Maybe it’s the cold weather following upon four full days of welcome rain that precipitated the vision during this morning’s meditation. It reminded me a lot of the dream/vision I had, with its images and voiceover. So I’m going to treat this one in the same way. First, I’ll describe the images that came unbidden; then I’ll report the voiceover that explained the symbolic meaning of the images; and then I’ll unpack the experience as a spiritual lesson for myself, and for you, if it makes sense to you.
(A) The Images
I see planet earth, this blue-green jewel with its multicolored landmasses dotted about as continents and islands in the deep azure oceans. My attention is directed to the two poles around which great mile-deep ice shelves are hanging on, while the globe pirouettes. As I watch, they begin to “calve”, birthing icebergs that crash into the freezing waters, snapping their umbilical chords and bobbing up and down until each finds its homeostatic resting point in the frigid liquid. Each one is like a skyscraper and has about 10% of its bulk showing above the surface. The majority of its volume is submerged. Ocean currents and surface winds push them about like pieces on a chessboard and, depending on the season, the sun beams down approvingly on their bald pates.
They bump and jostle each other and occasionally run foul of dry land. These interactions can lead to pieces breaking off and, sometimes, one of them will split itself in two, upon encountering a land mass.
(B) The Voiceover
“The global ocean that holds the landmasses, the poles and the frigid waters, is the symbol of Source Itself; the great ice shelves are the Spirit; the icebergs are individual souls; the visible portion of each iceberg represents egoic consciousness; while the submerged portion represents the personal unconscious; the icy waters symbolize the collective unconscious; the currents represent the actions of Source, while the surface winds represent the actions of Spirit; the great landmasses represent the world’s cultures; and the jostling and collisions with each other and with dry landmasses represent individual encounters and clashes with and among cultures; finally, the sun represents the power of love, the only force strong enough to embrace the entire globe and yet the only force gentle enough to find the hidden, fragile, tiny crevices.”
(C) A Small Detour
Before I begin the unpacking let me take a little detour, so that what follows may begin to make more sense.
You know the hot, steamy, tightly rolled towelette you’re given on an airplane at the end of a meal? The steward uses a thongs to offer you this item. You take it and realize it is very hot, so you toss it from hand to hand to allow it time to cool down. You discover, however, that by opening it up you can reduce the temperature much more quickly. This is due to a simple scientific fact: heat is generated and maintained through volume, and lost through area. By opening up the towelette you greatly increase its surface area and so it cools much faster.Elephants discovered that fact many millions of years ago. The heat generated by their great volume is effectively dissipated by sending, several times a day, all of the blood of their body through their ear lobes, which have a great surface area. To accelerate the cooling process, they also fan their ears, rather like the ladies in the Mikado.
(D) The Unpacking
Now back to the unpacking: the sun’s influence on the iceberg causes it to melt, and the greater the surface area exposed, the faster the melting happens. Melting is the process of enlightenment; it is the (sometimes glacially) slow reduction in size of the ego and its sense of separation. Similarly, the ocean currents (the activity of Source) and surface winds (the activity of Spirit) facilitate the jostling, and thus afford individual egos the insight that other individuals also have egos, needs, perspectives and prejudices. Hopefully these dynamic encounters reduce the sense of separation and alienation. And, of course, collisions with landmasses (cultures) represent the ways in which individuals are affected by the civilizations they encounter.
Egos, like icebergs, come in many sizes. On November 12, 1956, the USS Glacier discovered an iceberg whose perimeter, at water level, enclosed 12,000 square miles – larger than Belgium. History is rife with examples of such egos and their devastating consequences.
All of these forces influence our soul’s evolution. Like the “Butterfly in Beijing affecting the weather in San Francisco” all living things are as connected as are the neurons on a single brain. The largest iceberg on Earth (not the largest of all time) ran aground on October 27, 2005 and split into several pieces as the result of an ocean swell generated by an Alaskan storm six days earlier and 8,400 miles to the north!
Nor can we escape our karma. The iceberg that sank the Titanic in April 1912 has recently been photographed; it is still wearing smudges of black and red paint from the ship’s hull, just like a belt, at its water-waistline.
If Nature “had it in” for the planet, she could utilize ocean, wind, rain and sun to erode all the dry land and swallow it up in water; but she doesn’t. So – to countermand this possible entropy – earthquakes and underwater volcanoes make new dry land regularly. It’s a cycle; and life manages to thrive at all stages of the cycle.
Incarnation itself is a cycle – a grand adventure of Source, Spirit and Soul, that involves ego and interpersonal relationships. Aren’t you glad you volunteered?