On the first night, the crowd sat to eat at a long picnic table.
On the second night, more guests arrived and sat around the same table, squeezing together. Someone placed a plate in front of each guest.
The good plates were being used, the dreamer realized. It wasn’t the everyday dishes.
On night three, someone laid silverware next to each plate. The silverware glinted brilliantly.
On the fourth night, a man placed drinking glasses next to each place setting. Then somebody else poured water into the glasses.
Who were these people setting the table? The dreamer couldn’t make out their faces.
That he couldn’t see the people didn’t matter. The table was being set; that’s all that mattered. The dreamer was mentally preparing to start a new job.
Even though it took place over four nights, this was all one dream. There was a common theme and a definite progression of episodes. One event followed another.
All of the events could have happened in one dream. If the events were amalgamated, it would have made sense. The people could sit down. The plates could be placed. Then the silverware could be placed.
The subconscious didn’t present the dream in that way. By spreading out the same dream over several nights, it was trying to emphasize the importance of the symbols in the dream.
How episodic dreams differ
Most dreams stand alone. They happen once and then they’re done.
A recurring dream is the same exact dream over and over. It tends to be a type of “period piece.”
The subconscious does this for a lot of different reasons.
When the subconscious spreads a dream with a particular theme out over several nights, it’s trying to emphasize the importance of the subject. Revisiting the same place in dreams emphasizes something like little other dream content can do.
If you get a dream with episodes, your subconscious wants you to deal with the featured issue, whatever it is. It’s placing it at a time where you’re likely to remember, unlike the other dreams you have during the night.
It’s not about entertaining you while you sleep. It’s about much more than that.
Your subconscious can’t do any more than this to let you know this issue is a big deal.
The only way you know that it’s doing this is by keeping a dream journal.
Address the situation behind the episodic dream
The people symbolize something. The plates symbolize something else, as does the water glasses, the silverware, and maybe even the picnic table.
Only you know what the dream objects stand for. Whatever the symbols of the dream might mean, the subconscious “can’t get over them.” It adds them in a sequence for impact, focusing on the meaning behind them for emphasis.
There can be a reason for the progression in symbols as well.
When you figure out what your subconscious is worried or ruminating about, it’s a good idea to spend some time addressing the issue, whatever it may be.
The goal is to convince yourself that you’re taking care of the matter. You’re not going to fail through no fault of your own.
Deep down, you’re probably very nervous about the situation, whatever it is.
Maybe nervous isn’t the word for your feelings. Maybe “concerned” is a better way to put it. Nevertheless, whatever you call this mental state can be a problem without confidence. You’ve got to do what you can to soothe yourself. The best way to soothe yourself is to pay attention to what you’re concerned about. Not only that, but you want to convince yourself that you’re doing all you can. That’s the important part. You’re the most important person you have to please.
Whatever it is, the problem isn’t that you’re not confident. The problem is that you haven’t done enough work on the issue so that you feel that you can proceed confidently.
Conversely, if it’s a situation that gives you pleasure, then you’re probably having a dream over several nights because you’re enjoying the thoughts. You’re savoring them. You’re holding on to the moments and savoring them. Even so, your subconscious is emphasizing the content of the dream.
You’re going to be writing these dreams down in your dream journal, but you may want to journal about them some more. Attack the problem or the question from every angle. State the problem clearly. Write down some possible solutions to the problem. If you implement the solution, summarize the outcome.
Draw pictures. Graph the problem. Clarify what the people and objects in the dream mean. Convince yourself that you’re paying attention to the issue by actually paying attention to the issue. Brainstorm impractical ways to solve your problem.
If you don’t, you might think you let the problem fester. You might blame yourself for whatever ends up happening and then have to work through guilty feelings.