A 47-year-old man had the following recurring dream:
“In my dream I am on a beach at the ocean. A tidal wave is coming. I think to myself how beautiful it is, and I am in awe of it. But I also know that I’d better get away from it.”
This dream is a classic example of why working with a dreamer’s individual meaning is so important. Before we get to the meaning of his dream, I’d like to ask you to close your eyes and imagine that you are standing on a beach and a tidal wave is coming towards you. How would you feel? What would you do? Most people would be terrified and run for their lives, if they were not already frozen in fear.
Dreams of tidal waves are very common. Water often represents emotions, so this type of dream can indicate that the dreamer is feeling overwhelmed emotionally. We look to the quality of the water, as well as the emotion the person is experiencing, for clues as to what area of life the symbolism pertains to. Most of us would be fear-stricken if faced with such an unstoppable force of nature, and wake up with our heart pounding.
However, this man felt differently. He was in sheer awe of the tidal wave and described how he wanted to just stay and take in its beauty. He did not want to leave, but he knew that for the sake of his own well-being he had better get out of there.
This was a recurring dream the man had been having for 20 years. Recurring dreams happen every time a recurring situation or issue comes up in life, and this is where the detective work comes in. I asked him what had changed or started in his life 20 years ago? He said that’s when he met his wife, whom he had been happily together with ever since.
I then asked him if there had been anything that came up intermittently over the last 20 years, some kind of feeling that might have been a bit overwhelming, where he was in awe of some kind of beauty? He blushed and we both knew the answer. This was a business man who traveled a lot for work, and encountered many different people on his journeys, including a few whose beauty set him in awe.
Another important piece is to look at is the action of the dreamer. When faced with overwhelming feelings of awe regarding something (or someone, in this case) of beauty, much as he wanted to stay, he knew he had to leave. This was a loyal man. I knew in my heart at that moment that he had never cheated on his wife, nor would he. The dreaming mind does not lie. While the limbic brain may feel drawn to someone on a primal level, the conscious mind has a choice. This man chose his relationship every time, even in his subconscious mind. It doesn’t get more real than that.
What a love story! This dream also is a great example that what appears on the surface of a dream is not usually the deeper meaning. The dream did not appear to be about relationships – there was no kissing, sex, or romance, not even another person – but yet it was truly about love and loyalty. It also shows that the classic meaning for a dream is not always the case. Tidal wave dreams usually occur when we are feeling overwhelmed emotionally in a negative way. While he was “flooded” with emotion, the feelings were actually rather good.
Our dreams want the best for us, and love in all forms is a high priority in the landscape of the unconscious and of the soul. Sleep well my friends, and may your dreams be filled with love for yourself and others.
To submit your dream to Ask The Dream Detective, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.