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50 Dreaming failure
My presence entered the building
hesitantly, floating in like a photography drone getting a closer
view. Unaware of the exterior of the building, I recalled no
means of conveyance that had delivered me present in mind and not
body. Dreams are like that: concentrated impressions lacking
The extent and purpose of the building
were not evident. The greeter at the door was apparently the
superintendent of some program. Speaking unclear instructions, he
handed me an unusual illumination device. After several attempts
I was able to produce a steady light. With that, he admitted me
to roam freely.
I did not see the ends of corridors or
the upper limits of the walls. Exploration took me from room to
room along a progression of discovery. Each learning station
incorporated a fresh activity. Some were almost recognizable;
others were baffling as I moved about where my curiosity directed
me. Uncertainty subsided as the day wore on, engendering a
sensation of rest and belonging. The establishment, whatever its
purpose, took on the familiarity of home.
Eventually overcome by fatigue, I
returned the light to the superintendent with gratitude and
appreciation. There was much to report. After he heard me out, he
gently asked how I had fared with the other children. "I'm sorry,
sir" I replied sheepishly. "Were there other children
His gentle demeanor softened the rebuke:
"The building was full of other children who had not mastered the
illumination device. They were waiting for you to cast your light
to help them."
The article title is not "dreaming about
failure." What was the failure? The dream itself? The missed
opportunity? The narrator's oblivion? Do you attach an
allegorical meaning to every object in the story? Does it support
a unitary message?
In a more literal context, the title
might be "reviewing failure." Did either the narrator or the
superintendent overlook failure? If the dream itself was not a
failure, what message did it deliver?
Here are some words I associate with the
story. I have alphabetized them to take them out of the order in
which they appear in the allegory. On matching, one word might
fit in several places. Try to find an element of the story for
each of these concepts:
||out of body
Giving away the "answer" on 5 Feb 2022: Illumination in the article refers to what the Buddha calls enlightenment. If someone does not address (illuminate) the needs of the other children, that candidate has failed the passage. The narrator of the story has little to show for passing through the building (life) without realizing that its purpose is to bless OTHERS. We are not on earth to purify ourselves.
Being For Others Blog copyright © 2020 Kent Busse
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