Everybody has been afraid, but some of us make fear our enemy. By doing so, we cut ourselves off from that portion of our life force that our fear contains. In this case Red learned, as a child, to value compassion at the expense of confidence, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing. He is well into the second half of his life, unable to trust his fear enough to allow it to speak. He would rather hold on to the concept of compassion that he has and sacrifice the power he gives to his fear than question the legitimacy of that decision. As a result he is unnecessarily depressed and probably has been for years.
This is a very typical nightmare, not only of childhood, but of many adults. This interview throws light on common dream themes of darkness, flying, and fear of falling. It shows how important it is to wake up out of our self-created dramas both awake and while dreaming.
Integral Deep Listening can short-circuit such unnecessary pain. By listening to parts of ourselves that aren’t stuck we can learn why and how we keep ourselves stuck as well as ways to get unstuck. Much quicker and more effective than the typical psychotherapy I have offered for over thirty years, it only works for those who are ready and willing to listen to themselves.
What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?
1. Death of my mother
2. My relationship with my partner
3. What shall I do with the rest of my life?
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.
Everything was all black. I had the feeling that I was flying. I didn’t know where I was going. I had just come from my village. I had no idea about the world but I felt as if I was in the universe. It turned into a nightmare because it was so black – I couldn’t see anything. I kept having this feeling that I was going to crash, I was going to fall! While I was dreaming I started to protest. I wanted to experience something beautiful!
Why do you think that you had this dream?
Between six and eight I had a series of these very strange dreams…. It would come three times a week. There was no mother. My father was asleep.
If this dream were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee?
Flying in the Dark!
These are the characters in the dream, beside yourself…
The darkness! The air I’m flying through. The ground….
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!
Darkness, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?
I just want to create fear! Red had fear. His parents aren’t home. He has looked under the bed before he went to sleep. I was afraid I would get kidnapped
Darkness! You were afraid you would get kidnapped?
No! That was Red talking!
Are you scared, darkness?
No! Not at all!
What’s that like to not be scared, darkness?
It’s wonderful! Life is beautiful!
What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?
I am background, only background. For the atmosphere, I’m very important. I can create the atmosphere, the tension…My strengths are that I can make someone depressed.
What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?
I don’t like to manipulate people. I think I’m manipulating Red in this dream.
Darkness you are in Red’s life experience, correct? He/She created you, right? Darkness, what aspect of Red do you represent or most closely personify?
Fear and death!
Darkness, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?
I don’t care! Red wants the sun to shine!
(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)
Darkness, how would you score yourself 0-10, in confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, peace of mind, and witnessing? Why?
Confidence: 10 Because I’m a very strong element!
Compassion: 0 You don’t see any compassion. Everything is dark; I don’t have any compassion.
Acceptance: 10 I’m a part of the universe!
Inner Peace: 9
Witnessing: 9 I know people are scared of me, people don’t like me – I know all that – I feel I’m part of all people. All humans have to face me!
Darkness, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different? If so, how?
I am what I am! I can’t change
I keep falling out of my role!
How do you feel about that!
Red would like to send me away…Let him go ahead!
If you could live Red life for him, how would you live it differently?
I know that I have great influence on Red. I know that he tries to avoid me and I think that’s a good thing.
That sounds like a major discount of your self-worth, Darkness. After all, you score very high in five of the six core qualities…
Maybe it’s Red that has such a low opinion of darkness…
I cannot continuously stay in role!
Red is afraid and won’t let you talk, Darkness. But if he wasn’t afraid and he let you talk, what would you say about how you would live his live?
???? (Red won’t let Darkness talk.)
If you could live Red’s waking life for him today, would you handle his three life issues differently? If so, how?
1. Death of my mother: I would let the sun shine! Then he could see! That darkness is only one part of life. That I’m an integrated part of existence.
2. My relationship with Michael: The same.
What shall I do with the rest of my life? The same.
If it would be the same, why do you think he has this these issues?
