There are times when the journey takes us to unexpected places where the events of the moment do not seem to be so enlightened, or peaceful, or ordained as those we would not rather forget. Yet, as we overlook those moments we can find purpose in them. Yesterday was such a day for me, a day part of me would much rather forget, a day in which it appeared I was on a rain-slicked path spinning my wheels and going nowhere but backward. Yet today, at the dawn of a new beginning, I can view those moments from where I am and not where I expected to be. I can see purpose, and embrace that purpose. It began Sunday night with dreams that kept me up most of the night. I can’t say I was particularly horrified at any of them, but they just kept waking me up. Dreams don’t ordinarily have a frightful effect on me; I see them as pathways to another time or existence and often just allow them to be in my mind until they fade away. Yet those dreams had a compounding effect on me throughout the day, causing me to create sadness, anger, frustration and hopelessness in me. Late last night I struggled with whether to write about that day or not, wanting to protect the innards of my mind from the light that stings it. Yet, as I awoke this morning I felt as if the light was the only thing that could save me from my mind. I decided to share. The dreams continued last night. They are not necessarily linear; they seem to be random examples presented to me of continuous anger, fear and frustration. Yet I woke up with a renewed sense of purpose, as if the voice I heard in the background telling me to “keep focus on that which you are” rang true beyond the events going on around me in my dream-state. It didn’t start that way on Sunday night, but it ended that way last night. The most vivid dream I had on Sunday night was both frustrating and saddening to me. I was at a campfire on a beach somewhere. It was both cold and hot, with the air being frigid enough to turn my breath white but also being warmed by the searing heat of the fire. A group of people I know (who will remain nameless) are beating on someone I don’t know, or may know. The man being beaten kind of looks like me, but it is too hard for me to tell…although in my dream’s mind I wonder if it is me somehow. They are hitting him with bats, fists, and kicking him with thuds so loud it would seem to shake the earth around us. The victim is not protesting, he is only smiling…an eerie vision of pain being overcome by pure joy. I wish I could say “they” were beating him, but I must say “we” were, and it seemed as if the beating was happening only to stop him from the simple act of smiling. I can still feel the sadness in my heart as I beat on him. I could hear a voice inside of me telling me to stop, but there was a much louder voice of fear telling me that if I stopped I would be next. So I joined in, pretending to laugh with the others, pretending that I wasn’t suffering at my own hand, pretending that none of it mattered. The sweat on my body from the effort chilled me, and I could feel as if I was freezing under the might of my own effort. Then I woke up. I rubbed my face, and silently said a “what the fuck” before closing my eyes and stilling myself back to sleep. The other dreams were not as long (as I remember them), and not as vivid. Each time I woke up I felt a bit more frustration, a bit more anger, and a LOT more sadness. It seemed as if the purpose of me sleeping was self-torture, and if the purpose of waking was to inspect the wounds. At one point, it was about 3am, I wondered if I should stay awake only to wake up again at 4:13 asking the same question. I could not stay awake although I did not want to fall asleep. So I woke up a bit later than usual on Monday. I showered, and began work as usual, but felt as if I could explode any moment. I felt exhausted, wondering what tragedy was about to hit me like a train and expecting to be hit on the head by the sky at any moment. I can say that most of the anger and fear were gone in me, replaced by a complete feeling of sadness, remorse and a distinct feeling of worthlessness. Was it the dreams that got me to this or where the dreams helping me get over this? That question finally popped into my head as I lay down reading the book Jesus by Deepak Chopra. I wondered if this book had caused the dreams, perhaps triggering some hidden emotion in me that was being released in my subconscious. Regardless of “how?” the question became “why?” as I sought to discover the cause of suffering within me. I have to say that in my meditation before falling asleep I begged for an answer. What was it about these dreams that caused me to feel such enormous sadness and worthlessness? Was I sad because I felt worthless or worthless because I felt sad? I firmly believe in working hard to focus on that inner voice within us. It tells us all we need to know. I can see throughout my life all of the distractions I have created in order to not listen to that voice. I can see ego’s clear purpose in distracting us from our “inner God” so that we may create situations that make that “inner God” shine through. The trick is never in identifying those distractions or even in hearing the voice within, but in being able to find focus on it and in maintaining that focus. That is where I fail mightily (if there is such a thing as failure in this regard). I have identified that voice, and can hear it clearly, but somehow manage to be distracted more often than not. I get lost in inane arguments about politics, religion, finances with others. Yet, the clear distraction comes within me. My need to talk…my need to be heard…my need to discover distracts me from my need to create and my need to just simply “be”. Psalm 46:10 states it clearly. “Be still and know that I am God”. I used to focus on the “still” part. It has been my experience that stillness is the only action necessary to know God (and you would be amazed at what you find when you find “God”). The recurrence of the “dream by the fire” last night caused me to focus on another part of this psalm in my mediation this morning. “Be”. The command in this Psalm is not “still”…the command is “be”. The action is not “still”, the action is “be”. It would appear to me that I have had it all wrong…that stillness is not where you find God…it is where you know God. To find God you must “be” and in stillness you know the God you find in Being. All things of God come from what you find in the presence or absence of stillness. If all depends, of course, on how you seek to define God. As I said, the dream did return last night. It was a bit more vivid than the night before. There was the hot fire raging before me, with my focus being distracted from this light by a group of people beating on someone. I grabbed a pallet board and headed over to be “one of the crowd” with the nervous excitement anyone who has ever engaged in violence feels. Yet, I looked at the man prone on the ground, smiling, I felt the sadness again. Yet, I didn’t feel sad for him. He was still smiling and finding joy in this moment. He was being hurt, no doubt about it, but he wasn’t suffering. He was accepting who we were even as we weren’t accepting who he was. He was accepting where he was and what was being done. This enraged the crowd who simply seemed to want to beat the joy out of him. I could imagine this is how Jesus felt during his torture. Although he felt pain he did not suffer. Jesus suffered before his arrest as he struggled to accept. Once he accepted that the cup would not pass, the suffering ended. This must have enraged the Romans so used to defiance shriveling before their torturous methods. Acceptance can end the suffering in one but magnify it in another who refuses to accept. I realized at this moment in my dream that I didn’t feel sadness for him, but for us. I felt such enormous grief for those like me at that moment who felt a need to torture and hurt a person not like them. I felt sad for me for being so distracted by the crowd as to lose sight of who I was. I felt the remorse of a million pounds bear down on me. I wondered if any Roman torturer felt this feeling as he beat the life out of a man who simply accepted the moment. I dropped the board I was holding as walked through the crowd. Everything stopped just long enough for me to lie down next to the man. Again, he looked like me but with a straggly goatee that went down to his nearly his chest. He was bald, but was too bloody and swollen for me to say for sure that I was looking at myself. I just have a feeling that this was me…and my focus clearly stayed on the two of us for the moment we were allowed. “Hello, brother” was all the man said. We both smiled and… I awoke. The questions immediately popped into my head in the darkness of an early Tuesday morning. Do I wish to be the Romans or the man? Do I wish to be the meek or the powerful? Do I wish to inherit the earth or die trying to hold on to what is not permanent and not mine to hold on to? Do I wish to be eternal or restricted to time? What is my focus? That’s the great thing about purpose. It never ends, not even with the death of my body or the death of my thoughts. The purpose of light will always be to shine; the purpose of darkness will always be to define the light. There have rarely been greater moments of joy than what is in my heart this moment. I may be challenged. I may lose focus. But purpose? Well that I can never lose. Namaste.