Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan and The Dream of Water, revisited

It seems like weeks since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami hit, yet it has really only been hours. It seems like weeks because it has been difficult to tear myself away from the news and videos about this tragedy...I feel as if I am living it,moment by moment, with them. Suddenly the people in Japan, a country I have never visited, feel like my next door neighbors.

I wanted to write about the combination of awe and horror and compassion that I experience when I see that wave of water washing through whole cities. But then I realized I already had--six years ago, when I sent an email out about a 'prophetic' dream I had before another Asian Tsunami.

So here it is, from January, 2005:


It is New Year's Day and we are surrounded by a tidal

On television and in our memories, the images
the rushing wall of water, the cars, buildings and
bodies floating in the swollen sea, fragile and
temporary as children's toys. The faces of pain, loss
and anguish are our faces. National boundaries are
dissolved, at least momentarily, as we send love,
financial support, healing.

Because my dreams are frequently wiser than I am, I
want to share a dream with you that I had about a week
before the Asian Tsunami hit.

In the dream I am on the beach with a group of
international students from the school where I teach
English as a Second Language. The students are from
all over the world. Suddenly a huge tidal wave
arrives and we are all running along the beach in
panic. I see something metallic floating in the water,
a vehicle of some kind. I think in my dream that it
could be some kind of military vehicle, like a car or
a plane or boat. It is clear to me that this vehicle
was made by man in a moment of self-importance, and it
is now utterly useless, bobbing helplessly along on
the water.

We all run away from the water and manage to reach
"higher ground." We are then all huddled inside a
room together, feeling fear but also deeply connected
to each other, and relieved that we are safe. One of
my Muslim students comes over to me, and I put my arm
around him, feeling a wave of love and compassion.

I woke up from this dream, asking, as I usually do of
dreams, what it was saying to me:

There is something more powerful than you, the dream
said. Maybe you should pay attention.

Your technology and the shiny vehicles that get you
through your life are useless in the face of this
power, the dream said.

It is the power of water, the dream said. it is
feminine, emotional, receptive, illogical,
mysterious, compassionate, ruthless, ferocious,
cleansing. It is running the blood of your veins and
in the ocean that links continent to continent. It is
the Tsunami and it is the wave of healing that

Maybe you should pay attention, the dream said.

It is the power of Mother Nature, the dream said,
seeking to balance all her elements, no matter how
horrific the sacrifice. With so many man-made fires
and explosions raging on the earth right now, it it
any wonder she chooses to respond with water?

Maybe you should pay attention, the dream said.

Look around you, the dream said, those people with
their different languages and religions are all
huddled in the same fragile room with you.

Find the person in the room who is most unlike you,
the dream said, the person who is supposed to be your
enemy, and reach out to him or her in compassion.

If there is a god, the dream said, he or she exists
not in the labels we have assigned, but in this
gesture, in this stretching of the heart.

You are alive, the dream of water said , and this is
a gift that can be taken away at any time.

Maybe you should pay attention.