Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dream of the intruder

For years I had this recurring nightmare: It's the middle of the night and I'm asleep in bed. I open my eyes and see the silhouette of a strange man standing at my bedside. He does not speak or move, only stands mute and menacing, staring at me.

I had this same dream for several years and found it so frightening that I always awoke with a gasp or a scream. Then one day I read something that Rilke had written in Letters to a Young Poet: "Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."

For the first time it occurred to me that perhaps the man didn't want to hurt me. Perhaps this silent, suffering being needed my help. I decided that next time I had the dream I would not scream, but instead reach out and ask if I could help him.

But I never had that dream again.

5 comments:

Querulous Squirrel said...

You didn't need the dream anymore. You'd gotten its message.

Tai said...

Squirrel, that poor guy must have been sick of standing there, waiting for me to get it. I hope he has a better gig now.

John said...

I think I saw him standing in an unemployment line. Tough break!

Neal said...

I got more insight and meaning from your post than watching 2.5 hours of Inception.

Tai said...

I confess: I watched no more than 25 minutes of Inception before fleeing, head in hands. I think it would make more sense backwards.