Last night I dreamed I was going to my gym for an early morning workout. On my way, it occurred to me that I could fly, so I lifted my arms and began to make slow, long, flapping strokes, each lifting me higher into the sky. Even though I knew I could fly, I was afraid that if I went too far I would fall; so I always returned to the safety of the ground quickly.
I was so excited to do this that I wanted to teach others how to fly. Saying “Trust me, I won’t let you fall,” I’d take each person’s hand into mine and together we’d flap our free arms, rising into the sky. Some became very afraid; and even though they stopped flapping, I kept my word and didn’t let them fall.
Arriving at the gym, I received a phone call that I’d been given a job offer with great pay. I became very happy; and even though I was to return the call right away, I chose to fly. Rising with the sun breaking over the horizon, I could only think of teaching others.
–vincent, age 35, NY, NY, USA; marital status: in love
Reading your dream, I wondered what it is that has you “floating on air” right now, and then the clue came – right in the very last sentence. Congratulations on being in love. (Do you know of any other force that can make gravity take a holiday?)
Flying dreams are usually pleasurable – especially when, as in your dream, we are able to control our flying and soar more or less at will. Not surprisingly, these dreams are associated with feelings of “high” self esteem: success, control, confidence, and “being on top of it all.” (In fact, flying dreams usually are so much fun that Freud believed they represented sex. Modern dream researchers disagree.)
The heart does take wing when we are in love, and your dream reveals all the necessary conditions that enable this joyous event to occur. Paramount is an environment of trust and safety. Accordingly, it is significant that you first tell your students, “Trust me. I won’t let you fall.” When you add commitment and follow-through to the recipe, as you demonstrate in your dream, even the most timid hearts can learn to take flight.
So many of us who attempt this magical journey of the heart fall and are hurt; sometimes we never dare to fly again. The wisdom that your dream imparts to us is twofold: learning to fly takes practice and courage; and under the right conditions, we can all learn how. This is a message whose urgency, indeed, rises above more earthbound concerns. May your love be a beacon of light and abundance to others who will dare to soar.
Charles McPhee is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a master’s in communication management from the University of Southern California. He received his board certification to perform polysomnographic testing for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders in 1992. McPhee is the former Director of the Sleep Apnea Patient Treatment Program at the Sleep Disorders Center of Santa Barbara, California; the former coordinator of the Sleep Disorders Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA , and the former coordinator of the sleep research laboratory at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. Please visit his website for further information.