The Gift of the Wound


 

Once again, a magical dream shows me a universal truth…

…a mythological truth.

In the dream…

…I see a full-grown sheep among some lambs in a field.

The sheep moves away from the lambs, then gets wounded in the stomach.

The lambs go to the sheep and drink from the big round wound in its belly.

To me, the one word that best describes this dream is: “sacrifice”.

It’s definitely an ironic dream.  The sheep gets wounded so it can feed the lambs.  Moreover, its wound is round—“round”: a symbol of wholeness.  Perhaps the wound actually makes the sheep whole.

We’ve come to see our wounds as something we can learn from, something that helps us grow as we work to heal ourselves…

But this dream focuses on how our wounds can benefit others.

Without that wound, the sheep can not give of itself.  The wound provides an opening, an opening from which the inner substance of the sheep can flow.  A well spring, of sorts.

The lambs need for the sheep to be wounded.  Maybe the sheep dies, I don’t know—the dream doesn’t say.  In any case, the sheep lives on through what it gives to others.  A type of communion occurs here.

Needless to say, we often go in another direction, in regards to our wounds.

I’m reminded of a cartoon I once saw as a boy.  A crazed rabbit chases two hunters through the woods.  One hunter says to the other, “I’ve heard of wounded animals becoming vicious, but this is ridiculous!”

Once wounded, we may attack…

…not just those who wounded us, but also anyone, anything we perceive as a threat.  I speak from experience.  Too often, I react like the crazed rabbit.

Perhaps that’s why I’m receiving this sheep dream.  The dream tells me: here’s another possibility.  That said, I believe the message of the dream applies to all of us.

I’m also reminded of the Chinese folk tale concerning the leaking water pot (see February 1 entry).  In that story, the water drops from the leaking pot cause flowers to grow.  Our wounds can be a source of great creativity.

“Woundedness” seems to be an inescapable part of life.  Perhaps our survival depends not so much on trying to prevent wounds, but on learning how our wounds can help us…

…on learning how our wounds can help us help others.

© 2011, Michael R. Patton
dream steps

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About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, essayist, cartoonist, graphic artist, peace miller, new mythologist, and fledgling world citizen.... I grew up in Northwest Arkansas and have lived and worked all over the United States.... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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