A Turtle Pisses On Dinner

Do you wonder why some of your dreams are just plain stupid while others are embarrassing or disgusting? Well, wonder no more! With Integral Deep Listening you can interview them and open up a world of growth for yourself!

Autobiographical examples always feel somewhat narcissistic, but they can be good examples while demonstrating that the teacher is human, just like you are. This is important to remember about all teachers and spiritual gurus.

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

1. Relevancy. You get older and you start to wonder if there is anything that you’ve done, anything that you are that really has any relevancy, particularly since no one is going to remember you or who you were or what you did soon enough. For most, it will be immediate, because you never meant anything to them anyway. For a few, there will be some tears, memories, and occasional thoughts. But for most of us we will be consigned to oblivion in a hundred years at the most, as if we had never lived. Any relevance that we had will be worked as a tiny thread into the fabric of unconscious human evolution. Even those who write books or create movies will only be remembered as who the perceiver thinks they were, never as who we ourselves know ourselves to be.
2. Acceptance. My sister’s lack of acceptance of me still comes up for me and bothers me.
3. Lack of focus. My writing is slow and not focused; I wonder if it is the best use of my time or whether it is just another vain, narcissistic pursuit that doesn’t add up to anything – just building cloud castles in my own mind, of no relevance to anyone. I suppose that boils down to self-doubt.
4. Self-doubt.
Tell me a dream you remember.  It can be an old one, a repetitive dream, a nightmare, or one that you’re sure you understand.

I have made some sort of thick soup in a bowl. It has a consistency of porridge. I am getting ready to cover it with aluminum foil and take it to a group of people as part of dinner somewhere else. My sense is that I am pleased with my culinary creation. A turtle is climbing on it, the size of a small tortoise, like you might find in the country or woods. I have warm feelings toward this turtle, as if he were a pet or a friend. He urinates all over the food, coating it with some film of thick pee. I vacillate between feeling disgusted and thinking, “With all the exotic ingredients in soups, who knows? Maybe this is a good addition.” I take a spoonful and it seems OK to me, so I wrap it up to take.
Why do you think that you had this dream?

This was definitely a wake up call, because the unorthodoxy of the image jarred me  not only awake, but into remembering it. Immediately the thought was, “That’s totally disgusting! What am I doing dreaming something like that?” My next thoughts were toward traditional dream interpretation systems that want to divide dreams into “high,” “spiritual” dreams and “low,” “meaningless” dreams. Some night-time experiences are inspired by the divine, by spirit while others are just brain piss: meaningless, irrational, a reminder of the primitiveness and stupidity of our consciousness at best and influences by nefarious other-worldly forces at worst. When I have such dreams it reminds me of why people either repress them, dissociate from them by saying they are from something “not-self,” or insist that they are meaningless. These are all defenses against what doesn’t fit into who we think we are and what we think life is about. So I had to fight against my disgust to remember and work on this dream. It still feels disgusting and meaningless as I write this, with a sense that if it does have a meaning it’s got to be something I don’t want to hear, something reminding me of how fucked up I really am, beneath all my delusions.

If this dream were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee?

A Turtle Pisses On Dinner

These are the characters in the dream, beside yourself…

Dinner, Turtle, Bowl, Piss, Countertop, Kitchen, People

If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?


Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are this or that character in your dream and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Turtle, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I’m climbing on your dinner because I’m your pet and I have free range in your life. I’m pissing on this because it’s something I do. When I want to piss, I piss. I don’t really care where I am or what others think.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I don’t care about being socially appropriate. I don’t follow the rules. I don’t care about what other people think. I’m natural, and it’s OK. It’s like dogs walking around naked. No one is embarrassed and tries to put clothes on them.

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

No. I’m a healthy turtle. I really don’t care where I climb or where I piss. If you have a problem with it, you can move me. If you let me wander wherever I want, don’t get an attitude or get surprised if I go places or do things you didn’t expect or don’t want.

Turtle, you are in Joseph’s life experience, correct?  He created you, right?  Turtle, what aspect of Joseph do you represent or most closely personify?

I am a natural part that doesn’t have a social conscience or any empathy. I don’t care whether you think something is appropriate or inappropriate.

Turtle, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

No. I’m just a turtle. But why not be a turtle? I have my place in the world. I’m alive right now. I won’t be at some point, but I don’t think about that, because I live in the now. Good things happen to me, bad things happen to me, mostly mundane things happen to me. It’s all life, it’s all experience. Does it matter whether I experience it as a turtle or as a rock or as a human? Which is better? Which is worse? Isn’t it better to be able to experience all of them? Well, I can, but I am more than content to be a turtle at the moment, and you could do worse.

