I want you to study the Book of Lament
In the dream I’m a student at a Bible College. I begin to leave the central area of the College to follow the other students into a large lecture hall. As I leave, the Dean of the Bible College intercepts me. The Dean has gold plate embedded in his forehead and alongside his eye.1 The Dean asks; ‘Where are you going?’ I say; ‘I’m going to study mission.’ The Dean replies; ‘I want you to study the Book of Lament.’
I ponder the dream. ‘Mission’ is the ‘collective task’ of the ‘Bible College. 2 However ‘the Dean’ (the Self) has other plans. Studying the ‘Book of Lament’ is to become a personal mission. But what is the ‘Book of Lament?’ It takes years to comprehend. Finally I work it out.
The ‘Book of Lament’ contains the grief of all who are caught in a ‘collective’3 way of being. From the Self’s viewpoint ‘the collective’ is the great catastrophe of human history.4 The soul laments because it is unable to connect with the Self, and thereby fulfil its destiny.
‘Woe! Woe!’ the seraph cries
Jerusalem falls to a ladder of lies
‘Weep! Weep!’ the angel laments
Jerusalem’s bought for dollars and cents
‘Hope! Hope!’ the trumpet blasts
Where prophecy sounds… Jerusalem lasts
‘Seek! Seek!’ the base note pounds
In hearts of fire, Jerusalem’s found 5
1 The gold around the Dean’s forehead and eye and his numinous character indicate ‘the Dean’ is the Self.
2 I once studied at a Bible College. The ‘mission’ of the college was to teach an evangelical understanding of the bible. The Self sees this as ‘collective’ rather than ‘personal.’ It’s ‘collective’ because it’s a ‘group’ way of understanding the bible. In contrast the poet William Blake developed ‘an individualised Christianity.’ Blake interpreted the bible in creative and artistic ways which remain highly influential.
See Saying 226: ‘An individualised Christianity.’
See Saying 257: ‘I used to be a trumpet player’ (William Blake).
3 Jesus talked about two paths; the wide and the narrow. The wide is the collective. The narrow is the personal. The way of Self-realisation takes a person beyond the collective path and onto the personal.
4 The Self is the archetype of individuality. As such it is diametrically opposed to collective ways of thinking and being. The Self’s archetypal imperative is to free people from the collective and connect them to the life of the Divine.
5 ‘Jerusalem’ is the ‘City of God;’ and as such, symbolises the Self. Jerusalem also symbolises humanity in harmony with the Self and all Creation. The poem depicts ‘Jerusalem’ under siege from the powers of the collective.
Meditation: What for you is ‘the Book of Lament?’ How do you experience it? Can you see ways of leaving?