Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Analysis of Backpacks and Wedding Dresses

A reader sent this analysis of my dream "Backpacks and Wedding Dresses. I think it's pretty good.

From Dan:

Having read your Backpack and Wedding Dresses post, I couldn't help but notice it seemed in connection with your "Arrested" dream, and so I was moved to offer up an interpretation. Overall, this seems a very positive dream. I gather that was your feeling upon awakening? (Of course, having money thrown at you never usually generates a bad feeling!)

As you know, when exploring the implications of non-duality, no stone can be left unturned. Unfortunately, it can often be difficult to deal with the stuff that is unconscious, what Jung calls shadow content, since, well, its unconscious and the self-aggrandizing ego would rather not look at it. In this sense, the stones are often not even seen, much less overturned.

The beautiful thing about dreams is that the shadow content is presented, and can be looked, at even if ego wishes to avoid it, or tries to make something else of it entirely. In this respect I find dreams to be of the utmost value and take them "seriously". From your comments, and the dream work you've done, it appears you do, too. So, for what it's worth, I offer up this interpretation in the spirit of one fellow dreamer to another.

Here's the synopsis.

Worried-father-ego doesn't understand, or particularly want for his son the lifestyle he is leading. Presence points out that those foibles are necessary for growth. Unconscious-clearer-seeing ego accepts this and sees no need to change anything, and accepts his son's perceived foibles unconditionally. Presence, always there to assist, guarantees spiritual rewards when this prescription is followed.


Backpacks-- transience, wandering, coming and going, the lived life in the world of appearances.

Wedding dresses-- union, purity, eternal Presence.

Racing bike-- balance, precision, a healthy ego

Children-- newly forming aspects of your son's identity

Adults-- the supporting aspects of Maury

Neighbor-- Presence, close by, at hand, assisting

Money-- what is valued, spiritual riches.

transience, support, safety, acceptance.

--My wife and I have gone to bed. It's fairly late. Then there is a sudden commotion. We hear people running through the house, loud voices and laughter. I get up to investigate.

This is something you are waking up to. Perhaps you have been asleep on it, unaware, but now moving to "investigate". Also notice the dream takes place late at night, the dark, the unconscious coming to the fore. (often the unconscious is symbolized in a dream as something dark or lower, like a basement, or perhaps a hole) So the dream is depicting something that you don't normally give acknowledge.

--He is showing them around the house. I can see that they are friends of his.

It seems to me the children are aspects of your son, not you, as they are his friends. The children are the young, new, not yet formed aspects of your son. You refer to them as vagabonds. They are transient, wanderers who come and go and haven't taken hold yet.

--He hardly notices me. I see that a few woman in their late twenties or early thirties are coming in behind. One man about thirty-five follows. He had a really cool racing bike.

The adults are the ones who care for the children, just as you care for your son. In this sense they are aspects of Maury. Bikes can connote a number of things, the obvious one is balance. They can also be a symbol for the ego since we move from place to place on them just as the ego is a vehicle for Presence in this space-time world. In the case of the former, a racing bike is a very balanced type of bike, a precision instrument, and so your balance regarding the message of the dream is precise. The same can be said of it as a symbol for the ego, it's not some piece of junk you are having a problem with.

--are all abandoned children that are being kept safe by the women and the man. They have no money, so they move to safe places where they can stay for awhile.

If they are aspects of your son's ego, notice they have no money, aren't being given value. They are moved to safe places and your home, where you "live", is just such a place, and is regarded as such by your son since it is he who has brought them here. The "loud voices and laughter" clearly indicate his comfort in this regard.

--I have a big, rambling, country house on the side of a hill.

Houses in dreams can connote mind, with the various rooms suggesting aspects of the mind. A basement, the unconscious; a study, the intellect, a dining room, a place where the mind assimilates (food for thought); a living room, the part of the mind you normally "inhabit" or use, etc. An unfamiliar house can denote a different mind-set that is needed. In this case the house is sprawling and wide so may indicate a more spacious, open mind is helpful. It's placement on a hillside indicates "higher".

