We’ve been exploring the lucid aspects of a French horn player’s dream about performance unpreparedness. Now it’s time to look at that same dream from the perspective of its symbols:
A French horn player’s dream
I was at a concert, about to perform with the Symphony. It was shortly before it was time to go onstage, and I realized that I had left my horn on the piano in my studio at home. I thought about driving home to get my horn, but I realized that I locked my car keys and my phone in the car, so I couldn’t go home, and I couldn’t even call my wife for help. That’s when I woke up.
Isolating the symbols
We’ll start by choosing the words that are the dream’s symbols. One way to do this is to pretend that the dream is being dictated to you and you have to quickly write down the most important. Your scribbled notes might look something like this: concert, perform, symphony, shortly before, time to go onstage, horn, left behind, piano, studio, at home, locked keys, cellphone, car, can’t go home, can’t call wife.
Looking for the metaphors
Now we take that list of symbols and try to understand each word in its most metaphoric, universal meaning. Sometimes the metaphor is obvious. The word “cellphone” for example implies communication, contact or staying in touch. Other symbols are less obvious, like the word “horn.” For those symbols—and, in fact, for all symbols—asking a neutral question like, “Tell me about it,” is often enough to bring the metaphor into prominence. Let’s try it.
Tell me about…
Concert: an organized event with music—with beautiful sound
Perform: my participation in this event
Symphony: a group of people who get together to make music
Shortly before: not quite time
Time to go onstage: The moment has come to begin
Horn: my special instrument for making music
Left behind: accidentally abandoned and inaccessible
Piano: It assists me in practicing
Studio: the place where I practice
At home: where I live
Locked keys: can’t get to what starts my car
Cellphone: How I contact others for important messages
Car: my vehicle for getting around
Can’t go home: I’m stuck—immobile
Can’t call wife: I can’t contact my partner in life
Reassembling the dream
The next step is to retell the dream. But now, instead of using the original symbols, we replace them with the words or phrases that the dreamer used as descriptions in the section immediately above. We’ll also add phrases that remind the dreamer that all symbols in a dream represent aspects of the dreamer himself. So, for example, the first phrase in the original telling of the dream was, “I was at a concert.” This will be replaced by a sentence something like, “I was at a place inside of myself where I was having an organized event with music—with beautiful sound.”
In my next post, we’ll do the whole dream in this way.
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