Dream wake-up call
Our dreams show us what’s really going on in our lives, what runs below the surface yet influences our every move.
They show us what we hide from, what we deny, what unconsciously drives us, and what conflicts us, as well as what is shifting and changing and potentially coming to fruition in the shape of new insights, creative solutions, and growth. And they frequently show all of this to us in wildly colourful, sometimes emotionally heightened, metaphors.
One of the first steps in interpreting a dream is to look for a metaphor and explore how it relates to your life.
Imagine a dream of running from an overwhelming, inevitable tsunami. What overwhelming and seemingly inevitable situation or feeling might you be running from in life? Why do you feel overwhelmed by it? Is it really so overwhelming? Is it really inevitable? What might happen if you stopped running and found a way to confront it, or divert it, or calm it, or jump in and ride the wave all the way to an amazing new place?
I once spoke with a young boy who had a recurring dream about a tsunami of rubbish (garbage) breaking into his classroom and suffocating him. As I listened to him talking about school, he mentioned that he was bored with all the rubbish the teachers spoke, and irritated by the rubbish his schoolmates were interested in. He was deeply intelligent, and needed more stimulation, both in class and in the schoolyard.
It wasn’t long before both he and his mother understood the dream and the severity of the boy’s situation: he felt like he was suffocating at school, emotionally and intellectually.
No matter how many times he might have told his parents that he was bored at school, it took the high drama of the dream to reveal the intensity of his feelings and his sense of helplessness around the situation.
We went on to explore and interpret the rest of his dream to gain more insight into his distress and see how to best to help him.
Along the way, I helped him to imagine changing the dream metaphor, re-envisioning the dream with waves of magical rainbows lighting up the walls of his classroom in place of the tsunami of rubbish. This dream alchemy visualisation prepared his unconscious mind to change his expectation of inevitable, suffocating boredom into an expectation of a full spectrum of exciting, interesting, uplifting learning. He would then be open and ready for the changes his mother would negotiate with his school. He would also be ready to discover wisdom between the lines of the perceived rubbish, new ways of looking at life, deeper understanding of others, and the gifts gained through softening judgement and broadening his outlook on life.
What might you see if you approached your dreams as metaphors for your current life experiences? If you don’t relate straight away, remind yourself that dreams reflect both our conscious and unconscious experiences and feelings. Might your dream metaphor inform you about your unconscious mind’s stance on your situation, and might this enlighten you about what really drives you in your life today?
A powerful and dramatic dream metaphor can shock you awake with its punch and jolt, awakening you not only from your dream, but also to your situation.
From there you are a hop, skip, and a jump away from positive change, boosted, if you wish, by a suitable dream alchemy practice to transform any powerful, pesky unconscious programming that you identified though interpreting your dream.