Sometimes I think my inner world resembles a basement filled too overflowing with all kinds of things. Some new, others old and moldy; useful tools though they are often buried under layers of chaotic junk. I get lost sometimes, so many images floating to the surface; faces, scenes, emotions, rambling thoughts, and irrational episodes of anger coming from deep within. Really it is a miracle that I can walk at all without tripping.
When trying to fall asleep scores of faces or scenes come into focus, at other times I see vast fields of people standing shoulder to shoulder, images perhaps that come from books long forgotten or movies from the distant past. I don’t mind really, kind of interesting. Some faces turn demonic probably some manifestation of my deep interior where my rage lies, though as I get older it is weaker, but now in a tight black ball demanding that I finally deal with it and become free. If that is so I can understand why the faces are so distorted, for rage can do that at times. I am grateful that I have been able for the last 60 years to slowly deal with it without too many people being hurt.
I also have an inner world that I have created over the decades, it seems to grow as I do, with different themes being played out. The images are 3D but I always know that it is a world of my creation and not real, at least in the way the world of consensus reality is real. For years I thought something was wrong with me, but after talking to some learned friends, they told me that this was a good way for me to process, perhaps it is like writing, what I am doing at this time in my life, or perhaps overdoing.
Dreams, I have too many, as soon as I fall asleep they come, though I am lucky that I don’t have many nightmares anymore. Well very rarely if truth be told. When young, before I was ten, I had them every night, with music, green fog, and zombies trying to get me. Perhaps zombies are citizens of our unconscious; fear of death or perhaps something else. In any case, when I saw the “The night of the living dead”, when I was 12 or 13, I thought, “Wow, they are just like my dreams”.
For me the outer world is painted with brush strokes from the inner, though in reality they are both one, I just need to use terms to get some kind of hold on them. My friends sometimes tell me to stop looking inside so much, but in reality I am not looking, it is all just there; not sure it is good to be the way I am, though I have yet to sink and not come out.
It is not the same for all, we each walk over an inner abyss
of memories, desires, joys and sufferings,
we all seek not to be swallowed,
lost in an inner maze with no way out;
though a lucky few
seem oblivious to this reality,
at times I envy them their inner peace.
Of course I have always felt God’s immanent presence, pursuing me, perhaps that is what keeps me and others sane, knowing that in the inner chaos there is the Presence, eternal, loving healing, journeying with me. In any case, the reason that atheism has never made sense to meis my experience of the living God, for some an illusion, for me rock bottom reality.
Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO