Jumping into a nightmare
I had an experience a few weeks ago where I jumped into someone else's nightmare. When you think of describing nightmares, or even dreams, how would you describe them?
- They make no sense
- Things that are normally one way are different - like your living room coach is in someone else's dining room
- you wake up with the feelings of it, but none of it really makes much sense, you are left to interpret it
- Parts of it, remain a mystery to you - you can't remember the whole thing, where it started or how it ended or parts in the middle.
Studying A Course in Miracles describes this life as a dream (or a nightmare) but not real, as do many spiritual traditions. Each of us are living our own little melodrama full of high notes and low notes; some moments a dream and some a nightmare. And, each of us, in our own way is desperately trying to either wake up, or check out so completely that we cannot remember the dreams or the nightmares. But, now imagine, if you were to jump into someone else's nightmare. The one where their couch was in someone else they knew's dining room. It would be even more confusing. At least in our own nightmares, we can make some sense of what is happening around us, but all bets are off when we are in someone else's. And, yet, each day, sometimes many times a day, this is what we go. This is what I did, majorly, the other week.
I started looking at how someone was behaving and started to try to make sense of it, as it related to me. This one sentence really sums up the definition of insanity, yet, how often do we catch ourselves doing this? When someone is acting strangely, it a) rarely has anything to do with you (see my blog post on the 90/10 rule) and b) will make no sense because chances are they are in their own nightmare; one that they can barely interpret and now I have jumped in and tried to understand how this reflects on me! The insanity of it all! Sometimes, people's behaviors really seem targeted to us, as it did in this case. In this case, I was actually told what I was or was not doing. It seemed totally personal. But that is where being solidly grounded comes in. In that moment, I was far from grounded, so I believed every word of it. I did not internally check it out, or maybe I did, and found it all to be super valid. And, thus, jumped even deeper into the nightmare. I forgot that what other's perceive is at best, helpful feedback, at best. Sometimes, someone's perception of you can tell you where you have a blind spot, and this experience did shed light on a blind spot. But the rest of it is each of us trying to make sense of ourselves in an ever complicated model where none of us are grounded in the truth of Who We Really Are - a divine, wholly perfect, wholly cared for, creation of the Infinity and the Eternal. When we are grounded in that knowing, someone can come right up to us and say anything, and sometimes, we don't even notice! Someone else has to point it out to us that someone was rude or unkind, we are too busy being us and living in our True Self.
Next time you find yourself in a conversation that leaves you feeling unhinged, ask yourself, "did I just jump into someone else's nightmare?" Most of us have had the experience of off loading on someone else only to realize that something else was eating at us and we re-directed the energy (and "feedback") onto someone else... I know I have done this too many times to count. And, while it is not my ideal, nor pretty, it is never intentionally unkind. It is one person, drowning in her own nightmare, and reaching out to grab onto something solid, and accidently, pulling them in. The truth is, the only solid thing we can grab onto is our own Inner Knowing of the True Self - the one peacefully sleeping, the one having the nightmare, not the one in the nightmare. And, just like waking from a nightmare, once we turn on the lights, and wake up from the nightmare, we can see the insanity of it. But, while we are in it, it feels very real.
The kindest thing you can do for someone who is in their nightmare, is to kindly and lovingly exit stage left. There is no need to do anything. But to get this point, we have to first identify that the other person is having a nightmare and living it out. To do this, we check in, "Is this about me?" And, almost always you will see quickly, it is not about you. Then, "Is this person having a moment of insanity (the kind we all have all the time)?". Often times, if we can slow down enough to ask the first question, we will see that they are. And the final question, "What is the most loving thing I can do in this moment?". In most cases it is to let the person be and still hold your love and high regard for the person, without taking this moment into consideration - after all, it is not real, they were just having a nightmare. And, we were aware enough (this time) to not jump into it.
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Hi! Welcome to my blog, Lunch with Cinderella. I love writing about my life experiences and the fact that they may help spur some cool experiences of your own. If you are here, leave a comment... I read them all and love hearing from you!
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