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“I believe I will never quite know
Though I play at the edges of knowing
truly I know
our part is not knowing.”

– Mary Oliver, from “Bone”

I wrote my last post in response to a vivid dream in which an analyst who works with dreams helped a friend of mine who suffers from a serious illness. Last weekend, I attended a conference where this same analyst, Robert Bosnak, lectured on and demonstrated his method of dreamwork. It was incredibly powerful stuff.

I was not really familiar with Bosnak’s work at all at the time of the dream, but when I wrote about it, the dream seemed connected to the idea of not-knowing. This turned out to be the cornerstone of Bosnak’s work, an idea he emphasized again and again throughout his talks. We never really know what a dream “means,” or even, actually, who the dreamer is. To attempt to “know,” we reduce a dream (and truthfully, most experience) to a readily understood message or interpretation, a process by which we lose much that is of value. It reminded me of Zen Master Seung Sahn, who said, “I don’t even teach Buddhism. I only teach don’t know.”

I must have needed to hear this in a big way. My dreaming mind could not even wait for Mr. Bosnak’s lecture but had to dream a preview first, as if to say to my waking mind, “Hey, you, pay attention!”