Friday 19 August 2016

A Dream About Breathing Under Water: Post #3

This week I’m looking at a dream about being buried by a huge wave while at the ocean. You can scroll down to my last two posts to follow the discussion.

The dreamer and I isolated and discussed the symbols, coming as close as possible to a metaphoric understanding of each one. Now it was time to reassemble the dream in its new version. We would take every symbol, and while restating the dream, replace that symbol with the dreamer’s metaphoric description of it. At the same time, I would insert phrases such as, “There is a part of me” or “inside of me” to remind the dreamer that all facets of his dream are aspects of himself.

Below, the dream is stated in its original form. This is then followed by the reconfigured version:

The original wave dream:
I’m at the beach, wading in the ocean. I’m wet just about up to my shins. Suddenly a huge wave—like a tsunami—comes crashing down on top of me, and I am completely buried by the water. I flail around for a while and wonder if I am going to die. But I never panic; I am never afraid. Then I start breathing and realize that I am fine. I have nothing to be alarmed about.

The wave dream retold as metaphor
I am in a place within myself that is on the border between where I can live and where I can’t. I am getting my feet wet. I’m in this place within me that is vast and powerful. Sometimes it feels like its own life force, like it’s alive. Suddenly there is stress. But this stressful part is also awesome and definitely bigger and more powerful than the rest of me. All at once I am completely immersed—totally submerged. I can’t get away; it has me under its control. It’s all a part of myself that I can’t live without. It’s essential. It gives me life. I’m not sure what to do to get myself out of trouble and in control again. I have the thought that this could be the end for me. But I stay calm and thoughtful. I find that I can take in air that I need to survive. That’s when I begin to be hopeful again. I have had no damage done to me. There’s nothing to worry about.

The first thing to notice about this dream is that it is not foreboding. It does not have that quality, so frequent in dreams, of warning the dreamer about a needed course correction. Instead this dream amounts to a progress report; it’s really a report card. The dreamer is being told that he is experiencing the stress of discovery as he becomes aware of the part of him that is “awesome…a part of myself that I can’t live without.” He’s not being threatened; he only needs to learn that “There is nothing to worry about.”

We’ll continue and conclude this discussion tomorrow.

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