Learning to Cope

Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali

We’ve all had dreams that find us going from one type of off-kilter scene to another and nothing ever seems to work out. Here, John breaks down the five segments of his dream that begin with his difficulty in finding a seat, and end up with him (now changed to a woman) nearly being accosted in a deserted area. As he shows, each step tells him something about his relationship with himself, and with the world around him. And because the situation gets more serious in each step, we know that the message that his unconscious is delivering needs to keep getting louder and louder so he’ll hear it. (At the end of this post there are instructions and a link to download this recording to your computer.)

John: The next dream has a five part series to it that’s there to show that I am not at home in my environment, because I am not comfortable with the space I am in, in the following ways.

The first way is, I’ve arrived with you at an eating establishment, and we’ve arrived late. It’s a place that serves hamburgers. And the hamburgers have already been fixed up, and they’re set at a place that we just pick them up, and there’s three hamburgers left.

And they were just on the verge of throwing them out when we arrived, so they’re barely warm. And so you get one and I take one, and maybe half of the third one. And then from there, I go over to get some ketchup and that’s when we get separated.

So I go back and I sit at a table by myself. And, of course, we’re in a place where others have gathered for some common purpose. But I don’t know anybody. And you’re sitting at another table. Suddenly, I see you over there and I decide to go sit with you, but I’m shocked to learn that—and this table that has maybe eight or nine people—that the place next to you and across from you and around you, maybe there’s two or three people sitting there, but all of the tables are saved. And so, I go back to where I had been sitting.

I mean these are five part sequences. The first part was the hamburgers and then something about going to get ketchup as a type of indulgence, in terms of eating the hamburger, created kind of a break or a separation. In the second part, there was a type of rejection, or mood or something or mannerism that existed, so then I have to go back to sitting by myself.

And then in the third part, when I leave, I leave on my own to go back to where I am staying. I do not remember just where that is at. I take a bus and what is on this bus are upper classmates, who decide to test the newbie, the underclassman. So, they ask me about the program I had just attended.

They first ask if it’s okay, you know, because I’m kind of sitting off in kind of in an alone space myself, and these guys are all upperclassmen that shuck and jive and know each other. So they first ask if it’s okay if they intrude on my space, or if I’m just shy about everything. And I say, “No, it’s okay.”

And so they start asking me questions and I proceed to tell them that the program for the first couple of days started out real slow, but it finished so well that probably nobody noticed. But I noticed. And I’m pointing out that it had this part at the beginning, for the first couple of days, that was energetically lesser or slower than any of the previous nine or ten programs.

Now, these upperclassmen were not sincere. It’s just like you get goofballs that get in the bus, you know, pick on something just to have fun or make entertainment, because they’re bored. So these upperclassmen are not sincere, and of course their insincerity keeps them from actually seeing things. Because they are shucking and jiving amongst themselves, they’re not really paying attention to the subtleness of things.

So, the one who asked me the question is kind of an upperclassman that has a very sophisticated curriculum. And then there’s another one, who bandies with him as if to keep the antics alive. You know, he doesn’t poke at me necessarily, but he pokes at the conclusions that are reached. And he’s a psychology major, of which I’m kind of like the guinea pig that’s being used, that flushes out this whole shucking and jiving. So, what they’re doing is they are actually talking at me, not to me, as if I’m a vehicle of entertainment for their jiving amongst themselves.

And there are other classmates there, too, but they are just taking this in, in their aloof way, as I’m rube or pawn for all of this. Well, that’s three.

Well, four, now obviously this is an atmosphere that has a sensation that’s way off. So, I get off the bus, at a stop that is before. And that other stop, you could kind of see in the distance, but I just get off anyway. I’ve got time to get off, and, you know, to get away from this crazy camaraderie, in which I am the reject.

And even though I could see this other place up ahead, and I know that’s probably the direction I should be going, I purposely go the opposite way, or I turn, go across the street, and start heading into an area that is away from all of this as much as possible. The guys yell out the window that I’m going the wrong way, but I don’t care. Anything to get away from their bravado. At this time, I’ve changed into a woman.

The fifth scene is I go a block away, off the beaten track, and I’m all alone. A guy who sees me comes up to try to say something to me, as if he’s friendly, but he’s actually casing something out. And when he senses that I’m all alone, he starts trying to control me for the purposes of either robbing me or who knows what.

I stand out because I am a woman who’s all dressed up, in an area that’s outside of my normal element. I’m a block off the beaten track and a half a block away from a couple of other people that I can see that are locals in the distance.

But the guy who is trying to control me is an—I can sense he’s like an opportunist. He sees a situation that is askew, you know, that is out of place. And I recognize this right away about him. So, I pretend the person I see in the distance is someone I know and I yell out, “Jerry,” as if I know this person.

And of course, I don’t know this guy at all. This is all an act and a pretend, because I realize I’m in kind of a treacherous position here. And the guy in the distance ignores me because he doesn’t want to get involved with anything outside of his insular world.

