourself? Have you ever felt the sting of shame that made you wary of letting the world see some part of you? If
you can recall such a moment, then you have lived your own version of this universal dilemma.
Part of the reality principle is getting along, fitting in with society. Yet there
remains a part of us, hidden away and suppressed, that wants to do as we please without having to be concerned
about fitting in.
Beneath Freud's insight lies an archetypal, mythical memory. It is a soul memory
of a time when we did not have to suppress our natural spontaneity in order to fit in. We fit in naturally without
effort. This memory is reflected in the myth of paradise and its correlate, the peaceable kingdom. In the time
of paradise, as in the Garden of Eden, there was a naturalness to all life. No one had jobs or had to work. There
were no laws. People acted spontaneously yet everything worked out well in a natural harmony. People and animals
were in telepathic rapport. All of creation functioned as a natural whole.
Of course, paradise didn't last forever. In most paradise myths, humans did something
that wrecked the situation. In the Garden of Eden, it was disobeying God and eating of the tree of knowledge. Then
Adam and Eve had to leave paradise and go get jobs, earning their bread by the sweat of their brows.
When we look at this myth of paradise, its demise and consequences, we can see
that during the time of paradise, natural intuition reined. When we act spontaneously, we are acting on the basis
of inborn intuition. We improvise at every step of the way. In the time of paradise, it worked out well for people
to do that. The telepathic rapport with the other creatures also suggests an intuitive level of awareness. Everything
could be in harmony because everything was intuitively connected with the other creatures. A natural synchronization
of actions, reactions, and creations occurred and the world flourished.
When intuition was supplanted by thinking, by the birth of the rational, conscious
mind that could behold things by way of thoughts, could contemplate experiences as separate from the experiencer,
the natural intuitive belongingness fell away. Now it was a problem, how to fit in. Now that there was not a natural
spontaneity to actions, rules, laws and customs had to be invented. Work is having to do what you would not ordinarily
do on your own, and now people experienced much of what they did as being required of them rather than coming from
their own free will and inventive spirit.
Paradise fell and society was born. Society expects conformity. No more Mr. and
Mrs. Natural, but rather Mr. and Mrs. Sociable. Rules and jobs replaced joy and play.
The concept of "mission in life" reflects the memory of paradise, the
notion still alive in us that it should be possible to match our deepest joys with what the world most needs from
us. It suggests that we can rediscover that spiritual ecology that makes a perfect fit between what comes natural
to us and what the world needs from us, and what the world will support us for offering it.
What is the way back to this awareness and spontaneity? It is through intuition.
Through intuition we are in harmony with that mystery of life Confucius called the Tao. It is the "just so"
flow of life, the "just so" integration and harmony of all the moving parts, so harmonious that there
really are no parts, only energy transformations we experience as events.
In my own case, prior to getting in touch with dreams, my focus was totally outward.
What are the job choices? When I began to focus on my dreams, I began to discover things about myself, values,
abilities, mysteries, special gifts and talents. Expressing these talents became part of the process of discovery.
In my own story, as the years went by, my interests expanded beyond dreams to
include creativity, psychic ability, and intuition. In response to a request from A.R.E., I developed a program
of training in psychic development that was in the spirit of the Edgar Cayce readings. The crux of the approach,
to resolve the traditionally perceived conflict between the psychic and the spiritual was to use the psychic to
experience the spiritual. So rather
than just mouth the words, "you and I are one," we could, using the methods I developed, actually experience our oneness.
In the process of working on this project, I developed a better relationship with
my own intuition. Going within, I discovered a perfect term for the spiritual approach to psychic development that
I had created. I called it the Intuitive Heart. The heart is in touch with the personal and the universal, values
and truths, a loving way to know. I felt a special confirmation when I found a quote from Edgar Cayce that supported
my insight: "...the purpose of the heart is to know YOURSELF to BE yourself and yet one with God...."
(281-37). I thought it was quite appropriate that this quotation from Cayce not only describes the heart as an
organ of knowing--intuition--it also points to the theme that we've been discussing: how the individuality meshes
with the wholeness through intuition. That meshing is the realization of soul, the seat of psychic awareness.
Through the use of this psychic awareness, I was able to experience my own soul
awareness. It helped me to see that my mission is to express myself, both for the pure joy of doing so, but also
as a way of sharing with others. My mission in life is as a communicator, using various guises, platforms, and
media. Effective communication requires that I learn the language of the audience I wish to reach even as I attempt
to communicate something they haven't heard before in the way I express it. The purpose of sharing is to help people
realize the truth that is waiting for them inside themselves. Just as I have traveled many roads, some unwillingly,
to learn to find myself within myself, so I have to communicate in extraordinary ways to help people discover themselves
within themselves. Discovering these effective forms of communication for sharing something uniquely mine to share
is the creative challenge of my particular mission.
When earlier in life I had portrayed dreams as the vehicle, the magical elephant,
to steer me through the jungle, I now realize that it is the higher consciousness lurking in dreams that is the
guiding awareness. When I think of it now, with years of hindsight, I realize that it is intuition that is the
most important connection between my story of inner knowing and career development.
The sponsor of the Jungle Boy show was Buster Brown shoes. I especially remember
that X-ray device that enabled the person to see their toes through the shoes. This kind of X-ray vision, that
enables us to see beyond appearances, to the inner reality, is intuition. To see how the shoes really fit is to
see intuitively the inner reality of the outer adaptation.
Shoes, as a symbol in dreams, reflects, as the cliché goes, one's "standpoint,"
the attitude that one brings to a situation, the methodology, method of approach, or understanding that enables
one to either progress gracefully and sure-footedly, or muddle through, or get bogged down. It is intuition that
is the guiding awareness, that goes and picks the shoes that fit.
From my study of shoe dreams, I know that it is a real treasure to find a pair
of shoes that fit the occasion, that are helpful to the task at hand, and yet that also fit on the inside, that
are comfortable to wear! How can we find such shoes? With the X-ray vision that intuition provides.
These shoes will feel so comfortable on the inside, it will almost feel as if
we are going barefoot, or that we are wearing slippers, or wearing our most worn-in pair of sneakers--you know
the feeling I'm talking about. That's how they'll feel on the inside. On the outside, the shoes will appear so
very stylish, so appropriate to the situation, to in keeping with the world around you, so well matched to the
environment, they almost do the walking for you, no effort required, no slipping or sliding, just the perfect walk,
the walk that helps others get up the mountain just by walking along with you. Those would be the shoes that we'd
wear while on our mission in life.
You probably can't find these shoes in any store. If we're lucky, while we sleep,
brownies will craft for us some custom-made shoes. If we're blessed, some animal will lend us their feet to use
as special shoes to make our way. Each of us has a special path to walk, to create our mission in life, to leave
footprints no one can imitate, nor follow, but which help inspire others to find their own way through the jungle
back to paradise. That's my mission, your mission, our mission in life, as your own Intuitive Heart will tell you.