I have repeatedly pointed out that the dream interpretation technique I use works not only with the traditional dreams one has while sleeping during periods of rapid eye movement. The technique also works to analyze upsetting or bizarre incidents that one has during the waking hours. These experiences are called waking dreams. A waking dream is an incident that often occurs in broad daylight while one is going about the normal business of one’s day. The experience is usually upsetting—or at least unsettling—and it has the quality of annoyingly staying in the “dreamer’s” thoughts even after the issue has been resolved. A common statement associated with someone who has just had a waking dream is, “I keep replaying the whole thing; I just can’t seem to get it out of my head.”
What follows is a classic example of a waking dream, one that we’ll spend this week examining. The dreamer is a young man.
I’ve been working on my MBA, and at times the stress is pretty intense. So when my brother invited me to come stay a week with him in a cabin in the wilderness, I jumped at the chance. When I was 13, I was totally into knives and acquired a bowie knife that I’ve had ever since. I have never once used the thing, but I thought it might come in handy, so I took it along on the drive to the cabin. Even there, it was unnecessary, so it got left in my bag when I got home. Now fast forward a few months, and I have to fly to another city. I figure, I’d better take some textbooks along to study on the flight, and I plunk them into my carry-on bag without lifting it first. The books are heavy so I don’t notice the extra weight in the bag. It’s the bag that my bowie knife was in.
I try to get on the plane and, of course, I get pulled out of the line when they see this lethal thing with its 7-inch blade. I get frisked. I get stripped. I miss my flight. They rip all of the linings out of my clothes to look for drugs. They have dogs sniffing everything. They grill me for hours. And NO ONE believes my story. I am locked up and then freed on bail. I go through the whole trial thing and am convicted. Because it’s my first “offense” I get off pretty easy. But I’m now a convicted felon. And who’s going to hire a felon to run their business?
While this young man’s arrest is probably not all that common an experience, I think everyone can relate to the nature of his upsetting incident; we have all had moments in life that were—to use a metaphor—bombs dropped in our laps. But this week, I will argue that these events are not designed to be cruel; they are designed to teach us. Stay tuned!
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