In my early 20’s, I was a Naval Officer serving in Rota, Spain. I loved just about everything about Spain and its culture. It was very colorful and musical, it’s people were very warm and giving, and the world came alive there at night! There were even trees there that bloomed at night and sent fragrances out into the night air. While being in Spain brought me a great deal of happiness, it was also a place in which I felt great loneliness as a result of being far away from those I loved (this was before the internet or cell phones existed, and phone calls were extremely expensive). So, I spent a lot of time in my thoughts and feelings. When the heart and mind are working so closely and intensely together, such as they were for me, it will sometimes open another door – one that transcends time and space. To put it another way, I began also having, what I would refer to as, mystical experiences there. In addition to these experiences (which perhaps I will write about in future posts), I also experienced a moving and symbolic dream – one that has remained with me almost 40 years. It starts with a wall.
In the dream, I was walking down one of the many amazing hidden-away streets of a Spanish village, and in the process, stepped into a store. For reasons I don’t recall, I stopped shopping in this store, and found myself proceeding to walk through a back wall in the store – not through an opening or a door, but literally, walking through the wall! I suddenly found myself in what appeared to be underground stone passageways in which white-robed hooded figures occasionally passed by. The next thing I recall is being in a small room with two men and being the subject of a conversation between them. At the time, I thought to myself they reminded me of Greek or Roman gods, because of their striking facial features and hair. While I don’t recall much of the conversation, I do recall that the dream ended with one of them asking a symbolic and meaningful question of the other about me (meaningful, because this same topic has come up again in other periods in my life), and then the person asking the question extended his hand to reveal to me three symbols resting on his palm. The dream ended, and I immediately forgot the symbols – to this day I still cannot remember them, and therefore do not know of their significance. In this instance, the image of a wall in my dream was concealing an unseen world filled with mystery and symbolism that requires further exploration.
I had another unusual encounter with a wall in my mid-50’s in Egypt. This was an actual experience, and not a dream. In this case, I was visiting an ancient site and had the strongest desire to climb on top of an outside wall and run to the end of it behind the site, so that I could see something on the other side of it. I was hot, I was tired, and it was completely out of character for me to do such a, somewhat, juvenile thing……but there I was. Suddenly, I was on the wall, and walking very quickly. I could hear the Egyptian men no doubt yelling in Arabic for me to get down, but it was like I was on a mission and had to keep going. Finally, my “by-the-book self” came back as I snapped back into reality, and I quickly jumped down from the wall. I never made it to the end, so I don’t know what I had been so eager to see. That will remain another mystery for me. In this case, the image of the wall was almost like a roadmap leading towards something it wanted to reveal. It wasn’t serving as a window or door to another world (as in the dream), but rather, it was now showing me where I needed to be going, and it was taking me there.
We utilize walls all the time. They provide shelter and protection (as in homes, or in internet “firewalls”), and sometimes provide us with a sense of peacefulness (as in religious or spiritual structures). Walls can also be used as barriers (as in keeping people in prisons or hospitals, or separating us from nature or from each other). And no one today has given us a more striking image of a wall than Donald Trump! In fact, it is almost impossible today to say “wall”, and NOT think immediately of Trump! Because “the wall” is so central to who he is and what he wants, I believe there is a great message hidden there – something we need to look at more closely.
Symbolically, it is possible that he may be keeping great secrets hidden from public view. It is also possible that symbolically, he is providing an image of intentional and enforced separation of ideas and values and cultures. His constant focus on “building a wall”, however, may actually be mirroring the fact that we collectively build our own walls all the time – we build walls around our hearts to protect us from hurt, we build walls around our lives to keep us safe physically and financially, and we build walls around our ideas so that we can’t listen to the differing experiences and understanding of others. I know that I have built many walls in my life – many that I have spent years building – many I am still building – and I have also been nudged through my life experiences to pay attention to the walls (which I don’t always do so well) – to see what may be on the other side that needs to be revealed. In the end, walls prevent us from knowing who we truly are and deny us the possibility of being who we truly are.
Trump’s focus on “a wall” mirrors back to us the need to transcend our walls to see and understand what is hidden so that we can begin making a more positive impact individually and collectively.