For those of you of you who have never been on a retreat there is one thing you should know. You can’t talk. Okay, that is not entirely true. You can talk outside the building, and if you are on a directed retreat like I am, you can talk during the sessions when you meet with the person leading the retreat.
Now for those of you who know me, you know I like to talk. In fact I am often called motor mouth and am like the energizer bunny: I keep going and going and going. I have been told to put a cork in it on several occasions.
You can imagine how I am adjusting to the silence here. Eating meals is especially difficult because I feel so tempted to start yapping. I don’t even remember eating in silence last year when I attended my very first retreat at here at Mariandale. Hmm, maybe I managed to block it out of my memory.
I must tell you that I was relieved when it was 2pm when I had my first meeting Br. Don. We Began began our dream work together, and besides having the chance to engage in conversation with another person, I got to talk about my dreams from last night.
I seriously had 20 dreams last night, but within those 20 dreams were three dreams that had the same theme. Here is a recap of the three-part dream trilogy. I am with a woman, who I do not know, and she has a black dog with her, who kept trying to bite me. It seems as though the woman was encouraging the dog to get me because every time the dog would try to go for me, she would do nothing to stop it. The woman was not a nice woman either. She would verbally attack me. This happened in three separate dreams that had three different endings. In the first dream I withdrew and flew to a rooftop where I would be safe from harm. In the second dream there was an angry confrontation between us, and I warned her not to mess with me, a Castellano, Lord of the Castle (That’s what Castellano means) or she would be dead. Finally, in the third dream I put an end to it. I somehow managed to get the dog to change sides, and he attacked her instead. She fell to the floor like a ton of bricks.
In our session Br. Don and I came to the agreement that the woman represents the part of myself that puts me down. I have always been my own worst enemy. That was fairly obvious to me. What interested me the most is what he said about the dog. Dogs behave aggressively only when they are afraid, so in my dream the dog represents fear and serves as a kind of protector for this woman.
The dream is a representation of a power struggle between two aspects of myself, the critic who compares me to other people and society’s standards, and the real me, the person who God created me to be. My task is to transform this negative energy, the dog, and bring it to the light and have it work for me instead of against me. The final dream illustrates this solution when the dog changed sides, and attacked the woman instead of me.
So how do I apply this to real life. I think part of it has to do with being mindful of my own thoughts and being kinder to myself. Most importantly, I must strive to stay centered on the way of God and not the ways of the world. To remain close with God is to find inner healing. I am beginning to realize that. St. James says:
“Adulteress! Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” – James 4:4
Tonight I am to ask the Lord what He wants me know for deeper healing. Hopefully, His answer will be revealed to me in a dream or perhaps in this silence.