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Last March I attended a lecture about dream work by Dr. Stephen Aizenstat. I had been encountering the color Blue with some frequency, especially in dreams, and something happened in that lecture that changed the way I relate to Blue. I had always loved Blue, but before that experience, I would have said, “I’ve always loved blue.”
Dr. Aizenstat is a psychologist for whom not only the waking world is animated by soul (i.e. a tree is a being with soul, a house is a being with soul, a rock is a being with soul), but the dreaming world also is populated by soulful beings. For him, dream images exist as entities in their own right, fully as much manifestations of the natural world as you or I, fully as much ensouled. His dream work is less about interpretation than about establishing and tending relationships with the images in dreams.
The lecture was in a small venue, with maybe twenty people attending. Early on, Dr. Aizenstat asked if anyone had a dream image they’d like to talk about. I raised my hand and asked what it meant if a color recurred in dreams. He asked a few follow-up questions. I told him the color was blue and that I loved it. He asked what it felt like in the dreams, and I said there was a sense of vastness and spaciousness. Then he asked if I wanted to work this image, to help him demonstrate his method to the group. Not knowing what I was in for, I said, Sure. He had me go up to the front of the room and sit in a chair beside him. Our chairs were situated at angles, directly facing neither the audience nor each other. In spite of that, he locked onto a tractor-beam eye contact with me that he only broke a few times to turn to the audience and say something like, “See what just happened?”
My memory of the conversation isn’t linear or temporal, not in the way of clocks and calendars. It’s more oceanic and dreamlike. He asked me to imagine what blue felt like in my body. I described it as an invisible sparkle in my torso. He brought up the vastness and spaciousness again, and he mentioned the title of the Joseph Campbell book, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space. I said I loved that. He said, Why? I said, Because it reminds me of the spiral, which is my favorite symbol. It goes forever in both directions. It’s my map to the eternal.
At some point during all this I began to feel the presence of blue not just in my body but in the room. It was a palpable field all around but strongest from the floor up, about to the level of my waist, and Dr. Aizenstat was speaking a language of shamanistic wisdom: Meet blue in the way of blue, and Blue moves things, it has a life of its own, and Water turns all things to soul. I was in a wide-eyed and multi-layered mode of consciousness — tingling, vibrant, but calm, too. He asked me what I could offer to blue, what I could give it. Without thinking or planning, I heard myself say, “I would give it everything.” The presence of blue grew stronger, more tactile, more blue. I was awash in it, and I was staring into Dr. Aizenstat’s eyes, and he was staring into mine, and he said, “Wow.” Everything held still except for blue breathing its blue breath. I said, “Do you feel that buoyancy?” He said, “Yes.” That was the moment when blue became Blue.
For years I had loved the imaginal realm, and deeply valued the invisible dimension of experience. But this was altogether different, this mutual imagining, soul to soul, and sharing the experience with the souls of other people. It was intimate. It was erotic, by which I mean Eros burst in and emptied his quiver into my open heart. There was no way to keep from falling in love, with Blue and Dr. Aizenstat and everyone in the room.
Afterwards, one of my first “normal” thoughts was, “What the hell did that mean, I’d give Blue everything?” I think I was afraid Blue would want my car, or my house, or God forbid, my stash of notebooks. But Blue isn’t interested in that kind of everything. Blue wants to imbue. It wants to touch and tint all the magic that always happens: play, desire, pain, pleasure, joy, sorrow, love. Blue’s everything is life itself, and whatever it’s given becomes a reciprocal gift, poured back and forth and back and forth, a thousand times a thousand times, in a thousand luminous shades of Blue.
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