THE CROWD AT THE HEARTH OF THE SOUL
Individuality is never simple or one-dimensional. Often it seems as if there is a crowd within the individual heart. The Greeks believed that when you dreamed at night, the figures of your dreams were characters who left your body, went out into the world and undertook their own adventures; then returned before you awoke. At the deepest level of the human heart, there is no simple, singular self. Deep within there is a gallery of different selves. Each one of these figures expresses a different part of your nature. Sometimes they will come into contradiction and conflict with each other. If you only meet these contradictions on the surface level, this can start an inner feud that could haunt you all the days of your life. Frequently, you see people who are sorely divided. They are in a permanent war zone and have never managed to go deeper to the hearth of kinship where the two forces are not enemies, but reveal themselves as different sides of the one belonging.
We cannot embody in action the multiplicity of selves we encounter in our most inward meditations. But without a knowledge of these numberless selves our existence is severely diminished and our access to mystery is blocked. We are talking here of the imagination and its riches; too often we degrade imagination to a problem-solving technique.
We need to develop a new sense of the wonderful complexity of the self. We need thought models or patterns which are fair and appropriate to that complexity. When people discover their own complexity, they become afraid and with the hammers of second-hand thoughts they beat this rich internal landscape into a monoscape. They make themselves conform. They agree to fit in; they cease to be vivid presences, even to themselves.