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Friday, March 18, 2011

Deaf, Blind or Merely Human

Earlier this week I awoke uneasy after an unusual dream, feeling my human weaknesses and limitations.   I had a dream of an inability to hear and an inability to get something articulated properly.  It sometimes happens to me that in a noisy room, or when I am talking on my cell phone on the street, I sometimes cannot here the person I am talking to.  Efforts to get the person to speak louder or otherwise make it easier to here are sometimes frustrating, making me identify with my brother Thomas, and my sister Ellie who are both deaf.  In this dream I was in a meeting where people were voting to undo something I had done.  Three statements were made, the third a garbled  low volume mumbling collectively by all those present,  with the result that my prior actions were voted down.  Believing I had right to hear what was said I demanded several times for it to be repeated, but only heard more low tone mumbles.  I felt isolated and week, then awoke.

Years ago, in 1969, when I was part of the great counter cultural experiment of the late 1960's (a failed one to be sure) I did something unusual on a dare at a sensitivity training session.  I agreed to be blindfolded and led around for 24 hours by friends, a lesson in trust and dependency as well as a way to share the experience of the blind. At the time  I was an unemployed and virtually penniless young 'hippie' who was sleeping in a crash pad, finding food where I could and, as I was then a smoker, bumming cigarettes from all my smoking friends.  I was led the next evening, before my 24 hours was up, to a Halloween party were I represented myself as a blind beggar. My friend Charles Oliver, a Phd. in philosophy who was later to become a Zen Buddhist priest said "Man, you really know your Dharma." I guess that was a Koan from Charles to me to puzzle out with a flash of intuitive insight.

All of us in some form at some time, as part of our human condition experience limitations.  Even Christ himself did, especially the limitation to life of death.  I think my dream was a useful reminder to my self, right in the first week of Lent, of our human limits and our dependency on each other.  The craving in my dream for the cooperation of others reminds me of a line from a Bob Dylan song, "When you see your brother carrying a heavy load, give him a hand."  

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