Living a Radical Life: Recovering Creativity by Getting Rid of Mind’s Tendency to Illusion
Bear and Giraffe Dream
I was in my daughter’s house although it didn’t look like the actual house she lives in. It was much more expansive and elegant. I found that I seemed to be trying to run away from a bear even though I didn’t actually see the bear. As I was moving along, I came to a large room that was filled with artists who were painting from live models. They were not in the least bit affected by the bear as if the bear didn’t really exist. As I was walking down some stairs a giraffe was also running to get away. Then I came to the bottom of the stairs and saw a person teaching someone else how to play piano. Then I woke up.
The house is a symbol of the self. Since I was in my daughter’s house, you could say I was in my daughter’s self. That self is the part of her and myself that we share, the part I have passed down to her. If you take out the bear from the dream, which is the only negative symbol, then it would be so amazing because the main quality would be creativity.
A bear is a symbol of strength. It can be either negative or positive. In this case I am fearful of a bear running after me. Because I can’t see the bear, it is more like an imagination rather than real. When I am the self of creativity, I seem to be fearful of negative strength or power. The giraffe is a long-necked character which speaks to sticking my neck out (taking risks) when I am being creative. When I am in the creative self that requires risk taking, I am fearful of the use of negative power against me.
If I actually saw the bear in the dream, then the fear would be based upon actual experience, but because it is unseen, it is more like an “if-then” scenario. If I am creative and taking a lot of risks, then the negative power is going to go against me and get me. The idea of the dream is get me to be more creative which requires taking risks, but my mind is preventing me by creating an illusion of a negative power coming against me. This is exactly what happens to us when a quality like creativity wants to be strengthened. There is a dynamic inside of us between our ego, which in this case is our negative imagination, and the positive quality that wants to be actualized. For me to be more creative I can first realize that the negative bear is just a false thought designed to stir things up in me. It is the necessary tension I need in my mind to get me to the next stage.
The next stage is to integrate the positive bear-like qualities that I need in me. A positive symbolic bear is actualized as empowerment, which is the ability to take what you do and put into action. Empowerment is realized when you first acknowledge the quality, which, in this case, is creativity. “I am a creative person.” “I live in the house (the self) of creativity.” I take risks to create new realities.” Then you step into the bear’s skin in your mind. When you step in, you become empowered and the fear vanishes. Then you can become giraffe-like as well.
Stepping into an Animal’s Skin Activity
1. Imagine an animal that you would like to be more like. Identify the quality that most attracts you that the animal has such as playfulness, joy, enthusiasm, love, gentleness, or courage.
2. In your mind step into the animal’s skin and feel all of the positive feelings of that quality. Now write what you can do.