Last night I had a scary dream. I have always had a lot of dreams, and find tons of insights in them. So when I woke up this morning, the dream was on my mind. I know that whenever I wake up and am feeling upset by something in a dream, that there’s something there to look at (after I remind myself that it is just a dream, not real).
The gist of the dream I had was that there was a kidnapper who kept taking members of my family. I would rescue them, but he would always get someone else. No one else seemed to be too concerned about it. In fact, one time I found the front door wide open when someone had been kidnapped.
At first the kidnapper was not visible to me, but eventually I tracked him down and confronted him face to face. I could have killed him in that moment if I had chosen to, but I didn’t. Instead he has an army of about 50 people – that were more like robots – appear out of thin air. I felt defeated, and knew that I could not win against him.
When I woke up and started thinking and writing about the dream, it occurred to me that the “kidnapper” is my ego. It keeps “stealing” parts of my authentic self. My soul, or true self, is the one who has to stand vigilant to get those parts back from ego. The parts themselves (my “family members) don’t care who’s running the show: ego or my true self. So they do nothing to keep ego from taking them over.
I noticed that when I confronted ego directly, it got stronger (the army of 50 robots). The robots are my automatic thoughts that kick in when I get scared. Once I realized that the kidnapper was my ego, I knew I couldn’t banish it, or kill it off. Having an ego is part of being human.
So what I needed to do was to collaborate with it. During my meditation this morning I asked it what it wanted. Why it was kidnapping my family members. The answer was that it wanted me to pay attention to it. As much as my ego is based in fear and can get really out of control with fearful thoughts, it also pays an important role in protecting me. And as much as I wish it and its fearfulness would just go away, I know it won’t.
I also asked my authentic self what I needed to be able to trust ego. To be in a place of collaboration, not competition or war. (I’m just now seeing as I write this that trust is also involved, as in my post a few days ago.) I need to be the one in charge. I’m the general, ego is my trusted advisor. I make the final decisions, and ego shuts up if I tell it to.
So we had a conversation and reached a truce and a peace accord. I agreed to listen to ego when it tries to get my attention, and ego agreed that I was the one in charge of the final decisions.
Now I need to think about what this looks like in reality. What are the signals that ego is trying to get my attention that I’ve been ignoring or trying to banish? And, how do I tell the difference between ego’s fear and its valuable advice about danger? More to come…