Conflict, Dreaming About Parades, and Co-Creation


This morning I read my deconstructionist perspective on “race” and “mental illness” and I thought about how conflict-oriented it all is…humans against systems that were created by humans…

What is the solution?

This afternoon, I took a nap and I had a dream. I was at a place with bare wood porches and screen doors, pastures that were warm in the sun. There were people there. It was gathering, a conference of sorts. There was some tension, some problem. People were scattered and I was weaving through them, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. I stood at the edge of a group, spoke to a man, “Do you think that maybe I could do a meditation, a visioning of some sort?” I looked across the field, where there were no people.

In the dream, I wanted to go there.

I wanted to go there.

Then, from around the corner of the house, a parade emerged, with costumes and music and ladies kicking up their legs and horses and all sorts of rattling and rolling contraptions.

I tried to take pictures, but the images caught in the frames seemed like something else entirely.

I smiled and I smiled, delighted because I love parades, but in the dream I felt sheepish. While I had been worrying and walking about in concern? I could have been putting on a party dress and tying cymbals onto my hands. I could have been weaving flowers into the horses’ manes. I could have been planning a parade.

We are all co-creators.

When we see the world in conflict, we give power to that conflict.

When we see the world as healing, somehow it truly heals.

I prefer to imagine that, as the local marching band played in the inaugural parade in Washington today, maybe the President remembered the day that he was here in 2008 and the world really did seem like it was on the edge of some great potential resolution…that maybe something was shifting and that maybe something did shift.

The path to peace is often as troubled as the road home from war.

In other news, Dr. Seth Farber, leading proponent of the theory that mad folks who go through spiritual psychosis might have something important to share with the world, mentioned me and excerpts of this story in a post he made on Reality Sandwich, Daniel Pinchbeck’s site.  I didn’t know that he was going to mention me and I left a lengthy comment. His post offers a very strong comparative perspective on spirit and madness, in the context of the historical forces that drive countercultural and theological/theosophical movements, collective shifts in redemptive ecological consciousness.



3 thoughts on “Conflict, Dreaming About Parades, and Co-Creation

  1. Thank you for sharing this Faith.

    The thing for me is that I’m very much still caught between those two paradigms- as seeing the World in conflict and as seeing it in a state of healing. Your words, and articles such as the one you’ve shared here, are helping me immensely. I’m definitely gonna pick up Seth’s book.

    While some people who have been through “psychotic” mystical experiences eventually feel the need to dissociate with all aspects of that experience (for various reasons) I am very much the exact opposite. Indeed, even while I was living in a haze of Seroquel and Lithium (and self-medicating with pot) for so many years, my connection with that deeper reality helped sustain me existentially. Now that I’m in the process of freeing myself from the chains of psychiatry, I am coming full circle and coming to truly understand what elements of my “psychosis” were indeed manifestations of divine truth. I am re-embracing that reality, and yet now I can do so with a level of experience and wisdom that was not present ten years ago. I’m grounded in a way that I was not at that time.

    My experience was indeed a messianic one. My understanding- and my main message- was that I had woken up to a divine reality that was there for ALL of us- that we are ALL Buddha, that we are ALL Christ (that said, my case was still misconstrued as being narcissistic in nature). It seemed to that I had perhaps become an enlightened being- but it happened too fast, and there were a number of confounding factors (drugs, interpersonal familial dysfunction). I desperately wanted to communicate how special and magical this world- the one we are destroying- truly is. I was also heartbroken and deeply dismayed by the resistance and ignorance I encountered from so many people. I was, however, blessed to accumulate a posse of friends and acquaintances who were drawn to me during this time (some out of curiosity, and some out of deep respect and love). I had many beautiful and amazing experiences with certain people at that time.

    I never let go of the underlying truth that was revealed to me. I’ve been living a life of relative isolation so perhaps now that I’m coming out of my shell I can return to a full embrace this World that is healing- this World that is love.

