‘Garlic’s imprint’ holds many limitations

A friend dreamed she could not swim well in water, and had to return to the shore or face  peril. It seems, the dream reflected her real life. (See “tobeme.”) She said she was not a very good swimmer, and she wondered why — even in one’s dream — we impose such limitations on ourselves?

I told her about a spiritual teacher who described this dilemma in a different way, using a piece of garlic as an example of a “delusion” that one can learn to remove from his or her eyes in order see a much brighter and clearer pathway in the world.

Losang Samten, a Buddhist monk, once spoke about “delusions” and “imprints,” and . . . [how one could go about] . . . ridding oneself of . . .  limitations.

He compared one of them [a limitation or a “delusion“] as a piece of garlic that had been stored in a small jar for a long time. You could get rid of the garlic by digging it out along with any roots or extra growth that might have developed, and throw it away.

 But you would still have what he called an “imprint.” The “smell” of the garlic would have left an imprint. And that would take longer to eradicate, to end.  

Having wisdom to see this, helps one realize that long-standing habitual actions leave such an “imprint” on all of us. We need concentration and a joyful effort to remove the stink.

 tibetanbuddhistofPhiladelphia 2010

8 comments on “‘Garlic’s imprint’ holds many limitations

  1. tobeme says:

    Love the story of the garlic. This is an excellent lesson. Glad that you found inspiration in my dream. Have a blessed day!


  2. kim says:

    Speaking of dreams that limit you, I often have the dream that I can’t understand what people are saying. I took American Sign Language for awhile, and the same thing happened only I couldn’t understand what they were signing. I think it’s kinda funny actually. These are my dreams– I’m making up the dialog, right?– and I can’t understand. Why would I dream this? I think it’s just a night time reflection of the frustration I feel at not being able to communicate easily.

    Even though garlic stinks, the blooms are quite pretty. Maybe it’s just best accept the good with the bad.


    • contoveros says:

      I will look at the garlic blooms the next time I see a bulb to check out the flowers. Will think of the smell the next time I bite into a slice of pizza sprinkled with garlic powder. . .

      michael j

      Don’t know the answer to limitations in dreams. Why can I fly? How can I ride on the back of a dinosaur? Who is shooting at me? (I think I know the answer to that last question, but who can really figure out a dream?)


      • kim says:

        Riding on the backs of dinosaurs? Symbolically that has to mean something. Heaven knows what! lol


        • contoveros says:

          Drempt I was riding on the back of a “long neck” dinosaur, one of the gentle non-meat eaters from the animated movie “Little Foot.”

          He dove into water and I held on as he swam and climbed out with me still riding him.

          It was exhilarating! Wrote it in my journal, one I kept for 6 weeks of dreams before starting this Blog. Might have to track the notes down to see what else I recall.

          Was it Bogart who asked about “The stuff that dreams are made of . . .?”


  3. pcadams says:

    Thank you, Michael. Yes, I am working on this! It does indeed require concentration and a joyful effort.




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