Last night I had an interesting and vivid dream that I was invited into an alien spacecraft. I saw myself walking up a series of steps illuminated black. When I reached the craft my vision was severely compromised so that I could only make out vague shapes. I understood that I was searching for someone or something. It felt vaguely X-filesy, as if I was Scully finally on the verge of finding Mulder. Then I was the observer of myself, watching as I was about to be injected with a virus. I understood that this virus would infect me, but it would also allow me to see.
I don’t remember anymore, but needless to say, the dream has made an impression. I have been feeling a little down over the last few days and physically, emotionally, spiritually out of balance. The death of Robin Williams and the wider issue of depression has been on my mind, so perhaps it isn’t surprising. Yesterday I was reading an article about the fact all art is, at its very essence, sad, because the act of creating – as well as appreciating – art means becoming aware of the wholeness and connection we all long for at heart, but struggle to find in this life.
I am also aware that it is possible to achieve such a connection in one’s spiritual life and those who can sustain that connection are truly blessed. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. I get fleeting glimpses, but they they are gone. It seems that my struggles continuously bring me down, making me one of those perpetually sad people, even though I get moments of joy, often profound ones.
Ever since I was a child i have taken comfort in creativity, whether my own (through stories) or other peoples (TV, films, music, painting, books). They become an escape when everything else gets too painful. Ironically, though, this escape usually becomes a source of pain in itself. Something that can be a source of wonder and pleasure very quickly turns toxic. Maybe this is because I am turning away from the present moment, life itself, and seeking fulfillment in a medium that cannot sustain because, like anything else, it is a temporary experience.
Taking that further, I believe that through creativity I seek connection. Sometimes creativity is an outward manifestation of feeling connected to life and love; I have certainly experienced times when it is. More often, however, my experience is that creativity is longing for that connection to each other and the universe. Whether I am reading a book, watching a TV show, writing my own story, what I’m searching for is that spiritual knowing that we are all One, and the sadness results from feeling disconnected within human life.
Depression is of course a condition of complete and utter alienation and disconnect from self. It goes beyond loneliness. It often stems from deep existential pain and feeling separate from all beings. There is nothing more painful than feeling cut off from everyone, that no one could possibly understand or relate to your experience, or that no one will allow you into theirs. I have been there. I believe that the comfort I derive from other people’s art is equally painful in that it reminds me what I am seeking in everyday life. It is a paradox because in art we also realize we are not alone, yet we can be so painfully reminded that we are.
What does my dream say about all this? Quite possibly, it represents the need to enter my sense of alienation and disconnect when it arises. The virus may represent negativity thoughts and feelings, or perhaps more generally the ego. It may also symbolise my personal pain and struggles. Only by working through them will I gain clarity and find a way to re-connect. It is very interesting that the dream felt vaguely like an episode of the X-Files, since I used to deeply admire the relationship between Mulder and Scully, seeing it as the most wonderful connection, something that I could not experience in my own life.
I started this blog to share my experience with the ultimate goal of knowing that I am not alone and showing others who may have similar thoughts, feelings or experiences that they are not alone either. I take comfort in that and I hope others have as well. I try to be brave and share difficult and occasionally controversial thoughts and feelings to reach out to those who may share them. I believe that we are each trying our best with what we’ve been dealt in life; no one can know why certain things happen, we can only have faith in the goodness of our hearts.
I am trying to go with the flow, realizing that I have always been prone to such episodes, and probably always will to some extent. ‘Dark nights of the soul’ seem to be deeply sewn into the fabric of human life for many of us. Remaining aware of my sense of connection to spirit, even when I can’t actually feel it, will carry me through.