    Right now I still I harbour a great deal of anger towards psychiatry and its agents. While I am progressively gaining perspective on this corrupt system and where I stand as an individual in this world, this sentiment has evolved into a deep personal disenchantment that now extends to the greater dysfunctional system we find ourselves contending with (as people who cannot simply ignore injustice and move on). Well, really, I already had a great deal of theories and suspicions about the underlying dysfunctions of our civilization, and my experience with psychiatry has simply confirmed and reinforced all of them in amazing and disturbing ways.

    I came across TIP a number of years ago, but never really engaged in the conversation. I was still living in my psychopharmaceutical cage (in a drug-induced reality that was truly a state of iatrogenic psychosis). I would like to be a player in the Mad Pride movement. That said, I have certain reservations about the term “mad”. I’ve read both the Politics of Experience and Mad In America, and while the term “mad” has a special place in my heart, I consider people like us to be “enlightened”, not “mad” (I should clarify that I believe enlightenment is a continuous process of evolution as opposed to a spiritual culmination). But I understand and respect the context and validity of the use of the term “mad”. Indeed, Farber talks of a potential branch of the Mad Pride Movement that focuses on the spiritual insights/elements of mania and “psychosis”. This is extremely intriguing and exciting to me, as a group of such people would be a community I could truly relate to.

    I consider myself to be an Agent of Aquarius. I find a great deal of mystical significance in biblical passages which I perceive to be references to the Age of Aquarius, as in the one Farber refers to (“For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea”. That said, I have very strong reservations about the bible and religion as an institution.

    I’ve really fallen in love with the concept of “neurodiversity”- something I’ve been introduced to through my contact with you. Thank you for that.

    Previously I mentioned that I had connected with certain special people during my first “psychotic” episode. I would like to pay respect to one of them here (I’m not sure why here and now, but somehow it seems appropriate).
    One of those special friends- indeed one of the few people who understood me PERFECTLY- passed away in September from a heroine overdose. His name was Aaron. Within a week or two before he passed away, I lost an Ouroboros ring which I had been wearing since that time (almost every single day). He had truly loved this ring, and it was the starting point for a number of very personal spiritual conversations between us at the time. I often thought of him when I put it on over the years. I’m generally very good about keeping track of my dearest possessions but somehow this one escaped me, and at such a strange time (after a decade of having held it so close). I desperately searched for it before I attended his memorial and the scattering of his ashes, which took place at his mother’s home in the forest. I never found it, and it seems to me that somehow he took it with him. Perhaps it will show up again- if not, I will continue to tell myself it’s somehow in his possession.

    Thank you for sharing Farber’s article. It really pleased me to read about you there, and I’m deeply intrigued and amazed by you and your story.


    • “The thing for me is that I’m very much still caught between those two paradigms- as seeing the World in conflict and as seeing it in a state of healing.”

      I was really working on trying to figure out how I related to those two seemingly disparate worldviews and then I realized that seeing them as separate from one another was complicating my resolution. Here’s a facebook comment that somewhat explains what I came up with to help it make sense to me:

      Jan 22 (3 days ago)
      to Reply

      There is conflict everywhere.

      In some cases it is necessary and can drive a great deal of vital change and evolution.

      However, if we focus on the conflict, we can get caught in it.

      Orienting toward moving through conflict (darkness to light) allows
      healing to happen…while becoming preoccupied with the conflict can keep a person from seeing the resolution that is inherent in any conflict.

      So, this is not to suggest that one ignore the conflict, but to proactively approach it with a willingness to forgive the conflict and embrace whatever potential healing may be nested within it.

      This changes the way we experience and respond to conflict.

