The implications of the Waking Dream
I want to explore what it means to acknowledge the idea of the waking dream. In the past few weeks I’ve analyzed two of these events—startling incidents that happened while the person experiencing them was awake. These two were about cars: a car crash on an icy road, and earlier, a car hood flying up while the driver was on the freeway. But waking dreams can be about anything in life.
Which Are the Important Waking Dreams?
The important ones tend to “stay with” the dreamer. That is often because they are unpleasant in nature—like a nightmare. Any life event that is startling, or frightening, or notably odd is worth examining and interpreting.
These kinds of things happen to us all: A freak mishap that has consequences—like a fire or a flood in a home. A sudden dispute with a long-time friend. A frustrating medical issue that won’t go away. An unexpected court case. The breakup of a long-term romantic relationship. In all these kinds of instances there is a sense that, first, they ought not to have happened. Second, they become the overwhelming preoccupation of the person who has experienced them.
How to Deal with a Waking Dream
In both of the examples I gave in the past couple of weeks, the first job of the participant was to deal with the situation objectively. The woman whose car slipped on the ice had to walk away from the wrecked car and get help. The man whose car hood flew up on the freeway, had to pull over and secure it.
Each of them then took the incident a step further and made an extraordinary discovery. Once the practical concerns of the immediate crisis were dealt with, the participants then took the time to analyze their upsetting experiences as if they were dreams. In each case they were amazed to learn that they had been given specific insight and instruction on an important issue in their lives. The woman in the car crash was especially moved by what she learned and was instructed to do. (See my last series of posts with the car crash photos.)
Were these coincidences? I can tell you that in the 30+ years I have worked with dreams, I have found that the “messages” that are delivered by these unpleasant waking events are consistently insightful and important.
What Does That Say About the Dreaming Process?
If this is true, it implies that we dream during the day and that, somehow, we have a relationship with our daily lives that goes far beyond what we think. Our daily lives are much, much more than the objective experience we usually consider it to be. It seems that hidden in the odd and upsetting events we experience, there is a constant and constructive communication process going on.
More to Come
We’re going to explore these thoughts for a few more posts. Please feel free to share your own insights.
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