And in the meantime, of course, this other guy is not quite 100% sure because it really doesn’t make sense that I’m a block off the beaten track, like, you know, I’m totally out of place. So certainly I can’t be totally all alone, or at least you wouldn’t think. So he doesn’t go all out to accost me.

Because he’s not 100% sure, I am able to slowly make my way over to this guy that I’m calling out as Jerry. I get practically next to him, and he’s able to see what is going on, because I’m rebuffing this person and this person doesn’t quite go beyond a particular point because what if that guy is someone that I know. But he refuses. This so-called Jerry guy refuses to even look in my direction, as if this is no concern whatsoever, of him, and he crosses the street.

My accoster is now emboldened, knowing full well that I truly am all alone and out of place. I realize that I’m going to have to claw and scratch and slash with my fingernails and, with whatever comes to mind, to get my space back again.

Meaning: These five scenarios are about not having an empty space that is fulfilling to my being. Consequently, each scenario has an uneasiness vibe, as if wherever I am, I am abandoned, or I am out of place, or out of sync with time, or in some sort of mood that can’t be shaken, or not moving fast enough, who knows what.

So, my timing is off and I am, right from the start, out of sync with the flow. That’s the very first one. This puts me in a mood in which I feel out of place. I’m not able to fit back in because I pull away from the feminine, and the feminine seems to pull away from me. That’s like the second image.

Whatever attention I do attract, seems to be for self-gratification purposes, as if things are looking for a way of enhancing their self-importance. In other words, they carry on like this, in order to avoid having to see or face things in a more literal way, in a more subtle way.

And as a consequence, there’s a lack of connective awareness, which causes a missing out on a lot, because one stays in kind of a superficial reflective reference. I can’t stand that, nor can I stand being anywhere in the vicinity of such a mockery. So I have, of course, gotten off the bus and then, even if there’s the vicinity, I have to get away. So I have to cross the street.

So I throw myself away from the collective norm around me, which means I even change. I go from masculine to feminine, and purposely go out on a tangent. Even a tangent is better than sitting in a false, or being, you know, within the vicinity even, of a false setting.

And so then, that goes to the fifth. The problem with that is if I am not in the right space with this quest for what is real, I am vulnerable. The reason why I am vulnerable is because I do not accept the mess of things around me. The mess is manmade. So I push off from that. I mean a little bit of getting off the bus again, and I will not subordinate myself to a collective consciousness that is irresponsible and shallow.

In the end, I am finding that this doesn’t work. As dire as things are, one has to be at peace with the surroundings because being alone is not the answer. In other words, if you’re alone and are rejecting things, or alone in a way because the other stuff bothers you or bugs you, that’s not a true aloneness. That’s a hiding. That’s a type of rejection. The quality needed in these five images is that of overall acceptance. This must exist no matter how dire it is that I feel about things.

I will always have some mood or uneasiness if I am not able to go along in life experiencing it as I find it, and be okay with that, because I am in the proper space of how I carry myself, or am able to accept myself. And that way, it is not as it is, and within that, is the deeper truth.

In other words, the space that I hold, but I have to hold that space. If I don’t, then you’re going to have this little oddity, and that little oddity, and that little oddity, and it will go on and on and on forever. If one pays attention to that, then that stifles the flow and stifles the clarity and keeps things ajar.

Now the problem that exists with getting beyond something like that, is you can actually speed up and get into a flow in which you can drop those kinds of little nuances, they don’t matter. But the problem is as soon as you drop those nuances, you can also get speeded up to the point where the importance of the detail got lost and you’re in a treacherous condition that way.

So it’s almost like what is happening is there is a greater span that’s taking place, where one is caught having to contend with a greater, contractive dynamic. And then one can zip outside of that greater contractive dynamic and speed up and be more expansive.

But in the more expansive, you have to have the contractive. In other words, this is how you would try to talk about it energetically, but in terms of the imagery, you have to be able to be in life in all ways, and not be taking on a condition that repudiates.

So, this is odd, because how do you contend with what is reflective? How are you able to be okay with that? Because if you’re able to see what is reflected, just the fact that you see that, means that communicates or comes across to another.

So how do you do that? How do you hold the space so that there isn’t some element of insecurity that’s created. Because if an insecurity is created, even around you, it is created in you, and that’s a dilemma. It’s odd that way. It’s kind of a peculiar way of, you know, it’s kind of off-to-one-side kind of motif to be in.

And so that, of course, is all reflected in my dream because, you know, I’m dreaming all of those characteristics and traits that I carry and recognize inside myself, that have this same quality and the same nature. And the effect of dreaming like this throws me into wanting to go off to one side, or to be all alone, or go into some sort of strange trance dance myself.

Because once you take that on, it becomes like an infection or a poison that gets into you in some fashion, just like dealing with somebody who uses a certain degree of anger projection in order to get their way. If you’re around that very long, then pretty soon you find yourself kind of imitating or doing that or reflecting that a bit yourself, as well, if you don’t hold a strong enough focus on your own inner space.

And so, the dream is about the importance of this inner space and how the atmosphere can undermine or take away from it, in some capacity or another, each of us having our own little way in which we do not cope very well.

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