It’s not every day that you get to meet George Washington, especially one who is black and wearing contemporary clothes. Such dreams often bring up questions in people: Could I have known George Washington in a past life? Could I be meeting him in a current incarnation? Am I going to meet George Washington in a future lifetime? Or maybe, “I’m just hallucinating and delusional???” Our waking minds can spin out all sorts of theories, and so can dream books and those you talk to about your dreams. But what can we learn from the parts of ourselves that are represented in the dream by its characters? Perhaps we should consult them before jumping to conclusions about what dreams are about.
In the following interview, while we discover that the dream has nothing to do with any of those theories mentioned above, we do find that it is highly relevant for pinpointing ways that the dreamer is stuck and what he can do to get unstuck.
My hope is that by reading it you will move a little closer to becoming the leader and fighter within you. Read it as if this was your dream and it is about you and your life.
What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?
1. Re-writing and publishing my texts
2. Staying centered
3. Deepening my practice, broadening my usefulness
Tell me a dream you remember. It can be an old one, a repetitive dream, a nightmare, or one that you’re sure you understand.
I am talking to a black George Washington. He is a member of one of my Dream Yoga practitioner training modules. I am surprised that someone of his background is a student – military personnel do not normally fit the profile, especially high-ranking ones. He seems relatively young to be a general – in his early forties, I guess. He does not look like George Washington. I am asking myself, “Is he Benjamin Bannister?” But although he is in contemporary street clothes, black, and doesn’t look like Washington, there is no doubt in my mind that he is George Washington. He is wanting to learn but not comfortable in groups with this sort of material. I tell him it is necessary and to trust me. I take the group through an introductory exercise which I start while I am waiting for others to arrive. I am aware others beside myself have had to travel a long way to get there. They are to ask the person about themselves, their interests, goals, challenges, and be the person in a short introduction to the group. Washington is my partner. Later I tell him with some hesitancy but with some intense emotion that we will meet again in another life. This is all new to him but he is receptive. I like him.
Why do you think that you had this dream?
This has pre-lucid elements. I dimly know George Washington is not black and am trying to figure out what’s real. I know I am not alive in the 1700’s and so am trying to figure out how someone who couldn’t be alive is alive. It deals with what is most important to me – my teaching, getting these tools out to those who need them. I also know in the dream that I’m not teaching my classes in the 1700’s.
If this dream were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee?
Meeting George Washington
These are the characters in the dream, beside yourself…
George Washington, other students, class room.
If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?
Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor? It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are this or that character in your dream and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind. If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!
George, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?
I am taking this class. I am a new student. I am here because I have the stature to do new things, to think out of the box, to try things that my status-conscious peers think are crazy. I am also here because I have a strong sense that I need what this work has to offer.
What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?
I am a natural leader. I am thoughtful, decisive, forceful, clear, courageous, determined, persistent, charismatic, a good communicator, and very good at sizing people and situations up. I am also self-confident enough to learn from others, to wear street clothes so that I do not leverage my presence based on status, and I am able to appear as a younger black man.
What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?
I can’t think of any. However, I still have much room to grow personally, and I want and need to do so in order to be a better leader and to be able to help more people.
George, you are in Joseph’s life experience, correct? He created you, right? George, what aspect of Joseph do you represent or most closely personify?
I am those qualities in him, which are stronger than he thinks. I am also consolidated with his present President, Barak Obama, who is much younger than I was when I became president, who is much more casual than I was, and who is black.
George, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?
No, I think I’m an ideal combination of the ideals and values and abilities that win fights and expand important ideas and the contemporary flexibility to make it happen.
(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)
George/Barry, how would you score yourself 0-10, in confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, peace of mind, and witnessing? Why?
Confidence: 10 I am not afraid of being afraid. I know there are fearful things that can kill me or hurt me, and I choose not to waste my time feeling threatened by them.
Compassion: 8 I could be doing a lot of other things. But I care enough about myself and my mission to be in this class and learning. I think that’s pretty compassionate.
Wisdom: 8 I am wise enough to not attempt to make it looking like or acting like my former self in this day and age!
Acceptance: 8 This work is radical and would be ridiculed or discounted by many in the mainstream. I am accepting enough of myself and others to judge people and contributions on their merits and results.
Inner Peace: 8 I am content with my lot in life. I have a role to play, and I will play it to the best of my ability.
Witnessing: ? I don’t know. I think that’s maybe why I am taking this course – to come to know myself, to witness myself, to detach from the drama of life so I can make better decisions for myself and others.
George/Barry, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different? If so, how?
I would be in touch with the parts of myself that personify this or that potential naturally, spontaneously, when I needed to be this or that quality.
How would Joseph’s life be different if he naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?
I suppose the same would be true for him: he would be in touch with those parts of himself that personify this or that potential naturally, spontaneously, when he needs it.
If you could live Joseph’s life for him, how would you live it differently?
I would be a leader and I would fight. People need leadership. There are things worth fighting for. He knows a great deal about how to not abuse leadership; he knows quite a bit about non-violent resistance. Trust those things, build on them; be a leader and fight.
If you could live Joseph’s waking life for him today, would you handle his three life issues differently? If so, how?
1. Re-writing and publishing my texts: Grit your teeth. Bulldoze ahead. Know it’s important and worth doing.
2. Staying centered: That’s what your meditation practice is for. Good for you. Keep it up. I would simply approach it as me – with my qualities.
3. Deepening my practice, broadening my usefulness: OK, so those are the reasons I am taking your class. So I know these qualities. Become me to do both.
What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of his life?
I see that he is already attempting to be appropriate self-aspects in each particular life situation. He is attempting to lead and to fight. I would only say, “Be me. I can help you do a better job of doing both.”
In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Joseph to imagine that he is you and act as you would?
When he gets fearful. When he needs to take the initiative. When he needs to deal with people in a way that is both forceful and compassionate.
Why do you think that you are in Joseph’s life?
I am a personification of qualities he needs more of in his life right now.
How is Joseph most likely to ignore what you are saying to him?
I don’t think he will. I have a certain salience and deep resonance that works for him.
What would you recommend that he do about that?
Remembering me would be good, particularly when he is sitting down to meditate, goal setting, or getting ready to do anything or talk to anyone.
I think Joseph had this dream because
He was searching for a way to grow.
I think this dream event happened or (some character) was in the dream because…
I appear because I am about the courage to create revolutions. I am here because I stand for the courage of one’s convictions against great odds. I am here because he is going to need to find me inside himself to overcome his self-doubt as he grows his work to the next level. I am part Obama to emphasize the practical, contemporary, currently appropriate application of my leadership qualities. I am also Washington because Obama lacks my willingness to fight. I also represent unwavering commitment to a set of values.
Why was I thinking about Benjamin Bannister?
You were looking for a black contemporary of mine and that’s the only one you knew of that was part of the elite. You were pre-lucid, in that you knew that it wasn’t right for me to be black and you were trying to figure it out.
Why did I tell you I would meet you again in a future life?
You were again pre-lucid; you knew that you had to be some two-hundred years in the past because you were talking to George Washington, but you knew that all of this has to do with your present reality.
What have you heard yourself say?
I can benefit a lot from becoming an amalgam of Washington/Obama when I need to lead, be decisive, set goals, have courage, or fight.
If this experience were a wake-up call from the most central part of who you are, what do you think it would be saying to you?
You’re a leader and you’re a fighter. Believe it. Act like it.
Is there anything you can take away from this to make your life better? I hope so! If you have comments or questions, please share!