Che

About a month ago I wrote about the strange incidence of sleeping for 30 hours straight. I had had a sleepless night and didn’t get to sleep until after sunrise. I had no appointments that day or the next, remarkably, but had I, I don’t know what I could have done. I slept all that day, then all through the night, and half of the next day – like in a coma. When I awakened I was very disoriented. The only sense I could make of it was that possibly I had to go very deep into the dream world for some reason. I tend to be an optimist, so my hope was that the good helpers, angels, whoever works with me, kept me under for a good reason.

For the last two nights I have watched the 4 1/2 hour movie Che, a film directed by Steven Soderberg with Benicio del Toro playing the title role. It is an extraordinary film, so well done. While watching it I had a flickering memory that I had had a dream about Che. It had completely slipped my mind. I went to my dream journal to look for it, and as it turns out it was the only dream that I brought back from the 30 hours of sleep. In the dream I was sleeping in some hidden bunkers. When I came down from the bunker in the morning I picked up a piece of black paper that had tiny pin-size holes in it that outlined the figure of Che Guevarra. In the dream I knew myself to be a revolutionary.

Che had not been a figure I knew much about, so it was fascinating that this dream would come to me, especially on that extraordinary occasion for dreaming. I now know that Che was a champion of the poor and the oppressed; and that he gave his life for the cause. What revolution am I involved in that this dream would occur? I can only imagine that it is because I am a champion for neglected aspects of soul and the psyche; those that are oppressed by social, educational and religious systems which deny them their voice or their rights. I work in my own way, and am not a social activist like Che. But I do feel a brotherhood with other revolutionaries who work in their ways for the cause.

The words that stood out to me of Che’s from the movie, which made me want to write about this today, came from an interview he gave to a journalist. The journalist asked, “What is the most important quality for a revolutionary to possess?” He said: “Love. Let me tell you something at the risk of sounding ridiculous. A true revolutionary is guided by feelings of love. Love of humanity, justice and truth. It is impossible to conceive of an authentic revolutionary without this quality.”

As I reflected on this movie and these words, I thought yes, love has to be the motivation. If a revolutionary is guided by bitterness, anger, revenge, hatred, a sense of superiority or judgment, that revolutionary will do more harm than good for the cause. Che was a doctor. Wherever he went one of his main occupations was to give medicine to the poor who had no such access. One of the scenes shows him seeing people all day. At one point Che asks the next person in line what ails him. The man says, “Nothing, I’m in good health. I just wanted to see you. I’ve never seen a doctor before.”

I have had a similar reaction from the work I do. Many times I have heard, “I never knew anyone did this kind of work before. I didn’t know it was possible.” To my fellow revolutionaries I will say that I do believe we need to find the way to be respectfully and lovingly with people who are utterly deprived of the helps we know how to give. Sometimes I have noticed in many fields of study that are not part of the main stream, in my case depth psychology, that there will be a lot of preaching to the choir, of just talking to each other, and a neglect of people who don’t “get it.” I certainly do not suggest proselytizing or trying to convince anyone of anything ever. But I do suggest that we can be shy to offer what we have to give since our fields are suspect to some, unknown to many, and I’m guessing we have all taken it on the chin many times about what we do. I know this is true for me and others I know.

Maybe identifying ourselves as revolutionaries with a just cause, a cause of truth and love, and desiring to extend whatever healing our training affords us will give some courage, vision and confidence. This is scary for me. I don’t think of myself as a revolutionary except in a very private way. I try to fly under the wire. I offer these thoughts that are a learning edge for me, in case they might inspire.

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One Response to “Che”

  1. Darita-Rose Alden Says:

    I love, love, love this. Ann Ree says in The Jesus Story that Jesus was concerned for two things, the long process of not oppressing the poor and not going to war. And didn’t we say, “Make love, not war”? And of course, since it was the beginning of the “sexual revolution”–a revolution not necessarily based in love, but certainly quite Uranian in that is was about breaking out of old, fixed ways of thinking–the “make love” part for some people meant more about sex than love. But it was not that love was not part of the counter-culture, because it was–look at the extraordinary harmony (no pun intended) of Woodstock. Mother Teresa said, We cannot do big things to change the world, but we can to small things with great love. Recently after a Friends Meeting out in the boonies, a friend/Friend wanted to spend a lot of time w me, to tell her story and seek counsel. The thing that made it work was that I was willing to share my “experience, strength, and hope” as we say in recovery, with her. It was my willingness to state clearly my own struggles that helped her to open up, to really get down to it. It had never occurred to me before, but I guess willingness to share our own darkness can be construed as love. The Quakers are political activists, as a group, but not all. Some are just mystics, like me. Mediators. But the world perhaps will be healed a very small bit at a time. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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