I dreamt last night that I needed to get through Campus and to Urbana. I found myself in a big building- and all the signs for the exits lead in the wrong direction. So instead of heading downstairs to the ground floor I headed upstairs- through the lethal ceiling darts (with tips the length of myhand and as wide as a fist) that threatened to kill everyone looking for the way out- and found the way out. I threw open the doors for everyone else to follow. Outside was a modern pyramid. The sky was dark and the air was cool. We climbed down. Later I found myself back in the pyramid with heroes. We were led into a lecture hall. I climbed up to a seat and whispered words of warning to the heroes around me. The lethal dart missed my head but got my shoulder. Before it could retract I broke off the heavy point in the hope that it would just tap the next person. The heavy tipped dart was attached to the ceiling by something like a car aerial. So it was easy to break. Then I pretended to be dead and sat very still while the bad guys were trying to woo the heroes to their side. I concentrated on looking dead – eyes open and staring at abrown Bakelite box on the wall. Teeth clenched. Focussed on keeping the dart tip hidden in my bra. When I woke up my hands were asleep!
I spoke with an old friend about this dream (and others that may be considered similar) and he said that my hero dreams might illuminate a part of my personality that I was not aware of? I’ve never considered myself a hero, so I was very surprised! I always considered these “hero” dreams (his word not mine) as expressions of needing to escape. Maybe the dream is an expression of the emotions that have recently arisen? Do I suffer from delusions of grandeur? Do I need to lead others to safety? I hate to think of others being in pain and I do what I can to alleviate future suffering? Or maybe I am just the mad American lost in an English sea? Who knows?
In a discussion about this dream, I wondered why I was more likely to stop a bully tormenting someone else than stand up for myself – which gave rise to the question: is the distinction between myself and anyone else is reflective of how I see myself? I didn’t even consider the consequences (a possible physical confrontation?) when I protected Andrea all those years ago. Yet when it comes to my emotional wellbeing, I am more likely to endure emotional torment from my parents, Brian, a number of incidents at various offices where I have worked… When I was officially a Christian, I believed if I suffered in this life, that I would know peace in the next. I invited suffering into my life because, if the amount of suffering in the world is a finite and quantifiable amount, that I was willing to receive more than my fair share in order to save others suffering.
However, with my Buddhist hat on, I don’t have to suffer torment for the sake of enduring it. One would think that this realisation would be a wholly welcomed relief but I do still expect the other shoe to fall. There is nothing particularly special about me. There is nothing innately good that I deserve. When people say things about me, I am more likely to believe the bad things than the good. Even now, when friends come calling, I wonder what they might want; I find myself wondering what they are getting out of the experience of spending time with me. I use humour to make them laugh and then I go home having not really revealed much of my inner self. Thinking about it, I’m not surprised that I have spent the majority of my life feeling lonely. I haven’t let anyone see the real me. Because I felt that my parents did not love me, I did not express myself truly around them for fear of the torment I might endure. I never had anything important to say. I was afraid. I was the beaten puppy that resists trusting anyone. I didn’t deserve love because I didn’t know how to experience love/express love. No matter how compassionate I’ve been, no matter how much I protected people from torment, nothing I ever did was good enough. Even these words – I’m finding hard to keep on the page because I fear what people will think. It is as if I chose this physical existence to surround myself with judgmental people (Mom, DJ, Brian) in order to learn not to judge myself.