Dreaming and Travelling along Life’s Road

When we dream, our dreams often involve some form of movement or travel, be it walking, running, driving a car or riding a bicycle. Dreams are messages from our unconscious mind; often disregarded upon waking. Yet there are those occasions when a dream we have had seems to demand more of our attention; when it seems a touch more vivid or powerful. And if a dream scene recurs then it is a sure sign that the unconscious aspect of our mind is trying very hard to get a message through! Those of us who do stop to reflect, even for a short while, are at least acknowledging (and therefore connecting with) our unconscious, hidden side: a rich source of knowledge and information that is part of us.

I have always been fascinated with dreams. In fact, whenever I’ve gone through a lengthy period without dreaming, I feel as if something is missing! They somehow can make life that bit more interesting; some of the scenes, images or characters can be funny, bizarre or frightening. Sometimes I can’t fathom them at all but I still make a mental note or jot down some of the main themes in a notebook. It might be that a theme repeats again in a later dream when it begins to make more sense.

So what has this got to do with driving, or learning to drive? Well, as I said above, most of our dreams involve some form of movement or travel. Whatever the mode of transport though, it denotes our progress (or lack of it) along our journey in life. Being the driver of a vehicle in a dream might show that you are in control of your destiny – your life – but much depends on the way we are driving, the type of road or terrain we travelling on, whether there are blocks. If in the dream we are driving too fast or recklessly, the message might be that we are out-of-control and need to slow down in our daily life. If, on the other hand, someone else is driving and we are the passenger this could be telling us that we do not feel in control of our life; that it is being mapped out by someone else.
Recently I was teaching a lady to drive who kept repeating the same ‘unsafe’ driving behaviours despite us having many discussions on the related topic and much practise on the roads. On at least a couple of occasions I had to take action and grab the steering wheel!! Although this was extremely worrying driving behaviour, what struck me as more worrying was her lack of human emotional reaction in the given situation. There was no expression of shock, embarrassment, upset, frustration, anxiety – nothing! It’s not that I want my pupils to feel bad when they make a mistake; it’s just that we need to sometimes feel a certain level of stress or anxiety in situations of potential danger (both on and off the road) in order to remain alert to such situations.

I reflected this back to my pupil saying that she was coming across as somewhat ‘detached’ – as if she was not bothered – though she might have felt differently inside. I suggested to her that this reflected how she was driving on the roads, as if she was detached from what was going on around her: The inner reflected the outer

I asked her to try something at home: to visualise herself as a driver approaching some of the situations we had recently encountered and to see herself driving safely. She agreed to try this.

The next time I saw her she talked animatedly about having had a vivid dream – the first time she had dreamt about herself as a driver! In the dream she is on her driving test and she does something dangerous resulting in the examiner failing her. She woke up feeling worried.

Although on the surface this doesn’t sound very positive, to me it meant there was a shift that had taken place. She was finally becoming more connected both in her inner world and with the outer ie the roads and other drivers.

We now continue . . . . . . .


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Driving Through Life

I have been teaching people to drive for the last 7 years and in that time, I have come to notice certain parallels that exist between aspects of the way we drive (or situations that arise whilst we are driving) and issues in our life.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t set out to look for these when I’m teaching my pupils to drive, my main focus being on the roads. But every so often I am fascinated when I see certain driving behaviour patterns that repeat with a particular individual yet seemingly are quite resistant to change. This suggested to me that there might be an unconscious processImagegoing on, whereby aspects or issues within the driver’s own life or background are playing a part in how the driver behaves on the road. Therefore, conversely, if we become more aware or conscious of these issues then we are more likely to make progress on the road and in learning to be a safe driver.

Yet if we follow this argument through it could infer that by changing certain aspects of the way we drive, it could have a knock on effect in other areas of our life. In this blog I aim to give a variety of situations I have encountered with my pupils on the road (using fictitious names for confidentiality reasons) in order to illustrate the ‘parallels’ I am talking about, including some relating to me!

Let me explain my interest. Up until the year 2000 I worked in the NHS in the area of mental health and psychotherapy, with no conscious plan at that time to leave or change course. Yet a sequence of events happened in my life that forced my hand and after taking a long career break I made the decision not to return. A little while later I retrained as a driving instructor without knowing exactly why; only that I enjoyed driving and liked helping others. Whenever I’ve mentioned to people my previous profession I have usually got the same reaction: something along the lines of “That’s so different! What made you do this?” to which I had some difficulty responding.

Yet on closer inspection there are some parallels between these two seemingly contrasting professions (for me anyway!). For example, I used to help patients/clients become more aware of their thought or behaviour patterns which might be blocking or hindering them in some way and then try to teach some new skills so as to help them make more progress along their particular road in life.

When we are driving on the roads, we encounter so many different situations involving other road users and have to often make very quick decisions about how we are going to deal with them safely (or not!). There are many potential situations for conflict with other vehicles; there are a multitude of hazards, such as obstructions in our path, which might call on us to be patient or considerate. Yet how we decide to behave can either create conflict and potential danger or it can prevent or resolve conflict.

These are situations most of us encounter in other areas of our daily lives. There are however more opportunities in our personal of working lives to use avoidance as a strategy; on the roads this is rarely an option! Hence, for those of us who are open to it, driving can provide a rich opportunity for growth.2011-09-24 17.07.00

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