Sunday, December 27, 2015

Taking Things In In Its Own Way

A Caltech lecture on a new direction for robots inspired today's dream, one that provides an example of how we can look at an image in the same way we look at a narrative.
The Dream: The dream is only an image. It is a fly with a long snake-like tongue that it uses to capture its prey.

Interpretation: A lecture I attended focused on how biology is the model for robots as tiny as a white blood cell or an e-coli bacterium. One trigger for the dream was a slide of white blood cells going after a virus. In my image a fly, a loathsome creature, has a kind of appeal. With its long tongue it has created its own way to take things in. The dream tells me that even the things I dislike and find repulsive have their own purpose, and I shouldn't be too quick to think I know what they're about. And it hints that I might be using my own unattractive traits for protection, even sustenance.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Party for Emily

Sometimes dream events seems downright mysterious. A friend and I appeared to communicate through our dreams the night after I posted The Unmade Bed . Each of us “sees” a part of the other's psyche in a surprising way.
The Dream: I am at Emily's house. A group of her friends are preparing a party for her, scurrying around. Emily suggests to me that we go outside. When we were inside the house it was raining, but we know that when we go outside the sun will shine.

While I am glad to have an excuse to get out of helping with the party prep, at the same time I feel guilty about leaving the work to others. I look over at the rest of the group, and I can sense that they want me to take Emily outside so they can surprise her. This is a relief. I get to do what I want to do with no discomfort.

As we start to head outside, Emily offers me slippers. She puts a couple of pairs before me so I can choose. One pair is much too big, and other is only slightly too big.

Interpretation: Emily has been a frequent contributor to this blog; over the years she has shared many valuable insights about dreams via the comment section. The interesting thing here is that just as I was dreaming that Emily was so loved that a group was preparing a surprise party for her, she was dreaming about feeling alone and unloved. At the same time Emily's comments took The Unmade Bed in a spiritual direction, an interpretation I had not thought of.  In today's dream, which I had before I read her comments, together we walk out into the light (the spiritual realm or consciousness) after a stint of being in the unconscious (the dream world, symbolized by the rain).

Emily gives me the shoes I need for my spiritual journey (the slippers) even if it's clear I still need to grow into them. And my dream helps her to realize that she is surrounded by love in the here and now.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Tricky Operation

Ancient wisdom has said that the sins of the father are visited upon the children. This dream seems to be saying that the sins of the parent are perpetuated and passed down, over and over again.
The Dream: My mother-in-law, M, is experiencing some symptoms. Her mother sits her on top of a kitchen counter and cuts out her heart and lungs. M doesn't seem to experience the sort of pain one would expect from this. M and her mother, accompanied by M's daughter carrying the organs, board an ambulance and head for the hospital. The doctors put back the removed parts and explain to M's mother, who seems sweet and well meaning throughout, that this was the wrong thing to do; nevertheless, she clings to her belief that she did the right thing. Years later M is in an old folks' home where I visit her. She recounts this story, her eyes full of pain.

Although M herself has been a very difficult person and caused her family a lot of pain, I feel a new empathy for her and, while I can't overlook the effects her own bad behavior has had on her children, I now have compassion for what she went through and wonder if it might have been responsible for triggering her own cruelty.

: Metaphorically the heart is the place of feeling; we often say that something is heartfelt, or that something broke our hearts. The lungs enable us to cry out. We yell at “the top of our lungs.” In this dream, the sweet mother inflicts serious damage unwittingly, unknowingly, convinced that she is doing the right thing. Worse than what she has done is her refusal to acknowledge that she was wrong. She clings to her beliefs about the correctness of her behavior, even in the face of clear evidence that she made a mistake, and these deeds travel down the generations from parent to child.

M is my avatar in this dream, and I begin to understand my own lapses as grounded in a time when I could not speak (yell out) to defend myself, and so I lost heart. I ignored and suppressed my pain, creating the possibility that I would someday blindly lash out at my own defenseless child. At the same time the dream warns me not to be too convinced of my own rectitude. The bright spot in the dream is my new found compassion, and the hope that it will enable me to forgive the guilty, and, at the same time, protect the defenseless.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

An Odd Bird

Most of our issues live in an inner conflict. We want “A” and “not A” at the same time. This dream explores, but does not resolve, one of these conflicts for this dreamer.
The Dream: I see a flock of birds taking off from a lake. I've never seen a bird that looks like this. It's something like a goose or heron, with a black and white striped crest and tail feathers. It has a white body and a large bill. It's awkward and ugly and appealing all at the same time.

I'm in a very beautiful park, and I see two gay men. I ask one about the bird. He is a birder and knows all about it, telling me about the creature in great detail. After a while I begin to sense his lover is jealous; he assumes that I'm trying to pick up his boyfriend. But I'm not. I'm only interested in the bird. As he tells me about it I say, “I picked the right person to ask!”

This is a dream about fitting in. Both the odd bird and the gay men represent social difficulty. The lover's jealousy is a metaphor for the fear of being left out. While it's awkward and ugly to be an outsider, there's also something about it that I find appealing. And both the bird and the men have found a place—the flock and a relationship—where they are part of something bigger than their own isolated selves.