Dreams to Grow On

John: So I see myself wandering about on a dusty dirt road, walking up and down, just pacing, very confused. Two young ladies that I know come out from their house; I guess they were out sunning themselves because they’re in bikinis. They see me in the road and they kind of think it’s humorous. They seem to decide that they’re going to have some fun.

They come over to me to see what I’m doing and to tease me a bit. I find myself glad to see them. It is as though I need someone to talk to about this state of confusion I’m experiencing. Maybe they can help me sort it out.

My confusion stems from my being thrown around inside by the dreams I had the night before, and it’s put me in this disoriented state. I usually can hold onto some energetic or something tangible, but that wasn’t the case last night.

I tell them this and they seem offended. They were looking for the communication to unfold in a different way. So, I say, “Well what confuses me is that I always thought that all the dreams a person has in a given night were related.”

That statement surprises them; they don’t seem to care about dreaming. But it does seem to cause them to wonder where I’m going next. So then I ask “May I share some dreams with you?” Well, this isn’t what they had in mind and I can see them flinch. I try to make the best of this by saying, “I know, someone else’s dreams are not very interesting.”

I can see this makes sense to them, but it isn’t quite right either. So then I say, “No, that wasn’t it. Unless they are one’s own personal dreams, listening to someone else’s dreams leaves something to be desired.” But that wasn’t quite right, either.

They’re not really getting it. They just don’t seem to be interested no matter what I say. Well, I’m still confused, so I grab my notebook to tell them what it is that’s throwing me around. I want to go through a dream to give them a hint of what I’m talking about.

But I find that I’m unable to read what I wrote, let alone figure out what page I’m on in the notebook. So between fumbling for the dreams in the notebook, and my disorientation, I wake up.

Isn’t that a strange dream?  It’s a great dream though.

So, what does it mean? I think it’s saying that the process of dream work becomes more difficult when there are distractions, whether internal or external. Even in the dream process, as you go along and try to hear the dream, you still have distractions, distractions between how you understand the symbolism and the dream itself.

You don’t necessarily go straight to an understanding of the depth that is going on behind the scenes of a given dream. And because of the distractions, and our lives are filled with all types of distractions, it makes it even more difficult for anyone to find time to dwell on dreams. Everything else seems more interesting.

In a sense, a dream is a distraction of a distraction; one that a person has chosen to carry. Unless a person chooses to let go of the other distractions that are very personal to them – the more ego-based aspects of life – until they’ve chosen to do that, dreams are shut off to them because the guidance in dreams is basically the enemy of the ego-based life. The dreams are trying to guide a person out from that way of being.

Of course, for some people, dreams do open up and they’re able to recognize that there is something much more to dreams than the surface activities. That’s only one level of dreams. And what happens, as one gets further into the inner process of dream work, is that it challenges the way you are going on with yourself. It challenges you to be more in tune with the connected, more universal aspects of yourself.

In other words, a dream gives us access to other parts of ourselves that are not reachable when we remain veiled by the established patterns and personal identities that we’ve choose to portray to the world.

Hardly anyone wants to make the shift into such a state of personal awareness, because it can be scary and upsetting. It’s easier to fall back on the patterns in our life we tend to lean on for security and comfort. If we get the idea that the dream world comes to us at the expense of our ego-based notions, that’s not a choice many people are willing to make.

The reason I had a dream like this is that I’ve been wondering how can this alchemical process (of dream work) ever become something that interests, or clicks, with others? How will others see it as something that they can use as a way to realize much more for themselves in their lives?

I really hope that other people can discover that, in order for their lives to be more real, this inner dynamic part of them needs to come alive. We all have an inner awareness that is trying to wake us up. It tries every night. But unless we accept the importance of this process for personal development, we won’t understand why the images and scenarios that we experience during sleep are worth dwelling on. And to dwell on our dreams in an instructive way means we need to quiet the distractions of the outer life.

If we want to base our life completely in the material world, it cuts us off from our inner world. It should be the other way around: the processes of our inner life should be supported by what we do in the outer world. When we make that shift, so much more becomes possible.

Forward Movement

John: Right behind that dream, or right with it (see Don’t Agitate Them), I remember I have been talking with a young girl, a teenager, and I’m making allowances for how she is acting, because she’s the type that you might see on American Idol – they have a certain way of perceiving themselves that is totally unrealistic.

You’ve seen them on the show – whatever Simon Cowell says, they dismiss it. They don’t want to take it to heart because they have a very different view of themselves. While Simon Cowell is judging their musical ability from the standpoint of a professional, he’s willing to slap them down if they act too precocious or conceited. It usually comes across in the way their voices get too pitchy or they pick inappropriate songs.

