Taking one’s place, the place that belongs to you. Our dreams tell us exactly where we are in our lives — where we are shy or hesitating or playing small. And they give us exemplars that are not. In the following two dreams which came within 10 days of one another the subject of taking one’s seat or place in life, in the world, came into play.
January 15, 2013 looking for my place
I dream I was teaching in a school-it was a large institute or college. Something has occurred in the school or in the world that was being evaluated at a forum. I was entering the school through a large underground passageway or viaduct. Several students are straggling; other teachers and myself are ushering them along because of the event outside and in. I was going up into stadium-like seating. I see the rows for faculty. I am going to be speaking and I am telling myself that I don’t necessarily need to sit down. I see there are one or two ‘aliens’ in the faculty row. Two large elephant-headed men. They are giving one of the faculty, a man, a hard time for some way he has handled something. They are sitting to either side of the man. There are a number of empty seats around them. I walk toward the aisle not sure if I should sit down, or stay standing. I can see and sense that the conversation with the elephant heads and the other faculty member is very intense and I am not feeling at ease standing near them. I wake up.
In this first dream I am in a teaching position at a secondary institute and there is a forum to address something that has happened in the world or in the school. There is a sense of urgency in the dream to pay attention to something, something that has happened, is happening, of importance. I am in a teaching role with students, ushering students to 'take their seats' for this discussion. So the dream is saying something about taking a seat and addressing something of importance through all these cues right at the beginning of the dream. I am also going to be one of the staff that is speaking. Inside I am feeling very indecisive about what and where and if to sit down. As I am combing the seats for a space I see two elephant-headed men I believe are ‘aliens’ sitting among the faculty. They are sitting to either side of another faculty member, a man, and are in the process of grilling him about the way he has handled something. Elephant-headed, for me, is symbolic for wise beings. The intensity with which they are pressing him is very uncomfortable to watch, mostly because I experience it as if it were happening to me and for this reason would like to keep my distance. So I am stalling sitting down as one of them and stand in the aisle waiting to know what I should do.
Waiting to know what one should do can be a place of power and it can also be a place of non-acknowledgement of what you are already doing. I am already a part of the faculty of this institution and yet I feel uncertain about actually sitting among the faculty. And then on top of it I see that one of my colleagues is being pressed by two very large wise beings to be more masterful in his way of handling things. So I see that it is not enough for me to acknowledge what I am already in the role of doing but I must find my mastery in it and apply it to each and every thing that comes my way. So taking my place is not only partly about assuming my position but involves what kind of commitment I will bring to that position. We are all perpetual learners — students — no matter what else we are doing. And if it happens that you answer your calling with your whole heart you will in effect teach others something of value...taking it to heart what you are learning is the what that you are already teaching. Then one's own teacher becomes internalized and we hear what we need to learn through the wisdom of our own hearts; a wisdom that can be relentless and inescapable, a wisdom that presses in on you from all directions. It is a choice to step into this and embrace it this way and it is also a game changer. To accept that you are in charge and responsible for your own mastery and by your example are teaching others. The man in between the two elephant-headed men is my exemplar. He was not a super savvy bright slick star. He is a hard working ordinary-from-the-outside human being who was being called out for something he had handled unmasterfully. The most important thing about him is that he accepted it. He did not run away or change his seat. He took it. Sometimes this is the most we can do when we are facing a difficult learning.
January 25, 2013
An image of a lion, male, walking out onto a playing field in the bright light of day. The playing field is lush green; you step down onto it from steps off the sidewalk. The playing field is in its own plane. I have never seen it like this in this country, perhaps in Europe. Behind the lion came a dog and perhaps another animals or 2 dogs. Could be a dog and a lamb. It was a level playing field but somehow elevated so you could see the whole area from here where I am standing.
Scene shifts and I am on a train in Europe. There is a banquet taking place in another city that I am going to attend. I am near the passenger seats. There is an elegant woman with an enigmatic smile (reminds me of L) sitting next to the window facing the direction of the movement of the train. There is a ‘gentleman outlaw’ sitting next to L. They are not acquainted. The outlaw says to me about L, “I knew she must be an American because she sat down exactly where she wanted. I always sit in that exact seat. She didn’t even wait to see where I was going to sit, she simply sat where she wanted.” L continued her smile.
Later I am in the banquet room and I have become L’s character. I am a little late to dinner but not really, as it seems to be an ‘eternal buffet’. I am putting a white piece of cake into a glass — I don’t see the plates, and I am taking it to the place I am sitting. I am sure others will want what I am eating. I’ll take the first bites and give the rest to them.
This dream is rich in positive images. A lion steps out onto a level playing field and it is completely in view. The lion is often a symbol for the higher self and is considered auspicious in a dream. A level playing field signals that there is complete equality and equanimity in the situation, nothing is biased against anyone. Everything is possible.
Then the scene shifts and I am on a train going to a destination in another city in Europe where I will be attending a banquet. Another rich image-the banquet- the feast. On the train there is an older woman who reminds me of a friend, L, who has an enigmatic smile. A smile of mystery. The Mona Lisa smile. She says nothing. She doesn’t have to speak; she acts with complete authority without pushing, without self-righteousness. She boldly sits down decidedly in the seat she wants. A “Gentleman Outlaw”, a man who also lives by his own rules but without offensiveness is in the perfect position in a way to comment on L because he is like her. But he is mystified nonetheless. He sees that she is Free. His words are a book in themselves as he comments that she ‘did not wait to see where anyone else wanted to sit’, she simply sat down in the seat she wanted, by the window, the place with the most access to a view and facing in the direction of the movement of the train. What an invitation for a way in which to live one’s life.
The scene shifts again as I arrive in the city where the banquet is being held. Now I have shifted into being the woman character, L. This dream, which is one big summons from start to finish, has imprinted me and I have embraced a new potential embodied by the enigmatic L. I arrive a little late but see it is no problem because this is an ‘eternal buffet’, a dinner, not only where you can serve yourself as much as you want of anything, but a dinner that never ends. As I embrace my new dream character I am also embracing eternity and my own eternal and lawless nature. Again the sense that one could not do anything wrong here in this place as this potential. I help myself to a piece of cake and take it back to where I am sitting so I can offer it to others after taking a few bites. Because I am sure they will all want what I am having.
This is a dream that tells it all. It says, "If you want to know how to live, experience the inner reality of these folks." And I was so imprinted inside the dream itself that I did just that. So that when I woke up I still had the sensation of living in that kind of freedom. This is the magic of a dream.