The Set Up

John: My next dream is actually very unusual. I live on the 18th floor of a condo building. Some friends live in the end unit, and I have the unit next to them. It must be close to the top floor because I can see eaves or gutters or something like that above.

It’s a very windy night and you and I are inside the apartment. When I glanced out the window earlier, I noticed that the gutters seemed loose. Now when I look at them I see that they’ve broken away from the building at the corner apartment.

I go out on the balcony in an attempt to secure them before they get completely blown away. I’m hoping to keep them from being blown off during the night; in the morning we might be able to figure out something else.

So, I’m out there. I have a vice grip to work with, and I’ve got a rope attached to the gutters. I’m going to try to clamp it down so that it doesn’t keep ripping and pulling.

While I am out on the balcony, in the wind, late at night, near the top of this tall building, to my surprise a man climbs up, by scaling the outside of the building with some device, and he’s a repairman! I don’t know what he’s there to do, but it’s to fix something else that’s broken.

It’s a strange time to be fixing something else, but there he is and I’m very relieved. I’ve been making this awkward stretch that’s a little precarious, and he adds some sensibility to the situation. I get his advice on how to stabilize the gutter, and he asks me if I’m aware that I’m under the observation of two telescopes? I’m being watched from a distance!

He describes where the telescopes are situated. It’s a warning. He says that I need to be careful because I’m being watched in order to set me up. I don’t know what he’s talking about. Why would someone want to set me up? I’m out there trying to fix something.

Then the dream shifts, but I’m still carrying the distraction of the “set up” comment somewhere in my nature: What in the heck could that possibly mean? I couldn’t just let the gutters get blown away, could I?

Now I’m with my neighbor from the end unit and he says, “Do you know that when you are gone I sit in your seat?” Just like the repairman’s comment, this statement seems equally bizarre. Why should I care? I don’t know what to make of it.

My neighbor then indicates that the part of the gutter that had blown loose from his roof had done so a long time ago and been repaired once. That’s what’s torn loose again and he’s not at all concerned about it.

What this dream is showing me is the futility in trying to maintain outward appearances. It’s saying, things are happening and nothing can really be done about it at this time.

In other words, there’s a process unfolding. Things are breaking down. Do I fight it, or am I just delaying the inevitable? The idea that “someone cares” is a concept I hold onto that keeps me trying to fix things.

If someone cared, the gutter would have been fixed properly the first time (then this might not have happened). As it is, I’m holding myself back when I struggle to maintain things – I limit my freedom.

I think it’s because what I see as a problem that needs resolving is actually my attempt to maintain old patterns and ways of going on that are no longer valid. In that way, I’m fooling myself and it’s like a setup. In fact, I’m being watched to see how far I’ll go to hold onto what I’ve got.

My neighbor’s attitude is liberating. He let go long ago and shows no stress over the matter. I can’t help but realize that I lack a sense of carefree balance; I’m making trouble for myself by struggling to hang on.

It’s interesting that after this dream I settled back and got the repeat of an image from earlier in the night. This image is one of celebrated chaos. Something has given way and people are in the street rejoicing. But it’s only the poor who are celebrating – they’re the ones with nothing to lose.

Everyone with something to lose is still trying to hold on – they’re not free to rejoice. That’s how we get trapped in prisons of our own making.

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