I am not Catholic, and not religious in the usual sense. Yet last night, I spoke with the Pope in a dream.
In the dream, he was clearly the Pope. Everyone recognized him, even though it wasn’t clear which Pope he was. He was tall, thin, with a clearly expressive face, and energetic in his speech. But he was lying down, in a bed.
Whether he in the dream bore any resemblance to him in history or in any daytime reality, I have no idea. Maybe the dream Pope was closer to who the Pope was before becoming Pope. Maybe he was an archetype of a Pope or spiritual leader or teacher and his dual nature, and my own, was speaking in the dream.
The setting was night, in New York City. Probably, I was attending a conference on education, or maybe philosophy. In the dream, he was younger than Pope Francis I is now. Friendly. Not a stickler for protocols. Attentive. Wise. Dignified, like someone very familiar with being on stage, or making big decisions. Yet, down to earth. He was just there, lying down yet there with me, talking.
I kept on wanting to scream out with excitement to any passersby, “Here is the Pope. This is the Pope lying here. On this bed.” And to totally focus on him. Just ask him questions, like “How are you doing? What’s it really like to speak to God? What’s going on with the Yankees?” Or “is heaven really a realm separated from the known physical universe? Or is it a metaphor for what we could experience right here and now?”
I didn’t ask those questions. Didn’t even ask about the sex abuses of priests or justice for DJT’s crimes. Those questions would break the mood, the atmosphere, and send him and me back to daytime reality.
He asked about me, who I was. About my teaching. Not intrusively, but respectfully, subtly. He was a very subtle person.
And humble. I think he was enjoying the conversation and enjoying life. But why was he lying down? Was he not feeling well? Was he tired? Was it because in my actual body I was lying down and in bed? Was this a reference to the Buddha, reclining or lying down during his final illness, and death, before he entered parinirvana or complete enlightenment?
It was never clear how it happened that I came upon the Pope.
I soon woke up. It was the middle of the night. I wrote down what I could remember of the experience and then fell back to sleep.
And re-entered the dream ⎼ but from a different angle. I was driving in my car to visit the Pope. It was a cloudy Sunday afternoon, and several hours after church services, I guess. He was in a city, supposedly waiting to see people in a room in a rather ordinary, four or five story building with a gray concrete exterior. There were very few cars on the street, so I easily found a parking space in front of the building.
As soon as I noticed the spot, my size, location, and viewpoint underwent a radical transformation. Instead of being in the car, I was outside it. Instead of being merely in front of the building, I was also above it, looking down from an extremely wide perspective. And instead of parallel parking the car, I lifted it up and put it in the space.
Then the Pope arrived in a city bus. I saw him though the bus window. He was angry about something and yelled at the person seated in front of him. Then I woke up; it was morning.
There was so much more to the dreams. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into more detail, or if I could even put anything else into words. I’m not even sure if what I remembered is what I experienced.
But I can accurately record the feeling that remained after part one and still remains now. It was of grace and beauty. Or of love and compassion actualized in a person. Or maybe of the potential lying in all of us, to speak from God ⎼ or from whatever truth lives within us. If only…
I’m not the humblest of persons. Yet, I know this⎼ when I feel it, humility is a great strength. When we experience it, it’s a powerful way to let go of inner tension and pretense. We can test this for ourselves. When we’re even a little humble, just a hint of the Pope in the first dream, we relax. We stop trying to live all the rigamarole, or trying to be who we aren’t, to be an illusion based on ideas of who we think society or other people want us to be. Instead, we focus on what is most important and authentic; and we let what is most vibrant in us, most in harmony with reality, speak. When we do so, we shine with a divine-like light.
And what can we make of the Pope in dream #2? Does it mean that even the emissary of God, or even the best of us, best of ourselves, are not perfect, or not always able to meet the pictures we have of perfection? Or maybe, we all have clay feet, or we all have faults, and that’s fine.
When we don’t try to appear divine, the divine or the beauty within us emerges. Maybe that’s one reason why the Pope in dream #1 was lying down and yet talking with me so openly.
This Post is republished on Medium.
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