photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com
A friend named Regina takes life seriously—to a fault. Her seriousness is a defensive posture, one that started when she was young and was in the position of putting out familial spot fires. She says that this established a pattern in her life in which she was always on guard, and was rarely relaxed enough to surrender to lightness and pleasure.
Now, as an adult, her husband is a notably responsible individual who takes care of many of the details of a smooth-running household, and who sees to her needs in a conscientious manner. Nevertheless, she still has difficulty relaxing and letting the little pleasures of life bring her joy. The result is that her home life is overly serious and seems more focused on being sure that “things go right” than on living in a relaxed, joyful manner.
What’s more, she sees this same pattern in all facets of her daily existence. Her work environment has become drudgery, and even her new yoga class seems so focused on the task at hand that there is a dearth of enjoyment.
Regina is familiar with the waking dream; she and I have discussed it repeatedly. She was the one who brought up the subject in order to fully understand what these dreams were trying to tell her. These dream scenarios are an aggravation to her and she would like to “change the dream” in order to bring more peace—and perhaps joy—into her life.
Regina’s dreams have completed their work. They have done what all dreams do: They have presented the dreamer with a snapshot of herself at the time the dream entered her consciousness. This is true of the most traditional type of dreaming—“sleeping dreams” that occur usually at night, with eyes closed and in a state of REM. But this process does not stop when we awaken in the morning. The dream symbols manifest themselves throughout our waking lives. They also are present in the most metaphysical experiences we have. Images from past lives, prophetic visions, out-of-body experiences, lucid dreams and visitations from deceased relatives and friends, to name just a few, are all chock full of dream metaphors. And ALL of them—without exception—offer us a glimpse of who we are at the moment we become aware of the dream.
Now, here is Regina, totally aware of her own dream. She understands it; she appreciates the message it is delivering; she would like things to be different. What is her next step?
The dream has done its job. Now it’s up to Regina herself, and so her work really begins. Basically, what she has to do is change a well-established pattern. She is dealing with a habit—like smoking—that has been part of her routine for decades. If she wants change, she will have to work for it. Fortunately, there are techniques designed to make her work easier. Neuro-linguistic Programming is an effective tool. So is “The Time Cure,” a technique pioneered by psychologists Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary & Richard Sword.
Mostly, Regina will have to apply herself to achieving her goals. And since she tends to take life seriously, she may well have success.