This week, we’re looking at a waking dream about a potential, romantic encounter in the workplace. A young man was powerfully drawn to a co-worker during a business meeting. (As a reminder, a waking dream is a startling or unsettling experience that happens when the person witnessing it is wide awake.)
Isolating the symbols
It’s now time to begin the process of dream interpretation. As you read the waking dream below, pretend that you are hearing someone tell you the dream orally and that you are taking shorthand. Decide what you consider to be the important words or phrases.
One day, I had a casual business meeting with a coworker about a project we were both involved with. We’ve had occasion to interact on our jobs for a couple of years, and we work well together. There has never been more than a friendly association. But suddenly, during this meeting, I began to feel an attraction that had never been there before. It was so intense, it made my participation in the meeting really difficult. I doubt if the feelings were returned. At the end of the meeting I felt confused and fairly overwhelmed. I couldn’t get her off my mind. I began to fantasize all kinds of things—including erotic ones that made me ashamed since I am happily married. Mostly, I didn’t know what to do about any of this, and I felt completely overwhelmed about my own ambivalence. Part of me very much wanted all this to stop. Another part of me seemed to be reveling in the fantasy.
The dream symbols
Compare your list with the one that the dreamer and I came up with while working together. He made almost all of the decisions, and what follows is his list of symbols:
One day; casual business meeting; coworker; project; interact on our job; a couple of years; work well together; only friendly; feel new attraction; intense; difficult to participate; feelings not returned; felt confused and overwhelmed; couldn’t get her off my mind; fantasized; erotic fantasies; ashamed; happily married; didn’t know what to do; overwhelmed; ambivalent; wanted it to stop; reveling in the fantasy.
I suspect your list looks similar to the one above. You might have emphasized one or two symbols a bit differently, or worded things in an alternate way, but I would guess that, essentially, your list looks like the dreamer’s.
The next step
Now it’s time to “translate” these symbols into their metaphoric meanings. Dreams—whether they are waking dreams or sleeping dreams—speak in the language of metaphor, and it is up to us to decipher that language. It means thinking beyond the literal definition of the word or phrase. It means asking questions like, “What might the phrase ‘casual business meeting’ imply in a more general sense?” A casual business meeting might suggest informality while attending to affairs, or it might imply insincerity. It might suggest inattentiveness.
On Friday, the dreamer will tell us what these symbols mean to him.
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