Harm’s End or Boyz II Men?

By Douglas McElheny

Dreams, in addition to showing things going on with you as an individual, can also give you a look at a bigger process such as a household or an organization. I had a dream recently that I felt was of this nature that was showing the process of our house Harm’s End. Here is the dream:

 I’m with two of the members of Boyz II Men. Myself and another black guy have been hired to fill in for the other two members who have quit the group. It’s just for one show, and we’re practicing a song for the performance. Later I’m with one of the regulars from the group at a restaurant, and I’m laughing and telling him how funny it will look for a white guy like me to come out with the three of them who are black. Joking I tell him that I should tell people I have the disease that turned Michael Jackson white.

 For readers who don’t know, my friend Donny and I are living in a large multi-apartment house in India with five Tamil youths (four male, 1 female) all in their late teens or early twenties, and the main focus of our house currently is the maturation process of these youths into adults, a process aptly and somewhat humorously mirrored by the symbol of Boyz II Men in the dream. The waking reality, like the situation in the dream, is also unusual since it’s two white Americans guiding five Tamils into adulthood with all seven of us sharing the same house in India as a family unit. Definitely not something you see everyday.

The fact that in the dream the arrangement is only for one show is interesting since both Donny and I feel that this type of work is only a temporary situation, and not our true calling nor what we feel the divine ultimately wants Harm’s End to be about. We feel that the purpose of Harm’s End is to be what, for lack of a better idea, you could call an ashram in the midst of life, a place where people can work on going beyond ego consciousness, and ending the harm they are doing both to themselves and their environment.

As it stands now, the youths in our charge are preparing themselves for a normal human life with no aspiration for anything higher. There is one though that we feel has the potential to reach for something higher, but it may be a long time before he’s ready to make that kind of change. So our house really is more Boyz II Men than Harm’s End at the moment, but at some point it appears that will change. When and how that happens is impossible to say, though Donny and I are both looking forward to moving beyond this phase of things. People in this age group are tough customers, and it gets even more wearisome when they’re actively resisting growing up and maturing the way our kids are doing to varying degrees. Donny and I are well aware that even if Harm’s End does evolve into an ashram in the midst of life, it doesn’t mean that the other people involved won’t be hard to deal with, but it will make a difference if those people have or are nursing a divine aspiration, and are actively trying to be sincere and honest with themselves. For that reason, though we do care about our charges, I think Donny and I probably won’t grieve when this Boyz II Men phase of things comes to the ‘End of The Road.’1

 Notes
1. This is the title of a well known Boyz II Men song and their first international hit.

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