      The part that I didn’t say on facebook is that I really do believe that we are co-creators in the sense of intention and metaphysical attraction, etc. and that the way we choose to see things does contribute to the very existence of those things. After I wrote that little exercise in coherent communication on the subject of “race” and “mental illness,” I realized that seeing conflict, and having awareness of conflict, can actually reinforce perpetuation of that conflict. I felt very troubled and overwhelmed for a few days. Then it occurred to me that we may all be in an extended process of healing from our collective history, from what arose from the dark dark ages in defining our place and purpose. So, for me, trying to focus on conflict resolution and the ways to transform conflicted relationships toward peace and mutuality is satisfying.

      “I never let go of the underlying truth that was revealed to me. I’ve been living a life of relative isolation so perhaps now that I’m coming out of my shell I can return to a full embrace this World that is healing- this World that is love.”

      I am so deeply awed by the elements of experience that we seem to share. I have met a lot of people that have been through their own reckonings and it is always so amazing to think about us all far flung and alone, feeling and living stories and miracles that were too big for our lives. In the midst of my bigness madness* ever, I knew that other people went through their own versions of the same thing.

      What is remarkable to me is that, look, here you are and there are more people scattered all around…and they all understand and they all know that the core of it is very real and very vital.

      Shared reality is important. Because I maintain awareness of several possible realities and am able to take perspective with relative ease, I can move from work to home to community and meeting and kids with relative ease at this point, maintaining a shared reality with the people inhabiting my particular social space at the time. However, I am usually a little outside of the consensus, in my awareness that the only reason we exist as we are in any given circumstance is a fragile construction of meaning taken or granted as being real, when so much is just made up.

      Clouds are real. Ducks are real. Lost friends are real.

      I don’t have too many people that I can share some aspects of my reality with.

      (I have to tell you that you bringing your memory of Aaron here was the most amazing and beautiful thing that anyone has ever done around here. I honor a lot of ghosts around here, pay homage to small objects and it made me happy that you felt inspired to type the letters that spell your friend’s name here. One day, I might make a page here, for people to leave memories…but, nobody really comes ’round here much…still, I might make a space for that. This blog isn’t structured or promoted to get much traffic or draw attention. If a blog is read by many people, it must be written for many people and I mostly write this for me and for the people I pray for, the simple everybody that not many people seem to understand. It’s not a blog, it’s a therapeutic documentation process and a story…and part of the story is that it very quietly grows and expands over here in its small corner of the ethersphere, way out in left field. One day, I might have to figure out a way to be something that people will pay attention to, because I want to be able to somehow reach all the people that have lived gestalt experiences of the golden heart and of finding yourself suddenly human in new ways. I don’t want any more of my friends, whether I have met them or not, to die or be hurt for being who they are.)

      I admire your honesty re: the messianic nature of your experiences and – again – it sounds like the way that we experienced enlightenment/awakening/resurrection/etc. followed a similar trajectory, with a lot of the same elements. I think that the word messianic is a complicated word for a simple truth about humans. It has a lot of connotations and does tend to draw skepticism and resistance, because it is so loaded. You explained the simple oneness, the simple wholeness of it being ALL of us and EVERYTHING, very well.

      When I realized what was happening, I was angry that the people who claimed to care about didn’t seem to care much. I felt like they were denying me the validity of my birthright. I find that, thinking about that, I still feel hurt and angry by the kneejerk stupidity of coercive mediocrity and bland misery. To me, it felt like spiritual persecution and, in many ways, it was.

      (Deep breath.)
      (Sometimes I have to tell myself to breathe while I write, to calm and dissipate the force of the enraged and howling rant that rises up.)
      (I now think that I had to go through so much terribleness in the course of my reckoning, in order to learn what I needed to learn.)

      It seems like this is edging toward scattered and parenthetical afterthought.

      I’m glad you didn’t let go of your truth and conclusions. It is a lot to hold onto, though.

      Thanks so much for showing up ’round here. Feel free to drop by anytime, stay as long as you’d like. Say anything so long as it is true.

      *madness is, like, messiah, a loaded term. It deserves an essay on semantics.

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