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)
Turtle, how would you score yourself 0-10, in confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, peace of mind, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence: 10  What’s there not to be confident about?
Compassion:   0  I don’t think about others or care what others think.
Wisdom:   0  I don’t know. I don’t think in terms of wisdom, so I guess I  don’t have any.
Acceptance: 10 What’s there not to accept?
Inner Peace: 10 I am one with life. Because I have no fear about the future, I  am at peace.
Witnessing:   0 I am enmeshed with life. I don’t witness anything, nor do I  want to.

Turtle, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?

I wouldn’t pee on your cooking, because I would know that it offends you. So you would miss that wake-up call. Is that what you want? Is that what you need? Are you really sure you need more compassion, at least in this situation? I would be all-knowing, which probably means I wouldn’t be part of nature any more. Is that what you want? Don’t you see how your lack of knowing keeps you enmeshed in form where you can do some good and make a difference, however small or insignificant? If I witnessed everything I would be awake. Because I am a part of you, you would be awake. That would mean that you wouldn’t be dreaming. Is that what you want, not to dream any more? Do you think being awake is better than dreaming? Is dreaming inherently a state of delusion? Is delusion inherently bad? Is the dream of life a bad dream? Did I as spirit work so hard for eons to create this dream just so you can proclaim yourself as wiser than I am and no longer need it? Are you sure about that? Are you sure that isn’t simply a statement of the awakening of self to the game of life, like an adolescent awakening to the conditions of his birth, family, and society? The truth is that adolescents need those structures. Rebelling and dropping out are statements of ignorance, foolishness, and stupidity, not of any real witnessing, wisdom, or compassion.

How would Joseph’s life be different if he naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

He would care much less about empathy and compassion. These get in the way of his confidence and create self-doubt. I would suggest he not worry about them so much and trust me on this. He would not need or want to be wise. It’s a difficult thing to measure anyway, so why try? He would not put so much value on witnessing, like waking up, whether while dreaming or while awake. I think he’s awake enough for now. He knows how to witness more than most people, because he is willing and able to become me, for instance. This is not a deficit for him. I would have him focus on being me and my strengths: confident, accepting, and at peace. Forget about the rest for now. If he gets too far the other way, he will get self-correcting wake up calls which he knows how to listen to. He will then self-correct.

If you could live Joseph’s life for him, how would you live it differently?

As above, I would de-emphasize compassion, wisdom, and witnessing and emphasize confidence, acceptance (meaning in his case, self-acceptance), and inner peace.

If you could live Joseph’s waking life for him today, would you handle his three life issues differently?  If so, how?

1. Relevancy. Don’t think about it. It’ll drive you nuts. It’s out of your control anyhow.

2. Acceptance. My sister’s lack of acceptance of me still comes up for me and bothers me. This is where empathy is your enemy. Being me will help. Can you control whether others accept you or not?

3. Lack of focus. You need to write. It’s important. You just need to read over an interview or two before you sit down to do so.

4. Self-doubt. Asking you not to have it would be too much because it’s so deeply embedded in you. So it’s better for you to ask yourself how much self-doubt you want to have now.

What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of his life?

I would focus on being me and pissing where and when you want and not thinking about what others think about it. Again, emphasize confidence, self-acceptance, and inner peace and de-emphasize compassion, wisdom, and witnessing for now.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Joseph to imagine that he is you and act as you would?

When you start wondering whether you or anything you are or have done is relevant, be me. I don’t have that issue, so it should disappear for you then.

Wondering about your sister’s lack of acceptance of you is a lack of acceptance of yourself. How’s that working for you? Why not just be me, instead?

Read over an interview or two before you write. It will get you focused.

Ask yourself once or twice a day, “On a scale of 1-10, how much self-doubt am I feeling?””What could I do now to have more self-doubt?” That should do it!

Why do you think that you are in Joseph’s life?

To bring him the balance he needs by helping him see what qualities he needs to emphasize and which he needs to de-emphasize at present in order to speed his development.

How is Joseph most likely to ignore what you are saying to him?

He’s a creature of habit. He is asleep in a lifelong dream script that includes self-doubt, lack of self-acceptance, and some degree of anxiety. He tends to naturally gravitate back to who he has been.

What would you recommend that he do about that?

