That was the case with a social worker who had a dream about getting into a physical altercation with a homeless man. This dreamer has devoted his life to helping those who are down and out, and to have a dream in which he picked a fight with a destitute man was really upsetting to him. He had to be reminded—as I so frequently remind my readers—that dreams are not to be taken literally. Although the imagery of this dream was unsettling to the dreamer, its only reason for being offensive was to be sure that the dreamer brought the images all the way back from his subconscious into his awakened consciousness. As we will learn as we examine the dream in the next few days, “homelessness” in this case means something entirely different.
A dream about a homeless man
In my dream I’m out for the evening with my wife. We are going somewhere in the downtown section of our city—maybe to a nice restaurant, although that’s not really clear. We come to the entrance of the establishment and have to climb a flight of stairs because our destination is on the second floor. We climb a few steps and are suddenly confronted by a homeless man who is standing in our way. I ask him please to move, but he becomes belligerent. Because I am with my wife, all of my protective male instincts suddenly come into action. I threaten the man, and when he acts unimpressed, I grab him by the collar and literally throw him down the stairs. I look down and see him lying unconscious and bleeding, injured from the fall. Next, my wife and I are running from the scene. We get back to the car and are driving away. But even though this is the city, we find ourselves on back, unpaved country roads, trying to see out the windshield into the murky darkness. I feel fear and an adrenaline rush. Then, in the final scene, I am walking along the corridor of a hospital. I look to my left, and there, lying in a hospital bed with an I-V tube hooked up to him, is the homeless man. He is cleaned up, shaven and in a fresh, clean hospital gown. Seeing him makes me feel strange and unsettled—hopefully he will get better, but I'm guilty and ashamed.
Dreams are about the dreamer. As you ponder the storyline above, try to imagine what aspects of the dreamer might be symbolized by a belligerent homeless man.
More on Wednesday.
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