The still point of the turning world

Listening to dreams in a dream group this week, awareness suddenly arrived regarding something I have been doing instinctively for years but hadn’t really made conscious yet. Listening into a dream I need to go to the dreamtime, meet the dreamer there and listen to all of his or her stories with a different ear than normally used. In order to do that I have to hold my body very still, almost like one would do in a trance; movement brings me back to this world and I can lose the vision.

The next day I had a period when anxieties were buzzing around me like bees around a hive, so I did what I instinctively do on those occasions; I got very, very still. I take a position and just stay in the still place. Movement causes me to be stung all over by the bees, painful; but stillness is the cure.

I reflected on what I had made conscious the night before, needing to sit so still to work the dreams and wait for the discovery of revelations the dream points to. The stillness necessary in these anxiety episodes must be related I suddenly think. In them I’m listening to life as a dream, going to that still place, and when I am through something is assimilated.

Though I do imagine the episodes at one level are a problem to be solved, I begin to see now that maybe they are also enormously productive and in some way allowing me to bring in the dream of the world. Psyche is a realm that works with instinct more than rational thought. Dreams are what I am passionate about, so it might be that I need these periods to do the work that I do. Possibly this method is powerfully instinctual, irrational but also very precise. Maybe I need to relax and show more respect and trust for such processes.

I thought of T.S. Eliot’s words in Burnt Norton that I have long loved:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

Later in this quartet he includes these words which I also find descriptive of what I am thinking:

Descend lower, descend only
Into the world of perpetual solitude,
World not world, but that which is not world,
Internal darkness, deprivation
And destitution of all property,
Desiccation of the world of sense,
Evacuation of the world of fancy,
Inoperancy of the world of spirit;
This is the one way, and the other
Is the same, not in movement
But abstention from movement; while the world moves
In appetency, on its metalled ways
Of time past and time future.

The still point. Where the dance into other realms can be danced. I begin to think this is shamanic work. Let the body be still so the spirit go to that other realm. The only pain I feel during such occasions is if I move, and then later in rational reflection trying to figure out wtf. (That isn’t a typo.) In the stillness there is only peace.

Psyche is very demanding. When I ask to become her student, vessel, apprentice and voice should I think she will address and teach me in ways that will be clear and comprehensible to rational thought? Probably not.

I don’t always love it, but at this moment I am loving the journey. What a privilege and challenge.


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