Home » graduate school essay » Banal Dreams, Beneficent Messages – Or Don’t Delete Your Day Residue – An Essay on Dream Image

Banal Dreams, Beneficent Messages – Or Don’t Delete Your Day Residue – An Essay on Dream Image

Banal Dreams, Beneficent Messages - Or Don't Delete Your Day Residue - An Essay on Dream Image

As I see it, the real function of the arts is to permeate

the environment of the world with a metaphysical

reality so that man is not alone with the ego.

–Cecil Collins

(Or "woman," I might add, in the case of this story… )

So often we wake from a dream thinking, Oh I just dreamt that because that’s what I did yesterday–what a dumb dream! And we forget it in a moment. But even those banal dreams can have beneficent messages. Messages that sometimes may make a difference in a decision or choice our conscious mind is considering. Consider this essay as a significant example.

Twenty-two years ago, on the eve of what astrologers were calling "The Harmonic Convergence," five other women and I drove out to Cynthia’s mom’s house on Little Sebago Lake in Maine to hang out and relax over the weekend. It was a gorgeous day and we hurried into our bathing suits and climbed into these wonderful lake lounges, our books in dry, protective pockets inside the waterproof chaises. Then we paddled our way out to the free-floating dock. Climbing out, we set ourselves up with towels and drinks and talked quietly or read our books under the perfect warmth of the August sun. There were the usual disturbances of other boats and voices calling from the shore, but the scene was primarily peaceful.

We were talking about a phenomenon sweeping the local feminist community of southern Maine called, vaguely and innocuously enough, "The Artists’ Workshop." This particular Artists’ Workshop was designed to help "struggling feminist writers and artists." We had just attended a meeting that had never really specified what was meant by "help" or what skills were to be actualized during the session. Lynn, an old friend of mine with whom I had worked at my bookstore was the woman who had initially invited me to join.

This was 1987 and at the time, I had never heard of a pyramid scheme, such as that one that recently helped bring down the world economy. Guised in New Age language, set up to make money for those who get in early enough, The Artist’s Workshop was said to be a brilliant new way to support independent women. Those who don’t literally do the math could be perfectly charmed by the energy and lured in by the enthusiasm of the group. Although I didn’t really believe Lynn, or any of her friends, thought they were perpetuating a losing proposition, one that would hurt others in the end, I was immediately suspicious.

Usually I was a Pollyanna when it came to trust, but there was something that didn’t make sense to me. Math is not my strong point; it’s one of my right-brain challenges in fact. But I did know some logical left-brained people and consulted them. A pyramid scam essentially grows exponentially at such a quickly multiplying rate that inevitably at some point it has to collapse. This one was to work with an airplane metaphor.

For $1500 you could buy a seat on the plane. You then sold eight other seats and were promoted to a "co-pilot." Those eight people gave you $1500 a piece and lo and behold, before you knew it, you had $12,000 in cash. Lynn was using this leverage to make a long desired geographical move cross country. And she did move and it served her well. As for the women who gave her their money-they took a gamble but didn’t fare as well. Some of those women were the women on the dock with me that day.

Yet that morning when I thought about the dream, I was convinced I had the information I needed. In the not-too-distant future, that airplane was doomed to

crash and sink just like the exaggerated dock in the dream, and I, for one, decided I was not going to be on it.

Although I did tell my friends, several took the risk anyway and guess what? They lost their money. We were exactly one tier too late in the Airplane game. My girl friends, though disappointed, seemed to be good natured about the loss later, admitting it was a gamble but still, none of us were well off and I was relieved not to be out $1500. Naturally this only increased my faith in communing with the unconscious.


This whole incident brings up some issues about the New Age world of business as opposed to the true workings of spiritual consciousness in the universe. Over the years I have become more suspicious as I’ve consulted with many people and taken many courses and workshops in the so-called spiritual fields of healing and consciousness. What I’ve learned is that human weakness is rife and that in this field, perhaps more than others, one must be one’s own personal guide.

The issue of trust is just as shaky as it is in the traditional medical field where we have looked to Doctors as if they were gods. Our higher selves are our own best guides. There are guru-type charlatans in the New Age business just as there are in any other kind of business. People have unconscious shadows and when it comes to money, it’s easy to go unconscious. I knew from writing poetry and from meditation that an inner world of knowledge exists and that the practice of listening and stillness helps us arrive there.

Despite the mainstream media’s jokes about "The Moronic Convergence" I believed there was a new energy available for spiritual development after that planetary alignment. Many prophetic writings mention the "dispensation" for the human race that was destined to come at the close of the 20th century. As we see our outer reality challenge us more, turning inward to our own guidance may be all there is to rely on.

Our dreams will speak to us if we make the effort to ask. We can incubate a dream by holding a problem in mind as I did that night. Whatever dream comes, no matter how banal, or removed it may seem from our question, if we look carefully, we will find it is relevant.


*quoted in Harvey, Andrew and Mark Matousek., Dialogues with a Modern Mystic,. Wheaton, IL: Quest, 1994.

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