Reading over this interview will help him be more objective, clear, and focused.

I think Joseph had this dream because

He needs to learn to laugh about stupid shit instead of taking it seriously and reacting with horror or guilt.

I think this dream event happened or (some character) was in the dream because…

You are serving my piss to others because that’s a good way to look at your life and your work: turtle piss! And there’s nothing you can do about it except laugh about it!

What have you heard yourself say?

I was right in the dream but didn’t trust myself. It IS OK to let a turtle crawl on your food. It won’t hurt to eat turtle piss, as disgusting as that sounds. It won’t hurt to serve it to others, whether they know it or not. There are bugs and rat hairs in all the food they eat all the time anyway. It’s no big deal! The meal itself is quality. That’s the main thing.
If this experience were a wake-up call from the most central part of who you are, what do you think it would be saying to you?
Relax! Have fun! Laugh! Don’t worry! Believe in yourself! Believe in what you’re doing!
Comments on the interview:
It is literally true that when I want to piss I piss. As I get older I need to piss more often. I will go behind a building or a bush and try to be inconspicuous, but if someone sees me and takes offense, I’m sorry, but oh well. I know I’m not hurting anything, just maybe upsetting their sensibilities or sense of what is socially appropriate.
The Turtle says, “If you let me wander wherever I want, don’t get an attitude or get surprised if I go places or do things you didn’t expect or don’t want.” This is a pretty good description of our dreaming minds. They wander where we don’t want; we shouldn’t get an attitude when they go places and do things we don’t expect or don’t want.
Not caring what other people think, which is a lack of empathy, is generally regarded as an indication of an early to mid prepersonal level of development or else personality disorder, in particular narcissistic personality disorder. Does any of that apply to this turtle? I don’t think so. Because his consciousness has the benefit of mine, plus his own, his level of development transcends and includes my own. Because he scores higher in three of the six core qualities than I do, his level of development transcends and includes my own, at least in those areas. As far as the others, he has very clear reasons why he scores low in them, so maybe he’s actually higher in them than I am…So it is difficult for me to dismiss him as a non-empathetic natural, libidinal part of myself, like Freud, for example, would do. But if that is not the case, then I have to consider spirit and the transpersonal as non-empathetic and seemingly narcissistic. This is threatening, because it can be used to justify lack of empathy and narcissism in life and in oneself. Individuals and societies are afraid that without empathy both they and their social order will descend into chaos.
This turtle scores itself zeros in compassion, wisdom, and witnessing, yet he can’t be, because his consciousness includes mine, and I have at least enough of those things to know what they are. So what does that mean? That at some level of consciousness these things become meaningless? But how could that be if you haven’t mastered them? I don’t believe that this turtle has mastered them and I certainly have not. I would score myself maybe a six in compassion, maybe a seven or eight in wisdom, and maybe a seven in witnessing. But he gives himself a zero in each! He’s either lying or he’s a saint turtle, or else he just doesn’t relate to those qualities. That seems most likely, but what does that mean, to not relate to those qualities? Does that translate into a lack of them? I’m not so sure.
This interview shows how low scores in this or that of the six core qualities can be an indication that the dreamer needs to de-emphasize that quality for now, particularly if the character scores high in other qualities and doesn’t want to change.
There’s a heavy dose of crazy wisdom here. My life as turtle piss…So much for grandiosity. So much for narcissism…Laughing about the stupidity and absurdity of human striving for meaning and relevance is more fun, anyhow.
There is a powerful, profound message here about the nature and purpose of life:
“Did I as spirit work so hard for eons to create this dream just so you can proclaim yourself as wiser than I am and no longer need it? Are you sure about that? Are you sure that isn’t simply a statement of the awakening of self to the game of life, like an adolescent awakening to the conditions of his birth, family, and society? The truth is that adolescents need those structures. Rebelling and dropping out are statements of ignorance, foolishness, and stupidity, not of any real witnessing, wisdom, or compassion.”
What I hear turtle saying here is that it regards itself as one manifestation of spirit. It also is saying not to put too much value on waking up out of dreams. That is because dreams create conditions for growth and meeting self. If you wake up out of a dream you are no longer meeting yourself, you are separating and avoiding. You are no longer experiencing wake-up calls because you either don’t want to or think you’ve grown to the place where you don’t need them any more. Spirit questions whether that is true. It’s a paradox: generally, have confidence and trust your own judgment but don’t trust your own judgment when it comes to thinking you’ve outgrown the need to dream and to participate in delusion.

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