John: In my dream, I’m in the habit of going to an area where I can get a bowl of milk and cereal, as a snack, after each meal. Instead of going on to chit chat and relax with other people, or doing some exercises, this habit has taken hold of me.
As soon as I have a free minute, I indulge in this habit. I don’t really need the milk and cereal as much as I think I do, it’s just become a repetitive pattern. Someone has left the cereal out on the table, and I can’t seem to say no.
I don’t know when I started this habit, but I’m addicted, having to repeat it and repeat it. By doing this, I not interacting with others in a healthy way. I’m not giving myself any appropriate outlets for expression. All my free time is shut down – it’s consumed by having to indulge.
Because I’m not socializing with anyone, I get so I can’t even see myself doing anything other than repeating this pattern, as if I’m in a trance. At the end of every meal I ignore any other options and just beeline over to the cereal and milk. It doesn’t matter if I’m already full – I still need to top it off.
Slowly, however, this pattern starts to change. To begin with, it has always been there and no one seems to pay any attention to it. The milk and cereal have been at my disposal. Now, as time is progressing, I’m starting to notice that my satisfaction, which I’ve taken for granted, is starting to fade.
Others are also starting to indulge. Perhaps someone else already is partaking of the cereal, or the milk will be half used. However, I still continue to do it because there’s always something left there to eat. It might not be as much as it used to be, so it gives me a sense of reprieve, or pulling back, while the feeling of satisfaction is less and less.
Finally the day arrives when everything that I have come to rely upon is empty: the cereal box is empty and the milk carton is empty. The place I go to is still there, but all that’s left is the clean up. There has been an indulgence, and no one has cleaned it up.
I realize that when I used to indulge, I also never cleaned it up. I just took what was there because it was at my disposal. All of a sudden, at that moment, I realize that I’ve been an indulgent pig, never cleaning up after myself, simply expecting the food to be there, and shutting everything else off because I had this pattern of entitlement. But now it’s all gone.
At that moment I suddenly see clearly how I have behaved, and I do an about face. I realize that I don’t need the cereal, I only thought I needed it. So I throw away the empty milk carton and the empty cereal box and I clear up all the other rubbish. I recognize that this is it, there can’t be any more. I can no longer shut myself off from the larger aspects of the flow.
Just like that, it’s over. And, instead of sulking, I notice that I’ve cleaned up the entire space so no one else (including me) can come back looking for something left behind. At that moment I realize that I now have the time to take in what is there – to socialize with others and to quit being inhibited by habits that cause me to shut down.
Tomorrow, we’ll discover the shift that this dream is pointing toward.