Iranian (Persian) Cultural Dreams
I am not Iranian by birth, but recently I started hearing a number of dreams by Iranians. I have written somewhat on the Chinese and some of how their culture plays out in dreams so I thought it would be good to share what I am observing in Iranians. The first thing that I have learned from most Muslim cultures is that hospitality as a value is placed extremely high in the hierarchy of virtues, so much so that it often becomes a show of the ego, rather than a spiritual quality.
This is a dream sent to me by an Iranian Baha’i. The Master in the dream is the son of the founder of the Baha’i Faith, Abdu’l Baha, who is regarded as the perfect example of how to live a spiritual life.
There was a feast and the Master entered the place while He had a black robe on. It was very beautiful. I felt shame and thought that I did not deserve being there then. After a while, I saw Abdu’l-Baha with a worn white robe; some torn spots could be seen on it. He sat just opposite me. The first thing that interested my attention was His beautiful eyes. Later, I saw those beautiful eyes in one of His pictures. As He was sitting, He called me to Himself by His finger; He indicated that I go to sit on the empty chair beside Him. I still felt shy, but I told myself, “do not hesitate; go!” I started going, but all of a sudden I saw a heavy table barred the path. I managed to overcome and continued walking. I recall well, it was so heavy and I tried hard to move it. Then, I sat beside Him. He hugged me and I put my head on His shoulder, cried and wept a lot.
So the goal of the dream is to get closer to Abdu’l Baha or in symbolic terms to get closer to one’s best spiritual self. And this also is the purpose of hospitality. When you have the quality of hospitality, you invite people into your home or into your life, allow them to feel very comfortable so that they have the feeling that your home is their home while they are there. In Spanish it said as mi casa es su casa. The Spanish, of course, were heavily influenced by the Islamic culture for several centuries.
The problem in the dream is the heavy table she has to cross to get to the Master. It is the heavy table she has to cross over to get closer to others, to her spiritual self, or to anything she holds very dear. What is the heavy table? A table is the place where you serve others food and beverages. Heaviness means that there are a huge number of expectations that go along with the serving. Hospitality is a value that comes to people especially women with a lot of heavy expectations in Muslim cultures. Somewhere in the over-preparation the purpose gets lost, worry and stress take over, and it is a big should rather than a feast of love. So what happens in Iranian culture is that what is meant to be the coming together of people often ends in the avoidance of judgment by trying to impress and get other’s approval. I am sure that it is not what Muhammad had envisioned about hospitality.
Fortunately in the dream she reaches her goal which means that somewhere along the way she is going to shed the heavy burden of expectations and realize that the goal of every meeting is to ignite a candle of love. At some point she may just have to throw the dishes on the floor and say, “enough.”