At the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams last week in Berkeley, CA, dreamers took advantage of the newest strategies for gaining insights into their nighttime sojourns. Even the pros themselves offered their dreams for scrutiny!
This will be brief since I’m at a symposium where I’m a presenter on a panel with other experts in my field. I’m a little anxious about my presentation, and this dream didn’t help:
I’ve taken my blue car to the DMV or somewhere else where it will be inspected. When I return to pick it up, it’s not there. The man behind the counter doesn’t know where my car is. He turns to some other guys behind him and they just shrug. It’s upsetting to me that they are so casual and uninterested.
One guy says he saw my car “over there.” When I go there, I see a blue car that looks like mine, but when I get closer, it’s not my car at all. I am more upset and worried at each step along the way. I left my wallet, driver’s license, registration and insurance papers all in the car! I wake up thinking someone has stolen my car.
Lost My Car and Everything Else
Past president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, Robert Gongloff, starts dream exploration with what he calls the theme of the dream to move quickly to the “aha” experience, the heart of the dream.
The first step in Gongloff’s approach is to restate the circumstances and actions of your dream without using the language of your dream: You give valuable possessions including your mode of getting around in the world, your important documents and your identification, to strangers who will examine them critically.
Does a possible understanding jump out at you now? Your dream seems to reflect the anxiety you mentioned at presenting your “stuff” in front of other experts in your field. They’re going to be inspecting, and perhaps passing judgment on your work. For many of us, perhaps you too Dear Dreamer, our “stuff” makes up our image of ourselves. We identify ourselves by what we do. Anyone would feel anxious when under scrutiny by experts!
Another restatement of your dream might be that you’ve given control of your identity to strangers who don’t care about it, misplace it among things that are similar, but incorrect. You’ve lost your identity in an uncaring setting.
It seems clear that in the setting you mention, a symposium where you are up for comparison to other experts (you must be an expert too!) anxiety is normal. No one likes the uncertainty of outcome you faced. Your dream reflects this metaphorically.
But don’t stop there! Consider the question your dream asks: Do you put your identity in the hands of others? If so, why?
Considering these questions takes your dream from the level of reporting what you may be overlooking or denying into a realm of self-exploration that can be life altering.
Sweet Dreams to You, Dear Dreamer!