Seeing The Children: I am in a busy airport, in a waiting area near the top of an escalator, when I suddenly realize that it’s possible to see everything around me as beautiful. The shabby utilitarian carpeting, the fabric of the chairs, the molded plastic surrounding a plexiglass window—all seem richly textured, subtly tinted, almost luminous. And the people! Each one radiates a life force so complex and intricately individual—made up of interwoven patterns of mood and character and presence. The small children are almost too beautiful. Their skin translucent and soft, their hair shining, their glorious eyes… It is indescribable. There are lots of children now. I could just sit here forever and watch the children. I am a child myself, in this new moment, simply perceiving the life all around me.
I wrote recently about all of the problematic and tiresome dreams I was having (“Ugly Duckling Dreams”)—but since then, things have been changing. More and more, the dreams present openings and new energies. My dream-self (the “I” character in the dreams) becomes engaged in the process of authentically experiencing events and interactions. Lots of animals have been turning up, especially elephants. And then, I dreamed of “Seeing the Children”—the business of the dream (getting somewhere in an airport) is suddenly suspended. All at once, I find myself surrounded by children, by new life.
It is only natural that such luminous dreams come in their time, just as it is only natural that discouraging and difficult dreams come, too. Let’s not worry about “interpreting” dreams. They are what they are. Dreams are, first and foremost, to be experienced. The more fully we experience them, the more meaningful they will be. Even my unpleasant dreams are meaningful, and they cry out to be noticed, respected, attended with patience and curiosity. But especially with sweet dreams, like “Seeing The Children,” it’s essential just to savor the experience.
Dreams (pleasant or unpleasant) offer such concentrated moments of life—the intensity of emotions, the vitality of perceptions, the potential for total surprise—and they remind me to encounter my waking life with that same vividness. So, the first question to be asked of a dream is not “What does this mean?” but “How does this feel—what is this experience?” I encourage myself and others to take time with the dream itself, to appreciate its richness, before beginning to unfold its images or reflect on its implications. Continue reading