running a race

Hi Christopher—

Running in races in dreams represents our progress on the path of life—headed toward whatever goals lay before us. How we fare in the race reflects our feelings of confidence as we pursue our goals.

Dreams of competing in sports events typically are metaphors for competitive environments in our waking lives. Because you are a runner in real life, it is logical that the dream represents your competitive struggle in terms of a cross-country (cross-jungle?) race. The competition that the dream represents most likely involves your performance in school and in other social arenas, rather than any concerns you may have about your ability as an athlete.

I am sorry to learn of your life-threatening illness, and wish you a full and speedy recovery. The dream appears to represent your illness my making you different than everyone else whom you are competing against (who are giraffes!). Significantly, the giraffes in your dream are taller, and would appear to possess much greater ability than you. After they get off to a good start, however, they suddenly are unable to surmount a small hill. Hills in dreams represent adversity—challenges that need to be “overcome.”

It is at this point in the dream that you begin to realize your true power. Instead of running on to an easy victory (and leaving the giraffes stranded behind), you stop instead to help your fellow giraffes, and teach them how to walk and run up hill. After performing this kind act, you feel your own strength grow and accumulate, and you win the race easily.

If you are in a competitive environment with your peers, the metaphor expressed by your dream is that you may currently be doubting some of your powers (represented by your difficulty running at first), You may also feel that your peer group (the giraffes), who are different from you (without an illness), possess a great advantage over you. As you discover in the dream, however, you have significant powers all your own. In the end, you excel beyond this group.

Houses in dreams are metaphors for the self. Inside your house, there is a jungle. Because we can’t see very far ahead in them, jungles in dreams represent the unknown; we never know what surprise or attack is lurking around the next turn in the path. It is significant that you describe this house as “seeming like any other house.” You also write, “From the outside I never would have guessed anything out of the ordinary to the average eye.” Accordingly, is it also true that your illness is not outwardly visible—but rather something that can only be seen on the inside of your body—the “inside of your house”? The metaphor of the jungle also expresses some of the uncertainty you are living with. Because of your life-threatening illness, you do not know when an attack (a bout of illness) will strike.

Your involvement with Mr. Gonet in the dream appears to be one of mutual support. Significantly, Mr. Gonet is working on a building—a reference in dreams to projects and relationships that we build in our lives with significant others—at the level of the foundation (the floor). In his waking life, Mr. Gonet also is hard at work helping young people like yourself to build the foundations of their own lives (houses). In the dream you intrude minorly upon Mr. Gonet’s work (inconvenience him), but also help him prepare for the upcoming running of the giraffes. As this magnificent dream ends, you are preparing to lend your hand to others less fortunate then yourself. You will teach the giraffes how to read and write!

Your dream shows that you are a sensitive and caring person, Christopher, as is evidenced by your selfless efforts to help the giraffes, and also to help your teacher Mr. Gonet. The dream also reveals very clearly your personal sense of confidence and ability; You win the race easily. Significantly, however, your strength in this dream is gained not by taking advantage of others’ weaknesses (running past the giraffes), but rather by empowering them to learn their own abilities.

In the waking world, the ability to empower others is a true measure of an individual’s strength. In the face of adversity, you have learned to demonstrate generosity and grace. Those are qualities that others can hope to match, but that no one can beat.

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