“By virtue of our ancient roots, we are all instinctively disposed to respond immediately to threatening and fearful stimuli. We do this in both our waking lives and in our dreams, often through the intervention of nightmares. In a very real way, nightmares tell us that all is not well in our outer or inner worlds.” (Cole, RJ, Pg. 543) *
Along with recurring dreams that seem to show up when there is something going on that may be critical to our well-being, nightmares seem to be an evolutionary and instinctive adaptation to peripheral threats and should not be ignored.
Lately, I’ve been experiencing a dream that incorporates both recurrency and nightmarish qualities.
In this dream which showed up across three nights I puncture a large cube-like container that starts gushing water. I try to stop it and get sucked in feet first but get stuck moving forward as I try to pull myself out. I struggle mightily but eventually give up and let it suck me into the cube in hopes of overcoming it and then swim my way out. As I find myself underwater with little chance of escape, I begin to panic and frantically thrash toward the entry hole letting the water that’s escaping through the hole suck me back out into the air.
Water overwhelming and threatening to drown. As a metaphor for strong or overwhelming emotions that were threatening my well-being this cry for help dream definitely caught my attention. So, the question is, what’s going on right now that is overwhelming me emotionally? What I noticed upon reflection and not going into details was that I had for several days been experiencing a general background malaise, anxiety, and despondency that had been spoiling my ability to enjoy the good things that had been going on and making me feel ill and listless, sort of ‘Bah, humbug’ if you will. I had also fallen into the cynical “everything is meaningless” trap that was making every color turn gray. Given the current circumstances in the world and in the country where I live this attitude had become my defense against the fear, violence, and hate i.e., it can’t hurt me if I render everything as meaningless.
But it robs me of the joy in life, the love, and compassion because if I render it all meaningless then they too are taken away. As in the dream I’ve let the malaise take me over in hopes that by stopping my resistance to it that it will let me go. Dealing with it is not, however a passive act, it requires an active participation.
This post as well as a number of other activities (such as watching corny Hallmark and Netflix movies) is my way of swimming up toward the hole and escaping the overwhelm.