With this presidency you may feel you are in the midst of a nightmare. The crucial question is, do you know how to work with nightmares?
According to the late dream expert and author Jeremy Taylor, who worked with dreams for over 40 years, all dreams come in the interest of health and wholeness. All dreams—including nightmares, which bring information so crucial and urgent that they scare the bejesus out of us to get our attention.
This presidency nightmare is no different. It is offering us exactly what we need at this precise moment to grow and evolve as a species. But first we have to be willing to look at what is happening beneath the contentious headlines to discover the deeper wisdom being offered us.
So let’s do some dream work, shall we?
Working with the Trump Nightmare
On center stage of this nightmare stands the character of Donald Trump. If you take him at the literal level you may see him as an arch villain bringing out the worst in us.
But dreams don’t operate at the literal level. They operate at the symbolic and metaphorical level―and they pretty much always turn the tables on what we assume to be true.
So if this were my dream (and of course it is), rather than a villain, I would want to explore how Donald Trump is playing the role of a spiritual teacher. I’ll explain what I mean.
First and foremost, spiritual teachers help us see and transcend ego, enabling us to shed the ego’s illusions so that we can awaken to the truth of oneness and our infinite nature.
The character of Donald Trump is functioning in my dream as a spiritual teacher of the highest order because he is showing me in unmistakable terms what ego looks like. After all, if I don’t know what ego really looks like, how can I ever hope to transcend it?
Although the nature of Reality is the complete oneness of Love, the ego is constantly bombarding me with fake news—endless variations on its cornerstone belief: separateness is real. This fake news, if I buy into it, creates in my mind an illusory world of fear, division, domination, and death, a world where big walls and big guns make perfect sense.
By allowing me to witness ego in such a caricatured form, my spiritual teacher is helping me see how ego seeks attention, believes that greatness rests on wealth, fame, and the ability to dominate, and perceives itself to be greater than others. (Consider for instance the name of this character in my dream. Trump—noun: a suit that ranks above all others. To trump—verb: to outshine, upstage, outdo. The very definition of ego.)
By depicting ego in such an unbridled fashion, Donald Trump is giving me the tools I need to detect these same tendencies within myself—even though they may show up in subtler forms—so that I can begin to free myself from them.
My spiritual teacher is also impressing upon me the urgency of shedding this egoic thought system by showing me where it will inevitably lead me: into animosity, division, blame, exploitation, violence, suffering.
If this were my dream (and, like I said, it is), my spiritual teacher is placing before me a straightforward question: Do I want ego sitting in the Oval Office of my own executive function?
Dissolving the Nightmare
Now this is where the teaching of Donald Trump, blessed be his name, becomes truly sublime. He is caricaturing ego to such a degree that he is practically begging me to see through its act entirely and opt out of its drama completely.
Witness his brilliance:
Only ego attacks. In fact, outside of the ego’s illusory world attack doesn’t even exist. So if I allow myself to be duped into attacking my spiritual teacher, who is so graciously showing me what I need to see in myself, if I respond to him or his followers with anger, ridicule, hatred, or blame, I have in fact installed ego in my own Oval Office. I am choosing to keep alive the fallacy of separateness and ensuring that the nightmare continues.
But if I can see through my teacher’s theatrical ego-charade to see the divine radiant Being that he truly is—a Being who has taken it upon himself to conceal his true nature even from himself in order to help me awaken—and if I can begin to see that that same divine radiance is my own true essence, then I will have learned what this nightmare has come to show me. The fallacy of separateness fades away, the nightmare dissolves, and the angels rejoice.
The Global Dream
But let’s zoom out for a moment, because this nightmare isn’t just your personal dream, nor mine. 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 to understand in order to transform as a country and a world.
In the world’s dream, the United States has long been the Donald Trump of nations, and our spiritual teacher is helping us finally see how we must appear to others—believing we are exceptional, and that our economic and military might give us the right to call the shots in all world affairs.
Is it any wonder that such bravado would evoke attack from others who are caught up in the ego’s illusory world of hatred, division, and violence?
But what might happen if we were suddenly to realize that we are collectively under an egoic spell? What if it suddenly dawned on us that only in dreams does greatness reside in riches and military might? What if we suddenly, laughingly, woke up to the truth that our greatness lies in our inherent capacity to embody and express the Reality of Love?
Our collective dream would change in the twinkling of an eye. We would understand that we are on this planet as an interdependent community of equals, and Donald Trump, supreme teacher that he is, will have accomplished his sacred task.
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This article, originally published May 2016, was updated July 2019. It has also been published on the Huffington Post and Medium.