Saturday, 30 July 2016

A Waking Dream About A Fall On A City Bus: Concluding Post



In today’s concluding post about a young man falling on a bus and hitting his head (He’s OK.), I want to explore further the idea that the dream experience doesn’t stop when we’re awake.

The structure of life
What do waking dreams imply about life? We make many assumptions: While we’re asleep, our imaginations, fueled by our subconscious minds, invent bizarre stories. Many of them make little sense and come to us in wild, fantastical scenes, like YouTube clips gone mad. Obviously, somewhere in the deep recesses of our minds, we created these things.

Then, while we’re awake, we deal with real life. It goes along in its mundane, sometimes frantic way. There are hassles, but they are manageable. Then, every once in a while, a real zinger comes along that throws us off balance. We find ourselves struggling simply to hold ourselves and our families together; we are overwhelmed. And the trouble is that these events—crises of health, finances, interpersonal conflicts, accidents—are randomly perpetrated on us by the mercurial nature of life. We have no control over them, and we are caught in the middle of them as victims.

Not so
Not so! Not so!! Not so!!!! This is a myth, one that is so ingrained in the human consciousness that we take it totally for granted. Until we are willing to step back from these preconceptions of how life works, we are stuck in this illusion, constantly allowing ourselves to be persecuted by it.

The fact is, we have a great deal of control over these unhappy events. Why? Because we made them up in the first place. They are dreams—waking dreams—and they are the product of our own subconscious minds. They come to us not in order to make difficult lives even more intolerable, but to teach. They come to highlight internal conflicts that we are struggling with. Often, they do this by simply describing the conflict back to us. But in doing so, if we are aware enough to pay attention, we see our dilemmas held up in front of us. Even from that small distance, they are often clearer and easier to grapple with and find a solution to.

These waking dreams do not come to us to torture; they come to assist. Once they have done their job—helping us to understand a conflict—they go away. The trick is to start looking at life with this in mind. These events tend to begin gently—the equivalent of a wake-up slap. If they are ignored and the issue is important, they return, this time more like a punch in the nose. And if they are still disregarded, they become ruthless, expressing themselves through major issues, like chronic or terminal illnesses, financial ruin and other catastrophic events; they try to force our awakening; that's how they work.

For many, the above represents a radically different way of looking at life, but one that brings long-lasting, peace-inducing benefits.   

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Friday, 29 July 2016

A Waking Dream About A Fall On A City Bus: Post #3



This week I am doing an in-depth examination of the waking dream phenomenon. I am using an incident that happened to a young man who tried to exit a moving bus. He had his hands and arms full of packages for his girlfriend’s birthday. The driver had to brake suddenly, and the young man hit his head and was knocked cold. (He has since fully recovered.)

When we worked on this waking dream together, the symbols told a story of someone in such a hurry to celebrate a milestone in his life that he wasn’t taking the time to insure his own safety; he was acting before he was ready to act. It turned out that this is a chronic, long-term issue with this dreamer. What follows was his comment on the subject: “You know, the weird thing is, I knew all that. I kept telling myself that I needed to slow down, but I ignored my own warning.”

Waking dreams versus sleeping dreams
It often comes as a surprise that there is very little difference between the often-bizarre images that appear to us in our dreams during sleep, and the unsettling incidents that happen to us when we are wide awake and going about the normal business of our day. Both kinds of events come unexpectedly. Both tell a story that is directly relevant to an issue that the experiencer is grappling with. Both leave a lasting—often upsetting—impression when they are addressing important issues. And both speak in the universal language of metaphor.

In the case of a sleeping dream—one we have at night during periods of rapid eye movement—it is relatively easy to dismiss the odd, implausible images that we are left with: “It was all just a fantasy made up by my own subconscious mind.” That’s true; it was. And so we shake it off as “just one of those things,” ignore it, and go on with the business of our daily lives.

That’s usually a mistake, because if the message the dream had to offer is important, it will be repeated. And the next attempt will use a method of communication that is more emphatic than before. For example, instead of coming as an unsettling dream it can come as an outright nightmare—still during sleep. Or, if it is really time to understand the message, life will switch arenas from night and sleep to daylight and being awake. It’s not so easy to dismiss a concussion received after falling on a bus as an invention of our subconscious.

The trouble is that, even in those cases, we take them at face value and neglect to look at the metaphors they contain. Life is being mean to us, we say. Not True! Life is trying to teach us, but we are oblivious to the message coming our way. As with the young man on the bus, the message was delivered once before in a gentler fashion, but it was ignored.

More tomorrow…

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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A Waking Dream About A Fall On A City Bus: Post #2



This week I am skipping my usual examination of every dream symbol because I want to address other aspects of the dream phenomenon. Scroll down to any of my prior posts to follow a step by step approach to dream interpretation.

A hurtful waking dream
While this week’s dream tells an unpleasant story, please know that the young man to whom this incident occurred is fully recovered. I am using his mishap as an illustration because such experiences happen to all of us, and they have a purpose in our lives. We are not simply the victims of the random meanness of life; these events are designed to warn us about not being true to ourselves.  Here’s the dream:

Well, I have my own car, so it’s not as if I can’t get myself places. But there’s a really convenient shopping district right close to where I live, and I like to take the bus because it avoids all the parking hassles. Anyway, I was doing some shopping for my girlfriend’s birthday and had just gotten on the bus to come home. We were getting to my stop so I rang the bell, and before the bus stopped completely, I got up and started walking down the aisle to exit. Both my arms were full of packages. Just before the bus stopped completely, the driver had to brake suddenly. I went flying and hit my head on the box where you insert your payment. I was knocked out cold. They had to call the paramedics and everything. I had a concussion.

An overview of the dream
We’ll spend the rest of this post getting an understanding of this dream’s message. Then the posts on Friday and Saturday will be devoted to an in depth look at the waking dream phenomenon in general.

The themes of this dream are not difficult: avoiding the use of his own “vehicle”; preparing for a celebration; not waiting until it was safe to move; unable to protect himself because his arms were full; being stopped cold in his tracks; needing to summon the medical staff to revive him.

During our discussion he said he tends to be in a hurry in general. He doesn’t like to wait for things. We talked about this “celebration” he was preparing for, one that involved a milestone for his feminine self (girlfriend). He related how he had recently gotten some insights, especially at work, about how he had been dealing with his co-workers in counterproductive ways. Now he had begun to make changes, and it was having a positive effect. But, as usual, he was moving too quickly without carefully taking into consideration all of the consequences.

And then came the following telling comment which is one I hear frequently from the people I do dream work with: “You know, the weird thing is, I knew all that. I kept telling myself that I needed to slow down, but I ignored my own warning.”

More on Friday.


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