The cat was large. It had just awoken and appeared groggy, ears back, paw coming over the passenger seat of the car. It was a Tiger, and it was hungry. This is how the dream began.
I am not one to remember dreams, at least not over the past few years. I do recall dreaming, but often the contents are wiped from my accessible memory banks before I can crawl out of bed and grab a pen. This one, however, stuck.
The Tiger pawed at me, slapping me heavily, while I tried to keep it at a distance and continue to drive. It took my hand in it’s mouth repeatedly, closing down, but never with enough pressure to draw blood. Though angry and needy it appeared to know me and I seemed to know it. I drove with dual purpose, to find food and to keep this beast from eating me while I searched. His agitation along the way increased as did my own concern for my well-being.
I found a bait shop, which appeared to be in the Everglades or some such place. It was rustic and abandoned. The weather was humid. Tall grass and marsh surrounded the shed. The cat had escaped from the car when I opened the door to exit. I was in a panic to find food before it roamed away. The inside of the bait shop was grey, aged wood walls, empty. I went through to the open back sliding door where I saw a man coming in from a hunt, and the Tiger stalking from the tall grass. I tried to intervene the meeting of the two, but failed. The Tiger pounced and lashed out leaving the man with a torn shirt and claw marks on his back. I stepped between and threw the cat large filets of fish (that appeared from where these things appear when dreaming), which it swallowed whole.
The Tiger immediately transformed. He was now satiated, calm, and it came up to me with the demeanor of an excited puppy. I rubbed behind it’s ears and scratched it’s back. He rolled over, full and happy. All was now well as I awoke.
I read an article last week about dreams. The research supported dreams being a state in which we regulate negative emotional experiences not yet resolved. A neutral environment to return us to steady emotional ground. I don’t know much about analyzing dreams but this one is curious in several ways. The vivid recall when I rarely do, the anger in the form of the Tiger, and the calm that resulted when the Tiger satisfied it’s hunger. Am I the Tiger? Do I carry anger within? What do I hunger? Or am I me, being the pleaser to the yet identified Tiger? Both?
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. ―Dalai Lama XIV
As I sit writing, the interpreting flows. I am both, the pleaser and the angry Tiger which the pleaser continually tries to appease. Perhaps why, though startled by his presence, we knew one another. What is my anger? What is my hunger? An Anger, a hunger, not yet resolved if present in my subconscious. The anger may be toward the pleaser himself, the Tiger inflicting pain upon me but never drawing blood. The pleaser appeasing, but never letting the Tiger have all of that which it hungers. Does the the Tiger think only of individual gain, the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy? While the pleaser must think of others, accommodate, fit in, or fear the judgement.
Is the Tiger selfish, or trying to gain Self?
Where is the balance, if one? Certainly things to ponder. What did you dream? Perhaps you are the Tiger in mine…
From now on I live for myself. I have been living for others for many years. I have wasted so much time and gotten nothing in return. I will fade out these activities and start living for myself. I can’t get back all the years but I can get back my life. —Henry Rollins