Dear Why Team member,
I had a dream, and like most dreams it was as real as it could be. I was at a public gym, wearing a red t-shirt and I was doing pull-ups. I could feel the steel bar in my hands and noted the effort necessary to do the pull-ups. Then, with the magic of a dream I found myself at the same gym the next day, but it was somehow outdoors and I could feel the warm sun.
As I was looking for a curl bar among the loose dumbbells, I saw someone who I believed to be an employee and I asked him if he had one. He looked at me with disdain, and as he was walking away from me he said, “if you want a curl bar you can go buy one down the street - weren’t you here yesterday?”.
I was taken aback by his apparent criticism that I was some kind of a free-loader. Then it occurred to me that I had not paid any fee and was working out in what I had imagined to be a free gym. In defense of my honor I said to this imaginary person from whom I was receiving imaginary criticism “it’s not my fault that you created this business model and if you want to attract members to your gym, your behavior is not likely to lead to success”. Now, at this point in my defensiveness and ensuing self-righteousness, I began to gain consciousness - just enough to say, and can you believe this: “Dude, you’re not even real - This is all a Dream” :-) Now how ridiculous is that? I’m upset with a guy in a dream and I’ll show him, I’ll tell him he’s not even real - BUT, if I was really awake, I would have realized that I was the one who had created the entire story.
At this writing, it is 3:35am on a Saturday morning. As I gained full consciousness lying in bed, I started to think about dreaming, it’s purpose for our brain and how the brain seeks to clean itself out at night - but more importantly consider how the brain creates based on what it sees in our so-called conscious or awake state. Could we become awake enough in the awakened state to say, “Dude, you are just a dream, a figment of my imagination - this whole interaction has nothing to do with you, I created it all for myself”? How many of us see what is not there in our daily interactions - projecting our dreams onto others and becoming defensive of an offense that was entirely created in our mind from the conclusions we jumped to that are completely false?
Here’s why you might consider asking yourself the above questions: A few years ago as I was driving down a highway at highway speed. I was in the far right lane when I noticed a car in the lane to my left that had just put on its right turn signal desiring to get into my lane, apparently to make an upcoming exit. Out of kindness, I immediately slowed down to allow the driver to change lanes, but he was slowing down to allow me to pass. I suddenly realized I was in his way, so I sped up so that he could change lanes, but as I did, he sped up at the same time, so I then slowed down as he slowed down. What was happening here on the highway was exactly what sometimes happens when two people approach each other in a narrow hallway and initially they both move in the same direction to the left or to the right to allow the other to pass, but move in the same direction - you know the drill, you do a little dance, you both smile, usually, and then figure it out and move out of each other’s way. But on that morning, as I was directly beside him, realizing the speeding up and slowing down dance we were doing, I look over at him with a big smile, kind of laughing at my inability to get out of his way - and this is when I saw his face - he was looking at me as if I was the devil incarnate. He slammed on his brakes to get around me, just in time to make his exit, and as he took the exit he stuck his entire arm out his window, extending his middle finger to give me the infamous “bird” the entire length of the exit.
It was such an interesting moment for me. Here was a guy, who had encountered an authentically generous fellow driver who was trying to get out of his way, yet he created a dream of reality in which I had uniquely chosen on that fine morning to uniquely choose him for my evil plan. Imagine the arrogance necessary for him to think some stranger would go out of their way to keep him from exiting the highway. Hmm...
What was going on in his mind?
He just flipped off someone who had every intent to serve him, yet he took offense. Who was responsible for his experience? When I saw his reaction, I immediately felt sad for him. He saw an attack that was nothing more than a dream he had created; he was a victim of an attack. I wonder if he still tells the story of the man who blocked his way and smiled at him with what he perceived to be an evil grin of satisfaction.
What stories of perceived abuse from others, in your past, is your mind keeping alive in your present?
How do those stories cloud your experience of life?
Sports psychologist Dr. Kevin Elko explains how if you don’t control your imagination, your imagination will control you. He says he has seen people imagine themselves right into suicide - and he has also seen those who have imagined themselves into immense success. I was fortunate to hear him say these very words as he gave a speech 14 hours before my dream and at one point he had us all in the audience sing:
“Row, Row, Row your boat, gently down the stream, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Life is but a Dream”
What did my brain create from hearing and seeing Dr. Elko? Clearly his message served me the night following the hearing of his words driving my dream state and awakening me to the power of imagination. Now I’m seriously thinking this is my new Morning wake-up routine: to sing this simple, but incredibly powerful song. Row your boat gently is equal to live in a positive way, gently, on life’s journey, the stream, for life is but a dream, a dream we create with characters that we imagine to be either serving us, as I was trying to do to the mad driver, or trying to stomp us, as the mad driver imagined me to be.
What are you imagining and is it expanding or limiting you? Can you call it out, “Dude, you’re not even real, this is all a dream of MY making”?
Our brains jump to conclusions; work to encourage your brain to jump to positive conclusions - and you will more likely find yourself waving a hand of gratitude, with a knowing smile - rather than flipping the bird, thinking you’re a victim.
I had a dream and it served me.
You’re living a dream -
will it serve you?
Dream big, Dream positive, gently down the steam-
and make it a great week!