Note: I have a major case of arachnophobia.
The intuition was strong. In fact, the strength of my intuition was strong enough to wake me up from a startlingly clear dream I had so early in a morning, on a Wednesday. The Intuition was that there was something to this dream beyond the spiders I saw all over my body. The fear and aversion that I felt at the feel of spiders, already covering my face, and hands, and coming after me in a race of unsatiated hunger to terrify, to conquer me in my sleep, was at its peak, when the intuition hit me. There must be something to this, I heard myself think. I almost woke up, opened my eyes to the mild light of the early morning sun, and tried to make myself believe that it was all a dream--just a dream.
|Image Courtesy: Google|
I felt a wriggling sensation on my right hand. I shook the hand violently. The cover fell to the ground. The cover was my fortress inside the darkness of dizzying impenetrable embrace of sleep. The spiders, with their hairy, dark legs and an unfathomable dark determination in their eyes, crawled up my hands. Someone inside me, the detective, the rational thinker, the daring coward, shook his lethargy off and jumped up to meet the challenge of deciphering the meaning of the situation. This must be a dream, he told me. But you woke up for a short while. That too is true, he persisted. Don’t panic, he said. Some dreams do appear in order to teach you something. Some lesson, they might carry, he said.
I remember reading something like this in Carl Gustav Jung’s autobiographical non-fiction, Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, when I was at the University. Then I thought about the professor, who never wasted any opportunity to disparage any junior teacher who got appointment at the University. An adamant bully, he was. I opened my eyes once again. However it was difficult to open eyes, as a sticky linen-like substance covered my eyelashes. I felt something moving upward from my jaw toward my eyes, which must have been moving inside their sockets in the attempt to see light and to break free from the maddening incarceration of this dream.
|Image Courtesy: Viktor. E. Frankl|
I felt the sting of the legs; I counted them. I could not concentrate. The hair of the legs stung on my face, near my nose. The body above those legs, on two occasions, slid over my skin, the disgusting roughness in all details.
NO! I screamed. On opening my eyes, I found the pale yellow glow of an ordinary sunlight, neither the glittering gold of a dreamy one, nor a bright fusion of hot afternoon sun indicating that I overslept. I checked time. I overslept for 30 minutes. That’s OK, I thought. As long as there are no spiders, 30 minutes oversleeping is no problem.
On the table, the new book came to book review welcomed me. I had received it the previous day. Time to start reading it. I opened the first pages. Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl. The preface was written by Harold S. Kushner, a rabbi, from Conservative Judaism. He effectively sums up the relevance of Man’s Search for Meaning and the importance of the idea ‘search for meaning’.
|Image Courtesy: Harold S. Kushner|
“The great task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life,” writes Kushner, in the preface. This quote switched my button for fascination. Wasn’t it an echo of what the detective in my dreams told me to look for--meaning? Something had flipped a switch on in my mind. Fear and its manifestation in the form of that dream about spiders—now I realized. However, hope and meaning are the two fundamental elements that constitute human ‘being’, the mechanics of Homo sapiens, the built of the innermost architecture of the spirit.
Yes, I am the one who wrote a collection of short stories on hope. I am the one who told the world that even on the wall of a university classroom, there is someone watching and making a tale of everything that takes place. The painful memories of the past should not bother me anymore. The slimy webs of the spiders of the past should not crawl near my eyes any more. Boy was I asleep! I was deep asleep.
But thinking about the spiders...Gulp.
Let’s change the topic a bit. I will be reviewing Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor. E Frankl, shortly.