I have been working with a dreamer who is having two, simultaneous dreams. One of them occurred in typical fashion: while he was asleep at night. It was about being cut by glass while trying to climb a wall. The other, which we are analyzing this week, is a waking dream about an ongoing conflict with his teenage son.
The dreamer’s waking dream
We’re always butting heads. Geeze! It’s impossible. You should see this kid. He’s smart—great in math. He gets terrific grades. He’s got an innate ability to problem solve. And he’s a good teacher; he’s forever helping his classmates with their homework. I mean, I should be really proud of him. And I am. Sort of. But he keeps choosing all this artsy-fartsy stuff: ceramics, choir. He even took an elective in cooking. It’s like he goes out of his way to choose dumb stuff. My God! If he’d just apply himself where it counted, he could be in advanced placement classes and get into any college in the country. I mean, there’s a science club. There’s a competitive math program. There are lots of stimulating options at his school. But will he consider any of that? No. And it’s driving me crazy.
Revealing the metaphoric meanings in the dream symbols
Now we come to the “Tell me about it” part of the analysis. I ask a neutral question about each of the symbols, and the dreamer replies with the most immediate thought on his mind.
Tell me about…
Butting heads: We’re constantly fighting with each other.
Impossible: It’s a lose-lose situation. Nobody wins.
This kid: He’s nearly an adult. He’s my offspring, my son. He’s my flesh and blood.
Smart: A good brain.
Great in math: He’s analytical and logical.
Terrific grades: He performs well in school.
Good teacher: He knows how to help others understand difficult things.
Proud: Honored to be associated with him.
Artsy-fartsy: Frivolous, more fun than meaningful, lacking in substance.
Ceramics: Working with your hands to make things out of clay.
Choir: Singing with a group.
Cooking: Making food to eat.
Dumb stuff: Making choices that won’t promote him.
Advanced placement classes: Accelerated programs.
College: Higher education.
Science club: Serious learning.
Competitive math: Using his brain power while comparing himself to others.
Driving me crazy: I’m frustrated.
Even before restating this dream in typical fashion, you can see powerful themes running through the list. Skip the symbols on the left, like “butting heads” and “Impossible.” Just read the dreamer’s own remarks: “We’re constantly fighting each other. It’s a lose-lose situation. Nobody wins.” Particularly poignant is his remark about “Using his brain power while comparing himself to others.” Another telling comment that the dreamer puts in the frivolous category is “Making food to eat.” Especially when that remark is considered metaphorically, how frivolous can it be?
We’ll examine this more closely on Friday when we reassemble the dream and learn even more about what this dreamer is telling himself.
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