Review: Our More-Complex Relationship with Life
In my last post, I ended by saying that the waking dream “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.”
Some Dreams Come From Our Subconscious
Let’s explore this some more. When we awaken in the morning remembering a dream, it seems that the source of the images we experienced during the night is obvious: We made them up out of our own subconscious minds. Our imaginations went wild and came up with a whole series of pictures that left a vivid impression on us. Now we examine these images, separate ourselves from their emotional impact, stop trying to deal with them as literal, and see them as metaphors. That’s when we discover that they contain important messages directed specifically to us and to our current circumstances in life. Wow! Our subconscious minds are awesome!
That’s a great theory. But here comes the crack in the veneer (to use a metaphor).
The Waking Dream
We now introduce the waking dream. Suddenly, it is no longer images from our subconscious that are filtering into our lives. Instead, the so-called “objective” events of our waking lives are delivering the same kinds of metaphoric messages to us from outside of ourselves! How can that be?
A frequent explanation is that we are projecting our own thoughts and emotional needs onto the world around us. I agree. That is a really big part of the waking dream experience. Here’s an example: Two people—one happy, the other despondent—see a puppy trotting down the sidewalk. The first person thinks, “Look at that cute puppy! It’s adorable!” The second person thinks, “Look at that unattended puppy! It’s only a question of time before it gets hit by a car.” Each person projects his own mood and world view onto the puppy.
But I can assure you that there is much more to the waking dream than the projection of attitudes onto life. Here are some snippets of actual waking dreams that illustrate what I mean: A woman, sitting in her backyard, watches in amazement as an eagle swoops down and lands on a tree branch less than 6 feet away from her. A man in a store, minding his own business suddenly gets run over by an out-of-control motorized wheelchair. A family, enjoying a weekend morning together is terrified as a small private plane crash-lands into their garage.
None of those cases was the result of “projecting attitudes on life.” In each case the witnesses were minding their own business, and their thoughts were completely divorced from the sudden, upsetting incident.
What is going on? Stay tuned, and we’ll explore this some more.
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