The Powerpoint dream
I had a strangely structured dream just before I woke up today. It was like a short film or Powerpoint presentation. There was even a title of some sort but I can’t remember it, and I can’t remember most of the “frames” but I remember enough to still grasp the point. No people, no narration, no music.
The main part of the “screen” would be a big moving image of, say, a forest fire. Then in an oval shaped picture centered over it, there’d be some smaller thing, like someone cooking popcorn but burning it. The forest fire wouldn’t make me upset, but watching the popcorn burning would. Or like an amazing sunset on the big picture, and in the oval overlay would be a little flower, and I wouldn’t notice the awesome sunset because I’d get wrapped up in the little flower. It’s probably not obvious as I try to describe it, but it was clear to me in the dream that it wasn’t about trying to refocus my worries from small stuff to big stuff, it was demonstrating that there’s always stuff going on and if I focus on any single thing too much, I miss all other things going on. Sort of like “don’t allow your attention to get trapped,” or even more simply, “Let things go so you don’t miss other things.” Don’t cling, maybe.
The last “frame” was a black screen, an in big white type it said, “Talking yourself up is no different than talking yourself down. Just work on being present.” Then I woke up.
I recognized it as an inelegantly worded summary of what I’d been thinking about before I went to sleep the previous night, so it didn’t require much analysis. It was trying to say that my internal dialogue can bring me “down” by artificially only focusing on the negative, and I can try to force it to bring me “up” by artificially focusing only on the positive, but those both involve judgements and my real goal shouldn’t be to be “more positive” or “less negative” but to view without judging and simply see things as they are.
I woke up remembering how clear and resolved I’d felt during the dream, but without the actual feeling carrying over into the day, just an understanding that I’d had it.