Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner


Originally posted on June 14, 2011

I woke up from a dream, and on and forgetting the rich eventful-ness of what was going on in the dream, I experienced a pang of grief-loss. I sensed that dream  was still engaging my interest, though I couldn’t say why. Dreams have that power. Then another frame of reference kicked in: I’ve learned to notice discrepancies as messages from my higher wisdom, my guides, whatever—the point being that this could be a learning moment.

I fantasize that my platoon of angels are always dealing me hints as to how to evolve. Every night they feed me dreams, but are seemingly infinitely patient. When I get it, that’s when I get it. This feeling of “too bad I forgot” was one I’ve felt many times before, but finally I got curious: What is that feeling about? I mean, I forget 99.99% of my dreams, even if I remember a few percent for a while.

I have a role in my psyche that I call “Uncle Bud”—he used to be my superego, my harsh conscience, but I’ve figuratively sent him to management training school and now he is most gentle—yet firm. Sometimes he acts as a translator for the aforementioned guardian angels, a focus for my inner psychodrama. I asked, for example, if this insight was meaningful, that I should notice the illusory nature of the pang of regret at forgetting a dream. He replied, simply, “Yup.” (He can be so effective and non-directive this way.)

Through inner dialog with Uncle Bud, I realized that this feeling is just sentimentality, clinging, holding on, masked by the sense of pity. It’s a part of the realm of illusion, the Goddess-spirit Maya, the pervasive tendency of mind to generate and become immersed in illusion. (I recently gave a talk on illusion, posted as a webpage on my website.)

A term occurred to me: sentimental-osis, as if sentimentality could be a mild dis-ease. It was very common, of course, and as I contemplated this idea I saw how it could become a significant driving force in nostalgia, collecting, hoarding, and many other human behaviors. Unrecognized and unchecked, it could become problematical, perhaps deserving the term sentimental-itis.

Feelings such as “it’s too bad,” or “what a pity,” are close to “if only.” I glimpsed at this overlapping with the realms of illusion, myth, and other aspects of nonrational mind. I became aware, also, that this in turn was part of the category of illusions and stories we tell each other that can add to our greedy-grasping at life—exactly what Siddartha Guatama (aka “the Buddha” or “Enlightened One”) warned against.

As my mind was distracted by these ponderings, the angels granted me a bit of a reprieve. Memories of parts of the dream I had forgotten a few minutes earlier flashed into my mind. Another part of me noted the irony: I had forgotten it, and I couldn’t remember it as an act of will; then, poof, there it was, or at least several scenes that I could associate to forward and back in time, just a little. Now isn’t that interesting?!

Then I realized that “they” were granting me yet another lesson: What is this feeling of relevance, of something being “interesting”?  It occurred to me that here is yet another type of sentimentalosis—one that I am peculiarly prone to.  (These insights come as a sort of inner dialog, with part of me acting the role of kid, saying, “Nuh-uh!” and another part the wiser self: “Oh, yes, it is!” I flashed on the idea that as much as 83% of my possessions, my books and papers and notebooks and cassettes, might all be part of this sentimentalosis. Uncle Bud verified this: “Yup.”

I realized that I’ve been “living” 1.83 lives and there’s only really room on this material plane of existence for 1.0 life. The other 0.83 life is all what if, and maybe I’ll get around to it, and you can’t throw that out I might need it. If my life were empty, there’d be more room for all that stuff I’m going to get around to using, but my life continues to be full. Nudge from Uncle Bud: “Own it, you keep filling your life with things to do.”  Yeah, but what if I can’t do that, what if it all gets empty? I am realizing that’s crazy talk.

I thought, “I’m too old and wise to be wrestling with these disorders.” Uncle Bud replied, “No, you needed this much time, experience and accumulated wisdom to be ready to integrate this next step. Go ahead, notice your own subtle—well, not so subtle—sentimental-osis, and how it’s a big part of your life challenge, your “dharma,” as they say in India.”  I heard my little kid part whine, “Aww, I don’t want more challenges,” and Uncle Bud replied in a gentle but firm way, “Tough, you got ‘em, so join the human race.”

He then said, “You can write about this condition on your blog—that’s a good sublimation.” Being respectful of my guardian angels and their representative, I replied, “Yes, that’s what I’ll do.” Bud: “Good, you do that: It also helps anchor this whole contemplation so you don’t forget it like that dream fragment. Har har har.” So here it is.

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