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At a recent psychic fair where I had a dream booth, a young man came up to me and wanted to know if I would tell him what his dream meant. He assured me that it was really short and that the analysis wouldn’t take any time at all: “Just a couple of symbols.”
I replied that, while I would be delighted to help, I couldn’t be the one to tell him what his dream symbols meant; that information would have to come from him; he would need to be involved in the process.
As with any recreational event, people come to psychic fairs for a variety of reasons. In many cases, they are curious and are drawn to activities and booths that seem to offer a service or a product that can be appreciated and enjoyed just by purchasing it.
Not so with dreams! Understanding dreams takes an effort on the part of the dreamer. Unlike a therapeutic massage where all you have to do is lie there and relax, the insights that come from understanding a dream result from a full participation on the part of the dreamer.
“My dream’s all about water,” this young man said. “Isn’t that a really common symbol?”
I assured him that it was, but pointed out that one’s attitude toward the symbol of water had a great deal to do with one’s upbringing, one’s religious or spiritual belief system, and even one’s own personal experience with water. “A person who has nearly drowned will have a very different attitude toward water than someone whose passion is surfing,” I explained.
With that understanding, this fellow agreed to participate, and told me his dream:
A tsunami dream
I’m standing on the beach looking out at a clear, beautiful day, when suddenly I see this giant wave—really a towering tsunami—that is barreling toward the shore, right at me. I’m shocked but I don’t do anything; I just freeze and wait. The wave crashes over me and I am tumbled around in all the turbulence. It’s pretty scary. But then, even though I’m still underwater, things start to smooth out, and I actually start enjoying the experience. Then, really to my surprise, I start breathing, and I realize that I can breathe underwater. I feel totally euphoric, really elated. And that’s when I wake up.
This is a common dream. Although the details vary, I have heard versions of it on many occasions. Still, the principle that I explained to the dreamer is valid: I cannot make a blanket assessment of what this dream is attempting to express to him. Water is a frequent symbol in dreams, but the meaning of water varies from person to person. Carl Jung would say that it is the archetypical symbol of the subconscious. Freud would argue that it has sexual implications. There is a spiritual teaching that describes God, metaphorically, as “the ocean of love and mercy.” And I have dealt with dreamers who have had accidents while swimming, who describe the ocean in nearly demonic terms.
We’ll get this dreamer’s own take on water starting on Wednesday.
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