[A revised version of this post can be found on the Huffington Post.]
When I was in seminary I studied dream interpretation with dream expert and author Jeremy Taylor. One of Taylor’s foundational principles in doing dream work is that all dreams come in the interest of health and wholeness.
All dreams, even nightmares — which are bringing information so important to our wholeness that they scare us to get our attention.
Working with the Trump Nightmare
With this election cycle, you may feel you are in the midst of a nightmare. Whether you experience it as a frightening curse or as a great blessing depends on whether you are willing to listen to and own the information it brings. So let’s get started doing some dream work, shall we?
On center stage of this nightmare stands the character of Donald Trump, whom you can see as an arch-nemesis, or a supreme spiritual teacher. My guess is you don’t need much help seeing him as the former, so I’ll focus on the latter: Donald Trump as a supreme spiritual teacher.
In dreams, each element or character symbolizes something in your own psyche. This spiritual teacher, Donald Trump, has made an appearance in your dream to show you in blatant terms what ego looks like.
The ego is nothing but a part of your mind that inverts reality, like a lens inverting the light that passes through it so that an object appears upside down. Of course, reality can’t truly be inverted—only your understanding of it can—which means ego is simply an idea you believe in, a lens through which you choose to observe yourself and your world.
Why do I say ego inverts reality? Because it upholds illusions while denying all that is true. The ego believes in separateness and denies oneness. The ego believes in fear and denies love. The ego believes in death and denies the permanence of life. The ego believes in hierarchy and denies the truth of reciprocity.
Thanks to Donald Trump you are able to witness the ego in a caricatured, exaggerated form. You are able to see how the ego seeks attention, how it perceives itself to be greater than everyone else, and how greatness for the ego rests on wealth, fame, influence, and the ability to dominate others.
By depicting the ego in such an unbridled fashion, Donald Trump is giving you the tools you need to detect these same ego tendencies within yourself, even though they might be present within you in subtler forms.
But he doesn’t stop there. Your spiritual teacher is also helping you see where the ego eventually leads: to animosity, division, blame, projection, violence, disregard for others. He is presenting you with a rare opportunity to decide for yourself whether you really want to elect the ego to sit in the Oval Office of your own executive function.
Now here is where Donald Trump’s teaching, blessed be his name, becomes truly sublime, demanding that you really step up to the plate of your own spiritual maturity. He isn’t simply giving you the chance to decide whether you want ego sitting in your own personal Oval Office. He is pushing the envelop so far that he is practically begging you to see through the ego act entirely. Let me explain what I mean by that.
Only the ego attacks, and the only thing it can attack is another ego. In fact, outside of the ego’s inverted, illusory world attack doesn’t even exist. So if you attack your spiritual teacher, who is so graciously showing you what you need to see in yourself, if you respond to him with anger, hatred and blame, you have in fact elected, inaugurated and installed ego in your own Oval Office.
But if you can see through your teacher’s ingenious, theatrical ego-charade and see the divine radiant Being that he truly is, a Being who perhaps for your own benefit has been willing to cloak itself, even to itself, in order to help you awaken, and if you can begin to see that the same divine radiant Being is your own true Self, then you will have learned what this nightmare has come to show you. When that happens, have no doubt, the angels will rejoice.
The Global Dream
But let’s zoom out for a moment, because this nightmare isn’t just your personal dream. This is a national nightmare, a global nightmare, a collective dream. So let’s listen to what it is telling us about what we need in order to heal as a nation, and even as a world.
In the world’s dream, the United States is the Donald Trump of nations, and our spiritual teacher is helping us see how we must appear to others—believing we are better than they are, and that our wealth, influence, and military force make us great. Is it any wonder that such bravado would evoke attack from others who are caught up in the ego’s inverted world of hatred, division and violence?*
But what might happen if this Donald Trump of nations were to suddenly see through its own ego act? What if it came to realize that this exaggerated ego that likes to call the shots, flex its muscles, and flaunt its wealth isn’t its true nature?
What if it saw that its greatness doesn’t reside in riches or military might, but rather in its capacity to know and express right side-up reality: that we are all on this planet as an interdependent community of equals?
If that were to happen, the world’s dream would change in the twinkling of an eye, and Donald Trump, peace be upon him, would have accomplished his task. How, then, could we be anything but deeply grateful that he has deigned to be among us, helping us open our eyes to what we truly are.
*The theme of ego taking shape as empire is something I explore in more depth in the fable No One in I Land, available on Amazon .