photo courtesy of premanandyoga.net
Two weeks ago my wife and I had dinner with friends whom we hadn’t seen in a while. We were enjoying our evening out with this couple—I’ll call them Regina and Abraham—when Regina began talking about the striking similarities between Abraham and her new yoga teacher. She is familiar with the concepts of the waking dream; she’s even read my book Always Dreaming. Nevertheless, I think this was the first time she had recognized a waking dream pattern in her own life. What follows is her side-by-side comparison of Abraham and her teacher.
Regina shares her observations
My new yoga teacher’s really nice, and there’s no question about it, I’m learning a great deal from him. But after a few sessions, I noticed other aspects of his personality that remind me a whole lot of Abraham. In the first place, they’re both all business; it’s really hard to engage either of them in just chat. And so there’s always this sense of a narrow focus that doesn’t leave much room for casual conversation or interaction. Then I found out that the yoga teacher is partially colorblind. That kind of blew me away, because so is Abraham. They both love music. And it’s hard to get either one of them to laugh. You can tell a joke or an amusing anecdote, and you can see that they enjoy it. But neither one of them is likely to come right out and guffaw—or even chuckle. This is all so weird, and I know it has to do with your dream work. I’d love to know what you think about it.
My first response
Since my wife and I have known this couple for a long time, I knew of other areas of Regina’s life that she has described in the past, ones that neatly matched up with her description of both her yoga teacher and her husband, Abraham. So I took the liberty of asking a loaded question: “So Regina, tell me! How’s work?”
Regina describes her employment environment
Oh my god! It’s so narrow and full of busywork. The old supervisor left, and I was hoping that would lead to a new person in charge who would offer a refreshing change. But no such luck. The atmosphere is so strict it’s almost punitive. There’s favoritism and plenty of backbiting among the employees. We all feel so maligned and underappreciated. All the little niceties that can make or break an office are missing. Nobody brings snacks or treats. Nobody even talks about mini-celebrations during holidays or to honor somebody’s birthday. The whole atmosphere is depressing.
There is no question that, of Regina’s three descriptions, the most negative one is her assessment of her work environment. But if you stand back and look at what it is about work that she objects to, you can see the similarities between that, Abraham and her yoga teacher: There is a narrowness of focus. There is a lack of lightheartedness and humor. There is the absence of socializing for its own sake.
I didn’t have to point this out to Regina; she made the connection. But the question was: Now what?