This week’s reading’s about dreaming. Going to sleep each night is an act of faith that we’ll wake up in the morning. A mini-death, at least to daily consciousness. The classic, When I lay me down to sleep we learned in childhood acknowledges our soul goes into the nether world. That’s exactly where we get spoken to in ways that, while mysterious or seemingly incomprehensible, are exactly the messages we don’t always hear when our daily consciousness is at the helm.
For the next sections of Torah our hero will be Joseph. When young, he’s the kind of know-it-all you might want taken down a peg, full of grandiose visions of his own importance. He’s also one of those blessed folks who glow with holy light, and destined to do well by his people, both family and tribe. Not many of us get spoken to so often or interpret things so clearly. Joseph will grow into a worthy guy after some serious life traumas.
That’s in part what our dreams are designed to do. To help us find a way through life’s challenges, the way in Greek myth Jason finds his way out of a dangerous labyrinth by following a string back to the source.
Studying Torah’s like that. Some parts seem clear and linear. An epic story simply told. Other portions a seeming dead end, until you follow them closely around a corner to find the next hidden connection, or through an opening that appears only upon deeper scrutiny. It’s layered and tightly woven, like a dream, and has the same strange ability to float into mist and mystery just when you think you have your arms wrapped around it.
The consonants in Torah appear without vowels. Even the spacing between letters may have changed over time. Words might really be other words, completely skewing the translated meaning. Each letter has a numerical connotation, and words that add up to the same number are related, adding yet another layer. Root stems of words imply whole other universes of connection. These all work like astro wormholes, connecting a story from one reading to another and another, all tied to a prophesized Messiah coming unknown generations in the future.
But the complexity and the symbolism of Torah, as with dreams, make it enticing, especially for seekers striving to get to the roots of their own issues and looking for keys to their future.
This week’s exercise: Invite your dreams to help you focus on whatever’s in the foreground of self-development. Get into the habit of writing down whatever you remember immediately upon awakening, even if it feels wispy and elusive. Keep track of every dream element that stays with you: a color, smell, image, or place known or imagined. Try to remember who the players are, especially people with whom you have a strongly charged relationship in “real” life or who remind you of them in some way. Dreams are stories about you, sent to help you wake up and pay attention.