He is not accepting his lot in life. Red doesn’t want to lose his partner…
Red still won’t let you talk! How does it feel that Red still has so much power over you that he won’t let you talk still after all these years… ???
What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of his life?
I don’t have any life issues.
What’s that like to live without any life issues, Darkness?
I just don’t care two hoots about life issues! (laughs!) Most people can’t handle me!
Whose problem is that? So what’s it like to not have any life issues, Darkness?
I like that people can’t handle me!
In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Red to imagine that he is you and act as you would? Or do you think that he should always just be afraid of you and try to get you out of his life.
???? (Red won’t let Darkness talk.)
Why do you think that you are in Red’s life?
I don’t know! He was left alone when he was young. He got lost….he did not have enough light. I am still in his life.
I think Red had this dream because
Maybe I wanted to confuse Red…
Red, what have you heard yourself say?
I realized that it was almost impossible for me to get in role and stay in role. I find it revolting that Darkness has no compassion. It’s such an important part of life!
Others: “Darkness was clever. It said, “I am who I am.” That’s how God defines himself in the Bible when he is addressed by the Prophets. To me that means Red is giving darkness a godlike power.”
“‘I know no feelings,’ Darkness said, because I am who I am. I am programmed to cause people fear and to keep them insecure and to keep them small.”
“Darkness said that it would let the sun shine. Then Red would see that Darkness is only one part of all life and not everything.”
“I heard Darkness say that it is the essence of the universe and that it might be misperceived.”
“I don’t remember so many details, but I watched Red and whenever Darkness was pleased to be addressed, Darkness immediately laughed and liked being asked questions.”
“Maybe this was Red…we all agree nobody likes darkness. That’s not true! I loved the darkness when I was young. In darkness I would masturbate and feel fine. So it’s not true that everyone doesn’t like darkness. I don’t believe darkness can’t speak; I believe Red won’t let it speak!”
“It was hard for me to listen because Darkness was something so powerful when you could occasionally catch a glimpse of it.”
What can you take from Red’s interview that can help you in your own life?
“I think with this intensity for me the message was, ‘I come from the dark and I’m going into the dark.’ But for me that does not make me afraid.”
“I could feel sitting next to you how you became afraid when the darkness came up. I feel such things from childhood. I can feel this fear but it also has a great attraction.”
“I remember I had a kind of love/hatred toward this darkness…”
“I am aware of how happy, content, powerful and alive Darkness was in those moments when it was allowed to speak. I also like that it has no compassion. To me it is the base to allow it to be so strong – to be lacking in compassion. To me this character has personality. To me it has nothing of the fear you had as a child. It was a totally different energy from when you reported the dream, started crying, or were depressed. As the Darkness you weren’t any of those things…”
“I have many situations where I have had such nightmare of felt afraid of death. I have had these flight dreams where I was afraid of crashing into the ground. If you really listen a power will come to you, it’s like being reborn. The power comes from this fear. It’s somehow bound to this fear. You demonstrated that whatever all of us are afraid of holds our power.”
“I had split feelings. One the one hand this Darkness was kind of holding on to Red, not to die, because it was afraid not to exist anymore. Without the existence of darkness, I wouldn’t know what light is. I couldn’t get rid of that expression, Someone is trying to lead someone behind the light, to lead someone astray..What is darkness’ role with that? Which is the darkness and which is the light? It is not necessary to fear darkness. It is also protection. ‘I can hold you! You have to let go of some normal perceptions to see what I am. Death is not something to be feared.’ There is a point where it doesn’t matter any more. There is a light that you can only see because of the darkness being there…”
“I am reminded of very dark pictures that Red made yesterday – very dark. Lovely, with just branches. It was about darkness and light.”
“I take away a hope that I won’t cut myself off the same way from a power that is so strong within me and within life. The freedom Darkness had! It felt like my freedom and core life energy was being strangled all the time by Red not allowing Darkness to speak.”
“ONLY background????? It carries your LIFE!”
“Life without life issues! How amazing would that be??”