--Part of what we do is sell to travelers. We have a room that has racks of backpacks and wedding dresses.

Your having titled the dream with these symbols reinforces the centrality of them in the dream. Backpacks indicate travel, wandering, coming and going. The theme of traveling, wandering, or transience is an important symbol in this dream. As such, perhaps it symbolizes the living of life, the world of appearances. Backpacks are also carried on the back, a symbol of support, and this theme of support is also a prominent motif in the dream at large.

The wedding gowns are a symbol of Presence, of All That Is. Often symbols concerning Presence are like this, denoting union, or purity. Other possible meanings for the symbols of a wedding gown are commitment or new phase, but I don't think those apply as much as does viewing the dresses as a symbol of Presence. Presence, Awareness, is never touched (virgin white) by the coming and going of the appearances. Notice that the children climb a ladder to get them: they  "move toward heaven" to reach Presence.

As a symbol of Presence, the gowns dress the children, aspects of your son's ego, and cover them, just as all things exist IN Presence. Perhaps the dream is suggesting that your son is trying on Presence, just as you have come to in your long journey. Your being "pleased" that the children like the dresses may be a confirmation of this or of your knowing that these aspects of your son are in "safe places", as Presence is all, and no harm, ultimately, comes to anything.

--"Well, we must be meant to let them stay here or they wouldn't have come." We accept the fact that we will have company for awhile.

Your acceptance is unequivocal. Even if the waking ego struggles with what it perceives to be its lot in life at any one moment, ultimately it is forced give up the ghost. The children-- your son and all his perceived foibles-- are here, like it or not, and in no need of the ego attempting to change or deny any of it. In other words, even though Maury(worried father-ego) might be taking these aspects to be deleterious, Presence is pointing out that they are necessary, and will eventually lead to growth, to climbing the ladder, finding the dresses, and union with Presence. In the dream you know this, and accept this to be the case. Only worried father-ego needs to be convinced. This also goes back to the children not having any money, waking-ego doesn't see these aspects as something of value. In the dream, you recognize they are "meant to stay", you give them value, and don't regard them as something necessarily to be gotten rid of.

--I get up early in the morning, and step outside. A neighbor is at my door. He is an older gentleman. He is there with his assistant. He is tossing bills at me, hundreds and twenties.

Now we move from the darkness(night) of the unconscious to the light(day) of the known, or that which is not in shadow. The neighbor is another symbol of Presence. A neighbor is someone you live "close" to, and nothing is closer than Presence. Presence is there to "assist" you as symbolized by the assistant. It is "eager to help", and is showering you with money, a symbol of something of value.

Your acceptance of all the uncomfortable stuff that leads to worry, brings a new day with spiritual riches, since Presence only deals in spiritual gifts, not mundane ones. Not just for you, the money is for the children, the aspects of your son which have been difficult and a source of worry for you. Maury, allowing What Is to just be ("meant to let them stay"), without wanting to change it or head it off at the pass, gives everyone shelter, safety, and wakes to a brighter day.

Additional comments;

Now, maybe I assume too much, but: Notice that your son "hardly notices me" (typical!). Perhaps he's not looking to you to solve all his problems or to overtly guide him, but he obviously finds your "house", your point of view, comfortable, as he shows the new aspects of himself that he is trying out around your house in a kind of gaiety. It seems to me that even though he is not overtly acknowledging you, he finds your influence is clear and, I would say, "roomy" like the house. In other words, he's not as deaf to what you have to offer as might appear and, perhaps in his own way, is exploring your guidance just as the children explore and find the dresses.

1 comment:

Maury Lee said...

I am terribly impressed with Dan's interpretation. An extraordinary ability. Having done a lot of dream work, I have never seen anyone this good. I think Dan nailed the dream pretty good.

Thanks for the contribution, Dan!