So, you know, I’m probably not as harsh as Simon Cowell, I’m a little more accommodating in how she is just trying to be recognized or appreciated. Of course that doesn’t help a person grow. They just end up using it as a means to rationalize how they are. I come to see that when I have to leave.

So I’m probably never coming back to this place, and I’m sitting on a bench. This girl is sitting on my left and there’s some boy on my right. I’m talking to the boy and ignoring her, because I’m resisting her psychological demands of wanting to be seen and recognized and get all the attention. I feel that I don’t have time for that.

I’m about to leave, so I’m talking to the boy, and I can sense that she feels slighted. It’s like she’s not getting her rightful goodbye. I don’t see how my paying her attention would serve any useful purpose. It’s not going to make everything okay, and I’m basically never going to see her again.

I feel those types of insincere actions are flat and meaningless, and won’t do either of us any good.

Can’t she see that, and accept that, given the nature of the circumstances? You know, we’re not in a scenario where that can go anywhere.

So, this dream is similar to what we discussed yesterday. The boy and the girl are merely different aspects of me. So again we find that I am in a situation where I am ready to move on – I’m about to leave. But I’m not quite able to make a clean break of it.

Like the hornet’s that followed me in yesterday’s dream, I’m again not completely available for what’s next, because before I leave I’m stirring up some old agitations or mannerisms that I carry within me.

So even though the dream seems influenced by the American Idol show, it has really only taken that experience and used those images to tell me a very different story – a story that’s an insight into my inner workings. It would be easy to see the dream as the story of an older and wiser man snubbing a young girl for whatever silly reasons, but that’s just a surface scenario.

When we move on in life, it usually is a sign that we are letting aspects of the past fade away, and that we are ready for new experiences. But we know from real experience that we always bring our inner workings with us, wherever we go. They’re not so easy to leave behind. So that’s what I see these dreams as showing me. That even though I have done the work, I’ve made progress – in both cases I’m leaving to somewhere else – yet I’m still capable of letting old agitations rise up again inside me.

The hornets could represent a certain type of inner agitation, and in this dream the young girl shows a certain preening nature that could be associated with the feminine aspects. This speaks about outward appearances seeming more important than they really are. We may never be able to completely let these inner workings go, but it’s important to be aware of them. Especially because to be truly conscious means that we need to rise above those ego-based notions in life.

Don’t Agitate Them

John: In this dream I’m cleaning up an outdoor area – it’s kind of like an outdoor patio. The house inside is empty, and I eventually realize that it has already been cleaned up. As I’m working on this patio area, I see a huge hornets’ nest, and it’s built in a square shape. It looks dormant but, you know, I’m not 100% sure.

So I figure if I’m going to clean the area, I can’t leave this eyesore hanging there. I take a shovel, just initially to test things, and I whack it with the shovel and cut into it a little bit. I might have even knocked a small chunk off. It surprises me how hard the nest is.

All of a sudden, a couple of hornets come out. So, uh oh. I know how badly hornets can get you, so I run into the empty adjacent house and I try to close the doors behind me. I go from room to room to block the attack of the hornets.

There are still only a couple of them, but my imagination is that there could be a lot of them. I only see two but who knows. At some point, I duck down into the garage and close the basement door above.

As I come down the steps, I can hear voices so I think, okay, now I’m stuck. I can’t go back up because the hornets will get me, so I’ve got to continue on. It turns out it’s not the owners of the house I’m hearing, but two cleaning girls who have already cleaned upstairs and now they’re working on this area.

That relieves a certain concern that I must look like a trespasser, just running around this property. I mention that there are hornets up there so they might want to be careful. They don’t seem to be concerned. I wake up as I’m looking for a way out, thinking that I’ve eluded the hornets.

Well, the dilemma is that a part of me, when it comes to a certain aspect of life involving the outer physical reality, feels like I’ve paid some dues and moved on. Yet there are still things that can come after me. There are still hornets, so there are still agitations that can come over me.

The house is empty – it shows I’m moving on. There are just a few details left. So even though I’m cleaning up the last area, I end up leaving behind a bit of something that’s quiet now, yet can be agitated, i.e., the hornets’ nest. The nest isn’t alive and buzzing with thousands of bees. There are just a couple. I’ve come a long way, perhaps, but there are still hornets that can be stirred up.

It’s almost like joke in some ways, or even a warning that the work is never done. It can be seen as part of an ongoing process, but it also disturbs.